(Re)-Pinning on Pinterest: The Pitfalls for Crochet and Knitwear Designers

Pinterest Re-PinningSigh. I can feel a two-ton weight is going to drop over my head for even broaching this subject, but can we talk about how crocheters (and knitters) are using Pinterest?

I love Pinterest. I love being able to have a place online where I can store images that I love, with some of those images leading to websites with good content, even great content. Legal content. Freely-shared-by-the-owner-of-said content.

But many times when I’m on there I see a picture of something that I love – a dress, a sweater, a hat – that’s been either knitted or crocheted and I think to myself, “OK, I know when I click on the image, it’s going to lead to a site that is posting that pattern without permission.” And yep, it is. I swear I can spot one a mile away. It’s always a picture from a foreign crochet/knit publication. It’s sometimes from a domain with .ru at the end. And it’s always a site filled to the brim with scanned images I don’t recognize with a smattering of things I do recognize.

And sometimes it’s my own stuff.

Let’s talk about Pinterest the company for a second. They’re a really tiny company. They have very few employees. And they don’t respond to emails (not any of the many I’ve sent). Pinterest, right now, is like the wild west: we’re left to our own devices as owners of content to not allow ourselves to get ripped off if someone posts a picture illegally.

You might ask, “What if the picture is legal (you know, it’s just a picture of a pretty crocheted sweater that I love, love, love!) but the link – the link to where the picture leads to – is not?” Well, again, we designers are on our own.

THAT’S WHERE YOU COME IN.

I’m asking for your support as a designer to check the links from the picture. Click on the picture. See where they lead. And if it’s a site that’s posting images that are clearly scanned from books and magazines, please don’t allow the link to be posted along with the image that you so covet.

“Well, how the heck do I do that? How do I get rid of the link but keep the picture that I just want to look at and be inspired by?” you’re wondering. Once you’ve re-pinned the item and it appears on your board (or in your “feed”), hover over the image and you’ll see a button that says, “edit.” Click it. You’ll see a link that the image leads to. Delete the whole link. Then click, “save.”

Keep the image, delete the link.

In the end, this kind of activity – posting links to illegal sites – hurts designers. If it’s bad for crochet designers, it’s bad for crocheters in general.

Is that a deal? Can we “shake” on this?



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CROCHET PATTERN RELEASE – Loveland Neck Scarf

I continue to be taken back to a place and time that I miss, a time when all things were less complex, a time even before I existed: Jersey shore, the mid-1800′s.

Inspiration

There’s a very small section of Point Pleasant that still exists today, an unincorporated section called, “Lovelandtown,” a small hamlet community. I lived seconds away and would go over there when I wanted to hang out at the river or play at the one small playground near the canal. It was the last stop on the bus ride to school and still had dirt roads and narrow streets that the large school bus couldn’t navigate. At one time, it was littered with simple, two-story homes that featured chicken coops, an outhouse, a coal bin, and in some cases hog pens. Sounds very rural, doesn’t it? Country by the sea, really.

Families from Philadelphia and New York City would take their summer vacations in the greater Bay Head/Point Pleasant area and were often dressed more to the liking of the city rather than the country-by-the-sea environs.

To that end, I’ve designed a dainty scarf that is reminiscent of the colors of the deep blue-green, Jersey shore ocean, a lacy scarf that might have been worn during the era. May I introduce you to, “Loveland Neck Scarf.” 

Loveland Neck Scarf Crochet Pattern

Loveland Neck Scarf by NexStitch: Stylish Crochet Patterns

Details

    • Project overview: This scarf begins on one end and is worked across to the other end where the edging is created. Then, the opposite end edging is work separately.
    • Yarn: Delicato Layers, Prism lace weight yarn (100% tencel, 630 yds./4 oz.) 1 skein #N0618 Lapis
    • Skill: Intermediate
    • Size: 12″ x 57 1/2″, unblocked
    • Hook: US D3/3.25mm hook, or size required to obtain correct gauge
    • Notions: Stitch markers, yarn needle
    • Extra: The entire scarf has been translated into a large stitch diagram! There should be no hair-pulling moments crocheting this scarf, rest assured.

