Category Archives: KALs

Pinning the Protest: One blog (and news story) at a time

Join me on Pinterest where I am pinning the ongoing story of the US Olympic Committee’s offensive cease and desist letter that offended a community of crafters 2 million strong. As of this posting, the US Olympic Committee has issued a somewhat weak apology – while they hinted that they still want Ravelympics removed to protect their trademark, they would love if crafters would make things for the US Olympics and send them in.  Try to resist knitting Molotov cocktails, folks.

Update: The US Olympic Committee has updated their original weak apology with a second apology to re-emphasize the fact that they regret the use of their “insensitive terms” (and the idiotic thought that all crafty people just love making things for complete strangers) toward a group that clearly didn’t intend to  “denigrate or disrespect” the Olympic Games. Please note that they did not say that their form letter is condescending and needs to be entirely revamped (really, how many “lympic” activities do you know of that are doing it as a screw you to the Olympic Games?). Also, they still stand by the fact that they have “an obligation” to protect their trademark.

 

Knittas Gonna Knit: Ravelympics 2012

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2 Million Knitters with Pointy Sticks are Angry at the US Olympic Committee

The US Olympic Committee just sent a cease and desist letter to Ravelry.com for a member-created activity held every two years called Ravelympics. Namely, they declared that the usage of Ravelympic was an infringement on that name, and furthermore, that the activities we hold, such as knitting “afghans,” actually “denigrate” the nature of the Olympic events and are disrespectful to the athletes. Yes, because clearly an activity created to show our love and support for an international series of sports games is infringing upon the USOC’s ability to make money, right? What is most despicable about their bullying actions is that they are calling out groups of crafters who are doing something in their honor – some of these knitters and crocheters are actually working to make the athletes specially handknit items!

Currently the US Olympic Committee’s Twitter, Facebook and other social media channels are feeling the heat as  knitters and nonknitters alike have spoken out to announce their boycott of the US Olympic Committee and sponsors.  They are hoping to make #ravelympics a trend word on Twitter and get the word out that crapping on happy knitters creates an angry army of pointy sticks. Tell you friends, tell your fans, and shame the USOC for its disrespectful letter.

Here is the letter below, reposted in its entirety for those not on Ravelry. Want to read it on Ravelry and participate in the heated discussion going on? Click here.

Dear Mr. Forbes,

In March 14, 2011, my colleague, Carol Gross, corresponded with your attorney, Craig Selmach [sic], in regard to a pin listed as the “2010 Ravelympic Badge of Glory.”  At that time, she explained that the use of RAVELYMPIC infringed upon the USOC’s intellectual property rights, and you kindly removed the pin from the website.  I was hoping to close our file on this matter, but upon further review of your website, I found more infringing content.

By way of review, the USOC is a non-profit corporation chartered by Congress to coordinate, promote and govern all international amateur athletic activities in the United States.  The USOC therefore is responsible for training, entering and underwriting U.S. Teams in the Olympic Games.  Unlike the National Olympic Committees of many other countries, the USOC does not rely on federal funding to support all of its efforts.  Therefore, in order to fulfill our responsibilities without the need for federal funding, Congress granted the USOC the exclusive right to use and control the commercial use of the word OLYMPIC a and any simulation or combination thereof in the United States, as well as the OLYMPIC SYMBOL.  See the Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, 36 U.S.C. §220501 et seq. (the “Act”).  (A copy of the relevant portion of the Act is enclosed for your convenience.)  The Act prohibits the unauthorized use of the Olympic Symbol or the mark OLYMPIC and derivations thereof for any commercial purpose or for any competition, such as the one organized through your website.  See 36 U.S.C. §220506(c).  The USOC primarily relies on legitimate sponsorship fees and licensing revenues to support U.S. Olympic athletes and finance this country’s participation in the Olympic Games.  Other companies, like Nike and Ralph Lauren, have paid substantial sums for the right to use Olympic-related marks, and through their sponsorships support the U.S. Olympic Team.  Therefore, it is important that we restrict the use of Olympic marks and protect the rights of companies who financially support Team USA.

In addition to the protections of the Act discussed above, the USOC also owns numerous trademark registration that include the mark OLYMPIC. These marks therefore are protected under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. §1051 et seq. Thus, Ravelry.com’s unauthorized use of the mark OLYMPIC or derivations thereof, such as RAVELYMPICS, may constitute trademark infringement, unfair competition and dilution of our famous trademarks.

