Tag Archives: crochet

Interweave Crochet Features Exchanging Fire Stitch Markers for Summer 2014 Issue!

I’ve been twice-blessed recently, because this week Interweave Crochet’s Summer 2014 issue hit stands, and featured inside it were a set of my stitch markers! The markers highlighted were Exchanging Fire’s Orange Blossom Special, a limited edition set of faceted brilliant orange cat’s eye paired with vintage leaf beads and adorable antiqued gold orange charms. These markers were customized with closed claw-style clasps, though I also have closed kidney-style and open-style hooks. Here is a sneak peek of the page they are featured on, in the magazine:

orangeblossomspecialDid you know that most of the stitch markers at Exchanging Fire can be converted into crochet-friendly markers? All you have to do is ask! A simple message in the “Notes to Seller” area as you check out is all it takes.

The summer issue of Interweave Crochet is a beautiful garden tea party theme, with lots of faerie lace and even handcrafted crochet teacups. And the New and Notable accessories section features adorable felted gnomes alongside the Orange Blossom stitch markers that you should check out.

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things – Christmas 2013

Creating a new stitch marker design is a little bit like jumping off a cliff. Yes, I know that these beads and that charm and the little filigree accents are adorable, but will anyone else like it? Will it photograph well? Did I just spend a gazillion dollars on beads no one will want?! Eventually, you have to stop thinking about it and just shut your eyes and let go. The new design will either sink or swim, and there’s no way of knowing if it will succeed until you take that chance.

Suffice to say, when a design that I love takes off I feel immensely pleased with it, like a proud mama duck who’s duckling is clearly the best swimmer in the pond. And at the end of the year it’s always fun to look back and see which stitch marker designs were the most popular, most loved, and most talked about. So, without further ado, these are a few of my favorite things!

Flying Colors of the Storm

This summer I stumbled across these awesome little acrylic beads that have a handpainted effect created by being hand-dipped in a variety of painted colors. The double (or triple) dipping creates this amazing swirling effect, much like one of my favorite childhood desserts, the marble cake. I always wanted to make one because it looked so cool, so these beads were like having my cake and eating it too, only without all of the carbs. They eventually became my Flying Colors of the Storm stitch markers, and I was thrilled to see how much everyone else liked them as well – I’ve had to reorder the beads three times since August because I was overwhelmed by the demand!

Confetti

I have this awesome tissue paper that I love using when I ship out packages – it’s white (so it matches anything) but it’s got sparkles embedded in it that turns it from a Plain Jane into a Glittery Glinda type of paper. So when I saw these adorable enameled coin-shaped drops in what seemed like a million different colors I knew I needed to make stitch markers out of them. I usually avoid open jump rings because I’m paranoid about things catching on my yarn, but I made an exception for these little guys. They make the most perfect dangle-free stitch markers and they really do look like Confetti – I feel like it’s a party every time I use them.

Secret of the ChromastoneI first saw these color-changing beads over two years ago, and they took me back to the days of childhood when I had found my mother’s old mood ring – a large, oval thing set in brass with an adjustable band – and wore it around the house as part of my queen costume. That outfit consisted of a long rust-colored ’70s rayon dress with an attached cape, a real fox fur collar from the generation before that had been my grandmother’s, and of course, my scepter – a glittery silver star wand.

I actually think the Secret of the Chromastone design was one of the first times I took a chance that an investment in a design would work out – I saved up for months and months before taking a deep breath and placing the large order for them. Beads that change color can be expensive, so I knew I’d need to price these markers a bit higher than normal and I hoped that everyone else thought they were as great as I knew they were. And you know what? They did! Currently over 200 sets of these awesome little stitch markers are all over the globe, hanging on people’s needles and marking their stitches as they knit or crochet. They are probably the most favorite stitch markers of all.

I Love Coffee

I sang in an a cappella group in college, and one of my favorite songs we sang was an old classic from the ’40s called the “Java Jive.” The chorus goes, “I love coffee, I love tea, I love the java jive and it loves me! Coffee and tea and the jivin’ and me…a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup.” The way the words “a cup” roll off your tongue when you sing them repetitively is a great memory. Here’s a great version from a German a cappella group if you’d like to hear how the song sounds.

But I have a confession to make – I don’t drink coffee. I come from a family of tea drinkers, and while occasionally I have a toffee nut latte at Starbucks, it only happens once or twice a year. But you know what I do love? Chocolate-covered coffee beans. They are delicious! So nothing makes me happier than seeing cute little coffee beans hanging from knitting needles – especially when you are knitting in your favorite coffee shop.