What the pictures don’t illustrate is how soft this yarn is! 100% tencel is a lovely thing. So is a 630-yard skein of yarn. This scarf uses approximately 85% of the skein, so if you desire to make it longer, you can. And have I even mentioned the delicious drape it creates? You simply can’t compare. I was amazed after I blocked it how it responded to my abuse, what with all the photos I had to take and the different ways I had to wear it. I fully expected it to be a mess by the time I was finished. Nope.

And while a single skein might cost $30, it’s an entire scarf for less than $30 made from the finest yarn! Treat yourself!

Loveland Neck Scarf

Loveland Neck Scarf by NexStitch: Stylish Crochet Patterns


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CROCHET PATTERN RELEASE – Metedeconk Beach Tote!

I know, don’t faint. I’m just releasing a pattern. It’s only been…two years (730+ days, but who’s counting?) It was about time. I had motivation thanks to Ravelympics (or whatever we’re calling it these days).

Inspiration

I must be missing home a lot because home has been on my mind. A lot. I miss living 5 minutes from the beach and a stone’s throw from the river, the Metedeconk River. There was always something to do for an independent, adventurous kid who liked being outdoors and discovering things on her own.

NexStitch: Metedeconk Beach Tote

Metedeconk Beach Tote by NexStitch: Stylish Crochet Patterns

What makes the area interesting is that, despite any preconceived notions you might have about New Jersey, it’s a very diverse area. Historically-speaking, the area was a resort town (Bay Head and Point Pleasant, before they were their own towns) for the affluent city folk who’d take the train down to it’s last stop in Bay Head and come and hang out amongst the cranberry bogs and sand dunes. Some stayed permanently and took on clamming, crabbing, fishing, and hunting for work and sport. It was a simple way of life that, in many ways, still exists there today (minus the hunting and rampant summer tourism).

(Click to enlarge)

The Metedeconk is an ecologically diverse river, since being joined with the Manasquan River via the Point Pleasant Canal it now contains both freshwater and saltwater. As a kid, I’d go tool around by the canal and watch the fishermen cast their lines, ride my bike to the river to look out into the water, and then head over to the beach to collect shells and whatever interesting detritus made its way to the shoreline (I wasn’t supposed to be there alone. Don’t tell my mom). I didn’t usually have any of my travels planned so I’d just head up there without anything to put my finds into; I’d roll them up in the end of my shirt or a towel and bike it home, no hands on handlebars required.

But far be it from me to leave you shorthanded like that. So may I present you my, “Metedeconk Beach Tote.” This bag is large enough to put a buff, masculine Olympic swimmer in and still have room for your suntan lotion and a trashy summer novel. The bag is lined, but that’s optional, of course. And it features a large handle opening because, can I just tell you how annoying it is to have stuff crammed in, giving yourself an arm wedgie? Now you have a visual of that in your head, don’t you? Sorry.

Details

  • Project overview: This beach tote is worked from the bottom up beginning with an oval bottom worked in the round. A scalloped shell pattern forms for the body of the bag which leads into a ribbed border and then a sand stitch. Lastly, a semi-circle design is worked along the inside edge of the bag and the handles are attached with tabs. All of the patterns are created by working into either the front of back loop.
  • Yarn: 10 skeins of Katia, Linen (OK, here’s the problem. This yarn is discontinued. Ack. It’s a DK weight, cotton/linen yarn. Garnstudio makes a 100% linen yarn called, “Drops Lin” that comes is lovely colorways and is priced similarly. Universal Yarns makes “Summer Linen” in even more colorways and is cheaper than Katia or Garnstudio. Or, off-road it. It doesn’t need to be a linen yarn!)
  • Skill: Intermediate
  • Size: 181/2″ wide x 18″ high, excluding handle
  • Hook: US H8/5.00mm hook, or size required to obtain correct gauge
  • Notions: 2 D-shaped bag handles, yarn needle
  • Extra: The main shell stitch pattern is illustrated in a large stitch diagram and the steps to create the upper portion of the bag are clearly laid out in several illustrations.

NexStitch: Metedeconk Beach Tote Crochet Pattern

 


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A Sea of Doubts

I just cleared out most of the designs in my design graveyard sitting on top of my light table here in the office. At first, I thought displaying everything here would help me try to make one of these designs come to fruition. But after having them stare me in the face for so long, they were hindering me, like a constant reminder of what didn’t work, of failures. It was holding me back.

Besides, all that lovely yarn was making too fabulous of a spot for Roxie to crash out on, further jeopardizing their existence.

