Tag Archives: knitting

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

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I Found Myself a TARDIS and Other Yarny Stories

Bigger on the Inside by Kate Atherley

This month a great indie pattern designer released the most amazing pattern on Knitty. Bigger On The Inside by Kate Atherley is a beautiful ode to Doctor Who and his fabulous blue box of a time machine, the TARDIS. I saw this shawl and knew immediately that I had to make my own. However, there is one important thing you must know about me.

I HATE BLUE. I like blue-green, like aquas, turquoise, and teal, and I enjoy blue-purple, like indigo, midnight and blurple. But plain old royal or cornflower blues? Gag me with a spoon. This could be a problem, of course, when you want to create an ode to a Blue Box. Yes, definitely an issue.

Don’t worry, however. I have already solved this highly traumatizing dilemma. You see, there have been many Doctors. And it is interesting to note that there have been almost as many different TARDIS machines disguised as vintage blue police telephone boxes from the 1960s as there have been actors playing the Doctor. Apparently the props department isn’t that good with continuity. Which works well for me!

You see, I fell in love with the Doctor during his more recent incarnation in the 2000s when I was in grad school, and that Doctor (or Doctors, since it was both 9 and 10) had a box that wasn’t so much as blue as it was a lovely dirty teal color. I believe it started getting this more authentic, dirty blue color in the 80s, and continued that way through the 2000s, when David Tennant had his grand run at playing Doctor Who. Currently the blue box has gone back to being a more shiny, clean bright blue color, but I choose to ignore that fact when watching the show.

My point to all of this backstory is that I have found the MOST PERFECT color of blue to make my own TARDIS shawl! It will be, naturally, an ode to the dirty teal-blue TARDIS I adore, and I think it will look very nice on me. If only I was more of a nerd and had a Comic Con or scifi event I could wear it at. Alas, I am not so once I make this shawl it will be a nice winter scarf to wear with my black pea coat, and only those “in the know” will get my tongue-in-cheek grown-up joke about the Doctor and the TARDIS.

Anyways, now that I’ve tracked down the two skeins I need for the shawl I can reveal the yarn to you, since it is no longer a state secret. I have purchased two skeins of Vampy Karma Sock in Midnight Cowboy, which matches my favorite Doctor’s box PERFECTLY. And I like that the name happens to coincide with 11’s penchant for hats.

Stash image courtesy danirobins on Ravelry

Fibres by Vampy is a lovely little indie dyer from the UK who was a fellow swapper on Ravelry. She no longer dyes, which makes this yarn even harder to come by, so you can only imagine how tickled I was to be able to locate two of the same skeins! I really love her yarns – I have a pair of socks knit out of one of her bases – and so I can’t wait to knit this latest yarn up into a proper TARDIS shawl.

I must confess that since Doctor Who finished up its season last winter,  is not on tv right now, and won’t be back until the fall, I’ve been going through a bit of withdrawal. The solution, is not, as you might think, to rewatch old episodes of Doctor Who that you have seen multiple times by now. Oh no, that is a very bad idea, in fact, because it only makes you miss the show more. Much like if you have an addiction to alcohol it is most likely a bad idea to go sit in a bar and watch other people drink it.

Time and Relative Dimensions in Space

So instead, I am feeding my little pining over the Doctor with some new creatively made projects, like the aforementioned shawl. My other project was some new Doctor Who stitch markers, which I really am quite in love with. meet Exchanging Fire‘s brand new Time and Relative Dimensions in Space set, a simple set of iridescent fire-polished glass beads that are reminiscent of the colors of the TARDIS as it must look spinning through the universe and streaking between comets and clouds. If you saw the episode of Doctor Who called “The Doctor’s Wife” you’ll understand the conversation below perfectly:

Idris: Time and Relative Dimension in Space. Yes that’s it. Names are funny. It’s me. I’m the TARDIS.
The Doctor: No you’re not! You’re a bitey mad lady. The TARDIS is up-and-downy stuff in a big blue box.
Idris: Yes, that’s me. A type 40 TARDIS. I was already a museum piece when you were young. And the first time you touched my console, you said—
The Doctor: I said…you were the most beautiful thing I’d ever known.
Idris: Then you stole me. And I stole you.
The Doctor: I borrowed you.

