Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Our Happiness Make A-long 2017 Update

My four Progress, Hope, and Happiness designs:
 Jewels of the NajadsStars Fell on Yellowstone Cowl,
A Force for Good Capelet, and Stone's Clutch. All of
them are available, along with all of my other single
patterns, for purchase during today's Solstice Flash sale.
Well, everyone, we are about half way through our Ravelry-hosted make a-long (MAL if you're into acronyms), and makers are working on and through the 14 designs in the collection. We celebrated Worldwide Knit in Public Day with some awesome photos and a little yarny give-away, and now we are at the height of summer - the solstice! If you haven't yet checked out our make a-long group, now would be a great time, as we are having all kinds of fun over there for the next 24 hours. Really. I won't spill all the beans, but the fun includes a huge flash sale for most of the 10 designers!!!! If you want some quick summer makes plus are into saving your precious cash, check the group out, hit the bundle with all of the participating designs, and link to each of the designers' individual Ravelry stores and get while the getting is good!

I am working on, or have completed, several of the designs and I am enjoying each making experience. I completed a quick Jewels of the Najads bracelet for my summer fun swap package recipient (and have heard from her that she likes it very much); I am almost done with a winter version of Stars Fell on Yellowstone Cowl (photo of which, just prior to starting the edging, you can see to the left); on Worldwide Knit in Public Day I started a mohair version of a Lilith Stole for myself, and I will be working on a few other things before this along is over and done. I have no idea if I will get everything completed prior to the deadline, but since two items are model thank-you's, I am hoping to speed through their projects in record time (at least record time for moi).

Makers from all over (U.S., Canada, Australia, and Germany, at minimum) are working on multiple projects. I hope you will join us and make some summer happiness for yourself!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Progress, Hope, and Happiness Collection Launch Day Has Arrived!

It felt like this day would never come, but here it is - the launch of the 2017 Summer Progress, Hope and Happiness Collection. Hold on to your making sticks and hooks, because this collection is a stunner, even if I do say so myself!

As I write this, I am just a wee bit teary-eyed. I started this collection's process on January 1 of this year with a world-wide indie dyer submission call. That was followed by a designer call. The 14 indie artists that responded (5 dyers and 9 designers) have absolutely gone above and beyond anything I could have imagined. From all corners of the globe, we huddled in an off-line forum at all hours of the day and night and hashed out myriad details. We commiserated with each other, overcame technology snafus, and (mostly) met self-imposed deadlines with grace and good humor. We gathered prizes, put together a Ravelry group for a world-wide #happinessmakealong2017 event, got makers to actually join the group without even seeing one design beforehand, and now are here at launch day. It feels like winning the Boston Marathon and the Tour de France at the same time.

And it fills me with joy to know that artists around the world came together with good will and some amazing ideas and never once threatened to take their respective toys and leave the sandbox. This collection is my heart - and I cannot be more proud to have designs shown alongside each of these nine fellow designers and made with these awesome indie-dyed custom colorways. Our #happinessmakealong2017 group can be found here on Ravelry. We will be making these designs, all of which can be purchased on Ravelry in each designer's respective pattern store, between June 1 - July 16. There will be surprises. There will be yarny (and other) prizes. Most importantly, there will be a shared, world-wide maker community. I hope you will join us!

Without further ado, here is the 2017 Progress, Hope, and Happiness Collection look-book:

Monday, April 24, 2017

More on Progress, Hope, and Happiness

When I conceived the underlying dyer and designer submission calls for the upcoming Progress, Hope, and Happiness collection and its corresponding worldwide happiness makealong (to commence June 1 on Ravelry!), I wanted it to be an artistic response to the political contraction happening globally. No matter how politically heavy and stifling Brexit and the U.S. election of Trump as president may feel, I firmly believed it is a mere momentary blip in a trend that has been occurring for hundreds (and some might argue) even thousands of year.

I am a designer and artist who has found her artistic stride later in life. My first love was (in case a few of you reading this might not be aware) books. Fiction and the written word has held immense power for me - if you want to understand human motivation, look no further than your nearest, best book of fiction. Good fiction has the power to show us the reality of life much more succinctly than the real thing. So it is no accident that listening to an NPR interview with the writer Mohsin Hamid provided just the right perspective on and put a voice to my feelings about our worldwide political climate. His take: look at the expansion of borders and mix of culture in the U.S. since its founding days, with the original colonies clustered on one coast, in just a little more than 200 years. This is what will continue to occur around the world in the next 200 years, no matter the momentary blips to the contrary.

Of course this moment in the U.S. is not without recent historical precedent - we need look only to 9/11 to see our first shot across the contraction bow. Remember all the promise of the new millenium? I remember how excited I was back in 2000 at all the social progress and potential I felt and saw all around me, and then 2001 happened. Both personally, and as a U.S. citizen, I felt my world get just a teeny bit smaller. At the time, though, all I could do was respond in the best way I knew how: create an environment of safety. 

As Hamid suggests, however, the answer lies in living lives of courage, which I see now means placing a priority on finding like-minded people who live lives of expansion. That is my act of courage. This upcoming collection and maker event is the outward manifestation of that courageous act. I cannot wait to present this collection. I cannot tell you how full this whole process has made me feel. Yes, it is a lot of work, but it has not ever felt like a burden, just a happy assignment. 


And, so, speaking of fun things not at all burdensome, it is once again time for the 2nd annual Indie Dyer and Designer Summer Fun Swap. This year's name: Choose your Favorites, and the rules this year allow swap participants to choose what some of their package contents will be (in a general manner of speaking). All of the rules, as well as sign-up information, can be found in the D+D Summer Fun Swap Ravelry group. Indie dyers and designers who want to get in on the fun and swap with their professional buddies (and hopefully make some lasting social connections in a non-competitive environment) can sign up between now and Sunday, May 7th.

I hope to see all you indies there!