Monday, March 7

meet a maker

being the inquisitive little feltmaker that i am, i thought it might be interesting to hear about other maker's stories. if you would like to be featured, please leave me a comment and i'll get in touch with some questions for you.

so, grab a cuppa, put your feet up and lets meet heather from nifty knits ...

Please introduce yourself …
Hello – my “real” name is Heather, but I’m more likely to answer to Nifty ;-D I live in the countryside in Kent, UK with my husband.

How would you describe your work / style?
Quirky, humorous and definitely “off the wall”. Being featured by proves that! I’m in the Regretsy book, released in April 2010.

I wasn’t entirely pleased when I first discovered I’d been featured on Regretsy but the resulting sales convinced me it was good!Who, or what, inspires you?
Nature…and TV! The meerkats started after watching Meerkat Manor. I said to myself “I could knit one of them” and the rest, as they say, is history.

Sometimes it’s just looking through my yarn stash and a particular colour calls out to be knitted with.

Do you sell your work? If so, what helped you decide to start selling your work?
I started selling on ebay years ago but they don’t really appreciate handmade over there. My son’s girlfriend suggested another venue, and I was off! At first, like many, I thought of it as a self-funding hobby, but demand increased and showed me it was time to think of it as a business. I’m fulltime now, knit knit knit all day :)Where can I buy your work?
My primary shop now is at You can find my full range of knits there, Zibbet is a fabulous site which is growing quickly and responds to the needs of the sellers.

Do you have a website or blog address?
All my links can be found on my website

How did you learn your craft?
I first learnt to knit as a child, I remember knitting clothes for my dolls! Later I knitted for my children, but it wasn’t until maybe 5 or 6 years ago that Niftyknits became my passion.

Have you had any work featured in magazines/books/galleries?
I have a (relatively!) bulging media ringbinder, I’ve been featured in:
Popular Crafts, Yarnforward and Period Living magazines, and of course Harry Hill’s TV show “the K factor”.Has your work won any prizes/competitions?
I won the Christmas 2008 Folksy competition, which was brilliant, I won a whole year of free listings. I was also joint second in Folksy’s “Make the News” competition in 2009 – I’ve even been interviewed by radio shows several times!

2010 was the best yet though. Harry Hill’s TV competition, “The K Factor” attracted ten THOUSAND entries – and my Harry Hill Meerkat was one of five finalists!

Meridian News commissioned me to “meerkat” their presenters as a result, which was fun.

If I wasn’t doing this, I’d be …

I couldn’t do this if it wasn’t for …
My husband. He sorts out my website, goes to the post office for me, and doesn’t mind me knitting all day long! He’s my number one fan!Any funny stories you’d like to share?
There are too many to mention. I often knit commissions, and the email conversations back and forth with my buyers would be hysterical to an outsider, discussing where a meerkat’s beard should be, or whether a female meerkat should have a bust!

Describe your perfect day.
Tea in bed followed by full English breakfast, finish off last night’s commission and post it, network online briefly, go out walking by the sea (which would conveniently have moved nearby!) and then have lunch at the pub. Home to knit some more.

What do you do to relax?
Walk in the countryside, read in the bath.Marmite … love it or hate it?
I’m the exception to the rule, I quite like marmite sometimes, not always though.

What’s your weakness?
Posh crisps!

How do you keep motivated?
Not really an issue, I love knitting, there are always loads of new designs buzzing around my head.

What do you wish you’d known when you first started out?
I wish I’d known right from the start that you can’t just fill your shop with lovely things and the buyers will find you.What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Promote promote promote! Ask for advice and follow it if it makes sense. There is no point starting forum threads asking why your stuff isn’t selling and then sulking if people tell you your photos aren’t good enough. We’ve all been there. Price properly. Your time is valuable, and handmade deserves respect! New sellers often don’t seem to realise that they need to take their materials, time and fees (both venue and paypal fees) into account when setting prices. My husband created a fees calculator for me which is available as a free download from my website:

What question did you hope to be asked but didn’t?
Have you got a newsletter?

What would your answer have been?
***Please sign up for my newsletter to be the first to know about new Meerkats and special offers***

thanks for taking the time to chat heather and sharing your great pics, your meerkats always bring a smile to my face :)


Angela said...

I came across Niftyknits during my sojourn on Folksy and it's nice to see she's lost none of her talent. Good interview

narkeymarkey said...

glad you enjoyed it angela, i just love heather's creations :)