Arabian Nights

There are some songs that just get stuck in your head like an earworm that will never leave. I Can See Clearly Now is one (I tend to sing that line when anyone exclaims, “Oh, I see!”) and for some reason, the Spice Girl’s non-hit If You Can’t Dance is another. Then of course there is the opening song to the Disney movie Aladdin. While I was first designing these stitch markers that song – ok, the chorus – rattled through my head incessantly. I love Moroccan lanterns and beads that seem to light up from the inside. The ornate brass accents and rich colors make these stitch markers seem like they could light up Arabian Nights very well indeed.

These are some of the favorites from my shop, but there are loads more. I have special memories attached to each, be it the song they were inspired by or even sometimes what tv show was running in the background while I was working on them. What stitch markers are your favorites?

There’s some buzz about the Mini Mania Scarf

This morning I got an awesome email from my best friend, letting me know that the infamous scarf has made it big – on Buzzfeed! That’s right, earlier this month the Mini Mania Scarf was featured in one of Buzzfeed’s pictorial “lists” – this time a tongue-in-cheek bit called 16 Scarves That Forgot How To Scarf. The hilarious sub-headline says, ” Seriously, scarves, you only have one job.”

Here is the scarf, in the illustrious number 13. position:
buzzfeed

I really think Buzzfeed missed the mark, though, on scarves that forgot how to scarf. There are some really stellar knit and crocheted ones out there, like:

The Squid Scarf – getting stuck on you since 2007:

Or how about the crocheted scarves that can’t decide if they should be bacon and sushi?

And leave it to the Japanese to create the first-ever Boob Scarf, still being crafted over at BoobsRUs:

Thanks for the buzz, BuzzFeed!

Ravelry lunch date at the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival

I always enjoy talking to people in real life situations. As much as I love reading and writing and conversing with others online, nothing compares with the subtle hand and facial gestures we all subconsciously make and implicitly understand. That being said, I got to meet up with some fellow Ravelers this weekend at the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival. So, HiMyNameIsPurple, me (LadyDanio), samie1914, scf1270 and junebug2285 met up in the hotel lobby where this pretty picture below was taken. We had a quick lunch date in the middle of a busy Saturday and it was wonderful getting to know everyone in real life.

Sam (pictured in the pink top) and I (with the ginormous Mini Mania Scarf) met up first. Unbeknownst to me, she had just sent me a Rav message, and I was in the middle of reading a text from Lindsay (pictured in the purple and grey scarf), so we had a hilarious who’s-on-first conversation at the beginning! Once we figured out who we each were, everyone else arrived. We headed off to the hotel bar, which was serving a buffet.

Sam and Heather (in the blue) had just come out of the festival, so they showed off all of their goodies, which included some dynamite SpaceCadet Creations yarns and a handturned wooden nostepinne for ball winding. Lunch was tons of fun as we got to know each other. We discovered that most of us knew the same people from similar knit groups in the area and I think I have been roped into joining them for an evening! 😉

Since Sam and Heather had already shopped and were heading out, they were so kind as to sneak their $15 handtags to Lindsay and I so that we could slip into the festival for a few minutes without having to pay. Lindsay had been there the day before, but hadn’t been able to stay because her toddler is going through the terrible twos, and so she kindly gave me a grand tour so I didn’t waste time (yes, I had the booths I wanted to see mapped out). I think we were only there for 20 minutes, but I definitely plopped down a bunch of money on yarns!

Of course I stopped by SpaceCadet to see the dyer, Stephanie, who’s a friend of mine, and stumbled into friend and fellow designer Sara Bench, aka CelticQueen, who was the Knitty Surprise design feature for their winter issue. Her pattern Love Actually (is all around) is an absolutely adorable heart-patterned cowl.

Then I headed over to Highland Alpaca, whose yarns I love so much that I began their Ravelry database listings several years ago and try to update them whenever I see them at a new show. I was running out of time but I hit Blue Heron Yarns to tell the dyer about my favorite yarn of hers, Blue Heron Silk Merino, which I have in two different colorways. I wear the Hayworth Shawlette that is made out of that ALL THE TIME. It’s my go-to scarf for both indoors and stylish wearing in light winter weather. The dyer confessed that she loves that yarn to death as well, so much so that she keeps a private stock for her own dyeing purposes! But she let it slip that if you contact her personally she’ll do a custom order for you. If you’ve been looking for some high-end silk merino sportweight that is really fab, you should get in touch with her and ask. She also sometimes dyes it on a whim, and there were some skeins she had in kits, so you may be able to get your hands on it that way.

