Thursday, March 27, 2008

Gotta love 4-year-olds

My 4yo DS and I had a short exchange the other day.

DS: "Hey Mom, can I have a twig?"

Me: "What was that?"

DS: "I mean, a wig?"

Me: "Would you like a fig, sweetie?"

DS: "Yeah, that."

And on that note, I'm off for the weekend. Back on Monday with a new song. :o)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

New Baby Knitting Fun

For those of you who aren't yet Ravelers, here are some photos of the latest baby knitting. (And this set is for my new baby, now that I'm done with the knitting for the three other babies! lol) (Ravelers can click on that second link and see the Ravelry project page.)

Behold, the longies:

Yarn: Chiles & Wild Rice, hand dyed by Kim of From the Creation. Local lady, sorry no online presence. If you're dying to have some though, I could pick up the last two skeins at my LYS and send them to you. ;o) It's a nice worsted-spun, worsted-weight Columbia wool, which means it's nice to touch and will wear well. And the colors were really fun. I also have some blue/green/soft-yellow called Tidepools that will turn into something else for the baby. I just don't know what yet. Oh, but you wanted to know yarn info: 3oz skeins, 137 yards each.

Needles: US7 Knit Picks 16" classic circulars and US8 Brittany Birch dpn's for the legs.

Pattern: Generic longies pattern.

Get your gauge. Cast on the number necessary to make your desired waist size (I made this one 16"), and knit for about 10 rows in k2p2 rib, with an eyelet row halfway through for the drawstring. (Oops! Gotta make one of those. Thanks for reminding me.) Knit down in stockinette until you have your desired rise length, increasing the diameter by 2" as you go. When it's time to divide for the legs, put the number of stitches you increased for the hip measurement (those 2 inches' worth) on holders at front and back center, and knit the stitches on each side of them in the round until you have 1" shy of your inseam length. Knit 1" in your cuff stitch (I used garter), and cast off. Graft the crotch stitches together.

This size doesn't have short rows, because little newborns don't have much difference in their diapers between front and back. For larger sizes, I'll add three short rows to the back after knitting 1.5"-2" down from the waistband.

Finished measurements:

Waist: 16"
Hips: 18"
Rise: 12"
Inseam: 6"

Here's the other half of the longies set, as of yet in embryo:

This is a top-down baby sweater, pattern courtesy of my LYS. It's an anonymous pattern, similar to the 5-Hour Baby Sweater, but with a few modifications. Never having knit the 5HBS, I couldn't tell you what they are. And I've made my own changes, since I didn't like how it was working up with the variegated yarn. The plain stockinette yoke really shows off the play of color well, don't'cha think?

And now, off to clean up from dinner and get the baby to bed!

Curiouser and Curiouser: Or, some thoughts on housework.

So, the showing went well this morning, and someday we might actually sell this house. Imagine that . . .

As I was making my bed this morning, arranging pillows et al, I noticed that one of them looked a little funny.

Can't see it? Here:

That, my friends, is the tip of a 2.0mm Crystal Palace Bamboo DPN; slightly bent, but really none the worse for wear.

For a while the baby had a penchant for nabbing whatever needles she could, and poking them into the pillows on the bed. I thought I had caught all of the ones she had played with . . . especially since I've napped on this pillow numerous times, and have never felt the slightest poke. Thank heavens! Those tips are rather pointy. I've been missing this needle for several months at least, and wondered where it could have gotten to (the other four are in my needle book.) Usually if needles go missing, it's in sets of two or four, which mean that they're in a WIP somewhere. So, I'm happy to say that my little 0's are now one complete & happy family again, and I don't need to fear losing a needle anymore. (I knit with 4 dpns, so a set of five means I have some insurance. ;o)

Along in the same vein, I've been thinking about cleaning--both in general and various specifics--and I remembered something that my SIL told me she learned in her church youth group back in her teens. (She's now in her mid-20's, and mom to my most adorable niece.) They were having an educational activity about how to keep things clean, and the rule that stuck in her head was this:

"Don't touch anything more than once."

So, instead of my habit of setting something down somewhere so I can "get to it later", if something is in her hand, she puts it away, saving herself from having to touch it again. Ditto for anything else out of place. It's the ordinary equivalent of Fly Lady's "Do It Now" principle. So, in cases like my craft closet, instead of tossing something in the pile growing up from the floor, I should put it in it's home, or make one for it.