Roxie in my yarn stash

She looks comfy, no? Resistance is futile.

But really, I feel like lately (where “lately” is a euphemism for “a long time now”) I’m just spinning my wheels trying to make things work, to make things perfect.

I’m a perfectionist. There. I said it.

I can’t help it (or maybe I can?). I don’t like to put my name on things that aren’t the best quality. I don’t like to expend the effort into something that from the get-go I don’t think will be the next best thing.

To that end, I’ve got a pile of designs in varying stages, even some as far as being laid out in Quark (graphics program that I use to put together the text and photos from a design) and not pulled the trigger on releasing it. I can’t tell you how many countless hours I’ve spent getting that far into the process only to pull it back. I shudder to think how, if all that time were added up, how much it would equal. Weeks? Months? It’s probably months upon months.

I’ve psyched myself out. And in putting this post together, I’ve chosen to call myself out for it publicly. Somewhere in my crazy head I believe I have to put it out there into the universe and let it go. Let go all the self-doubt, the anxiety, the trepidation, the “who’s gonna like that?” destructive script in my head. It hasn’t yielded anything positive for me.

And so today I frogged a few designs and put others away in cubbies out of immediate site. I’ve left two important projects up there, ones that I have the most enthusiasm and desire to finish, at the moment, ones I think have the best chance of being “born.”

I also ordered a fresh new round of yarn. I picked up some Rowan Panama, Prism Delicato, and Classic Elite Sanibel. Hoping I can make something really awesome and infuse some positive thinking with these yarns.

In the meantime, I’ve been hard at work on a stitch diagram for a scarf/wrap I’d like to make using one of these yarns. I’m trying a different design approach: start with making a stitch diagram in Illustrator, type the pattern out, and then create the item. We’ll see how it goes. Wish me luck. Or skill. I’d rather you wish me skill than luck!


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And the Winner of the Felted Crochet Handbag is….

Lisa Garrett!

Congrats Lisa! I have your email address. I’ll be sending you an email shortly to get your contact information so I can send the handbag along to you sometime next week. If I don’t hear from you by Tuesday, July 24th, I’ll be forced to pick another winner (the rest of you’d like that, now wouldn’t you?) ;-)

Thank you so much to everyone for not only participating, but for leaving such overwhelmingly kind comments about the bag. Considering the strong response I received about it, I’m considering self-publishing the pattern. So you just might be able to own your own facsimile of this very bag (with some tweaks to the design, of course).


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Crochet Handbag Giveaway!

ENTRIES FOR THE GIVEAWAY ARE NOW CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who participated. I enjoyed reading all your responses. A winner will be selected at random and announced tomorrow. Good luck everyone!

I designed a bag that didn’t make it into a recent publication and so I’ve decided to give it away. That’s right. It could be yours and in which case, you could do with it whatever you like. Perhaps down the road I will redesign the way I intended it to be (had I not run out of yarn) but for now, my loss is your gain.

Crochet Handbag Giveaway

Pardon the quick iPhone shots.

Give it to a friend.

Pass it off as a gift to a family member (be sure to make it clear you made it and worked hours and hours and hours on it just for bonus points cuz that’s what I’d do).

Donate it to a local charity.

Auction it off.

Or hey, here’s a novel idea: keep it for yourself. It would make a decent handbag. And plus, isn’t it nice to treat yourself every once in awhile? We don’t do that enough, now do we?

Crochet Handbag Giveaway

It’s lined with lovely Amy Butler fabric! And yes, hand-stitched because I don’t know how to use a sewing machine. I need a clue-by-four in that department.

GIVEAWAY DETAILS

Rules: To enter to win this one-of-a-kind crocheted handbag, leave a comment on this post by midnight, EST. on Friday, July 20th, 2012 telling me what you’d do with this handbag. One winner will be chosen on Saturday, July 21st, 2012 via random.org. This means someone will be chosen RANDOMLY. No worries about what you say. Be honest. I’m just curious what you’d do with it. :-)

Extra ways to enter to win: Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter (include @NexStitch in your tweet so I see it!). This will count as a separate entry giving you more of a chance to win because free stuff is cool, right?

P.S. Comment moderation is on (as always).

Edited to add: One entry per person. Comment moderation is on which means that the comment won’t appear instantly after you click “submit comment.” Double entries will be deleted. No cheating, folks. ;-)


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Cheer to Science! And Beer. Dogfish Head Beer, that is.

