Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Another Winter Games, Another Ravellenic Team

My team's badge for the upcoming South Korean Winter
Games. In order for my lame pun to work, I had to
invoke Seoul instead of Pyeongchang. What can I say?
Yes, it is that time again. Time for improbable Jamaican bobsledding, death-defying skeleton, glitter and drama on the ice, and of course … curling – yup, the Winter Games are almost here, all the way from South Korea.

Once again, I will be fielding a wee Ravellenic team, within which I will be focusing on completing projects still in progress that so need to just be done. I have captured three of them in the quickly snapped photo below, but believe me, if I have time, there are a few more I will attempt to whip through. My handmade wardrobe (as well as my spirit) needs a serious infusion of completed items! Of course, I also will be releasing, at the end of the month, a mini-collection to celebrate the games, of which I am also rather proud and excited.

Three of my works-in-progress that I am determined
to complete during the upcoming three weeks of
South Korean fun (from l-r): a beginning
Bomber-inspired Hoodie Vest, a
Tunisian Meets Tartan Bag, and a Cozy Chic Cardigan.
Since this is my second time fielding a team, I thought some deeper background and context might be in order. (For a round-up of my previous blog posts on all things Olympic Games and Ravelry, feel free to go here, here, and/or here. It is clear I need to come up with a more consistent manner of keyword use.) Ravelry is a social networking site that has been involved in indirectly supporting, through craft participation, the worldwide modern Olympiad movement pretty much since the site’s inception over a decade ago. Every two years individual teams form under a general Ravellenic umbrella to challenge participants to rise to their own respective, self-described crafting challenges (which, for me, is completing those pesky WIPs). Teams can form around virtually any theme or common interest – designer (in my case), yarn dyer, favorite program or movie, geographic location – you name it. We compete mostly for the glory of working on our own respective challenge in a supportive atmosphere … and a digital medal and perhaps a few yarny prizes (but they are not mandatory).  Participants also watch a lot of Games competition and coverage. While there is no way to measure the viewership with any amount of accuracy, I will flat out tell you that, at least for opening and closing ceremonies (which equates to our mass cast-on/project beginning, as well as crafting right up to the extinguishing of the flame), I firmly believe that our mass, worldwide viewership makes a small, yet significant, increase in the overall numbers.

I confidently state the above, correlating finished projects with viewership hours as proof. While the finished project tally for all participants (teams as well as individuals – one need not be affiliated with a team to participate in the Ravelry event) is still unknown for this year, the event’s track record is pretty impressive: combining the finished object numbers for the five previous games, Ravelry members have completed approximately 65,000 individual projects. Yes, you read that correctly – approximately 65,000! The 2012 Games participation set the high water mark, with just under 17,000 completed projects, with 2014 coming in a close second with over 15,000 maker finished pieces. And, in case you were interested, as of this writing there are over 115 teams officially registered with more to come before the close of official Ravelry team registry on January 26.

As you may (or may not) expect, Ravelry’s support of the Games has not been without controversy. Most notably, in 2012 Ravelry received a cease and desist letter from the USOC (United States Olympic Committee) with regard to the event’s former name. While Ravelry did ultimately change the event name, it wasn’t before not one, but two, USOC apologies were issued. Perhaps that might account for the highest number of completed projects in 2012 – there’s nothing like a little controversy to stir up the maker pot.

In the end, I am a Winter Games junkie. I have been watching them since I was a little kid and my Ravelry activities just makes an enjoyable event even more enjoyable. If you’d like to join my team and make a Voie de Vie design, do feel free to head on over to my Ravelry group and tell us what you’d like to make.

Of course, you might do well to wait until the end of the month to see what new designs I reveal in the upcoming mini-collection. Just saying.



Monday, January 15, 2018

Martin Luther King, Jr.: On Self-Importance and Fools

We are, in the United States, once again celebrating the anniversary of the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr.

I have commemorated the civil rights leader twice previously on the blog. However, since this year - 2018 - marks the 50th anniversary of the civil rights leader's assassination, I wanted to dig a little deeper, so I went to my personal library to see just how many publications reference, in one way or another, MLK, Jr. Of course one would expect to find him in history books dealing with the relevant time period (I did); my literature readers were the most heavily dotted with King references (which makes this liberal arts major and literature junkie very happy). However, I also took a fair amount of religion courses as an undergrad (mostly plot, plot, plot; history, history, history), and I found one of my old religion texts (appropriately entitled Living Religions) contained a King reference relating to liberation theology. 

That led me to one of King's lesser read pieces on self-importance with which, as a man of the cloth rising in popularity and fame, he internally struggled. On this day, at this particular moment in time, when some pay lip service (and much worse) to civil rights and then hit the golf course, this extremely personal essay from King hits all the right bells and whistles. I leave you with the last two sentences which, when I re-read them, was a goose-bump moment for this very lapsed and definitely non-practicing Catholic:

"This is the prayer I pray to God every day, "Lord help me to see M. L. King as M. L. King in his true perspective." Because if I don't see that, I will become the biggest fool in America."

Sunday, January 7, 2018

New Year + A Look Back

Happy New Year, everyone! We are already through the first week of 2018 - I cannot believe it! Although, I must admit, I am glad to see last year in the rear view mirror. Man, what a year.

As you will see from the photo recap at left, it was a busy year of making for me, and that's not even all of it. Between original design samples, wardrobe items for myself, and gifts at the end of the year for others as well as my living space, I averaged just shy of 2 projects a month. While certainly not an insane amount, it is nevertheless significant, given the fact that I do have a day job and I curated a summer collection + event. Since my making is a source of much joy to me, given the stats just mentioned, 2017 was absolutely one happy year.

A Voie de Vie original painting, worked up last year as part of  a
larger display, with digital filter applied.
And now, I look to 2018. Never to let grass grow in any amount underneath my feet, I have already announced the dyer submission call for this year's summer dyer and designer event. Year 2: Women and Water will focus on and amplify those two trends from 2017. For all of the submission call details, feel free to check out the deets sheet right here. Dyers will have until Sunday, January 28th, to get their brand new colorways all worked out and submitted to me. There is good initial interest expressed both within the Ravelry planning group for the event as well as via other social media, so I am looking forward to seeing what the indie dye pots produce. 

Finally, and lest we forget, this is an Olympic year. I have been watching the skaters at U.S. Nationals and getting excited about how I will celebrate one of my favorite sporting events. Yes, new designs will be involved (so that excitement is currently tempered by pattern writing nuts and bolts), and hopefully some new-to-me food dishes.

All will be shared within the next few weeks, so stay tuned. Also, if you aren't yet a Voie de Vie Quarterly-ish Newsletter subscriber, now might be a good time to sign up, since the next edition is slated for publication later this month.