Archive for May, 2008

News From the Front

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

Hey, so the war is on! It’s all been a little confusing because a bunch of the dossiers (including mine) didn’t come out when they were supposed to, but the pattern was up on the website so anyone who wanted to could go ahead and start, but there were a whole bunch of whiners making up excuses about why it wasn’t fair and how they couldn’t start till they knew the identity of their target yadda yadda stupid. There were topic after topic of flames on both the Sock Wars forum and in Ravelry as well. People were spending all day on the computer instead of knitting.

Finally, though, the administrator just put all the assassin/target information up on the web site so that everyone would have it. I got a nice e-mail from a lady in Chicago, who is knitting my socks (Hi, Shelley! Sorry about the size-11 feet!). I sent an e-mail to the lady for whom I’m knitting socks – she’s Canadian! And in the mean time, I’ve been knitting as time permits. Which means not as much as I would like.

I started off yesterday morning thinking that I would take sock pictures as I dragged it around through my day. I took one picture as we were in the drive-thru line at Starbucks on our way to our park playdate, and then I forgot about the idea.

But I did take some pictures at the park.

There was much running around and business yesterday, and I had very little daytime knitting opportunities. So I knit for most of the evening, until I found my eyes closing automatically and then I dragged myself to bed.

Because today was another exciting, busy day. Today I had a class to teach at the store, and then I ran off to Shepherd’s Harvest. Yay! I can’t believe how big this festival is getting. The vendors are filling three barns now when it used to be just one! And they now have a couple decent food vendors besides the totally-awesome kettle-corn.

I managed to resist most of the lovely wool, although a few things followed me home. The first one I can hardly believe…

The person who bought this must have thought she had a burning desire for copious amounts of overspun thick-and-thin bulky yarn, plus the time to make it. I have no idea what I’m doing here. I do have a book, and I know a couple people who know how to spin, so maybe one day I’ll figure it out. My friend Sarah also bought some wool to spin – someone gave her a drop spindle – and she said something about a video someone recommended. C-R-Z-Y crazy.

I also bought some yummy-looking homemade jam from one of my readers (Hi, Karen!!!) and some summer sausage from a guy who was handing out salti-licious samples – I figured I had to bring prizes home for the family.

And of course there was the obligatory skein of sock yarn.

This is a skein from Sandy’s Palette, and it is machine washable wool/nylon singles. I knit a pair of Jaywalkers from a skein of her yarn a couple of years ago and they turned out pretty and have worn really well, so I knew I needed to get another skein from her.

And finally, a new giant project basket. This will be big enough to hold all the yarn and parts for that project that I just pulled back out of the naughty corner of the yarn closet. (Cat included for scale.) This came from Handspun by Stefania, who had lots of high-quality baskets that I wanted to buy, not to mention a ton of beautiful roving. If I hadn’t already bought a giant ball of the stuff, I would have snagged some from her.

I have to show you my sock wars sock, don’t I? It’s pretty ugly, I’m afraid.

The sample sock for the pattern on the Sock Wars website did a nice little stripey thing. This nasty pooling does nothing for the stitch pattern, but no way am I ripping back or starting with a different yarn. The clock’s a-tickin’! And speaking of which, I must go get to work.

On the Eve of Battle

Friday, May 9th, 2008

This thing totally snuck up on me. I’m going to have to delay the big unveiling of the new project again because I have more important business to discuss tonight. Tomorrow is the start of Sock Wars III. You know, the thing where they e-mail you a “dossier” on the person you are supposed to “assassinate” by knitting them a pair of socks and sending them in the mail. And in turn, there will be an assassin out there knitting a weapon with which to “kill” me.

I can’t believe I’m doing this. On the one hand, it’s fun. I’ll be part of the thing that all the bloggers will be talking about and I won’t have to feel all left out like I did last time around. Plus I’ll hopefully and eventually end up with a pair of hand knit socks. Really, I just hope I get to finish at least the one pair for my one target. There is supposed to be a winner in this exercise – if you are killed before you knit your socks, you have to send the unfinished pair to the person who killed you and they in turn will finish them and kill the person you were supposed to kill. Eventually, there will be one person left alive, and there are prizes.

