Category Archives: Ravelry

The Ravellenic Games rise from the ashes of Ravelympics

Phoenix Teapot

And so the tempest in an (online) teapot has officially come to an end. Ravelry voted, and the new name for Ravelympics is the Ravellenic Games. No, it doesn’t have quite as much of a ring to it, but there is already a strong community of Ravelry members playing games in a group called the Ravelry Games, so it wouldn’t be kind to kick them to the curbside just because more people are involved with the Game-Formerly-Known-As-Ravelrympics. And, after all, while the Ravelympics has become a huge, community-wide event, it did originate as just one small group.

Ironically, the Panhellenic Games, which the Ravellenic Games are being named after, were the big cojones of their day – the Olympic Games were just one of four separate events under the Panhellenic umbrella. More importantly, however, the Panhellenic Games still accurately reflect one of the major aspects of Ravelry’s games – the concept of the reward of completion being satisfaction enough. Unlike other Ancient Greek athletic or artistic contests of the era, winners received only a garland of  pine, laurel, bay leaves, or even dried celery leaves for victory (the Olympic Games were an olive garland).

And while the Games did briefly allow women in during the later (and assumedly more liberal) reign of Emperor Nero, during the original Olympic Games women were not only unable to participate, but they were not even allowed to attend. Ah well, that’s what you get when you try to name a modern event after an ancient custom that holds little relation to modern times.

Anyways, the 24-hour news cycle as moved on, Ravelympics has a new name, and hopefully someone at the USOC’s attorney’s firm is reworking their blasted “form letter” to be more civil.

Want to see the story from start to finish (or rather, finish to start as you scroll) in pictorial form? Follow me to the Ravelympics Pinterest board.

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

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

Gallery Walk: Favorite Mini Mania projects

One of the best things about writing and publishing a pattern is getting to see what everyone knits! I love looking through the project pages on Ravelry and seeing what other people’s interpretations were, and how they like their handknits. It’s sort of like listening to five different people play the same piece of music – all are beautiful and yet sound totally unique. Today while I was wandering through the project gallery for the Mini Mania Scarf it occurred to me that maybe you guys would like to see some of the projects that have caught my eye, too. Now, there are a ton of gorgeous scarves that I like, so while I can’t share them all with you, I will show you a few of my favorites.

BadAmy’s scarf is so awesome – I love the  lime green / pea green color that somehow, with all of those other crazy colors in there, looks absolutely fabulous.
I really enjoy the braided fringe on woolangel’s classic version of the Mini Mania Scarf, which creates a very polished look, in my mind. My original skinny scarf has this braided look and I really enjoy it.
Take a classic and turn it rainbow-iffic. That’s what Possum did with her terrific scarf, which she carefully color-coordinated in ROYGBIV order after hand-dyeing her miniskeins with food colors.
Mrsmoodswing did something unusual to the end of her pretty in pink scarf, adding a treble crochet border along each edge, along with some buttons. I love her skinny look and the way it’s wrapped multiple times around the neck as well.
There’s no need to go big with this scarf, as Nanolam proves with her “little man” sized kid’s scarf in all greens. If you check out her project page, she reveals the way to get a squirmy little boy to sit still for a few moments while photographing – give him the remote to the TV! Hahaha.
KristenJ’s Wild and Tweedy version of the scarf got it’s light and colorful look through a careful alteration of sock yarn strands. She worked one row of each, in a pattern alternating two darks and two lights. Isn’t that fabulous?
You’ve gotta love Ahawry’s pastel version of the Mini Mania scarf as well. She achieved her vibrant and bright variation but combining neon-colored and white yarns together to create an light garment with unexpected POP!
And I love marionb69’s scarf, which achieved that lovely “painted watercolor” effect that portions of my scarf occasionally achieved, which she says she got using “Viele, viele bunte Reste” (many many colorful remnants).
Last but not least, if you are looking to see who wins the “epic” war then you’re come to the right place, because the winner is bb03aav, otherwise known as Anastasia, who got crazier than me and knit herself a 4,000+ yard scarf that she calls a “mini blanket.” You have to click and check out the full-size photos!

“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!

The softest yarn for baby blankets

Today on Ravelry someone confessed that they were sick and tired of scratchy acrylic and yarns that were too wooly and she really just wanted to find the softest yarn possible for baby blankets. I thought you might like to see the answer I shared with them.

Personally, I just finished knitting a baby blanket out of Lion Brand Cotton-Ease and it turned out great! However, I do have a few favorites for extraordinarily soft yarn that’s great for baby blankets and the like. Let me pull some choices from my stash.

A New Day Blanket

Knit Picks has great yarns for great prices. My number one choice for softness, however, has to be the Knit Picks Stroll and Stroll Sport – soft doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Cotton – while I love most of the Blue Sky line of yarns, for ultra-softness that’s super baby friendly, I go to the Worsted Cotton yarn every time. Between it and Misti Alpacas Pima Cotton & Silk I’m always set.

If you don’t mind venturing into indie yarns, may I recommend handgefaerbt.com Extra Fine Merino or Merino Medium? This yarn, hand-dyed by a woman in Germany, is so darn soft that among it’s English-speaking fans it’s fondly known by the colloquial name of “Handfarts.”

The SOFTEST yarn I have ever had the pleasure of stroking is Elsebeth Lavold Cool Wool, a blend of cotton and wool that is so sumptuous I drool every time I touch it. It gets full marks from me!

Speaking of supersoft merinos, Fibranatura Baby Merino might make you think that you’ve died and gone to heaven as well. I cannot get over how soft and lovely and wonderful this yarn is. I just want to love it to pieces.

Of course, there’s no reason to spend oodles of money for softness. I’ve found lovely, soft yarns right in the aisles of the big box stores. Try Bernat Bamboo Natural Blends – a blend of bamboo rayon, acrylic and polyester makes this a great, soft, silky yarn for a multitude of purposes – including, yes, a baby blanket!

And I’ve always been a fan of Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice – it’s the one all-acrylic yarn that I unequivocally can recommend to others for it’s cushiness and colors.