Julie knits and writes and knits.

Archive for May, 2007

Shadow Rib

Shadow Rib

Originally uploaded by juju&jack

Swatch for The Walker Treasury Project.
Barbara G. Walker, A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns, page 6. Knitpicks Gloss in Pumpkin, US size 2 needles


Knitting camps?

I just left this comment on Brenda Dayne’s Cast-On site, where a lot of thoughtful posts are going up in respose to her Episode # 49. Go read up… But I’m interested in your thoughts, there or here…


Had tea with a researcher from a local manufacturing company that makes beautiful furniture, regularly knocked off in the U.S. and other countries. They are constantly struggling with the trend toward open source development , even open source design, in the U.S. and worldwide, and the very different point of view about design and ownership in Asian countries in particular, but around the world generally. More important every minute as especially China’s market doubles and triples. Of course this company has historically worked hard and paid deep legal fees to protect their intellectual property rights in the design and trade of these furniture designs. They launch marketing campaigns about buying the real thing. Try to educate designers in design schools about the work to protect ideas. I swear this has something to do with knitting…

But the Milennial generation in particular and other countries are squeezing at this idea of intellectual property. Their idea, much too simply stated, is that ideas shared raise the entire human condition. Once an idea has been released into the world, how can it be owned? How can we, as humans, not seek to build upon that idea? And as humans, shouldn’t we do that? Isn’t that, in fact, a more humane and morally correct response to ideas…. to borrow, spread, and further them? To constantly better the human condition, if not the craft?

I shared with my research friend, who is not a knitter, the experience of attending my first Stitches Camp, where I felt, I felt like an “other.” (Lost reference) Though I work to embrace what I am growing to see– as a new knitter and a person who lives comfortably online — as two major camps of knitters, I seemed to have landed in a sort of anti-online camp. Labeling is awfully helpful, I realize, but Luddite doesn’t work, as RuTemple points out. I want to be kind, because I recognize the anguish and fear felt by the not-online knitters. But at the risk of being overly simplistic (not really a risk, because I’m always overly simplistic) the camps seem to be forming with the not-online, intellectual property-protective people on one side, and the open-source, online folks on the other.

Having lived and knitted among the not-online knitters at camp for several days, I came to understand (a little better at least) that their fear is based on a concern for the craft they love — or make a living through — being diminished in some way, their sources of income being devalued or commoditized in some way. At the same time, I recognize how online knitters are preserving the craft, pushing the craft, increasing the size of the market, creating sub-markets, making markets findable, making inexpensive online marketing possible for a market that has had not marketed much at all in the past. That is, for those comfortable with online tools, for those who can explore and manage online life. Those who fear the most are those with the least online experience or ability to move their livlihood online.

Tribalism is a powerful force in the world and in humankind. We can hardly help forming tribes. But though the yarn craft world is enormous, it probably doesn’t need more division. We learn early that we can spread understanding by exploring the points of view of the other, and allaying fear by offering help to the have-nots. We can help local yarn stores build their sites and register them in the search engines. We can link to them from our knitting blogs whenever we talk about the yarns we bought there. We can bring Brenda’s and others’ podcasts to knitalongs in the stores. We can talk about online patterns at our local guilds. We can ignore the lines, and share more, and show people what the online knitting community does to float all of the knitting boats.

Back to charging fair prices for work, for goods, for design… ach. The market is a difficult mistress (why do we say that? Gigolo? A difficult gigolo?) for all artists and every industry. The question of percieved and real value, and how to protect yours for your product? Age old. If your work is a work where there is risk of perceived commoditization (yarn spinning), then you need to communicate to your market why your yarn has greater value than others. How yours is in a different category (hand-spun?, the source fiber?, the dye process? the limited runs? The silky sheen from the spit of the nearly extinct yak species? What?)And prepare to change your game and change your story when the online market is flush with hand-spun, spit-sheened, hand-dyed yak yarn.

Will the world ever value hand-crafts, especially those perceived widely as women’s work? Dang. I live in a country where we still can’t elect a woman for president, so don’t ask me…

Random funny…

So we’re listening to a radio program reporting on the expansion of the universe, and husband is unloading the dishwasher when he drops a glass, and it shatters all over the kitchen floor. I’m over there, bent over, keester in the air, using a hand broom to pick up the glass shards while trying to herd dogs and cats away, when husband, still listening to the radio, says…”Did you happen to hear what percentage of the universe is nothing?”

I love that guy.

Monkey socks

Monkey socks

Originally uploaded by juju&jack
Oh my. Monkey socks from are my first attempt at lace socks. Dang. They’re fun, easy, smart. I love these socks. Also my first time working with Interlacements Tiny Toes yarn, which has a really nice hand and twist and bounce like my beloved Koigu. The color changes are less subtle, more contrasty, and stripe more. So a different point of view and color sense than the artists at Koigu. Interesting. I don’t think I like it quite so much as I do Koigu, but it’s fun, and feels much the same. I’ll make a lot of Monkeys in lots of kinds of yarn, I’m sure. Not only are they interesting to look at, but this lace pattern is nearly cably in its desire to hug your ankle. I think I’d avoid blocking them. We’ll see how they wash. I went down a needle size to work these in size 1’s to fit my size 9 foot and rather thickish ankles.

Embossed Leaves socks

Embossed Leaves socks

Originally uploaded by juju&jack
Carrie’s birthday socks. Lovely Koigu KPPPM. Again, yes, the Embossed Leaves socks from Interweave Knits Winter 2005 would look best in a solid color yarn. I get that, and will repeat these socks in a solid color soon because THEY ARE FUN to knit. I’ve deepened the heel for my Sis. And am just loving the Koigu, because I love Koigu best of all. I love the painted, I love the solids, I love it all. I hope they are never bored with their art. Catch the article about them in the latest Vogue Knitting

Lace and Jitterbug are my new crack

Lace is like crack

Originally uploaded by juju&jack
Been meaning for a long time to try lacework, and here is my first attempt. Not THAT lacy, and a super easy pattern to get into my head, unlike the lace I aspire to some day. This is the shawl from Victorian Lace Today, in Colinette Jitterbug. Yes, I understand that lacework is shown at its best in solid colors, but I wanted this first attempt to forgive my mistakes a bit, and the color shifts here are likely to do that. Also, the effect is really nice, I have to say, because Colinette Jitterbug is… amazing. Amazing spring, amazing bounce, amazing twist, amazing colors. Love it. As much as Koigu. Seriously. More? Geeze. As much, certainly… dang. Colorway: Castagna. Size 6 needles. And the Victorian Lace book, with its wonderful photographs, charts, and clear patterns… a new addiction.

Ellen’s Half Pint Farm cable socks

Ellen’s Half Pint Farm cable socks

Originally uploaded by juju&jack
More green socks? Yeah. I’m afraid that’ll be a theme. I fell in love with all of Ellen’s Half Pint Farm’s yarns at the Stitches Camp this past Spring. I ordered a boatload of it, and bought a couple of skeins of this superwash just to tide me over. She has an amazing eye and color sense, and was teaching the dying class at the camp. The only thing yummier than working with this yarn is wearing it on my feet, which, is just a bit too pleasurable for polite company. I have to remember to wear these socks only in private.