If you want to get the word out about your craft, why not create a Facebook group?

Nov 9, 2016

Christine Perry talks about how she used Facebook to help grow her community of sock knitters.

For some people, creating a closed Facebook group is a great way to grow their business. On Monday I interviewed (using Facebook Live on the Studio page) Christine Perry, known to thousands via her blog as Winwick Mum. Eighteen months ago, Christine started a Facebook group called Winwick Mum Sockalong where she oversees 6,000 plus members who want to learn how to knit socks.

She started the group with very little knowledge of what to expect in terms of interest and has since written a book (self-published) which she received an industry award for, one another award for her blog and has also been nominated for another industry award. She will be the first to admit that she has stumbled along to get where she is and I think it is refreshing to hear her story.

Christine was also kind enough to write an overview of how she started her community from its humble beginnings:

Sometimes life pushes you in directions that you never expected.  That’s how it was with me.  “Winwick Mum” started off as a monthly column in a church newsletter, then became a blog and as my confidence developed, it grew quite naturally into what it is today.  I write about my family, my garden, my love of being out and about with the dog, and crafting – in particular, knitting and especially socks.  What is it about socks?  I can’t tell you, but there’s something about knitting those woolly tubes that has hooked me and isn’t letting go.  Nearly two years ago, after yet another “I can’t knit socks, they’re too hard” conversation with someone, I decided that I was going to write some beginner tutorials that would show people once and for all that sock knitting is not hard.  It took a few months to put the tutorials together in the way that I wanted and in May 2015, the Winwick Mum Sockalong was launched.  Over three weeks, more people than I ever imagined knitted their first pair of socks, joined the accompanying Facebook support group and started sock adventures of their very own.  

Today, some eighteen months later, the Winwick Mum Sockalong is still going strong.  Our original Facebook group became two – one for support with the basic sock pattern and another for chat because so many friendships were being created across the world that we couldn’t contain them all in the one group.  Not just virtual friendships either; there are physical meet ups of people in groups of all sizes.  Gifts are exchanged across the world and many acts of kindness that lift everyone’s spirits.  The original free Sockalong online tutorials are now also published in a paperback book and in an ebook which can be bought at various online bookstores.  The book, Super Socks, was placed in the British Knitting Awards 2016 “Favourite Book” category – quite an achievement for a self-published book which was up against other high-profile books from established publishers!  My blog has been awarded “Online Knitter of the Year” by Knit Now magazine and has also been nominated in this year’s British Craft Awards for “Favourite Knitting Blog”.  Not bad for something that started out as a column in a church newsletter!

You’ll want to know where I bought my magic wand to make all of this happen, and the truth is that there isn’t one.  It’s down to a determination to make a difference and hard work (if reading lots of craft-related blogs can ever be called hard work!).  It’s about sharing information with other crafters, about helping someone out when you can and about being consistent – blogging in particular is all about consistency whether you are writing or reading and commenting on someone else’s posts.  My experience is that the blogging community is a very generous one and if you want to be part of it, you are always welcome.  I’ve made some great friends and learnt so much about my own craft as well as being able to teach others, and I can’t imagine wanting to do anything else! 

The link for the lighthearted but informative interview is here:

https://www.facebook.com/themakeanddostudio/videos/1164537070267129/

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