The USOC would like to settle this matter on an amicable basis. However, we must request the following actions be taken.

1.  Changing the name of the event, the “Ravelympics.”;  The athletes of Team USA have usually spent the better part of their entire lives training for the opportunity to compete at the Olympic Games and represent their country in a sport that means everything to them.  For many, the Olympics represent the pinnacle of their sporting career.  Over more than a century, the Olympic Games have brought athletes around the world together to compete in an event that has come to mean much more than just a competition between the world’s best athletes.  The Olympic Games represent ideals that go beyond sport to encompass culture and education, tolerance and respect, world peace and harmony.

The USOC is responsible for preserving the Olympic Movement and its ideals within the United States.  Part of that responsibility is to ensure that Olympic trademarks, imagery and terminology are protected and given the appropriate respect.  We believe using the name “Ravelympics” for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games.  In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work.

It looks as if this is the third time that the Ravelympics have been organized, each coinciding with an Olympic year (2008, 2010, and 2012).  The name Ravelympics is clearly derived from the terms “Ravelry” (the name of your website) and OLYMPICS, making RAVELYMPICS a simulation of the mark OLYMPIC tending to falsely suggest a connection to the Olympic Movement.  Thus, the use of RAVELYMPICS is prohibited by the Act.  Knowing this, we are sure that you can appreciate the need for you to re-name the event, to something like the Ravelry Games.

1.  Removal of Olympic Symbols in patterns, projects, etc.   As stated before, the USOC receives no funding from the government to support this country’s Olympic athletes.  The USOC relies upon official licensing and sponsorship fees to raise the funds necessary to fulfill its mission. Therefore, the USOC reserves use of Olympic terminology and trademarks to our official sponsors, suppliers and licensees.  The patterns and projects featuring the Olympic Symbol on Ravelry.com’s website are not licensed and therefore unauthorized.  The USOC respectfully asks that all such patterns and projects be removed from your site.

For your convenience, we have listed some of the patterns featuring Olympic trademarks.  However, this list should be viewed as illustrative rather than exhaustive.  The USOC requests that all patterns involving Olympic trademarks be removed from the website.  We further request that  you rename various patterns that may not feature Olympic trademarks in the design but improperly use Olympic in the pattern name.

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/olympics-rings-af…\

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/vancouver-2010-ol…

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/2010-olympics-inu…

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/olympic-swimmer-d…

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/2008-olympic-ring…

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/olympic-rings-nec…

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/bode-miller-hat-2…

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/usa-olympic-hat

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/belgianwaffleknit/usa-oly…

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.  We would appreciate a written reply to this letter by no later than June 19, 2012.  If you would like to discuss this matter directly, please feel free to contact me at the number above, or you may reach my colleague, Carol Gross.

Kindest Regards,

Brett Hirsch

Law Clerk

Office of the General Counsel

United States Olympic Committee

1 Olympic Plaza

Colorado Springs, CO 80909

Happy New Year (and other fun news)!

I hope everyone had as happy of a new year as I did! Well, I nearly always have a happy new year, since New Year’s Day is my birthday. It’s like there’s a built-in party for me the night before my birthday every year!  However, I must say that this New Year’s Eve and Day was especially nice, as I had friends helping me celebrate it in style with a huge party and dancing and eggs benedict and balloons and men in drag and cupcakes and even a toaster oven (I love my new toaster oven)!

It's everywhere!!!

So, there’s some fun new stuff on the horizon this year that I’m really excited about and wanted to share with you.  Or give you teasers about, since this post is just a short burst of information. First off, I discovered two awesome things – my last ever shipment of yarn from The Sanguine Gryphon arrived yesterday and it was nommy and delicious and tinged with bittersweet regret. I will be sharing pictures with you sometime the next week or so of the new yarns, I promise. Also, my Mini Mania Scarf pattern was both the featured pattern of the day on The Daily Knitter  and was a “best of 2011” stashbusting idea at The Knitter’s blog!