Watch out here we go

I’ve been going all ’80s with my stitch markers lately. Something about the vintage beads I’ve been using and the color combinations just screams 80s-hairband-pop-rock in my mind. Hm, maybe I should make Poprock stitch markers next… I think watching Hot Time Time Machine warped my mind. Ok, here we go. Fall into the world of MTV, hightops, crimped hair, neon colors, and yuppie love with me.

She Blinded Me With Science



Pour Some Sugar On Me



She Bop



Rainbow Brite



Hot Tub Time Machine

My Swappy, Scrappy, Oversized Scarf

So once upon a time I saw this fantabulous scarf that a friend had knit in the linen stitch pattern. It was thin and long and highly variegated and looked like it had been woven and she had knit it out of a ton of fingering weight scraps. I was enchanted. So enthralled, in fact, that when she offered the scarf up in a swap I claimed it in a snap. But though I loved it, I wanted more. The thin scarf wasn’t enough to whet my appetite, and as winter approached, I decided I needed to make one of my own.

So come January, after a few weeks of collecting yarn scraps, I started knitting my shawlscarf. Linen stitch and knitting lengthwise was a completely new territory for me, and I vastly underrated (or overrated, depending how you look at it) how much yarn and stitches I would need to complete this scarf. So in my enthusiasm, I cast on 600 stitches. I know. I am insane.

There was a definite learning curve, and I certainly had to frog early on, but I kept plugging away. Part of the reason this scarf just never stopped is because I am meticulous, and wanted my colors to blend properly. And so I found myself with A LOT of yarn. I worked off and on for 12 months to make this scarf. There reached a point where I knew I should stop but I wanted to fit in all of the awesome yarns I had accumulated, so I didn’t stop!

But finally, after almost a year, I came down to the end. I cut myself off, I chose an end yarn, and I finished it. It. Is. Finished. Stick a fork in it. My Swappy, Scrappy Oversized Scarf used over 2,000 yards of fingering weight yarns (not all are listed, as some were unknown) and is absolutely perfect. Wide enough to cover my ears, nose and throat but with a thin enough fabric to scrunch when I need it to. As I was knitting it, I wasn’t sure if I was crazy or inspired, so to have the finished product be exactly what I wanted makes me inordinately pleased. I started this Jan. 29, 2010 and my goal was to finish it up before it’s one year anniversary. I did it, finishing while visiting a friend on Jan. 15, 2011. Yey!

I must say that this is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever knit. I’m not one for wildly variegated colors and crazy, off-the-wall fabrics, or anything like that. But I just couldn’t stop knitting this. I love it. 🙂 Oh! The crazy teacup pin was a Christmas gift and comes from this off-the-wall Etsy shop called TillyBloom.

My First Project – The Knitting Jenny

Recently I discovered an old thing I’d made as a child, buried in the back of a closet at my parents’ house. It greatly amuses me so I thought I’d share. I’d forgotten completely that I’d worked with yarn at an early age. I looked it up online and after a bit of searching I discovered that what I had was a version of the famous ’80s crafting toy The Knitting Jenny.

The Knitting Jenny

I received the Knitting Jenny as a gift when I was a child of about 10, most likely from my grandmother or great-aunt. As I had already learned how to sew, I quickly threaded the acrylic yarn through the square plastic “potholder” type object, using a different colored yarn for each row so that it created a fun concentric design. Now that I think about it, this was probably supposed to be one of those rug-like objects, where you pull the yarn through and create an image out of the short, fluffy bits that pop through the top. Oh well, I wasn’t really into instructions even then.

The Potholder Thingie

I remember that I lost interest in the loom when it wouldn’t do what I wanted it to. It wasn’t very sturdy, I didn’t know what all oft he other little oddments were that went with it (pompom makers, crochet hook, knitting needles) and I was hitting my “anti-Barbie-pink” phase. Needless to say, it took another decade before I actually began knitting. I can proudly say, though, that my first “knitting” project was attempted at a much younger age.

My Knitting Jenny

I’m amazed that all of this stuff survived to adulthood, and I rather like that the knitting needles are so well-designed for small hands. Naturally, if I’d never gotten back into yarn stuff I would probably have just pitched this all, but it seems appropriate to keep it because it shows how far I’ve come. I think I’ll save this for nostalgia’s sake and for my kids to learn to knit with.