Tag Archives: Ravelry

Disparaging Handcrafts In The Name Of Law – How Far Does It Push Us Back?

Well the lack of a good apology from the USOC continues.  They seem to stand by the attitude that we have denigrated and disrespected, with no correction or word since the 2nd apology saying, “we know you clearly didn’t mean to.”

Mr. Sandusky, all you have to do really is state clearly that you and your office did not intend to imply that knitters and crocheters disrespect or denigrate the Olympics and professional athletes at all.  Simply expressing regret that the words were used only means you wish you didn’t have to deal with us.  Saying you know the we didn’t mean to denigrate and disrespect is patronizing at best, but clearly does not retract the verbiage directed at our collective cultural activities around our support of the Olympic Games.  All this may have started with a law clerk, but it’s escalated to you – and instead of seizing an opportunity, you didn’t make things better.

Bloomberg Business Week has posted a thorough article this morning on trademark protection and Why the U.S. Olympic Committee Cracked Down on a Knitting Group.  In the article they, like many others, fail to recognize that Ravelry is not just a knitting community, but also a crochet community.  But more than that, in their article they fail to recognize that the main issues Ravelers have had with the cease and desist letter from the USOC were much less about the name of our knitting/crochet games (Ravelympics) and much more about the insulting nature of the letter and our desire to see a back track and correcting statement issued about the language used.  Language which Bloomberg does not elaborate upon, but simply calls “harsh.”

Harsh is not the description I would use.

So I had to write a comment.  In fact, I’ve never written so many comments on news sites ever before.  I’m not up in arms, raising a pitchfork, calling for retribution or slinging names.  Rebel I might be, but that’s never been my style.  I’m not interested in boycotting the Olympics and I have no vested feelings in the corporate aspects of trademark issues right now. In most everything I have written, I’ve tried to be professional, reasonable and thorough.

But these recent events do strike at issues I care very much about.  The future of handmade, the future of respect for women (do not misunderstand my meaning there either) and the future image, reputation and preservation of crochet (and knitting).  And for me, it heaps discontent with the way law is thrown around and allows for “those who can” to get away with saying anything they can spin.  Yarn Harlot called for knitters to calm down their stung feelings and to accept the USOC’s first apology.  And though I appreciate her article about trademark issues and legalities, and many of her calm and reasonable words about our collective behavior as knitters (ahem – and crocheters), in principle I cannot accept an apology that is not one.  In principle, this is part of where we go wrong in the US with our tolerance of media spin from public figures.

In my world – words mean things.  And each apology from the USOC (which by the very nature of coming from a communications office and law office you know they are carefully worded) has only served to stand by the initial insults and create more.  Being “bigger than that” does not mean taking it when someone bullies you and then says in front of the teacher – awww shucks, Billy, I didn’t mean for you to take it that way.  It means calling for attention and a change.  Not just for the USOC, but everyone who engages in such behavior, because they can.

Supposedly we are a polite society.  As such, all our leaders bear a responsibility to reflect that professionalism.  And when you screw up, you bear the responsibility of consequences and making corrections.  Whether we are talking about politicians, or organizations that supposedly represent our cultural/national/international interests, I will accept no less.  Because when I do accept less, what eventually will the future be?  Little different than as it is in child rearing, if I allow for my child to get away with something that in principle is wrong, I set their future up to fail.   What world will my grandchildren live in?  A world where nothing that is said is ever honorable or sacred anymore.  Shut up crybaby.  I said I’m sorry, now go away.  Even when “I’m sorry” really isn’t stated and the issue is the disparaging of the craft and character of good people.  There is a responsibility there, and it hasn’t been fulfilled.

Mr. Sandusky sir, do you realize the hard work many of us have poured our lives into, in garnering respect for the fiber arts?  For a very long time we have been the red-headed step-child of the creative art world in general.  And it’s only recently we’ve gained a second look in terms of skill and artistic value for what we do, for the creations of our hands, for the history and heritage behind it.  Thanks to you, a giant step forward in how we are perceived may be taken back.