I nearly forgot to blog about this amazing event my husband and I went to last month called, “Cheers to Science: A Drinkable Feast of Beer, Biotechnology and Archaeology” hosted at Mario Batali’s, “Eataly” in NYC. What an amazing event! If you’re into the science of beer making, it was worth  the hassle (and the coin) to go. The event was bilked as a a casual conversation between Sam Calagione and Professor Patrick McGovern about how they, together, developed Dogfish Head‘s “Ancient Ales” series of beer.

The event started out in their cooking demo room downstairs.

They gave us beer and cheese/chocolate pairings.

These were no 2 ounce pours, either.

Then we headed upstairs to the rooftop bar – yes! – and got a peek into the Dogfish Head brew room that they maintain at “Eataly.” By this time, most of the people at the event had moved on but a small, faithful bunch of us Dogfish groupies stayed on and I’m glad we did as we were given a sample of the wort of an Etruscan ale that’s not yet in production. What a treat! That’s Sam on the right doing the pour. And yes, it was delish!

Considering that we barely made it to the event because we nearly missed the train, it was such a treat to hang out on the rooftop bar with the retractable roof pulled back in full view of the Flatiron Building and just take in the good beer and company.

It was truly a memorable evening.


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Ravelympics 2012: US Olympic Committee DENIGRATES Crocheters & Knitters Alike

Stephen Colbert's Artificial Swedener & Ravelympics

Stephen Colbert’s Artificial Swedener & Ravelympics

The US Olympic Committee has gone and done it again. They’ve managed to stoke the fire of yet another marginalized group of people: crocheters and knitters. Apparently intentionally underfunding the Paralympics and their treatment of the Cowichan Tribes during the Vancouver Games wasn’t enough, but now they’ve focused their laser beam sites on Ravelry, a popular online forum that hosts the “Ravelympics,” a global viewing party for the Olympics. This time, however, they’re in way over their heads as crocheters and knitters are a global force to be reckoned with.

It all began when Gawker ran an article about a cease and desist letter that co-founders Casey and Jessica received from Brett Hirsch, a law clerk for the US Olympic Committee (USOC) seeking to end the use of the name “Ravelympics” as well as a host of patterns that are Olympic-themed. In the letter, it asks for several steps to be taken and states:

“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 spirit of the Ravelympics, for those who aren’t familiar with them, is that crocheters and knitters compete against themselves to make the most amount of projects while watching the games. It’s main purpose is in support of the Olympic Games. It’s an international viewing party for the Games. It brings diverse groups of people together from all over the globe to share in a common interest: needle arts. Ravelry.com doesn’t collect any money for or profit from Ravelympics as does the USOC who receive millions of dollars from sponsors who license the trademark. So it smacks of elitism for the USOC on one hand to suggest that the Games “…encompass culture and education, tolerance and respect, world peace and harmony” but on the other hand act in direct accordance with those beliefs by issuing the following attack on crafters:

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.

Those are some harsh, unnecessary words. Denigrate? Really, USOC? Those comments insult literally millions of men and women who crochet and knit for pleasure or profit in every country around this world, those very same people who support the Olympics and the ideals it bestows. The carefully scripted word selection demeans the very act of making an afghan, a sock, a sweater, etc as denegrating the Olympics and all Olympians. I find that rather disingenuous considering one of the featured art installations for the 2012 Olympic Games in London are to be a trio of lions…you guessed it…created by needleworker Shauna Richardson. These gigantic crocheted lions took nearly 7 months a piece to create. That in and of itself is an Olympic feat that I’d like to see anyone from the USOC tackle. And so is knitting and crocheting for that matter. If you’ve ever had to work a quadruple treble crochet stitch I can attest that it’s like an ice skater doing a quadruple salchow.

But back to the point and for me it boils down to this: It’s one thing to want to protect trademarks and copyrights. I get that. And, I support that wholly. Copyright and trademark infringement is a concern that all businesses have to face daily. And if Ravelry, in their support of the Olympics, has mistakenly used the namesake without authorization or in compliance with the law, then they should change the name. I get it. I’m saddened by it, but I totally get it.

