This month I’m talking to Carson Demers, brand new author of Knitting Comfortably. You may know Carson from classes at your local yarn shop, a knitting show, or from his articles for PLY magazine. That makes Carson an author, a physical therapist, a spinner, a knitter, and a teacher. Let’s get down to it because that is a lot of territory to cover.
These monthly features of other creative businesses are a way for all of us to get to know these wonderful makers; it has been a long-time interest of mine to explore how other creative people make their way as professionals.
Welcome, Carson Demers!
Hi Carson Demers! Let me just adjust my posture here. Carson and I know each other from a couple of different knitting related groups. I’ve helped Carson with Illustrator questions, and gave him some social media ideas prior to his launching his book.
Carson Demers’ VIP
Q: As you enter the published author phase of being Carson Demers, share with me an important person to your knitting/writing life. Although we overlap acquaintances and interests, I don’t know you well.
A: You’re starting with a tough one! Throughout the process of writing the book I’ve had many VIPs, depending on the stage the project was in. Most of these are fellow Visionary Authors, but if I had to pick one, I’d have to say my friend Mary Scott Huff. She’s been there for me during the best and the most trying times. Mary has an amazing sense for the practical (despite the sometimes whimsy of her design). She’s taught me so much about how to have a web presence, the book writing process, and that sort of thing. Mary is able to juggle a lot of things at once – designing, teaching, writing (she’s published about six books since I’ve known her) and raising a family. She inspires me with her can-do attitude; Mary is always a glass-half-full kind of person – something I am working to become. Her sense of humor never fails to make me laugh.
I’m sure Mary Scott Huff is a great friend to have, especially with her ability to juggle so much, but also because she is always fun.
I’m usually, or maybe I should say historically, the kind of person who likes to focus on one task at a time. I like to give it my full attention and I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist. This isn’t realistic with the kind of work that I do. What I mean by that is I’ve got a lot of balls in the air myself and if I didn’t learn how to manage doing that I wouldn’t be able to succeed at any of them. I learned a lot of that from Mary.
So true, so true!
Carson Demers’ Thing
Q: What drives you to juggle all these things. You have a career in Physical Therapy. What made you decide to add to that by creating Knitting Comfortably?
A: Well, at this point I’d have to say it’s my book. I’ve given it my all for the last 8 years. But it wasn’t always my focus. I became interested in bringing ergonomics to knitters because I had injuries myself (non-knitting related) and didn’t know anything about ergonomics at the time. I learned as much as I could and continue taking continuing education courses on the topics of musculoskeletal injury and rehab as well as ergonomics. When I started seeing patients who had these types of injuries they became my “what”. When I was in the clinic, patient care was my “what”. And that sort of gets to the original “what”. Physical therapy, health care, ergonomics – all require the use of the analytic side of your brain. When I became interested in becoming a PT, I really longed to exercise this side of my brain. But after 15 years or so of practicing PT I really needed to exercise the other side of my brain. That’s when I hit knitting again with a passion and really wanted to become known as a designer. I still do design but with the book I haven’t had time to do much published work. That will perhaps be the next “what” for me.
I should also add that what unifies all these seemingly disparate “whats” is connection. I’m awed by the infinite connections that are present in knitting. People, time, physical laws, metaphysical energy, individual stitches to a greater fabric. It really excites me and that’s what keeps me going. These connections exist in caring for people whether it’s in a clinic providing treatment or in writing a book for them to read and hopefully benefit from.
The connections you make between knitting and ergonomics really make Knitting Comfortably special. It should be on every knitter’s shelf, but also on every physical therapist’s shelf.
Carson Demers’ Important Space
A: I never thought I’d be able to say this, but it’s my tiny little office space in my apartment. I didn’t think I’d ever feel this way (and honestly never gave it a thought until you asked). I moved into this space because of a break up. I didn’t really want to be here, and I resisted the space for a long time. But over the last few years, I’ve done my best work in this place. It’s tiny, maybe 6-feet of space behind the sofa and in addition to my writing space, it also houses many of my spinning wheels. It looks out over the SF Bay and it has become a place of peacefulness, quiet, and creativity. I do all my pattern writing and drafting here and wrote much of the book – at least the production side of it, in this wee space.
Nothing like San Francisco for needing to learn to enjoy small spaces! I’m sure yours is ergonomic.
Next Up for Carson
Q: Book done. Copies flying off the shelves. What now, Carson Demers?
A: Now that my book has launched what’s going on is packing books and carrying them upstairs for shipping! Many, many stairs. When I started my book there were avenues for distribution and order fulfillment that aren’t there now (or at least not the ones I knew). So while I work to find new resources, my home is also my distribution center.
People were always surprised that I knew the stair count in my home in San Francisco. 77 stairs. That was 18 a flight, plus a few extras on a couple of the floors. They matter when you do them regularly!
In addition to that I’m still teaching and lining up future engagements. I’m still writing for PLY magazine – thank goodness, because if I weren’t it might be difficult to justify time for spinning. And believe it or not, I’m noodling about another book. For the moment I’m really basking in the completion of my current book and I’m really thrilled at the warm reception it’s receiving.
Well I’ve said it in my book review (Part 1 here, Part 2 here) and elsewhere: Knitting Comfortably is a treasure. We knitters are fortunate you wrote it. Do enjoy the aftermath of being an author. And step carefully as you climb those stairs with your books!
I felt we should put the lovely Lily in here.
Find and Follow Carson Demers
And be sure to pick up Carson Demers’ book Knitting Comfortably: The Ergonomics of Handknitting.