Here is the comment I shared over at Bloomberg:

First off, we are a community of knitters AND crocheters. Secondly, even the second apology only said we know you didn’t “intend” to be denigrating, while the first said we would like to show our support of Ravelers by letting you send us free handmade stuff. There has not yet been an acceptable apology about the real issue – which has nothing to do with the name of our knitting/crochet games while we watch the real Olympic games.  And it has not been about the trademark protection.  We might have been disappointed, but we would have understood if the letter was simply – hey, we need you to not use the name.  But that’s NOT what the USOC did.

The real issue we Ravelers have had was the unnecessary and insulting statements and inference that knitting and crocheting through our games during the real Olympics was an insult to real athletes who work and train hard.  And the continued inference that somehow it’s OK to insult a large group of mainly women who strive to keep hand-arts alive and preserve our collective heritage – around the world.  The USOC’s apology was no apology.  It was almost worse than the original letter.  The owners of Ravelry didn’t completely organize those games on their own.  That was a grass-roots type gathering (if I can use the analogy for a global group of people) of fiber hand-makers from around the world who came up with and supported the idea.  All these people from a variety of different cultures and backgrounds, all coming together over one main thing we share – our love for knitting and crochet, along with in this case, our love for our countries and the Olympic games.

Saying that we “denigrate” and “disrespect” the spirit of the Olympics and real athletes was like jocks vs. the geeks or men vs. women all over again.  They weren’t just talking to Ravelry owners, they were talking to all of us.  The USOC “apologizing” by essentially saying, “we’ll make a show of good will by letting you send us free stuff” and “we know you didn’t *intend* to be denigrating” is not an apology.  The USOC has disparaged our crafts and our character.  On a global scale.  And further made us the butt of many jokes in the press.  (Thank you Bloomberg for not following suit.)

This should be corrected.  We strive enough to keep our cultural crafts and heritage not only alive, but growing.  Having a giant organization disparage us is devastating in more ways than one.  And crochet? It’s the very last fiber art left that can not be replicated by a machine. It will only be alive as long as people do it.  The advancements made in our crafts every day by us designers will only continue as we are supported.  It’s as if hand-made in general has been pushed an unfortunate step back as we struggle for respect and preservation.  Being insulted this way is incredibly disheartening and shouldn’t be acceptable, especially in the name of law.

For me, it’s never been an issue about possible trademark infringement and needing to change the name of our games.  I think it seems a little over-reaching since the name is not specifically “Olympics,” but I can see possible ground, knowing also that I am not an expert in law.  No, the issue has always been the obvious and unnecessary language used to disparage hand arts.

I have finalized my decision to mail my crochet hook and a letter to the USOC.  I do this knowing I may be alone in the action, but determined none-the-less to stand on principle and be heard.  And determined to put my money where my mouth is and do more than rant on the internet.  I will do something tangible, sending something real that someone somewhere will have to hold in their hand and then decide what to do with.  It might not be much, but at least it’s something pointed, honorable and peaceful.

Principles matter. The insulting language issued by the USOC was wrong.  Even in the supposed “apologies” issued, that language was never taken back, merely “regretted,” glossed over and spun, while pointedly avoiding a real apology.  And as a result hand arts and cottage industries may feel more than just a sting from the slap of such a large public entity, but perhaps may even pay a price.  It shouldn’t be tolerated.  It should be pointed out.  And as for me, I’ll politely take a stand.



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Crocheters/knitters didn’t “intend” to denigrate. That’s not an apology USOC.

Ugh. To follow up on yesterday’s brouhaha with the Olympic Committee’s letter to Ravelry: Looks like we’ve hit the big time.  Crocheters and knitters took center stage in the news.

Gawker was the first to cover Ravelry’s plight. Though their take on the story handily left crocheters out of the picture.  Though I didn’t see it until later, seems next in the day was Hot Air with their article, “The Olympic Committee just messed with the wrong old ladies.” I don’t think too many of us appreciate their title, but they did write a fair article and also pointed out, like I did, that “knitting actually was an Olympic event at one time.”  My Google-Fu is strong.

