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Any knitter worth her or his pointy sticks knows who Melanie Falick is, even if he or she doesn’t know they know who Melanie Falick is. Her true contributions aren’t iconic patterns, a specially spun yarn, or reams of essays; instead, her work is the feeling that radiates from a page that she has shepherded into being.

Like the pages in her iconic books, including Knitting in America, Kids Knitting, and Weekend Knitting.

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Or those from her stint as editor-in-chief of Interweave Knits magazine. Or from her eponymous imprint with Abrams, which published books by Natalie Chanin, Kaffe Fassett, and Norah Gaughan, among many (many) others. The sense that when you open a knitting book and know that every detail has been fussed over just enough to make you crave casting on? That’s Melanie.

“When I look back at my career, I feel like I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have had the jobs that I’ve had, to have had the opportunities that I’ve had,” Melanie says. “I tend to like to do the same thing for a while and get good at it, and then I like to do something else.”

Currently, she’s working on that “something else.” She’s left the big city publishing business and settled in Beacon, N.Y. Melanie’s gone freelance, in other words. Among her current projects: a new book, tentatively titled Making a Life, about the role of making by hand in our lives and culture, a column for Uppercase magazine, several editing and creative direction gigs, and a lot of travel.

Her website provides a tantalizing glimpse into her thinking as she explores the endless topic of the creative life and how to live it.

“I feel excited about freshening up my own attitude and looking at things from a different perspective,” she says, which is an attitude she brought to the development of the Modern Daily Knitting Field Guides. “I’m excited about being in on the beginning of something new that has great potential, of doing something that is not derivative of anything else.”

Building Something New

Part of what drew Melanie to the project was the idea of working with Ann and Kay. But a large part of the draw was also building something new.

“I like that the Modern Daily website and the Field Guides are part of the future and not nostalgic for an old way of delivering content. Some publishers that have been around for a long time struggle to break out of old habits. It feels really good to be working with forward-thinking people who don’t have a lot of preconceived notions to contend with,” she says.

That doesn’t mean building a new way to think about knitting has been easy. Blazing a path with nothing but a pocket-knife and a good sense of direction rarely is, no matter how many times you’ve done it before. When we spoke, Melanie was halfway through the jungle of the Modern Daily project and not quite sure where the end would be.

“It’s been very challenging,” Melanie admits. “I tend to be very practical. Kind of like, OK, we’re at Point A. We want to get to Point B. What’s the best way to get there? But I’m not 100 percent sure where point B is yet. That’s scary.”

“Each time we figure out a piece of the puzzle, it’s exciting,” she explains, about the small joys in the process. “There are just a lot of pieces!”

Now that those pieces have been assembled and the first Field Guide has been released, Melanie says she is happy—and relieved. “Of course, now we want to make the next one even better.” Each end result will surely have that Melanie Falick feel, even if you can’t quite put your finger on what that might be.

About The Author

Adrienne Martini, the author of Somebody’s Gotta Do It, would love to talk with you about the importance of running for elected office or about all of the drama of holding a seat on the Board of Representatives in Otsego County, New York. Adrienne blogs when the spirit moves her at Martini Made.


  • I want to meet Melanie or at least read her book, Making a Life! It’s where I am at in life.

    I love this new direction MDK is taking. I’m all in!

    • My sentiments exactly! As soon as I read that line, I thought “I want to read that book RIGHT NOW!” As I reach the ancient stage (now 73), I’ve been thinking a lot about being a maker, and the other makers in my life — husband, daughters — and how incredibly satisfying it is to create with one’s own hands.

  • I have all three of her books; I tried to teach myself using the kids one and her Weekend book was one of my first “I can dream about knitting” books. Did not realize she was helping you two now!! Even more excited to get my hands on the hard copy of Field Guide!!! Alas, it won’t be here in time for me to bring it to Rhinebeck for your autographs!

  • I love learning the back story behind your new field guide and what you two have been up to getting this new venture going. You have a nice circle of friends!

  • “It feels really good to be working with forward-thinking people who don’t have a lot of preconceived notions to contend with.” Sounds…so good. And Melanie herself sounds like a wonderful person to work with!
    (Just requested “Knitting in America” through interlibrary loan. Looking forward to some treat-quality reading, possibly by the first fire of the season.)

  • I like all these books, but the book I really associate with Melanie Falick is Handknit Holidays. I came across it when I was a new knitter, and loved all the projects in the book, though most were beyond my skill level at the time. But the Elf Hat was easy and fun. It was one of the first hats I ever knit, and one that I’ve knit many times since! Oh, and its little cousin, the Hershey’s Kiss hat, was one of the first baby hats that I ever knit.

  • Melanie’s “Knitting for Babies” with Kristin Nicholas is another one of my favorites.

  • My first knitting book of the modern era was Handknit Holidays.

  • As I look at turning 80, I think I should settle down and choose my path and not be such a squirrel. Maybe this book will ground me.

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