I wasn’t going to buy new yarn for this thing. I was going to pick something out of my not-exactly-tiny sock yarn stash when the game starts. But then someone mentioned that one of the prizes – the grand prize, in fact – is 60 balls of Tofutsies sock yarn. The only catch is that you have to be the last knitter standing and you have to knit your first pair of socks with Tofutsies.

The catch is, I don’t even like Tofutsies. I mean, it comes in really great colors. But the texture is not at all pleasant. It doesn’t have any of the bouncy feel that I love about wool. And I can tell it’s going to be splitty from the wonky way it’s spun. Just the concept that it’s made out of soybean by-product kind of weirds me out a bit. I dunno. So why would I go out of my way to buy some yarn that I don’t think that I’m going to enjoy knitting in order to ensure a vague possibility that I can win a giant pile of every color they make of the yarn I don’t think I’ll like? Because I’d feel like a giant ass if I were the last knitter standing and I hadn’t knit the first sock out of Tofutsie and had forfeited the giant prize.

This whole mess starts first thing in the morning. I should be getting an e-mail with the sock pattern and information on my target’s foot size around 7 a.m. my time. I’ve heard rumblings on the internet that some people are planning all kinds of crazy ways to get their socks done faster – things like calling in sick to work on Friday and stuff like that.

I, on the other hand – well, I’m going to be doing my regular job of hanging out with my girls. I’m still going to (hopefully) go to our normal playdate, do the dishes, fold some laundry, change diapers, fix snacks, and all the other great mommy stuff I do all day. Then, on Saturday, I will be teaching a class at the store, then running off to Shepherd’s Harvest in my fabulous new sweater. Sunday will be Mother’s Day, and I will be returning to my normal mommy-ness even to the extent of sending Joe off to play disc golf in the afternoon (because I’ll have already enjoyed my Mother’s day present of being by myself all afternoon on Saturday and because the man needs a break every once in a while too) But I’ll probably not have to cook dinner at least.

And the socks – well, I’ll work on them in between. Hopefully Sophie will go to sleep when she is supposed to, which will help. Hopefully, the person I’ll be knitting for will have small feet. Hopefully, the person who is knitting for me will be a slow knitter who is very busy with other things and lives very far away. Hopefully the pattern involves a lot of mindless knitting that I can do while multitasking.

At least I have my tofu yarn wound into two equal skeins ready to start as soon as the situation allows.

And my poor, loyal companion socks that have been hanging out in my purse at the ready for the last month or so and are almost done – they say “What are we, chopped liver?”

Update at some point soon. In the mean time, the next big project has been started a bit, and as soon as the contest socks are done, it’ll be right on track.

The Big Sleeve Fix

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

I was SO going to unveil the identity of the next knitting project in the lineup tonight, but Michelle wanted to see how I fixed the sleeve length on the Sunrise cardigan. And, um, I haven’t really done much to the new project yet anyway.

Really, though, doing creative little fixes like this can be a little scary. This particular fix is a pretty darn simple one as fixes go, but getting over that jumping-in bit is the hardest part. I didn’t have any trouble, but my heart was in my throat for a few minutes while I got started. I have to say that having seen many fixes like this on other blogs makes it a little easier to believe that I can do it too. (Even though I have, in fact, done similar fixes in the past – it helps me believe that they weren’t flukes.)

So maybe you’ll watch mine and get a little vicarious thrill out of it, and maybe remember it later when you need some confidence about chopping up and fixing your future project.

Let’s get started. We start with the sleeves in question folded back to an acceptable length. In order to get to this point, it involved lots of standing around shrugging my shoulders, wiggling into different positions and then back, and fretting that whatever length I choose will be the wrong length. Eventually I settled on one, and marked the fold with stitch markers. Markers because I marked both sleeves so I could average out the measurements. Oh, and you can also see in this picture how the facing is tucked under and tacked down on the cuff.

So then I took the sweater off and unfolded the cuffs. And then I stuck a stitch marker in at the same point where the orange one was on the inside. Just for fun I measured it too. I don’t know why, I just did. Looks like I wanted to get rid of about 2 3/4 inches. Then I counted how many rows the markers were from the edge on both sleeves – they were one row apart, so I moved one to match the other (so the sleeves would match in the end).

Now the real fun starts. I picked out the stitching holding the facing down, then unpicked the bottom of the seam just past the point where I planned to cut.