It might have seemed it would pretty much stop there, but #ravelympics began trending on Twitter.  And before we knew it, NPR, New York Times and USA Today were all covering the debacle.  Albeit, with lots of references to women with pointy sticks.  Hey, we hookers are a part of the Ravelry community too you know!  However, Fearless Leader’s open letter to the USOC and Crochet Liberation Front was mentioned in two of those three.  That’s pretty something.  Still, I would have liked to have seen less humor and pointy stick references and a little more respect for an inappropriate use of language slung at a largely female demographic.  Journalists are having a field day with the puns in their coverage of #ravelympics.  We got attention alright, but there’s a few more snickering undercurrents than I would like.  Aren’t we so cute with our hooks and our sticks waving?

To sadden me further, New York Times reports that the organized “knit-in” turned up one lone person.  Well, that’s the way to be respected and set a precedence of ignoring anything any other group might unfairly experience at the hands of a large organization again.  And if a membership largely made up of women can make a lot of noise online, but not put their money where their mouth is and actually show up for a protest, what makes you think that helps any cause ever that involves women.  Good at being loud, but just don’t have the chutzpah to actually do something real.  If there were more peeps there, please, please post the pictures.

While many knitters seem to be quieting down, I’m still quietly crocheting a strip of bacon to mail in to the USOC.  It takes time I don’t really have, but I feel strongly that there needs to be a real and tangible response and not just a temporary internet roar.  Even if it does take some time, money and patience to do it on my part, there needs to be a reminder.  This can’t be the end of it.  And though I picked bacon for speed and ease of mailing, because if I could get it there today I would, I personally desire a demonstration of skill as well.  Though after the snip about accepting free hand-made items from us as a show of support, I also thought seriously about mailing them my crochet hook in protest instead. In fact, I like the idea of hooks and needles filling their office just about as well as bacon, crochet poop and an amigurumi middle finger – additional suggestions left by our tweeps and blog peeps yesterday.  Hmmm… An envelope dumping out a hook with a note that says “I will not crochet for you,” in principle feels rather satisfying actually.  I think I’ll reserve the right to change my mind today.

Jocks aren’t the only ones who work all their lives to hone a skill.  And I say that as a mother in a community that fosters and supports aspiring athletes.  My kids attend a charter school that was originally founded for children pursuing the Olympics and such.  A free school, I will point out.  I am friends with families of all walks of life who hold Olympic and athletically competitive dreams, poor and wealthy.  So I’m not ignorant of what it takes.  I know all too well the tears and stress on a family and the athletes and the skills required.

But if you want to compare breasts to balls, my skill will nurture and keep someone warm, even in the worst of times.  However, with the first apology’s reference to supporting us by asking for free handmade stuff, I’m not of the notion to send them anything they might enjoy too much.  I’ll hand-make and hand-deliver something to an Olympian any day.  Funneled through the USOC under that pretense?  I don’t think so.  Or at least I’m not convinced yet.

A second apology has been tacked on to the first from the USOC. I read it, but it’s still legalese. They said they know crocheters/knitters didn’t *intend* to denigrate or disrespect.  You can read it on the USOC website here.

Statement Update:

“As a follow-up to our previous statement on this subject, we would again like to apologize to the members of the Ravelry community. While we stand by our obligation to protect the marks and terms associated with the Olympic and Paralympic Movements in the United States, we sincerely regret the use of insensitive terms in relation to the actions of a group that was clearly not intending to denigrate or disrespect the Olympic Movement. We hope you’ll accept this apology and continue to support the Olympic Games.”

Ummm…. Excuse me? That’s not an apology.  I’ll bet you regret the use of the terms, but you’re still saying we denigrate and disrespect, but that you clearly see we did not intend to.  No, I don’t feel like accepting an apology written for public spin.  Words mean things.  And I will not infer for you what you have not said.

