I think that making connections with 'celebrities' is a huge part of my experience as a fan. This was always true with my favorite musical artists, but I'm finding that it's becoming true for the knitwear designers I follow and admire as well.
When I was in high school, my favorite band was Motion City Soundtrack. This band had fast-moving, poppy songs with intellectual lyrics, and I loved to listen to their music. But even more than their music, I loved the band. Along with their album Commit this to Memory, the band included a documentary which followed the band on a tour, giving fans a chance to get to know the musicians 'personally.' I always loved feeling like I knew all of the band members' quirks, where there lyrics were coming from- I could identify with them and feel closer to them, and that connection made me a more loyal fan than I ever would have been otherwise. Even now, although I listen to their albums much more rarely than I did in high school, I still appreciate 'knowing' the members of the band.
Although I don't still consider Motion City Soundtrack to be my favorite band, I do think of Death Cab for Cutie as one of my favorites. There is in existence a documentary about the band, but I didn't obtain the DVD until I was already a big fan of the group. The reason why I became interested in their music was, in fact, because they were written into the dialogue of one of my favorite television shows, and listening to their music made me feel closer to the characters in the show. I later became a genuine fan of the music, rather than the television show, and the documentary helped with that transition.
The reason why I explain the motivations behind my various musical interests is because having a connection with artists makes me a more loyal fan- it helps me to appreciate their work and makes me excited to see what they will come up with next.
Over Vogue Knitting Live, I was able to meet some of the biggest names in the knitting industry, and it was shocking to me how quickly and powerfully a connection with these knitters influenced my opinion of them.
Debbie Bliss, for one, was one of the nicest people I have met- she was so funny and sweet, and I have a whole new excitement when looking at her patterns, as I can appreciate not only her prowess as a designer but also remember hearing her joke around with our yarn editor about lipstick. Carol Sulcoski, also, was so sharp and fun, and as I looked at her patterns today while I was in class (oops!) I identified with her, found myself more inclined to love what she had designed, and more interested in reading her blog. Even meeting her for a few moments reinforced my interest in her work.
As has become obvious over my past few posts, Ysolda is my favorite knitwear designer, and looking back I suppose that I became a fan last November, when Ysolda took the blog challenge to post every day of the month. I remember my morning routine, which always includes a cup of coffee and a moment at the computer to check email, growing to include a moment at her blog to read what she had posted. Her life seemed so pretty and cozy, just like her patterns, and it made me really like her as a person, which made me inclined to like her patterns.
Knitting is an interesting industry as knitters constantly embrace new forms of technology which open new means of communication between knitters and designers. Not only can ideas travel more quickly, but knitters have an opportunity to get to know designers, and I think that has a huge impact on the success of those designers.
I really enjoy having had the opportunity to meet various designers over the weekend, and my 'favorites' folder on Ravelry is subsequently bursting with designers whose patterns I now look at with fresh perspective.