Then I grabbed a size 0 circular needle – not the size I knit the garment with which was a 4, but it’s much easier to get a size 0 in those stitches without stretching them out. I used my needle to pick up all the stitches in the lowest row I wanted to keep – the one right above the orange marker.

The stitches I wanted were now safe and stable, so I used my sharp scary little scissors to snip one single spot in one single stitch in the row above.

And then I picked out that whole row. Confession time – because I’m a big chicken, I actually snipped that stitch in two rows above the one I wanted to keep. Which meant that I had to do twice the picking out, but it felt safer. Doesn’t that look kind of scary right there?

Then I got a little distracted by Will Smith getting all sweaty in I Am Legend. mmmm….

Okay, and back to the sweater. Suddenly I had a needle full of live stitches waiting to be knit back down to the cuff.

I did my purl row for the turning point right there, knit eight more rows in stockinette and bound that sucker off. I sewed the seam back up with the yarn that was still attached, tacked the facing back down, and look!

Slightly shorter sleeve. Wash, rinse, repeat for second sleeve. I’ll be wearing it to Shepherd’s Harvest this weekend – unless the weather turns out to be warmer than the currently-forecast high of 58 F. TaDa!

Live From The Yarn Store…

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

A bunch of first miters. There were more, but some had already left, and
one was still in progress. (Hi, ladies!)


Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

Over the weekend we did a tiny bit of redecorating in the living room. I thought I’d share it with you while I wait for the UPS driver to bring me my yarn. But the redecorating story really starts several months ago…

One night, Joe casually mentioned at the dinner table that he had purchased four poster-prints from an artist couple that he admires, and that he planned to frame them and hang them on our dining/living room wall. I was a little annoyed at not having been consulted. I was actually a little pissed off at the time. I have to live in the house too, and am present in it much more often than he is. Why should he get to make a decision like this unilaterally? I tried to stay calm.

And then I saw the prints and thought, “Hey, they’re kinda cute.” But still, there were four of them, and they definitely would contribute to whatever theme we’re going for in our room, which up to now consists of somewhat asian, mostly kid-friendly and used.

And on top of that, he thought he was going to be able to go buy poster frames for “relatively cheap” and just hang ‘em up. Uh, no. They are not standard poster sizes, and if I was going to have something hanging on our walls for some indeterminate and probably very long time, I wanted them properly framed. So we sat on it for a few months. Finally a few weeks ago one Sunday morning, Joe ripped the coupon from the JoAnn’s ad, and we dragged the girls off with us to go pick out frames. That process took a Very Long Time, and involved much measuring and entering in of forms to the computer and trying to keep the girls from climbing on the stool at the counter, putting their hands all over the prints, and generally causing mayhem. Eventually, Joe took them off to the kids’ craft part of the store while I waited for a final price. gulp. It was a lot of money. But I sucked it up and paid.

And then they were finished, and I picked them up, and hey, they look pretty good after all. I wish I had picked a darker frame, but we were kind of thinking we wanted to generally match another framed picture that would be on the next wall over.

The artists are kozyndan, and you can see better pictures of the images in question here. They’re actually quite whimsical, and beautiful at the same time. I like them, and I’m happy that Joe pushed us to take a step towards a more beautiful home. (And now it’s my turn to spend some money on new couches, right honey?)

While we were rearranging pictures, we moved the family pictures over here to the corner. I wasn’t happy with this placement at first, but it has grown on me and now I like it. There is room for more photos as we collect them in the coming years. We love the photographer who did our wedding, and have gone back to him twice now for family sittings. We realized this weekend that it’s been a couple years and we’ll need to go back either this year or next.

We moved this picture – actually a framed cross-stitch that I did many moons ago, lo in the black years before I learned to knit. It’s a little country-cheezy, but I still like it. Now it’s over by the door. These kinds of things are supposed to be right by the door, yes?

And finally, this piece was on the big wall where the posters are now. Joe’s brother brought it back from Korea for us as a wedding gift. It’s an original painting, and I quite like it. It took the place of a Georgia O’Keefe print that I was getting tired of anyway. We put it in the pile of things we’re planning to sell at a garage sale later this spring.

Blue Sunrise, Complete

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

I struggled all weekend long to find time to finish sewing up my new sweater. It was not easy, as Sophie has not been sleeping very well this week. Finally, though, after our first picnic-table lunch of the year, I stole a few last moments and finished tacking down the facings in time for a late afternoon photo shoot.