We had wrapped up the day by 1:30 p.m. and were heading out. I think I could have sat and talked for another hour with everyone but we’d just run out of time! It was great seeing everyone and great meeting in real life. Next time I’ll be out and about will be the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this May. Maybe you’ll see me there!

“It’s that time of the year…when we drive ourselves mad…”

Face it – though the elections have just ended and Thanksgiving is still a few weeks away, for knitters (and crocheters) everywhere, the faint sound of jingle bells can already be heard on the horizon. So it’s time for a refresher course on one of my favorite subjects – Selfish Knitting: A Study in Yarnworthiness.

Now you might think this is is a topsy-turvy concept when we are approaching a holiday season where everyone is celebrating the gift of love and sharing and all that jazz, but the concept of Selfish Knitting is not, really, after all, about being selfish. For me, being a Selfish Knitter is about doing what I love to do, and valuing my self worth. One year, I was entirely happy to knit 45 garter stitch scarves and then donate them all to the local Food Shelter as part of my church’s mitten and scarf tree. Now, this may not float everyone’s boat, and some might think I’m crazy, but for me that year, it was great, mindless entertainment. Would I do it again? Probably not. But who knows – if the spirit moved me I might do something fun like that again.

The key to Selfish Knitting is this: Selfish Knitting is about making something with love and joy in your heart, not bitterness and regret. Will you be happy to make a shawl that your grandmother will treasure in her twilight years? Will you be unhappy if you make a scarf and hat set for your benighted cousin who last year gave the lap blanket you knit her to the dog? (True story.) These are the important questions we must ask ourselves here.

So before you go all creative on me and buy a crapton of yarn that you simply MUST KNIT AS GIFTS or feel the GUILT OF OVERSTASHING, or decide you HAVE TO KNIT SOMETHING STUPENDOUS AND DIFFICULT because you OWE HER/HIM/THEM/IT SOMETHING GOOD, it’s time to determine Who Is Yarnworthy.

Knitwear designer Franklin Habit has graciously turned some of the basic Yarnworthy questions of yore into a lovely visual aid (just like those teenage magazine questionnaires we pored over in middle school!), so instead of a boring list of questions I’ll just let you all peruse the glory of the flowchart. And take notes. And find yourself a knitting needle to whack yourself with if you start straying.

To get started, just substitute “Christmas/Hanukkah/Yule/Whatever-mas” for “Birthday” in the chart below:
Let’s all try to spread a little love instead of a lotta heartache this winter – be a Selfish Knitter with me! (And yes, we have a group.)

 

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

Hooks up!

So I was digging through my box of beads the other night, looking for some likely suspects to turn into beds, when I came across some hooks that I had one day hoped to turn into crochet stitch markers. I’d fiddled with the idea about a year ago, but my wire skills weren’t up to par so I’d put it aside. But recently, I received some crochet stitch markers from Brianna as part of The Yarn Side’s Yarnography club. So the idea, you could say, has been percolating for a while now.

I think that for knitting stitch markers, the snag-less ones made out of tigertail wire work the smoothest with your needles, so I really haven’t dedicated time toward strengthening my wire-working skills. However, I’ve been working on making a line of steampunkish stitch markers as of late, and this involves a lot more work with metal. I’m loving my steampunk, Victorian-era stuff, because I’m finally getting to use some great pieces that have been in my bead stash for a long time. Some of the stuff that I’ve made in the last week or two have been really upping my creative ante, as it were. And I’ve discovered that the time I’ve spent making stitch markers this past year has really paid off.

Ta Da! My first crocheted stitch markers! I’m really thrilled with this set, named after a scene from one of my favorite Torchwood episodes, which was, coincidentally, playing on television today. I think they are gorgeous. I’m thrilled to be able to expand my market to the crocheters as well.

The Hidden
“Our memories define us. Adam changed those memories, he changed who we are. Now I have to help you all go back. Find a memory that defines you, rediscover who you are. Feel around for anything that makes you what you are. The hidden and the forgotten.” – Captain Jack Harkness, Torchwood