Currently, this is the state of said closet:

Yep. Nice, eh? Here's another angle . . .

After careful consideration, I've decided that I don't mind those photos being in the Google archives for the rest of recorded history, since they'll be followed by much less chaotic versions. (Whether it's in this house, or wherever we move to, that stuff is going to be cleaned up.) I've decided that I need dedicated spaces for each of the hobbies represented in this closet: knitting, sewing, and scrapbooking. (I also have two small drawers full of cross stitch supplies, but I figure that can go in with the sewing stuff.) Wish me luck in figuring out from where said dedicated spaces will come--I have a couple of budding ideas, but none of them are very convenient at the moment, since they all involve partial storage in the basment (which is where most of the stash lives right now).

Any ideas for better use of the closet space?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Whoops. It's Monday, isn't it?

Today was kinda busy. ;o)

Today's spot is going to be short, and I'm not sure if I can find a place for you to listen to it online. (Check that. Gotta love YouTube. ;o) But, in honor of the way I'm trying to live my life, today's tune is "Throw It All Away" by Toad the Wet Sprocket. (Not small-time, not indie, but very good nonetheless. ;o) This is from Coil, my favorite album from Toad, closely followed by Assorted Rarities in Light Syrup. Fear, which had the two hits most of us remember from the mid-90's, Walk on the Ocean, and All I Want, was their least interesting endeavor. (Some critics have called it their effort to please their record label.) Those two are great tunes, but the rest of the album was pretty ho-hum, imo. I've got my eye on a couple more albums, but haven't sprung for them yet.

So, without further ado, here is today's tune:

Throw It All Away

Take your cautionary tales
Take your incremental gain
And all the sychophantic games
And throw 'em all away

Burn your tv in your yard
Gather round it with your friends
And warm your hands upon the fire
And start again

Take the story you've been sold
The lies that justify the pain
The guilt the weighs upon your soul
And throw 'em all away

Tear up the calendar you bought
Throw the pieces to the sky
Confetti falling down like rain
Like a parade to usher in your life
Take the dreams that should have died
The ones that kept you lyin' awake
When you should've been all right
And throw 'em all away

With the time I waste on the life I never had
I could've turned myself into a better man

'Cause there ain't nothing you can buy
And there is nothing you can save
To fill the hole inside your heart
So throw it all away
Won't fill the whole inside your heart . . .

Help me empty out this house
Of what I've gathered all these days
And thought I couldn't do without
And throw it all away

(What is it with these lyrics sites . . . why don't they ever use punctuation?)

Have a great week!

Grammar Gods, unite!

You are a GRAMMAR GOD!

Congratulations! If your mission in life is not already to preserve the English tongue, it should be. You can smell a grammatical inaccuracy from fifty yards. Your speech is revered by the underlings, though some may blaspheme and call you a snob. They're just jealous. Go out there and change the world.
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

That was fun. Well, after I got the result, that is. All during the quiz, I was wondering: "Am I right? Or have I been thinking I know what I'm doing with words all this time, but have been completely deluded?"

I'm really rusty (as I tire of explaining everything to my children over and over, so I've slipped into a simpler vocab for a while), but a little rich reading will help to clear that up. ;o) I've been called a wordsmith, a smart-alec, and plenty of other names over the history of my love affair with lanuage. Long story short, I just love it. I love words. And I love using them in all their beauty and quirkiness, and expressing what I really and truly mean.

I mean, really . . . why use a small word when a diminutive one works just as well? ;o)

Knitting vs. Sewing

Or, "Five Reasons Why I Like Knitting More Than Sewing".

1. Knitting is portable. (Just try taking your latest sewing project to a movie, or working quietly on it during a church service.)

2. Knitting has fewer steps before you get to see real progress.
  • Choose yarn & pattern.
  • Wind yarn (if necessary).
  • Check gauge (if you feel like it).
  • Cast on.
3. Knitting is much eaiser to undo. Whether tinking, frogging or dropping stitches, you just go back to where you fouled up, fix it, and get on with life. Even if you have to rip out an entire project 10% from completion, it all goes back into yarn, ready to be used again. Not so with sewing. Sure, you can rip seams (which I really hate to do--fiddly business, it is), but you're still stuck with pieces of fabric cut to a certain shape, which can be hard to use for something else. Even cut yarn can be joined in ways that are nearly undetectable. With fabric, a seam is a seam is a seam.

