Thursday, November 30, 2017

An Open, Gifty Letter to Mason-Dixon Knitting

Dear Ann and Kay:

I am a big fan of Mason-Dixon Knitting, and especially of Kay. While I've not yet met Ann, I have met Kay: at the very first VKLive show in New York City, way back when I was an event volunteer and hadn't yet published my first design, or had any inkling that I would, as an independent designer, be involved in the Indie Designer Gift-a-long. In fact, there were only a handful of conversations that entire long, exhausting New York City weekend that I remember, and Kay's was one of them. She and I had an authentic exchange in which she really listened to my answers to her questions. I have gone on to follow Kay on social media, with continued real exchanges, I am happy to report.

So imagine my surprise when up pops on the MDK site a declaration that an event, which has been occurring for the past five years on Ravelry, is now on (at minimum, in Virginia), according to Ann and Kay. My brow continues to be furrowed: they used "giftalong" in big, bold letters at the head of the post. In the comments, when the first commenter noted that such an event has been taking place for the last five years, Ann's quick response of "What's Ravelry?" complete with wink, as well as her further response that "... intimate, tiny giftalongs ..." were more their thing, can only lead to one conclusion: they are well aware of the Indie Designer Giftalong, and instead of joining in (because that takes a little advance planning, and as Ann has intimated in one of her further comment responses, she might be a little light on the pre-planning stuff), they have decided to ride the Indie Designer Giftalong's coattails.

Now, I firmly believe that there's more to it than just merely sliding along. At least that's what I am telling myself, based on the strength of my previous interactions with Kay. The Indie Designer Giftalong was conceived at this particular time of year as a way to celebrate independent knit and crochet designers not only together as a designer group, but also alongside makers who, let's face it, make things at this time of year (no matter if the gift is early, late, or right on time). Heck, I even started my own event during this past summer as a way to counteract all the contraction happening on both sides of the pond, and I specifically held it in summer (along with a completely new name and a distinct hashtag all its very own) as a way to continue to interact with my fellow indie designers (as well as indie dyers) in an atmosphere that wouldn't compete with the already-well-established holiday event. I further note that Kay was kind enough to give the summer event a mention on MDK, so I know that how today's MDK post looks cannot be the whole story. Really. It cannot.

So, as a fellow (albeit northern) pasty white indie designer chic I would, with the utmost respect and in line with this season of miracles, make one simple request: please reframe just the beginning of today's MDK post so that it doesn't appear the way it looks? Do please make gifts with your followers. Absolutely give away prizes (and hey, I can point you both in the right direction if you'd like to donate some of those MDK Field Guides as prizes in the Indie Designer Giftalong, because I know they would be well-received by any maker). Show compassion for makers who decide at the last minute they want to make gifts. Use an Instagram hashtag with "MDK" at the beginning of giftalong (because, of course, the five-year-strong Indie Designer Giftalong event cannot stop you). Just please honor the above simple request and show that organizing and working on gifts at this time of the year is more than mere competitive sport. 

Because, at the end of the day, don't we have enough competitive sport from a certain big, white, house in D.C.? I believe it's about cooperation, and I sincerely hope you both do, too.

Thank you.

P.S. - I write this open letter in my singular capacity as an independent crochet and knit designer, and not on behalf of the Indie Designer Giftalong. I do note that I am a moderator, as well as a participating indie designer, in that event.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

To Help With Gift Decisions

The link to my sale designs is right here.
We are less than a week into this year's Indie Designer Gift-a-along, and I feel like we are all on overload with all of the amazing design choices. So, to help everyone out, here are some helpful links:

The Ravelry GAL sale bundle is here - all 100+ pages worth!
The 2017 Indie GAL designer bundle is here. One can search by designer name (and that's how the bundle is organized), or one can search by designs.

Here's the majority of the yarn
I'll be using for my blanket
throw-down with Amy van de
Laar. There wasn't enough
room for the purples; I also
have an old blanket WIP that
I'm frogging to get the colors
from it, since they are exactly
what I need for this project.
This is, however, the first year that we are not utilizing category-specific Pinterest boards. There are some (like yours truly) who really do like a visual road map, but something more manageable than hundreds of pages worth of designs. So, I have gone through the entire sale bundle and teased out those designs (mostly) from 2017 that appealed to me, and created a curated Pinterest board of my own right here.