An aside, we had kind of a mish-mash lunch going on. I going to make grilled cheese sandwiches, then I noticed the bowl of leftover potstickers in the fridge from the duk gook the night before. So I fried those up as well, and along with some carrots and grapes our late lunch became almost an early dinner.

And then it was show time. I put the sweater on, and it fits beautifully.

Except for the sleeves, which are a good 2.5 or 3 inches too long. No real surprise, there, as everyone else on Ravelry had the same problem. And Susan’s sleeves were pretty long on me as I recall, too. I tried to ignore it at first when I put the sweater on, but the truth is I will have to cut off the ends of the sleeves and reknit the facing.

I’ve decided that this sweater will not be State Fair material. I’m quite happy with it, but there are a few not-quite-perfect technical details. Plus, not entering it in the fair means I don’t need to put buttons on – and I don’t really want buttons. I’ve got it closed in this picture with a pin (the pin from two years’ ago shop hop for locals). But what I really want is one of those awesome shawl pins that I keep seeing all over the place and never buying because I don’t have a need for it. Now I do – and it will be one of the things I’ll keep my eyes open for at the Shepherd’s Harvest festival next weekend. If I don’t find one there that I love, I’ll start looking online.

Alright, then. Should I go ahead and give you the wrap-up details?

Pattern is Sunrise Circle Jacket by Kate Gilbert, first published in Interweave Knits Spring 2006, and now available for free online.

I used 15 skeins of Wooly Stripes yarn by Nashua in the Faded Blues colorway.

And wow! I started re-knitting this sweater on April 18, finished it on May 4. That’s gotta be a record for me – an adult sweater in 16 days! Of course, fixing the sleeves is at least another evening. I may do it later this week – maybe Wednesday if time permits. But I want to make sure I can wear it, even if it is with sleeves tucked in, this weekend, so it may wait till next week.

As I wore it around Sunday afternoon, it was perfect with my short sleeves underneath in the upper-50s weather. I kept doing a little happy song-and-dance and Joe kept giving me the wry look. And finally he said “Yes, you finally finished a sweater. Just in time for Spring!” This stupid thing has been riding on my back for more than a year because I was busy doing other things, and I’m so glad I finally took the time to finish it up.

The next project – well, I had one thing in mind – had actually made a promise to start a new sweater with some yarn that I thought I was getting. Not sure if it’s still coming my way or not. So instead, I’m pulling out something I started a long time ago. Something I still love, and am looking forward to finishing. This one might just be a State Fair contender. Or it might not. But it will take longer than 16 days to finish, I’m sure. More on that later in the week.

Tomorrow night I’m teaching my mitered square class at the store! Should be fun.

A Meme!

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

Hi, I’m busy knitting on my Sock Wars socks. There was a slight mishap, and I spent a good portion of last night recovering from it, but the battle continues. More info later, but I need every moment I can get to knit. In the mean time, I typed up this meme last week so you can enjoy it now.

Hey, I’ve finally gotten tagged for the yarn meme, and I’m doing it! Thanks, Sarah!

Using the top 100 yarns on Ravelry (by number of projects):
Bold the ones you’ve used and would use again;
Cross out the ones you’ve used and would not use again;
and Italicize the ones you’ve never tried, but would like to.

Add comments as desired, and then pass the meme along to 5 knitters/crocheters. Link back to this post and to the person who tagged you.