4. Knitting is can be restful. I can knit lying in bed, sitting comfortably somewhere, or during my walk. Sewing is back-breaking, neck-aching, tiring work most of the time. (Well, unless you have a special room, with a special table, ergonomic chairs, etc.)

5. Knitting takes very little special equipment. (And the special equipment it does require is little.) Sure, you can invest in all kinds of paraphernalia, but it's not really necessary. You can start knitting with about $20 in materials (or less), and keep things simple. Most people already have a chair in which to knit (well, unless you're me ;o), and lighting in their homes. No big cutting tables, large or heavy machinery. Now, there are knitters like this one, whose stash handily spanks that of a large yarn shop, but most of us can keep our knitting supplies, etc., easily in the space we have, even if it's small. Small space, that is. Yarn is small, and can be tucked in all types of convenient places.

So, why do you prefer knitting over another craft? Do blog about it, and then come tell me so I can see. ;o)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Three Things to Ponder

  1. Cows
  2. The Constitution
  3. The Ten Commandments


Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that during the mad cow epidemic our government could track a single cow, born in Canada almost three years ago, right to the stall where she slept in the state of Washington? And, they tracked her calves to their stalls. But
they are unable to locate 20 million illegal aliens wandering around our country.Maybe we should give each of them a cow.


They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq. Why don't we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it has worked for over 200 years, and we're not using it anymore.


The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments posted in a courthouse is this:
You cannot post 'Thou Shalt Not Steal,' 'Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery,' and 'Thou Shall Not Lie' in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians...It creates a hostile work environment.

--From a random forwarded email. Author Unknown.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Food for Educational Thought

A State of the Culture address on technology, education, and what happens when the two mix together long enough:

War of the Worlds: The Human Side of Moore's Law

I really enjoyed this Cringely piece, and will be back to read it again. Now, off to corral some munchkins who need to do some cleaning . . . wish me luck . . .

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Value of a Customer

I was reading a discussion over at Ravery, sparked by the question:

"What makes you hate a Local Yarn Shop?"

There was a long string of strange and awful stories, from being treated with complete indifference (not a sign from the employee/owner, even after a long browsing session), to being harassed from 2' from behind with a barrage of questions during the whole visit to the store. And the list goes on, and on, and on. I was amazed.

Whatever happened to "The Valued Customer"?

It seems that there are a lot of business owners out there who have forgotten one simple fact: without their customers (i.e. the people that come and give them their business), their businesses cannot exist.

In a market economy, money is the most valuable commodity. It is the most flexible, and offers the most freedom for the one who owns it. LYS owners need it, and customers have it. Or, if a customer doesn't have money to spend that day, the customer is a powerful source of advertising, whether good or bad. A customer is more than a pocketbook in your store--they're a walking, talking, emotive advertisement for your company, and you want to be sure that they work for you. Not against you. When a company has won my loyalty and business, I can't say enough good things about them, and am eager to send more business their way--not just because I want to help support the business, but because I know those who I refer will also have a great experience. And in today's world, that's a rare and precious thing. However, if a business mistreats me, or deals with me in less than an honest and upfront manner, I'm the first to warn others away from them, so as to spare another hapless consumer from the same experience.

With a husband who owns a company, it has been an interesting education, participating in many a discussion about customers, marketing, and all of their attendant subjects. Vern has studied a lot of other companies like his own, and many unlike his, and we've learned some fascinating things about what really makes businesses thrive, and what can kill them. Long story short: make your customers happy. It doesn't matter if you own a dollar store or something next door to Sak's. Your customers should be thrilled with their experience with your company. Period.

So, how does a business go about thrilling their customers?

The first one that often comes to mind is "Have a huge sale!" Saving your customers money is a wonderful thing, and one of my favorite traits in a company. But that can come in many different forms. It's not just lowering the initial price. It can be having a return policy like Land's End or REI: if you're not thrilled with your purchase at any point in your ownership thereof, you can return it for a full refund. I've returned things to Land's End that I've had for a couple of years that just haven't performed as I expected them to. (A failed zipper on a diaper bag comes to mind--it was a poor design and a lighter zipper than was really needed.) It can be not using a computer-controlled menu to "handle" incoming calls. (Man, I hate those!) Or making sure that your CS reps speak clear, concise English, and have the IQ necessary to handle customer issues.