Additionally, the claim was made yesterday that the letter sent to Ravelry was a form letter. Hence, gee – it was nothing personal and we aren’t really responsible. One of our readers also kindly shared the link to a similarly approached letter sent to the “Redneck Olympics” which you can read here: http://lettersfromaway.wordpress.com/tag/redneck-olympics/.  The article includes photo copies of the entire letter they received.

Yes, it looks like the USOC cut and pasted phraseology from the “red neck” letter to ours, but I have failed to find this phraseology in any other posted letter from the USOC. Many people have received letters addressing trademark infringement, shared them with public and that part of course is not our issue with the letter to Ravelry.  The issue was the insulting language used against knitters and crocheters who were supporting and watching their teams.  We’re not even talking about a separate event that piggy-backs off the idea of an international sporting event.  We were supporting the real Olympics and encouraging ever more people to watch.  Hello.

Beyond even all that, by definition, a form letter is not compiled and tweaked individually. Just because phraseology is similar does not make it a form letter. Calling it a “form letter” is meant to give the impression that there was no personal attention put to the creation of the letter and that everyone receives the exact same thing.  And that’s simply not true in this case. 

Denigrate, disrespect and unappreciative – these are the words they used to describe us in the act of supporting our Olympic teams.

In fact these appear to be the only two letters where such wording has been used.  An event in support of the actual Olympics and does not use its name and one that does not support and does use its name.  Which means in essence, that the law office considered the activities of knitters and crocheters who hand-make things while watching the Olympics to  be comparable to events of body humor that poke fun at the Olympics themselves. With a cliched image of “Here Bubba, hold mah beer and watch this.”

There we go. That’s awesome. I feel more respected now.

I say this, because on a personal level I absolutely feel that toilet seat horseshoes, no matter how fun it might be, is a bit disrespectful when being directly called “Olympics.” The red neck event was not about supporting their favorite Olympic team.  And I say that as a Texan.  So our handcraft skills have thus essentially been compared to a tongue-n-cheek beer party, something generally considered at best to be mildly inappropriate in polite company. I’m not saying there’s not a place for redneck games. I’m saying I can understand the phraseology of the law clerk’s letter being used for that situation because the Olympics wants to maintain a certain image of what they represent and frankly bobbing for pigs feet isn’t that. Even to me, good ‘ol BikerMom from Texas, it sounds more along the lines of Fear Factor material.

So first the USOC apologizes by saying, we’ll show support for Ravelry by letting you send us free hand-made things.  Then they apologize to us by saying we know you didn’t intend to be denigrating or disrespectful.  Where in this do you find an acceptable apology in any polite society?  It’s not one and I don’t have to accept it as one.

I’m sorry, I expect better, especially from an organization that supposedly represents our interests, peace, world community, etc. to the rest of the world.  And from an organization that insulted not just a US community, but an international one.  They insulted and defamed Olympic supporters on a global scale. And neither apology rises to the appropriate level they should.  The slam is still there.

Mr. Sandusky was further referenced by the New York Times as stating that his wife and mother-in-law both knit “for gosh sakes.”  Well sir, I bet if you had asked their opinion of the letter before it was sent, they would have said “don’t use those words and don’t say it that way.”

Whether intended or not, the USOC disparaged our names and crafts.  And with knitting as an original Olympic activity, it’s even worse.  Mr. Sandusky needs to step away from the legalese and just make a good apology that turns it around and states officially that Ravelry members actually have not denigrated or disrespected the Olympics through their activities while watching their favorite teams – at all.  That simply, the USOC just wishes the name to be changed please and never meant to denigrate the spirit of men and women just supporting their national Olympic teams.

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It’s Jocks vs. The Geeks Again: Thanks US Olympics Committee – Nobody Likes A Bully!

someecards.com - There is a land called Douche Bagastan, and you are their king.

Jocks vs. the geeks.  Men vs. women. The powerful vs. the weak.  Though laws are meant to help protect people, seems our world never grows up and invariably “law” is used as a beating stick against those whom it was meant to protect. Gee thanks for being a joy-kill.  Is there ever any fun anymore.