1. Cascade 220 Wool – I so totally love this yarn. It’s my bread-and-butter go-to for worsted weight solid colors. I have a whole bin in my yarn closet devoted to leftovers of it.
2. Patons Classic Wool Merino – I think I used this in some of my swatches for the Master Knitter program. As far as I can remember, it was perfectly useful wool.
3. Malabrigo Yarn Merino Worsted - Yum! This yarn is soft and lovely and felts beautifully. The only drawback is that it pills something fierce. The tiger hat and mittens that I made for Julie last year got pilly even though the mitts are felted.
4. Noro Kureyon - Yep. I made a pair of mittens out of some, and it too felts great. Love the long stripey color repeats, too. My LYS of choice no longer carries it because of troubles with the distributor, so it’s unlikely that I’ll be buying any again soon, though.
5. Caron Simply Soft – Nope. Yuck.
6. Lily Sugar’n Cream Solid
7. Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted - Nothing better for the felted clogs, baby!
8. Red Heart Ltd. Super Saver Solids
9. Lion Brand Wool-Ease Solid – I know I’ve at least purchased this for community ed class students – no wait! I think I knit a sample doll jacket out of it for said class. I remember it being kind of splitty. Not something I would knit an actual garment in.
10. Noro Silk Garden - yep! A sweater I knit on my LK-150 machine. I wear it all the time.
11. Koigu Painter’s Palette Premium Merino (KPPPM) - yes, too many times to count. Socks, baby hats, babushkas…and I have an entire box of “Koigu Bits” in my yarn closet for a future scraps project.
12. Knit Picks Wool of the Andes
13. Lion Brand Homespun
14. Lion Brand Cotton-Ease
15. Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock Multi - I think so. I think there was a pair of socks somewhere in the deep distant past. I also think that may have been my first pair of socks with a blown-out heel. One of my many pairs of socks that never made it into Ravelry.
16. Manos del Uruguay 100% Wool
17. Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Bulky – what would I knit with bulky wool?
18. Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran – I can’t remember what this yarn is like off the top of my head, but I’m sure if I had a pile of it, I’d eventually knit something with it.
19. Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock – Lightweight
20. Plymouth Encore Worsted - this makes for good baby things when you’re giving to someone who wants to machine wash and dry. Is nice and soft, holds up forever.
21. Cascade 220 Heathers – I’m sure I have some mixed in with my solids leftovers…
22. Lily Sugar’n Cream Ombres & Prints - Yes, a baby blanket of all things before I knew any better. I haven’t heard how it held up, or if they even used it.
23. Zitron Trekking (XXL) – yes, there is some in the blankie, and I think I made some socks for a friend out of it too. There’s some in my stash.
24. Patons SWS (Soy Wool Stripes)
25. Rowan Kidsilk Haze - this yarn has been so popular, I wouldn’t mind trying something lacy in it. I have to wonder why my friend Sarah had it crossed out on her list.
26. Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino - sure, why not?
27. Pisgah Yarn & Dyeing Co., Inc. Peaches & Creme Ombres
28. Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece
29. Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock – Mediumweight - I’ve got two skeins in my stash, one of which is secretly cast on with a toe. It is yummy!
30. Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick – I can not think of a time when I’ve willingly knit with bulky yarn, and I’m sure as heck not going to do so with that stuff if I can help it – maybe as a visual aid while teaching a class? (oops, haven’t actually used that one!)
31. Pisgah Yarn & Dyeing Co., Inc. Peaches & Creme Solids
32. Cascade 220 Superwash
33. Berroco Ultra Alpaca
34. Knit Picks Swish Superwash
35. Knit Picks Essential
36. Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice Solid – not in a million years, Vanna! (oops, haven’t actually used that one either!)
37. Colinette Jitterbug – I’ve fondled this many times in yarn stores, but the three skeins necessary for a pair of socks keeps putting me off. And we don’t carry it at my preferred LYS.
38. Lion Brand Lion Wool Solid
39. Knit Picks Shine Sport
40. Dale of Norway/Dalegarn Baby Ull
41. Lion Brand Microspun
42. Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino
43. Knit Picks Palette
44. South West Trading Company TOFUtsies – I’m not sure why this yarn doesn’t interest me. I don’t think it has enough sproing, maybe.
45. Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool – in the stash, waiting for some love.
46. Mission Falls 1824 Wool - my first sweater was made out of this. It would have been great if I hadn’t used it at a gauge that made it all floppy-drapey-netlike.
47. Rowan RYC Cashsoft DK
48. Red Heart Ltd. Super Saver Multis/Ombres Haven’t actually used this one, but also wouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot pole.
49. Rowan Felted Tweed
50. Rowan Calmer – I’m not normally a cotton-knitter because it hurts my hands – would really like to try it after reading its praises in No Sheep for You.