The biggest way I've been thrilled with various businesses, though, is when they take the time to build a relationship with me--to know my face (if not my name), be happy to see me when I come in, and to make it clear that they're willing to do whatever they can to meet my needs. Case in point: there's a health food store here that I've been patronizing since shortly after we moved here. The owners are a husband and wife, (nearing retirement unfortunately), who have been running the little shop for decades. Bill, the owner, knows that cash in hand is far better than product on the shelves, and will special order just about anything he can get his hands on. He loves to deal in bulk (we get 25lb bags of rice and other staples there), and is a pleasure to work with. He still can't remember my name, after me showing up roughly weekly for the last six years, (his memory isn't what it used to be), but he sure knows my face and lights up every time I come in. Add to that the fact that his store has slightly better prices than anywhere else in town, and you've got an excellent establishment.

When it comes to my LYS, it's the same type of story as with the health food store. The employees and owner of the LYS are genuinely nice and friendly people. They enjoy their work, and are an excellent fit for the shop. They all have experience in their crafts (from fiber work to quilting and sewing), and all follow a basic set of good business policies. The store culture has been set up by the owner herself, and it is followed by those who work for her. They have a yarn discount day each week, (which I love!), so even though manufacturers can be really grouchy and communist in their pricing agreements (which only work against them, but they're just too short-sighted to see it), there are ways for less-than-affluent knitters such as myself to be able to knit with really nice fiber.

What it really comes down to is how the business thinks of its customers. If there's a basic culture of respect and decency, with some genuine kindness and basic mathematics mixed in, odds are that the business will be a real success. If a business is lacking in those things, then odds are that they'll survive (and if they're the only shop in town, maybe even do fairly well), but nobody will be glad they did.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Mondays are for Music: Andy Shelton

So, this week's music spot is filled by a fun guitarist by the name of Andy Shelton.* I've mentioned him before, but wanted to actually post the lyrics to one of his (or maybe I'll do two ;o).

Shelton's stuff appeals to me for several reasons. One, his lyrics are clever, and fun. "Fairytale" (listen here) makes me smile every time, and "Maria" (listen here) makes me laugh outright. (Just remember that there's a much lighter opinion of body fat south of the border. ;o) Two, the music is extremely well-done. It's entertaining, fits the lyrics, and spans a variety of styles. You've gotta love the gunfire and hispanic calls in "Maria". His blues stuff is lighthearted while he pokes fun at himself:

"They say when you lose your mind
you are the last to know.
Well I've been accused of not having much to lose
and I'm afraid it shows."

"I Still Got You"

And pieces like "The Preacher Man" (the song title on that page is a link to listen) hit to the heart of issues that have impacted him. (That one also hits close to something I find highly repugnant--those who use God's word for personal monetary gain.)

Last I knew, Shelton teaches music full-time, and so I'm not sure if he's planning on more albums in the near future.

So, here are the lyrics for today's song:

8th Avenue

He made his way down 8th avenue
With all the same buildings and faces he knew
Stepped to the side where he always sits down
Opened up his case, the city goes out around

And there he plays
Throw him a dime he will sing you the rhymes
Of a song that he made
About his life on a street where it's all the same
La da de day it's all the same

Now, he has visions that lift him off his feet
Of playing great big shows up on Market Street
But just as he dreams up the screaming crowd
He wakes up on 8th Avenue and sits back down

So there he plays
But there's no one around now to hear the sound
Of a song that he made
About his life on a street where it's all the same
La da de day it's all the same
But everything's about to change

He played his last song that afternoon
To a rock, a crack in the sidewalk, and a bird he knew
Then mentioned something about being late
Took a bow and said thanks, you've all been great

But I can't stay
I hope you don't mind for I have arranged
That a cold wind take my place
Now 8th avenue
Has never been the same
La da de day...

Lyrics (title is a link to listen)

Okay, and one more (this one wins for the "cute" factor):


Oh, I'm telling you,
she carried sunlight from the morning
down the sidewalks after noon.
My eyes were glued like to the ending of a story.
Cute as a fairytale
she could hail a bus on Broadway
but when I finally heard my cue
I forgot my line was: "Hello, nice to finally meet you."
Oh well.

