Friday, June 12, 2020

Getting Ready for a Collection Launch In This Most Amazing Time

I have been working since the beginning of the year on this year's Progress, Hope, & Happiness collection which will, all forces willing, launch June 26 - two Fridays from now. To say it has been a roller coaster of a ride would be an understatement; what has been my saving grace is coordinating and working alongside an impressive group of indie dyers and designers.

Of course we all know about COVID-19 and our world-wide lockdown. What many may not know is that the lockdown affected mail ... well, ok, at least I did not, until I and another dyer tried sending yarn support around the world. For both of us, packages either just flat-out did not arrive, or it took, literally, months for the designers to receive.

Then, one of our indie designers actually contracted the virus and in the whirlwind hospitalization and isolation, could not let any of us know. While I am so glad to report she is out of the hospital, out of home quarantine post-hospitalization, and now back with her family, she is still catching up on her designing schedule. To add insult to injury, that same designer also, in the last two weeks, had a major death in the family.

Of course, our initial focus - Tokyo - was chosen because of it's Olympic world stage. Yes, and we all know what happened to that.

And, since all roller coaster rides must rise after a death-defying drop, one of our indie dyers also gave birth to a beautiful baby girl!  Mom and child are doing fine, now.

Through all of this (and the behind the scenes logistics have been super busy this year), I have managed to start a new Instagram feed just for the Progress, Hope, & Happiness collection, complete with a spiffy new Linktree that contains links to all of the past collections (if you'd like to go down indie dyer + designer lane), coordinate designers and dyers from around the world, including two new-to-the-collections' designers (from New Zealand and Canada, respectively), start my own small indie dyer business (the soft opening of the yarns which can be viewed and purchased here in my online Big Cartel shop - it's soft because I will still be adding bases between now and collection launch, and then colorways are limited to my first six), all while working on my own knit and crochet designs for the collection, using both my yarns as well as one of my fellow indie dyer's yarns.

When I say that I can see the finish line and it feels incredible, I am not kidding! However, to work alongside such an incredible group of dyers and designers has truly been life-affirming. Since one of this year's designers also happens to be black, it has been my privilege to center her experiences and words (as well as other black designers and crafters) over the last few weeks. It goes without saying (and should be evident to anyone who has read and followed this blog for any length of time) that I stand with black lives - they have always mattered. Full stop.

In case anyone should doubt the ability of a group of women to come together and just slay a project, let me put that doubt permanently to rest. I am so grateful for this group of independent and creative minds who have provided critical and valuable input throughout this collection's process. I hope I have created an environment that lets them know that when they speak up, I listen and make adjustments accordingly. I have always tried to foster such an environment throughout all the previous collections, but this year it definitely seems to have solidified. 

View this post on Instagram

Alright my making friends, our first yarn prizes give-away has been announced in our #Ravelry group! If you look at the brand spanking new linktree in this insta feed bio, you will see the Ravelry group link (and you can stroll down past look books Lane and see some of the amazing yarns and designs from previous years). All the deets are on Ravelry, and you will need to be a Ravelry group member in order to be eligible to win. That, and clicking the Insta love buttons on any of this year's dyers" new colorways with our #happinessmakealong2020 hashtag, is all you need to do in order to be in on a great yarn prize! #crochetersaroundtheworld #knittersofravelry #knittersaroundtheworld #crochetinspiration #blackgirlscraft #blackgirlsknit #blackgirlscrochet

A post shared by Denise Voie de Vie (@progresshopehappiness) on

Right now we have a prize challenge going on Instagram - click through to the above post, start clicking some love for our dyers' yarns, and definitely make certain you follow the collection's feed as well as join our Ravelry group! I hope you will take these next two weeks and follow as our designers complete their behind-the-scenes efforts and our dyers' launch their amazing new colorways created specifically for this collection. 

In a world that is going through so much upheaval, loss, and grief, this creative endeavor, and these creative designers and dyers, have been a real bright spot for me, and I thank my lucky stars its been here. 

Saturday, March 21, 2020

A Little Dusty But Not Forgotten

Well, my making and artistic friends, it's been a while since I have written a blog post, and by the looks of the few spam remarks I have received (and now deleted), it seems I need to start paying more attention. I sigh, because, like, why???? 

In any event, I have been extremely busy since ... well ... like fall of last year, and then COVID-19 hit and while I am still busy, the forced physical distancing has actually provided an opportunity for me to now catch up on my social media. If this is the way to communicate with others at the moment, then I will make the most of it, as I have been attempting to do with this blog for many years now.

Of course, when the going gets tough, makers get going on new projects! Despite all of the other designing tasks on my plate, I started a new project for moi late last week:

This will become my very own Tweedy Origami Cardi and I cannot wait to finish it! I am farther along than that initially snapped Instagram photo, so things are moving along. I am really trying to upgrade my wardrobe, and I made a commitment to myself at the beginning of the year that for anything new I purchased, I would make one thing to go with it. I purchased some pants back in January, so this is one of the tops I will use to create an outfit. I have so, so, so, many things I want to make for myself. Seriously, there really is just not enough time. NOTE: get a load of my Insta comment - I thought we'd be social distancing for 10 days - what a pipe dream that was!!!! 

I hope everyone is busily working on a project that brings them joy, in an environment that is healthy, with enough snacks to keep it all interesting. I know the news makes it seem like we will never get through this, but we will. When we do, all the makers and artists are going to re-enter the world with a force, just everyone wait. Even now, as I write this, artists are taking to social media in unprecedented and unique ways. This pandemic is forcing us to re-evaluate what is (and indeed who are) societally important. I hope we learn this lesson well and deeply. 

Peace out (and d.on't hoard the toilet paper, man!).

Monday, January 20, 2020

Another Day "On" is Marked

"True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice." 

Quoted in Let the Trumpet Sound : A Life of Martin Luther
King, Jr (1982) by Stephen B. Oates

I have used the above quote in a previous blog post commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and it remains as relevant as ever at the beginning of this new year and decade. At a time when some are still fighting to be treated with dignity on public transportation:


I never take my privilege for granted. I was involved in a service project today, and it filled me with happiness to see so many showing up in my community (many with their small children in tow) to mark all that MLK, Jr.'s work stood for.

Of course, as Bernice King talked about today, it cannot only be about just one day, right? I have been involved in a long-term service project, and trust me when I tell you it is difficult to show up every day and do emotionally difficult work, but I do so precisely because it is difficult, despite my white, cisgendered privilege (though, as a female, gender equity remains unfinished business, but that's for another day). 

I hope each of you commemorated today in a way most relevant for you. Never take your own privilege for granted, yet never give up hope that one day we all will sit in the privileged seat.