However, to throw a jab at needleworkers in the process, is uncalled for. Brett Hirsch, the law clerk who wrote the letter on behalf of the USOC, has ignited a firestorm from knitters and crocheters alike on Twitter (An aside: I find it not so surprising he penned this letter seeing how he is a former water polo player and might have a vested interest in athletics as a whole). But perhaps a little knowledge on his part in understanding that knitting was an Olympic sport before the USOC was even formed might put a different lens on the situation, an educational lens.

As of 11pm last night, needleworkers like myself have banded together to raise awareness for the Ravelympics by making it a trending topic on Twitter. It only took 45 minutes for the yarnies to “release the Kraken” on Brett and the entire USOC before it trended. The power of social media notwithstanding, I think an apology is in order. I believe the way to get it is to reach out to the tastemakers like Stephen Colbert who is, and I laugh while I say this, actively seeking to take over Sweden’s twitter account (they let one Swedish citizen a day do it) by promoting that he’s an “artificial Swedener.” Many knitters and crocheters have offered to make his socks, scarves, etc. if he takes up our cause and promotes it on his show. If anything, this whole debacle is certainly worth a good laugh on his show.

So, tweet @StephenAtHome, @USOlympic (NOT OlympicS), and @BAHirsch and include the #Ravelympics hashtag to join in on the fun as well as the wrath.

I think the next time the US Olympic Committee wants to marginalize another group, they ought to first research that group. There are many more of us than they think.

UPDATE: The no-apology came in. And then there was an addendum to the no-pology. I’ve recommended that they retract the original letter sent to Ravelry founders, Casey and Jessica. And if they’d like to get on the winning end of a good PR strategy, they’d take this as a learning opportunity and allow Ravelympics to continue and request that items made during the crocheting and knitting events be donated to the athletes. That’s how you win friends and influence people properly.


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Beer and Hook Jaunt into NYC: How to Spend a Perfect Afternoon in the City

I arrived home from work on Wednesday afternoon with contained excitement about the impending 4-day weekend coming up, wanting to do something with the time instead of wasting away sitting here at the computer. A jaunt into the city to partake in some beer and hooky delight with my husband and our friend, Steve, was at the top of the list of great ideas and soon a plan came together.

First stop: The Blind Tiger. Known for their killer tap list, I immediately pounced on the cask beer list (my favorite style of beer) and downed a Black Jack/Warrior Cask Ale by Left Hand Brewing Company.

UH-MAY-ZING. Amazing.

We pulled up a couple short stools next to the fireplace (which wasn’t on during this sunny, beautiful 80 degree day) and I pulled out my hook and got down to business. My beer was gone pretty quickly, as happens with cask conditioned beer, so I ordered a He’Brew Hop Manna IPA by Shmaltz Brewing Company. Another fine choice. I sat here sipping my beer enjoying the sunshine filtering in from the large propped open windows. Perfect day!

By then the bar started getting packed and I was happy to be hooking away in my quiet spot amongst all the merriment of a Friday afternoon. It was then that I began noticing lots of guys in uniform as though the entire naval fleet had let out in NYC.

The last beer I had before we headed out was a good ol’ standby beer: a Dogfish 90 Minute IPA. At this point, I’d been working out an idea for the side portion of handbag design and had finally figured it out when we decided it was time for something else to fill up our stomachs: pizza.

Next stop: Rattle N Hum. Another craft beer bar with an amazingly long list of bottles and taps. I settled on another cask style beer: Hop Head Red by Green Flash Brewing Co. I enjoyed long sips of it while I continued to work out my design, albeit in must less light and in a rowdy crowd of both Rangers and Devils fans who were tuned into the game on the many tv’s overhead. The bar was busy but not as packed as the last time I came here. I don’t recommend trying to do a lot of hooking in here if you have bad eyesight because it’s a pretty dark bar.

We left after one drink, knowing we had one more beer bar stop. A quick stop into another pizza place to lay down more base for this last stop and we were on the way.

Last stop: The Ginger Man. Another incredible bar that boasts a super long list of taps and bottles, I ordered a dessert beer: Chocolate Porter by Defiant Brewing Co. and one of their awesome cinnamon sugar pretzels that comes with yummy cream cheese. Both were gone rather quickly and by then, it was time to leave. So sad!

On the way to the train station, I snapped a few pictures of some buildings that just seemed so electric to me. It was like having a free light show at the end of the evening.

I’ve decided that a beer and yarn store crawl are next in order. I’m going to be spending some time mapping out some places to hit real soon.

Summer, here I come!


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