If you haven’t stopped by the Mini Mania knitalong we have going on over on Ravelry, you’ll have to poke your head in sometime soon. I’m “knitting along” in the KAL with the other ladies (I don’t think any gents have joined us yet, so I’m safe saying lay-dees) and we’re all having fun looking at each other’s miniskeins and progress on our projects. I didn’t want to leave our cowls lovers out in the cold,  so I just started making a sweet cowl that will eventually become a companion pattern to the Mini Mania Scarf. Which reminds me, I need to take a photo of the minis I am using!

And that leads me to another exciting new year’s goodie. I got a brand new camera this Christmas, and I can’t wait to share all the uber-techy details with you (and loads of pretty pictures too, I swear)!  More on that will be in another blog post this month, but yippee! I’m excited about my new toy.

Last but not least, I bit the bullet and decided to get myself an official newsletter mailing list so that I keep keep all of you better informed of what’s going on in the Exchanging Fire circle. If you are interested in getting shop updates, pattern premieres, special deals and more supercool information like that from me, you can sign up here! I promise only to email you when something terribly important is going on and I’m having kittens* because I’m bursting from the news.

*No kittens were harmed or birthed in this metaphor, unless you count that weird dream I had three years ago about my best friend giving birth to kittens. That one really freaked. me. out.

“I’ve got a brand new…”

“…pair of roller skates, you’ve got a brand new key…”

I’ve got a brand new group for Exchanging Fire on Ravelry!  I’ve kinda sorta been meaning to get one together for oh, the last year or so, but I’m weirdly shy about some things, namely “look at me!” kind of activities, like a group that revolves around myself. I would really suck at being a celebrity. I know, I know, it’s strange because I have no problem being Bossy-McBossyPants in person, but somehow a group like this is different. It’s why you don’t often see me blathering in this blog about random personal stuff. ‘Cause I’m weird like that. Anyways, enough about me and my idiosyncrasies, let talk about the group, which actually, when I get right down to it, has nothing to do with me. Face it – I come in second fiddle to The Mini Skeins. And the stitch markers, and the other fun stuff. (But it’s really about the mini skeins. I understand. I’ve accepted it.)

So, I was arm-twisted into starting the group after I got some requests for a knitalong featuring the Mini Mania Scarf, which I’m very pleased that people love just as much as I do. And, not only did I and some rabid eager Mini Mania lovers start a brand new group, we also started a brand new Mini Mania KAL!

Even better, you are invited!  If you are chomping at the bit to use up all of your minis and want to be part of a growing community of miniskein-crazed knitters, this is your chance. I can’t promise that we are sane, but we sure are having fun with our Mini Mania!

Haven’t joined the Mini Mania yet? Go round up some bits and bobbles of yarn (I prefer fingering, but if you’ve got another favorite weight go use that instead and just adjust your gauge accordingly) and then come join in with us! This KAL is indefinite and ever-revolving, so no time is a bad time to hop in and join the fun. Non-maniac mini-lovers are welcome to join us as well, since I’ll be posting updates pretty regularly in the group about the shop, letting you know about special sales and group deals.

Hope you see you casting on with us soon, if you haven’t already!

Hexipuffs. Hexipuffs. What What the Hexipuffs.

I keep forgetting to post about the hexipuffs that I have finished knitting so far. I have had some of them done for a week or so but I haven’t gotten around to photographing and writing about it. I’m really thrilled with how little yarn these are using – I’ve been able to get exactly 4.5 hexipuffs out of two miniskeins of the same colorway. I had the same yarn in another colorway that blended enough to finish that 5th off without a discernible difference. The yarn I’ve used so far is Zwerger Opal Garn in Zirkus and Hundertwasser, and I really love the colors and striping effects going on.

Third Hexipuff in Opal Zirkus

I knit my puffs using both the s2k and the ssk directions in the pattern, and I’ve found that the s2k creates a much cleaner line. It’s slightly hard to grasp the instructions at first, but they are super easy (basically just k2tog backwards) and are worth learning because they make my hexipuffs look so much nicer. Also, I am not a crocheter, and try to avoid wielding the hook when I can, so I am using the kitchener bind-off – which I am in love with. It’s so pretty!

img. 1: S2K (left) & SSK (right) Methods; img. 2: Kitchener Bind-Off

I’m leaving the tails on at both the beginning and the end of the puffs because I’m going to weave the hexagrams together their corners, just like Stephanie did with her quilt ties.  That will make a nice floppy blanket that is still held together well, but without the obviousness of different yarn ties. All of my hexipuffs are coming in at a weight of 3 grams each, both stuffed and unstuffed. I have lightly stuffed mine, so there is probably less than a half-gram difference between the two weights. Oh, and they are about 2.75 inches across at their widest point, and 2.5 inches tall.