51. Lion Brand Wool-Ease Heather
52. Knit Picks Merino Style
53. Garnstudio Drops Alpaca
54. Claudia Hand Painted Yarns Fingering - very nice stuff. I knit the adult version of my quilted hat out of it.
55. Knit Picks Andean Silk
56. Red Heart Ltd. Soft Yarn Solids
57. Elann Peruvian Highland Wool
58. Tahki Cotton Classic
59. Dream in Color Smooshy – in the stash, waiting for the perfect moment
60. Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Cotton
61. Dream in Color Classy
62. Rowan Big Wool
63. Peace Fleece Worsted
64. Caron Simply Soft Brites
65. Plymouth Galway Worsted
66. Karabella Aurora 8
67. Rowan Wool Cotton
68. Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton
69. Knit Picks Shine Worsted
70. Brown Sheep Wildfoote Luxury Sock I don’t have a good reason why, but I simply do not like this yarn.
71. Lion Brand Fun Fur Solid
72. Misti International Misti Alpaca Chunky
73. Handmaiden Fine Yarn Sea Silk
74. Mountain Colors Bearfoot
75. Lion Brand Jiffy Solid
76. Knit Picks Shadow
77. Bernat Softee Chunky Solids & Marls
78. Austermann Step – I know some of this was in the blankie, and I’m pretty sure I have some in stash.
79. Bernat Cottontots Solid
80. Cascade Ecological Wool
81. Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud
82. Patons Shetland Chunky
83. Lion Brand Wool-Ease Chunky
84. Brown Sheep Nature Spun Worsted
85. Malabrigo Yarn Lace- have some in stash, haven’t heard it calling yet.
86. Bernat Satin Solids
87. Lily Sugar’n Cream Stripes
88. Knit Picks Gloss
89. Lion Brand Magic Stripes
90. Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk
91. Cascade 220 Quatro
92. Rowan All Seasons Cotton
93. Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock Solid
94. JaggerSpun Zephyr Wool-Silk 2/18
95. Novita 7 Veljestä
96. Rowan Kid Classic
97. Mission Falls 1824 Cotton
98. Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted Multi
99. Cascade Fixation Spray Dyed/Effects I hate the feel of the spandex in this yarn.
100. Patons Kroy Socks 4-Ply These socks were made with either the 3-or 4- ply. I can’t remember. It’s fine, but I can think of nicer solid sock yarns I’d rather use.

Whew! That’s a lot of work. I’m not very good at memes, and I can’t bring myself to tag anyone else. So if you haven’t done this yet and would like to, TAG! you’re it.

I scream…

Monday, May 5th, 2008

Two little girls behaved themselves exceptionally well at the post
office even though they really wanted to stay home. So we celebrated
with our first trip to Ben and Jerry's of the season.

On Why I was So Cranky.

Monday, May 5th, 2008

This is a follow-up post to my little blow-up last week. I need to write this post. I have been struggling for more than a week to find the right words to say what is floating around in my mind. I still don’t think I have a cohesive message here, but perhaps if you read it you will get the gist of it. I don’t really expect to change any opinions or sway any minds, but I do hope to add food for thought on knitting designs and giving credit where it is due no matter what the medium involved.

I want to make two things clear up front. Two things that I truly hope you’ll be able to keep in mind as you read the rest of the words here.

1) I know that I am a tiny, little speck on the face of the planet, on the face of the planet which is a tiny little speck on in the universe. And on that planet, in the worldwide knitting community, I am still a tiny little speck. Most people who knit will probably never know my name. I’ll follow up on that part in just a bit, but I want to make it clear that although I’m about to reference some people with much bigger names, I am not claiming to be anywhere near their league in notoriety or significance.

2) I am, as always, extremely grateful to my readers, to the people who write comments, to the people who have knit any of my designs, and to the people who have in other ways reached out to me through this blog. I write this for myself, but very much with my readers in mind as well. Thank you for being here. And I’m sorry that I am not so great at following up on comments and responding to e-mails and even commenting on others’ blogs as much as I would like. Still, thanks for being here. You make me happy.

Okay, let’s move on to one clarification about the situation I described last week. I learned about the class from a post on Ravelry by someone who has signed up to take it at the store in Michigan. He seemed, from his words in the post, to be under the impression that the person teaching the class was the one who designed it. That, and the reactions of both the store owner and the class’ teacher, were the sources of my anger. I have to admit that I have never been in this store, I have never received their newsletter. I’m not sure exactly how they’ve promoted the class (aside from the fact that they do or did have a blanket on display that looks remarkably like mine). I have drawn conclusions from what the guy on Ravelry said. If one customer was led to believe that the designer was teaching the class, and I found out about it, well…where does one’s mind lead one?