The upshot? Seems our dear Ravelympics over on http://Ravelry.com has not only become a “legal” threat to official Olympics intellectual property rights, but apparently a social insult to the Olympics as well.

Seriously.  I’m not making this up.  Do read on.

I received the news during my long 500 mile drive home yesterday while talking with Laurie, a.k.a. Fearless Leader over from Crochet Liberation Front.  She’s already written an elegant and mature open letter response to the US Olympic Committee that you should definitely check out.

I thought about writing one of my well researched and reasonable posts about the matter.  But I just can’t bring myself to it.  I’m mad.  Sputtering mad enough to take time to crochet a granny square or bacon strip to ship off to the USOC in protest.  Haven’t decided which yet.

The specifics?  Firstly, the US Olympic Committee has sent a cease and desist order to my favorite knitting/crochet social community to stop using the term Ravelympics altogether and rename our games.

To quote from the actual letter:

It looks as if this is the third time that the Ravelympics have been organized, each coinciding with an Olympic year (2008, 2010, and 2012).  The name Ravelympics is clearly derived from the terms “Ravelry” (the name of your website) and OLYMPICS, making RAVELYMPICS a simulation of the mark OLYMPIC tending to falsely suggest a connection to the Olympic Movement.  Thus, the use of RAVELYMPICS is prohibited by the Act.  Knowing this, we are sure that you can appreciate the need for you to re-name the event, to something like the Ravelry Games.

This alone is not exactly surprising news.  After all, it’s not the first time organizations and businesses have been forced to change names on the basis of Olympic trademark “infringements.”  Even non-profits have been under fire.  Read Now Public’s 2008 article “US Olympic Committee’s history of lawsuits against non profit organisations” for a far more detailed history than I care to address here.

Usually these cases have involved the actual word “Olympics.”  Whether a spliced word/name like Ravelympics has ever been targeted before, I’m not sure.  I’m not even sure of the legalities.  Like really… especially since there is no profit being made and the sole purpose of these yarny games is to support our teams on a world-wide scale.  After all, crocheting/knitting, especially by women, during any kind of sporting event, is a very long tradition.  Still, I don’t proclaim to be a lawyer and I don’t have a problem in general with a need to protect intellectual property.

But the letter was not a simple generic letter.  And the letter did not stop there.  Here’s where the crux of the social matter really lies:

The USOC is responsible for preserving the Olympic Movement and its ideals within the United States.  Part of that responsibility is to ensure that Olympic trademarks, imagery and terminology are protected and given the appropriate respect.  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…..

It would have been one thing if the USOC had sent a general letter that said something like – “Hey y’all! Thanks for all your enthusiasm and support!  But we need you to change the name of your games.  You know, trademark issues and all.”  While there might have been disappointment, there wouldn’t have been outrage.

But this is not the approach the USOC took.  They used a battering ram where a pat on the back would have sufficed.  By claiming our knitters and crocheters are denigrating and disrespectful to the Olympics and their athletes, the USOC has likewise insulted and bullied a large demographic of handmade enthusiasts, largely made up of women.  And though I don’t want to leave our “brothers in arms” out of the picture, knitting and crocheting continue to carry a general social slap (at least in the US) as something strictly feminine in nature.

And here’s the kicker.  The original founding father of the modern Olympics included knitting in the list of events.  Did you know that?  Read your own history USOC.

The letter goes on:

The athletes of Team USA have usually spent the better part of their entire lives training for the opportunity to compete at the Olympic Games and represent their country in a sport that means everything to them.  For many, the Olympics represent the pinnacle of their sporting career.  Over more than a century, the Olympic Games have brought athletes around the world together to compete in an event that has come to mean much more than just a competition between the world’s best athletes.  The Olympic Games represent ideals that go beyond sport to encompass culture and education, tolerance and respect, world peace and harmony.