Someday, she will know my name
If I'm not too late
Someday, before I'm old and gray

Here we go next day.

Same time, and I'll let you guess the place.
That's right it was the same. Good for you.
you must feel cooler than the rain in June.
Now quiet, here she comes.
Testing 1...2...ready...go. I yelled "Fairytale it's me!"
(Not out loud of course, are you kidding I'm not ready.)

Someday, she will know my name
If I'm not too late
Someday, before I'm old and gray
She will love me

Set your watches here she comes
3...2...1...oh c'mon, c'mon what's going on?
She used to be here by now
But now she's gone.
Looks like the chance I had I lost
But when I turned to crawl away
I heard her voice behind me say. . .

"Today, I'd like to know your name,
if I'm not too late.
Today, before I'm old and gray."

Today is the day she will love me
Today is the day she will love me
She will love me . . .

Today is the day.

Lyrics (Ditto)

Have fun!

*General note: I don't like the parody reviews at Shelton's site, since they're not things I would tell my kids, or let them read. (They're not things I like to read, either; but I'm pretty selective about that kind of stuff. Bidets and reviews by proctologists just don't amuse me, I guess.) I wanted to let that be known, since I have linked to the site where they are, and didn't want to be seen as wholly endorsing everything over there.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Mondays are for Music

In our culture, music is a funny thing. Reserved for those with the approval stamp of the big-time, or those who have somehow garnered the title "musician" or "singer", most Americans are literally petrified at the thought of making music. One of my biggest pet peeves is how making music has been taken away from individuals, from communities, and awarded to those anointed by big media.

I'm a musician. I've had years of training, and have put a lot of effort into it. Many people have told me I'm talented, or that I have a gift. But it's not that. I'm a person--no more or less valuable in the eyes of God than anyone else. I have strengths and weaknesses (boy howdy, do I ever), and loves and dislikes. What makes me different from people who turn strange colors and lose the ability to speak when asked to make music of their own is simply that I love it. Wholly, unabashedly, completely and passionately. I love music--for all of it's power and subtleties, nuances and surprises. It has been a vehicle for my sanity for decades now, and I've only just completed my third here on earth. I had plenty of red-faced moments when I first attempted to actually perform or accompany, but it's something that can be conquored--even by a shy, socially awkward and unpopular, poor farmer's daughter.

There is an organizational power to music, working on a cellular, and even energetic, level in the human body. Studies have shown that music with a heavy and slow beat (such as rap) can retard the human heart, rousing powerful aggression while deadening the emotions. Music employing counterpoint has been used in the classroom during tests and math lessons, increasing the students' ability to both learn and apply the lesson material.

When hideously nauseaus with my second pregnancy, I belonged to a women's a capella chorus in the Sweet Adeline International organization. Making it to the evening rehearsal was difficult, but I made it most weeks. One week in particular I had made it there, but by the end was too tired and icky to sing. The director closed the evening's work with everyone singing "Friends", standing in a circle. I pulled up a stool and sat in the circle, closed my eyes and let the sound literally work its way through my entire body. As I listened to the consonant harmony, and felt the reverberation of the music, the nausea abated, replaced with a feeling of well-being and and energy that I hadn't felt in months. It amazed me.

Being a wordsmith adds a fun dimension to music . . . clever, moving or funny lyrics are the crowning glory of really good music to me. That's what prompted me to share Cheri Magill's song late last week, and what has sparked Mondays are for Music. (It's a terribly blasé title, I know. Maybe one of you can come up with something better. ;o) On Mondays, I'm going to post the lyrics and a link to some of my favorite pieces of music. Most of the artists I really enjoy aren't big-time RIAA darlings, and I believe are the better for it. Today's band has a short-term RIAA record label deal in their past--but they produced several albums independently first, and made the decision to sign with a label in order to open doors that had been shut to them before. Like the Dave Matthews band, Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band came to the record company with a completed album, and set a lot of their own terms to the deal. They have since signed a new deal with an independent record label, one not tied to the RIAA. You can listen to most of their music at by clicking on the "Jukebox" link. You can select any album, and any song, listed. My kind of musicians. ;o)

