Monday, June 25, 2012

Road Trip! :)

It won't be long now, just mere days really, until we're finally on the road.  No, not to the annual ChainLink Conference, but rather to Missouri, land of the Ingalls, my father's farm, and of various yarn shops I have planned to visit.

The biggest problem I have right now is in deciding how much yarn I should bring.  Obviously I don't want to bring too much since I intend to buy some as "souvenirs..." 

What do you think?  How much yarn is considered "enough" for bringing on a vacation?  :)

Friday, June 22, 2012

The "-ympics"

I'll raise my crochet hook in the air to be counted as one of those "angry" crafters who recently took to social media to vent frustration with the recent actions of United States Olympic Committee.  For those not aware, a brief recap:

On the website, there is a "Ravelympics" held every two years.  Participants are asked to push their crochet and knitting skills to new heights while watching the 16-day Olympics.  I have never participated in the Ravelympics, but I do watch the Olympics, and in fact, still have recordings going back some 20+ years THAT I STILL WATCH!

The USOC sent what they called a "standard" cease-and-desist letter to the owners of Ravelry -- the letter requests the stopping of the use of the Olympic symbol AND demanding the name of "Ravelympics" be changed.  I have no problem with the USOC protecting the Olympic logo, or the "Olympic" name.  If permission wasn't granted for using them, then it should be stopped.

The problems I have are two-fold:
A) "-ympics."  Do they own the right to these letters?  That's like saying the Ford motor company owns the right to "-ord." Or, if you want to compare non-profit with a non-profit, like saying Save The Children (remember the "Caps to the Capital" campaign?) owns the rights to "-ldren."   I've yet to read anything rational on this.  Of course, if this is allowed, I'm proclaiming ownership to "-ziano," you know, just in case I become world-famous for crochet hook twirling, or something along those lines.

B) the wording in their "standard" cease-and-desist letter that included this paragraph that I found to be "discriminating":
USOlympics Vs Ravelympics: Intellectual Property vs Slurs?
 "We believe using the name 'Ravelympics' for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games. In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country's finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work."
          The USCO did apologize - twice - for the language they used.  The first apology was not easily digested by crafters because the it included a request for "... any handmade items that you would like to create to travel with, and motivate, our team at the 2012 Games."  [Link to both apologies.]  When my kids apologize for something, they would never think of following it up with "... and can I have 20 bucks for the movies?"  Naturally if  the USOC finds this type of apology works, I might start apologizing for things like "...sorry your lawn grew and you have to mow it. You can send me some yarn if you'd like."

The story of The USOC vs the Ravelympics was first picked up by the Gawker, and then others followed:

My participation on this topic was in tweeting out some yarnie facts on the Twitter social site:
  • There are 17.4 MILLION crocheters, and 13.0 MILLION knitters.  Actually, this is "households of" but that's ok.  That's still a lot of folks playing with yarn.  Even though Ravelry has 2 MILLION members, once this went viral, it was time to look at the bigger picture.
  • of the 17.4 MILLION crocheters, they open their wallets to reportedly spend 1.064 BILLION US dollars on their love of crochet goodies -- these facts were published by the CHA in 2010.
  • Three Crocheted Lions will be part of the 2012 Cultural Olypiad:
... and then some sport-sy facts:
  • Guinness World Records officially issued “The Fastest Crocheter Title” to Lisa Gentry on June 25, 2005
  • Guinness World Record Holder for Fastest Knitter was earned by Miriam Tegels in 2008
  • The Guinness world record for the Most People Knitting Simultaneously was set in 2011
  • The Guinness World Record for the Most People Crocheting Simultaneously was set in 2010 in USA!  (hey, I was there!)
  • Guinness World Record Holder for Longest Crochet Chain Whilst Running a Marathon went to Susie Hewer in 2010
... for those reporting on the USOlympic vs Ravelympics saga (because I'm tired of seeing articles stating "little old ladies"):
... and my biggest concerns:
My bottom line: If deemed legal, I think the name "Ravelympics" should remain; no one is profiting from it (one of the USOC's concerns), and it actually helps promote the Olympics in a postitve way.  And I think that the US Olympic Committee should revisit their "standard" letters to ensure future language used is not inappropriate.