Moving on to some other background information.

There are and have been all kinds of arguments and discussions about copyright issues among knitters and others all over the internet. Look in pretty much any community of knitters and you’ll find one. I’ve read more than my share of these, and I know by now that I can’t copyright my blanket. At most, I could (and have done) copyright the words and pictures I use to describe how I made it. And I could probably trademark the name blankie in reference to blankets like mine, but then I would have to protect that trademark by tracking down anyone attempting to use the name and fighting them legally. I can’t do that. I don’t have the resources. But my point here is to note that I am not accusing either the store or the teacher of doing anything *legally* wrong. Just want to make that clear.

Okay, and it’s kind of hard to explain why this other thing has been rattling around in my mind as I think about this issue, but I will try. Terry Gross’ 2001 interview with Paul McCartney on Fresh Air was a good listen – you can still hear it if you follow the link. In the interview, McCartney describe how he and John Lennon co-wrote many songs during their years together in the Beatles, how they agreed to have dual attribution on all of the songs no matter which one had done most of the work on any given song. Even if the song was written pretty much or even entirely by one or the other.

One example was the song “Yesterday,” which was written and performed entirely by McCartney. For whatever reason, Lennon’s name was always listed first for all the songs, and McCartney has never, even in later anthologies, been able to convince publishers to simply even put his name first for the songs he wrote. So in this modern age with computers and limited space for author names, McCartney’s name is getting cut off so that he gets no credit for his amazing work. Really, go listen to the interview – you’ll understand much better from the way he described it.

Obviously, I am no Paul McCartney. But it’s a great example of how history works. These men were friends who agreed to share credit for their work, and yet the end result seems unfair. How much more unfair is it if someone with whom I never agreed to share credit should end up being thought of as the mother of the Blankie? Even though McCartney’s voice is recognized world-wide and my blankie is a flashing speck in the moment of a tiny community, the principle is the same.

McCartney also mentioned in his interview that some people have asked him “what’s the big deal?” Even just having to fight a fight like this muddies one’s name. Annie Modesitt has been talking quite a bit about copyright and her designs, and fair compensation. It’s a slightly different angle to the issue, but it is the same issue, and she has also noted that idea about how it can hurt one’s popularity (and thereby one’s business) when they stand up to complain about these issues. Which is why it’s all the more hurtful when someone creates a situation where we have to.

Moving on to another point for which I have less documentation, but which I think most of you will understand. As connected as many of us are through the online knitting community – blogs, Ravelry, Yahoo groups, etc. – we are a tiny minority of knitters. It is so easy to forget that! My name, even within the online community of knitters, is not very well known. Yes, if you’re reading here you know me. But I bet even most of the Yarn Harlot’s readers wouldn’t remember my name (but maybe they would the blankie if they saw it). That’s just one sphere of influence. In real life, I think if you polled local knitters in the Twin Cities, probably less than a quarter 10 percent of them would recognize my name – fewer than that if you count those who are not active in the guild or regulars at their LYSs.

Now look nationwide – or say – look at some place like Michigan. How many of the knitters who randomly walk into a LYS there would recognize the blankie? How many of those would remember my name in connection with it? Not many. Almost none. So if the project and the class description don’t include my name at least in an “inspired by” credit, they will never hear my name. Because even if the teacher does mention me in her class, a heck of a lot more people will float through the store or read their newsletter in the mean time.

Now multiply that times however many teachers teach however many classes in however many stores. That’s a lot of people potentially thinking that someone else designed that blanket first.

Okay, moving on to another point. A point that is personal to me. As much as I would like to travel and teach classes elsewhere, and as much as I’m up for it as my schedule allows, I know that if every store in the country, or just one in each major market, or even down to as few as 10 different stores asked me to come teach, it would be a long time before we could make that work in my schedule. Because I love my family. I have small kids who need me, and who I need to be with. I have a great husband who gives me time off when I need it, but it would be incredibly stressful to all of us if I were away overnight even one weekend every month. Actually, it would be great for me, stressful for them. The coming back and dealing with the aftermath would be stressful for me.