Hexipuffs!

In Which The Cat Sits, but Not on a Hat

So I’ve been winding yarn like a mad woman all week for The Beekeeper’s Quilt (why no, I’m not obsessed, why do you ask?) and I have a mildly amusing story to relate.

Last night my big boy cat, who is rather a grumpy old man, was kvetching at me because he wanted to be fed or to go to bed or both. Now, I was sitting in front of the TV, which was starting to run a repeat of Stephen Colbert, and I really did need to go to sleep. But I was almost finished winding this skein of yarn for the night and cutting it up into little miniskeins for my hexipuffs so I kept saying, “Just one more minute” to myself.

So I would wind yarn, put most of it immediately a plastic ziploc bag for mini mania purposes, and then put the rest in my white basket (which you have previously seen) for my own personal hexipuffing mania. Mittens, the aforementioned cat, had been happily sleeping on the edge of the plastic bag for a few hours (yeah, all that yarn and all he wants is a plastic bag, I know) before the caterwauling began. I firmly ignored him and continued winding…and then he got quiet. I should have known.

I finished winding the final skeinlet around my knees, sat up in the chair, leaned forward to look for the cat and then glanced down to see…THIS.

The Cat, Guarding His Nest

Sigh. He looks like he’s roosting and getting ready for his yarn eggs to hatch. But I really think he just wanted to get my attention, and decided that  sitting in my yarn would do it. Considering that ALL WEEK he has ignored piles of yarn and this basket in favor of the plastic bag. What a jerk! After I pulled out the camera he grew miffed and trundled off (he hates the camera; he’s very Amish like that). Anyways, luckily it was just my own skeinlets, and those are all going to be part of my hexipuff blanket so I don’t mind if a bit of cat hair finds its way in, but he just cracked me up last night. How absurd.

My Basket. My Yarn. My Hexipuffs. Mine!

In other news, I am now happily ensconced in the KAL for the Beekeeper’s Quilt in both the tiny owl knits group and my own chitterychattery swappery swappers group, plus a hexipuff-themed miniskein swap on Ravelry. I keep listening to Stephanie’s music on Youtube and…well, I want to say knitting, but really, I’ve been working and then winding yarn in my spare time. But I’m getting to the knitting soon! I swear! I already have one hexipuff done! (Whew, the guilt.)

As for the WestKnits KAL? After all of that work locating yarn for it? Um, well, that isn’t going so well. I sense that I will not be finishing it by Aug. 31. Oops!

You’re Invited: Teatime on the Moors

I am a very poor hostess. A few months ago I posted about the Jane Eyre shawl, but I neglected to invite you to the Jane Eyre knitalong we held in the Jane Eyre group that I started on Ravelry. For shame!

Today I make amends, because we have started a brand new knitalong, and you are invited! This KAL’s theme is all about teatime – in the outdoors!

Heather on the North Yorkshire Moors

Imagine the sweeping scrubland of the moors, the wind whistling across the romantically barren ground, hilly and strewn with heather. We stride out together into the uncultivated moorland, wearing our lacy handmade fingerless mitts and carrying tea baskets with us. The shawls wrapped around our shoulders keep the hint of cooler weather to come at bay. Today might just be the last warm weather day. Our skirts billow in the hearty breeze, and the sun peeks out at us from behind puffy white clouds. We find several large, flat rocks to set out our tea service, complete with colorful tea cozies. It’s time for tea!

If you’d like to take a trip to the moors with us, get your knitting needles and crochet hooks out, because we are knitting ourselves all the proper accoutrement for Teatime on the Moors! Join us with your fanciest fingerless mitts and trippiest tea cozies on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 3 p.m. EST where winners of the prizes we are offering will be chosen during our Teatime on the Moors party. Start planning for your favorite teas, biscuits and tea sandwiches now, because this online party is going to be fabulous!

Image courtesy WaveTossedRose, Mary MacLane