I am now tucking into the making gifts part of this whole thing, and even though I've purchased a few patterns, my shopping cart remains bulging. I'm planning on making and gifting a Fenton Glass Cowl, a Zahar Shawl, and a Chic Mega Cowl. I also want to make a Chic Mega Cowl for myself, time willing. I also picked up the design that I am currently obsessed with, the Rhythmical Lines Cowl. Additionally, I am in a crochet blanket throw-down with Amy van de Laar over at Baroque Purls. We've both picked out designs from the awesome Amanda Perkins, and we're getting all our duckie yarn skeins in a row. I don't know if we'll finish our respective blankets, so stay tuned.

I hope everyone has started in on their gift-making and -giving. I also need to find more time so I can finish decorating my digs for the holiday season.

In addition to other knit and crochet designs, here's my biggest wishes right now:

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

And the Official Holiday Gift Making Is On

And here it is - we are off and running in the 2017 Indie Designer Gift-a-long!!!!

You can find all of my sale designs here for your gift-making and pattern-giving needs. And just in case you may be interested - there are over 300 additional indie knit and crochet designers participating, each of which has a sale bundle of their very own for you to find just the thing you're looking for.

'Tis the season to GAL in 2017 - fa la la la la!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, just one more day until the indie design gifting madness begins!!!!!

We have been working super hard behind the scenes to make this 5th anniversary Gift-a-long the best yet. More total designs, more designs on sale the first week, more prizes, and definitely more fun.

Over 8,000 people in the dedicated Ravelry group alone cannot be wrong, right?

See you tomorrow at 8:00 pm EST. I'll be there with my hooks and sticks and yarn.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

In Between

It has been quite some time since the end of #SlowFashionOctober, and I have been busier than a bee with design stuff and the upcoming gift-giving maker event planning, that I have not had an opportunity to update the blog. Well, consider it time right now.

Initially, I want to thank each of the makers who worked up items right alongside me during my Flyings Sticks + The Poncho Escapade a-long. As evidenced from a sampling of the finished pieces, we indeed completed some lovely projects - and ponchos were definitely the item of choice. There was also a lovely mix of neutrals and jewel tones, which made for really outstanding looking finished items. I personally was really thrilled that two makers from the Southern hemisphere were in the maker mix. While almost all of the projects were crocheted (yah!), one person completed a knit project she had been working on for a while - you'll see her lovely orange version of the Coleman Embossed Muffler in the top right corner of the collage. It's worked up in the same yarn as the original sample, Lost City Knits' Twin Canyon Merino/Silk in the pretty penny colorway. It looks fantastic with that jean jacket, doesn't it? One of my Ravelry group moderators completed two versions of the Mixlace Poncho, one of which is in the collage (bottom left collage photo). Those colors look so stunning on her - she's going to gift one of them, and I hope it's not that one.

I completed a second sample of the Mixlace Poncho (seen above at right) in Knit Picks' Chroma Twist Bulky (which happens to be on sale right now, go figure!). I liked the colorways, and it was quite fine worked up, but quite honestly not as soft and cozy as the Lion Brand Scarfie used in the original sample. This second sample became the one photographed for my self-released version of the design, now that my rights have reverted back to me. 

Additionally, I worked up a Quimby Hooded Cover-up for moi, moi, moi. I love how the colors turned out and am super thrilled with the final piece. I am also about 1/2 of a sleeve and trim away from finishing up an Aviatrix Pullover in deep blue. As soon as that gem is done, I will provide photos. I really want to wear it now so, hopefully, very soon.

I must say I am pleased at how October has evolved to become my go-to month for me making. It is a perfect time of the year to spiff up one's wardrobe with handmade things. Well, ok, I suppose that could be every month for me!

And now that we are well into November, I am thrilled to let everyone know that I once again will be a participating designer in the Indie Gift-a-long hosted on Ravelry. Every year for the past five years (yes, it's the GAL's five year anniversary!), independent knit- and crochet-wear designers band together and bring all of their awesome designs to makers who make gifts-a-plenty for those worthy of handmade at the holidays. This will be my fourth year as a participating designer, third as a group moderator. We've been making lists and checking them twice now since the beginning of the month, so that the big participating designer reveal (set for next Tuesday, November 21st, at 8:00 pm EST) will be the best it can. You can check out the Ravelry Indie GAL group (with currently over 7,500 members, and growing!); also check out the GAL's Instagram account, where we have already posted our hashtag challenge prompts throughout the six weeks of gift-making. We've already started the GAL countdown there, too. 

This is my favorite time of the year for a reason, folks. I hope to see each of you there.