I am not suggesting that nobody else should ever be allowed to teach a class on mitered squares or even on my blankie. I think I would even welcome it in most circumstances.

And here is the point of the whole post. For gods’ sakes, give me some damned credit. Just mention in the class description that your blanket is inspired by Shelly Kang’s blankie. If you’re going to display a blanket like mine in your store, label it as inspired by mine. I do that in my patterns when I use a stitch pattern from a Barbara Walker book, or base some mittens on a pair of mittens I saw in Marcia Lewandowski’s book. It doesn’t take that much effort. It’s the conscientious, ethical thing to do. This whole mess could have been avoided with that simple step.

Okay, and of all the hate mail that I’ve gotten in the last week, the bit that just kills me almost more than anything is when one anonymous person pointed out for the umpteenth time that I got all the materials for my project “for free”. Um, hello? Do you see any ads on my site? No? Well, I put a lot of effort and some money into this blog. I get enough hits that I can’t use the free blog hosting services, even if I wanted to. Not complaining, just pointing out. I followed through on my part of the bargain – I promised to post pictures of and thank the senders publicly for every package I received. Done and done. I promised to either use every scrap of yarn received *or find a good home for it if I couldn’t use it myself* Done. And done well, I might add. I passed on tons pounds of yarn to charity knitters. I passed on pounds of yarn to blankie knitters. Not just across the country but in Canada and England as well. I paid for all that postage out of my pocket and did it gladly. I often included other little gifts as well. So get over the “free” yarn bit. They were gifts, given freely, and I dare say I earned them.

That’s it. We don’t need to discuss this further. Moving on, I’ve finished the Sunrise Circle (mostly) and we took pictures yesterday. Pictures after bedtime tonight, hopefully. Thanks again for your support, friends!


Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

So I left y’all with a little cliffhanger last night. I know you’ve just been clicking refresh on your browser all day and evening waiting to find out what happened with the back of my sweater. Oops – no – I think I’m the only one who does that ever, and even then only more exciting things like when is the Yarn Harlot going to post about her visit.

Well, it turns out I had plenty of yarn to finish the sweater. In fact, I had almost a whole skein’s worth left when all was said and done. It’s blocking now – I managed to get it laid out while dinner was simmering, and after an evening with the fan on it, it’s almost dry. I’ll leave it till tomorrow, though, since it’s getting close to bed time and I want to make sure it’s completely dry before I mess with it.

I mentioned the neck shaping that Susan suggested after knitting her Sunrise, and it turned out to be easy. It’s funny how I often find it much easier to figure construction out with the needles in my hands versus pencil and paper. I just inserted a couple sets of short rows on either side of the neck on consecutive rows. I might have been better off with another set, but it’ll do.

In the mean time, this evening I went ahead and seamed up the sleeves as planned…

Then I tacked down the cuff hems. This sweater *is* going to be done in the next week! Woot! (and knock on wood)

Oh, hey, and I finally got to use a little set of gadgets that I’ve had sitting around for I can’t remember how long. I have no idea when or where I got these – were they part of some secret pal exchange? Did I pick them up at a local yarn shop? Did I buy them at the Yarnery? I have no clue.

I hardly ever seam things up. I can’t remember the last time I had to seam anything. These are for holding the pieces together and keeping them lined up while you sew. Not totally necessary when you’re dealing with a striped sleeve where the color changes clue you in, but still kind of fun.

Oh, and in answer to LyndaLou’s question, the Ravelry link to Sophie’s blanket is here. It is my own undocumented design, but you can replicate it fairly easily by looking up the two stitch patterns in the referenced books.

Oh, and Shannon – the yarn is Wooly Stripes by Nashua in the Faded Blues colorway. It’s funny – there are almost no sweater projects listed in Ravelry with this yarn, but I really like it. It wasn’t exactly cheap to buy, but I just had to have it. Some of the other colorways are beautiful and bright, but I chose the blues because I figured I’d get more wear out of it as an everyday throw-on sweater. It’s lightly spun single-ply wool. It’s quite soft, but seems to be long staple and fairly tough. It would felt beautifully, but it also washes really well. I had knit most of this yarn into pieces for a different sweater, frogged and washed the yarn. It knit back up just fine, and the blocked pieces look pretty good so far. I think it will take wearing it a few times to see whether it pills.