And with that little intro, here is today's song. (One that harks back to my rural upbringing, surrounded by large cities in California. It's music with country elements, a fun beat, and mostly spoken rather than sung.)
Banjo Boy

I want to be a rock star and travel really far and buy me a big expensive car.
And make lots of money and find me a honey
And live in a nice big house where it's sunny
With a pool and I'll be cool
I'll always have a gig 'cause I'll be big
I'll have parties and friends and places to go
The only problem is
I play the banjo

I'm a post hee-haw mover
A funkadelic punk rock groover
A cross between Bela Fleck and Eddie Veddar but better
I'll win a Grammy for the way I pick
I'll be an instrumental monster with tons of new licks
And all the babes will love me, sell out shows
The only problem is
I play the banjo

2 x I play the banjo, play the banjo
Play the banjo, I play the banjo

Hear me boys, hear my rhyme
I'm Picking on the banjo all the time
Hear me boys, hear my song
Picking on the banjo all day long
I say pick it

I'll have a leer jet and a limousine
And everywhere I go my fans will scream
"Hey banjo boy we love you
I wish that we could all play the banjo too"
And you'll see me on the TV talk show
With Dave and Conan and Jay Leno
The only problem is
I play the banjo

2 x I play the banjo, play the banjo
Play the banjo, I play the banjo

You oughtta see my kids dance to this one. ;o) Have a great Monday!!!

Friday, March 7, 2008

A thought for the day.

Brought to you by Cheri Magill, one of my favorite indie artists. She's a strong, clear example of finding your way between the anti-woman stance of so many feminists and the old-school subjugation. You can listen to it here.

Bulletproof Dress

The sidewalk's cracked and crammed with busy people.
I am distracted by the world I see.
The neon lights, the billboards and the windows
I try to find the message they send me.

Now, magazines gonna tell you what you got to have,
that your self=esteem's gonna come from the clothes that you wear
The tv screen's gonna tell you you could be more slender
so you can live your dream by spending like a millionaire


WIth the need to impress we being to obsess
We chase down success, yeah, we only regress
In this world i confess, to find true happiness
a girl has got to invest . . .
in a bulletproof dress.

Got to deflect all the petty propaganda
Got to protect yourself form jaded ejalousy
Got to defend yourself from silly scandals
Got to ascend to higher ground so you can see

Chorus x 2

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Licensing Terms

Designer Series, Part 3.

So, now that the licensing genie has been let out, how do we best use this powerful tool to help our businesses? There are two sides to every story, and licensing is a two-edged sword.

From the designer's viewpoint, being able to closely control how a pattern is used seems like a good thing.

But from many customers' point of view, it's not such a grand thing. There are some who don't mind at all being limited to how they can use a pattern, but there are more who won't buy a pattern with strict limitations. The industry-standard for a long time has been that the sewing pattern makers don't want you basing a clothing manufacturing business on their home-sale patterns, but people who sew things at home and sell them haven't been harrassed.

I've traded a few emails with both McCalls and Butterick, and the basics of their official story are that they won't tell me I can sell things I make from their patterns because that "would be an endorsement of the practice", but they specifically did not say that it was illegal to do so, despite their statement "For Home Use Only" on each pattern. Then I was instructed that if I have any other questions I should contact a copyright attorney. So, interpreted into plain language, it's not illegal (because if it was, they'd have told me straight out I couldn't do it), but they're not going to tell me I can do it. I asked another question or two, and they went back to the attorney answer. Which is a weak one. It means "We don't want to tell you the truth of the matter because we don't want you to do what's legal."

So, if a statement "For Home Use Only" (or "For Personal Use Only") at the bottom of a purchased pattern isn't legally binding, where does that leave a designer? Selling licenses--not patterns. You sell a legal right to use your pattern, which includes permission to reproduce the pattern for that purpose, but which does not include the ownership of that reproduction.

When you decide to sell licenses to your patterns, instead of selling patterns, you come upon a couple of bumps in the road.