Out of this entire saga, I did learn something new:  The Wenlock Olympian Society, now known as the International Olympic Committee, once included knitting, as well as reading and spelling.  I can't help but wonder if "-ympics" was part of the spelling .........

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Did I mention it's yellow?

"Yellow" needs a a better name.
Sometimes it is hard to resist a yarn sale.  Such as in the case when Leslie of WoolMountainDestash announced on Twitter she had some yummies for sale. LOL  From her stash came 10 balls of Lemon Yellow Moda Dea Baby Talk yarn. 

My problem: not a big fan of the color yellow. 
My solution: listen to the yarn!

We were going through several raw days of spring rain when I decided to listen to the yarn. I had no pattern, no preconceived ideas of what I was going to crochet.  I was merely the hands holding the hook and the yarn.  The rest, I think, is pure magic. 

Once the body was completed I needed a border.  I was thinking my father secretly wanted it, as I found him eyeing it repeatedly as I worked my stitches. Thinking this, I wanted to find a "boxy" (manly) looking border.  This led me to Edie Echman's book, "Around the Corner Crochet Borders;" where I took one of the border patterns and "complicated" it to look like lattice work.  In fact, I complicated the border so much, I had to work 2 rows at a time to ensure everything went smoothly!

And maybe this all went too smoothly.  You know what I mean: the coming together of the yarn, the hook, and the stitch. Did I mention it's yellow?  And did I mention Mr. Dee now has his eye on it too???

Maybe the color yellow isn't as bad as I had originally thought.  If my journey in the fiber world has taught me anything it is: be prepared for personal growth.  Me & yellow - buddies!  Who knew!?  :)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Lost & Found

Buffalo Skies yarn.
It has been a very busy time here, with my mother's visit from Florida to the winding down of the kids school year (just one more week for them & they'll be out for the summer!).  This does not mean my crocheting has been idle.  No, not all all.

While my mother was visiting I crocheted (by special request) nearly a half-dozen hats for her to wear under her motorcycle helmet.  And, I managed to work up a project that I am currently calling "yellow" -- there will be a posting on this project in the future.
Amish-style swift, made in China.

And, I got two new toys:  an "Amish-style" yarn swift and a food scale (to be used for measuring the weight of my yarn).  Plus, hot in the mail today was some yummy buffalo yarn!  Mmmmm!
weighs more than the
100 grams on the label.

About a month ago I started a discussion on Ravelry about "missing yardage."  The topic was brought on by my recent usage of a "yarn meter."  The meter was reporting I was off by some 60 to 107 yards per hank.  I was in shock at this and wanted to know if others had ever experienced the same results.  Fortunately for me, I got a lot of helpful tips:

The first tip was to buy a food scale.  I decided on the Cuisinart model ks-55.  It normally retails for about $40, but I got it for free utilizing some "cash back bucks" offered through my credit card.  Thus far, I really like it.  I was advised to weigh the yarn first.  The label reads the net weight for my new yarn was 100 grams.  I am happy to report that all 3 hanks weighed over the 100 grams benchmark -- without the label.
questioning the footage
using the electric ball winder
with the new yarn swift.
The second step was to run the yarn through the meter.  I got on average 466 feet.  I convert this into yardage and get 155 yards -  not the 200 yards as stated on the label.

I was then advised to hand-measure off 10 yards and run it through the meter.  I did.  I got almost 26 feet -- not the 30 feet I was expecting.  (1 yard = 3 feet -or- 10 yards = 30 feet.)  So there is a problem with the yarn meter!  Oy!  The meter was shorting me 4 feet for every 10 yards!

The next step was to find out the intervals for the shorting.  I took the 155 yards and divided it by 10 (yards).  This gave me 15.5 intervals.  I multiplied that by the 4 feet to get 62 feet.  I then took the original measurement of 466 feet and added the "missing" 62 feet = 528 feet.  Convert that to yards and I got 176! 

Yes, I know, the 176 yards is not equal to the 200 on the label, but I do have to account for the dye used in the yarn.  The more dye, the heavier the yarn and thus the less footage/yardage for the money.  I am much happier with the 176 yardage than the 155 the meter initially reported. 

This is a learning process for me.  At the very least it reinforces the adage: when in doubt, always buy at least one ball/hank more of the same dye lot than what the pattern calls for.  :)