  • First, crafters aren't accustomed to buying permission to use something (as opposed to buying ownership of the thing itself). When you put as much time and sweat and love into something like a knitted garment, not fully owning it rankles (some knitters more, and some less).
  • Second, crafters are often a frugal bunch. They like to be able to really get their money's worth. Buying a pattern license for $8-$15 so they can knit according to a strict set of regulations will chafe, especially if the licensing terms limit the number of times the pattern may be knit.
  • What's worse, because it is likely an unpopular approach, it's bound to meet with resistance and violation of the license agreement. This introduces conflict and animosity between the pro-licensing and the pro-ownership camps, not to mention lots of coercive innuendos on the topics of ethics and the moral character of opposing sides.
There is definitely a segment of the knitting/crafting community who aren't bothered by such restrictions and higher expenses--but there are just as many (if not more) who do. With the market exploding as it is, new designers popping up all over the place with their offerings (often really great ones), the competition for pattern purchases will grow. Avenues like Ravelry are excellent for finding new knitting options, and free patterns abound.

Since the idea in marketing something in a horizontal market* is to widen your customer base as much as possible (thereby increasing your potential sales), narrowing your market by annoying the customer unduly doesn't seem wise.

*A horizontal market is one which targets a lower-priced commodity to a large segment of the population. A vertical (or niche) market is one which offers highly-priced commodities to a very small segment who really need it (and have the money to spend). Knitting patterns are a horizontal market commodity, while business software (which can retail in the $10,000/license range) is often part of a vertical market.

The Sock Curse Strikes


Tuesday night I took some of my new-favorite boot sock yarn (Cascade 200, believe it or not) some needles and my nifty scale to knit night, and set to starting on a pair of socks for myself that I'd actually finish. I got the skein split (have I mentioned lately that I adore my scale?), and started in on a 5st/in winter sock.

After a rocky start (I was making it up as I went along, following basic sock-building principles and obeying gauge law, which meant I had to rip out the toe a few times), it began to shape up rather nicely.

I was really happy with the toe . . .

. . . and the beaded rib pattern added some visual interest without requiring reading a chart every round. (My instep makes it look wonky in the photo, but it's really verry nice-uh.)

I turned the heel without untoward incident this afternoon (despite the munchkins' best efforts to distract me) . . . and then I noticed something looked a little bit, well, odd.

Despite trying the thing on multitudinous times, and paying proper homage to the gauge gods . . . well, here, I'll show you . . .

It's huge. It would easily fit my grandmother, who wears a size 11 wide. I'm a scant 10 medium, sometimes a 9.5. I would finish this pair and offer them to her, except that she hates bulky socks, and wouldn't like these at all. Sigh. Someday I'm going to manage to score a sock knitting machine and knit her a whole wardrobe of fine-gauge socks. She has the hardest time finding socks that don't make her legs swell because she's just got bigger feet and ankles than everyone else.

I can't just rip back the heel and make it start sooner, because the instep would still be too roomy. How it got too roomy between fitting pretty well over the toe and early part of the foot and the heel is beyond me--the gauge is the same all along the sock, at 5.5st/in. I swatched and planned on 5st/in, followed a pattern in Sensational Knitted Socks (which I also adore), got a tighter gauge than planned, but somehow still managed to get a sock that's too big.

Well, at least it's knit in worsted, and it won't take me all that long to knit it again . . . especially since I'm not sleeping much past 5am these days. Gotta love those aching joints courtesy of the last trimester . . .

Monday, March 3, 2008

The mail is here! The mail is here! OOOoooooo . . .

My Pure Wool arrived today! Hooray!

I remembered ordering five skeins, but I had actually ordered six. What a pleasant surprise. :o) Here are the colorways, from top left to bottom right:

Paulina, Margarite, Camaleon (it has a label, otherwise I wouldn't have recognized it), Praia, Colonia, Paraiso.

The skeins above are as they came, and below is how they are now--un-twisted, snapped, and re-twisted into more relaxed skeins. I think they're skeined up very tightly for shipping, but there's no need to stress the merino out now that it has reached it's home.

The colors are far, far more vibrant and intense IRL than they were at the Pure Wool website. That's definitely something to keep in mind. At the website, as you can see from the linkage, the colors are more sophisticated than what I actually received. Well, with the exception of maybe the Paulina and Paraiso. Those are pretty close.

However, I knew going into this that I was liable to buy yarn that didn't look even close to what I thought I was getting, and decided that was okay with me.

It's marvellously nice stuff, and is going to make some gorgeous soakers and longies for Bub #5.

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