That last line is something else to note, a principle that Ravelry is hardly guilty of threatening.  If anything, women (and men) coming together around the world to commune simply over the passion to preserve our mutual histories and handcrafts, is pretty something.  And it’s genuine.  Not a show, not a put on.  And it is a skill.  On Ravelry, simple folks like you and me come together in peace – over hooks, sticks and a mutual love for yarn.

To give you background, Ravelympics is the name of essentially a set of grass-roots knitting and crochet contests that have been organized via Ravelry groups.  These yarny competitions are loosely organized for fun and community enjoyment and held during the Olympic competitions.  Knitters and crocheters test their skills and speed, while everyone gathers around their TVs – all around the world – while supporting their favorite Olympic teams and events.

And let me point out, in case it’s not yet clear, Ravelry is an international knitting/crocheting social site. That we join for free.  And Ravelympics supports all Olympic teams wherever Ravelry users participate – around the world.

Few social sites anywhere enjoy the kind of amicable and socially driven international relations found on Ravelry, a user website largely populated by women, but populated none-the-less by fiber hand-makers from around the world.  Those who choose to learn a hand craft skill vs. simply buying a cheaply made mass-produced product and then share that skill on with others.  USOC why would you allow such an insulting letter to be sent?  Face it, you were being bullies.

To be fair, the USOC has made an official statement on the matter today, which you can find on their website here: http://www.teamusa.org/News/2012/June/21/statement-from-usoc-spokesperson-patrick-sandusky.aspx.

Statement from USOC Chief Communications and Public Affairs Officer Patrick Sandusky:

“Thanks to all of you who have posted, tweeted, emailed and called regarding the letter sent to the organizers of the Ravelympics.

Like you, we are extremely passionate about what we do. And, as  you may know, the United States Olympic Committee is a non-profit entity, and our Olympic team receives no government funding. We are totally dependent on our sponsors, who pay for the right to associate with the Olympic Movement, as well as our generous donors to bring Team USA to the Games.

The letter sent to the organizers of the Ravelympics was a standard-form cease and desist letter that explained why we need to protect our trademarks in legal terms. Rest assured, as an organization that has many passionate knitters, we never intended to make this a personal attack on the knitting community or to suggest that knitters are not supportive of Team USA.

We apologize for any insult and appreciate your support. We embrace hand-crafted American goods as we currently have the Annin Flagmakers of New Jersey stitching a custom-made American flag to accompany our team to the Olympic Games in London. To show our support of the Ravelry community, we would welcome any handmade items that you would like to create to travel with, and motivate, our team at the 2012 Games.”

My problem still though, is the claim that it was a standard-form cease and desist letter.  (It clearly was not.) And the attempt to “show support of the Ravelry community” by asking us to donate handmade goods to them.  Really?  That’s your token handshake in peace?  After the pain and heartache you guys already put the WoolSack community through? I understand some delivery is now possible but only after months of tears and pain.  Read the details here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2156560/Olympic-cushions-handmade-athletes-latest-fall-foul-LOCOG-fears-row-sponsors.html

That’s right friends.  It’s not the first insult to hand-makers this year.  And I’m just simply disappointed in an organization that supposedly represents our mutual interests in world peace and community.

So crochet something and mail it I will.   Just like farmers mailing broccoli to the White House.   We do not denigrate by knitting and crocheting.  We love, we comfort, we preserve our history.  Who’s with me?  What are we mailing?  Granny squares or bacon?  I just happen to like the visual of bacon slap.

I’ll be using the address signed at the bottom of the letter:

Brett Hirsch
Law Clerk
Office of the General Counsel
United States Olympic Committee
1 Olympic Plaza
Colorado Springs, CO 80909


Filed under Editorial

What Yarns Are Best for Crochet…?

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This was a question asked on one of the crochet forums I’m on. Thought I’d share my response here. Feel free to add your input in the comments to help others!

I would say that what yarn you use depends on project and attitude actually. I know everyone has an opinion and there are various camps of thought. But my take is more of a unifier of worlds. I’m a true Libran – I dislike division.

You can crochet with anything. Seriously. And I’ve done it. I’ve mixed all sorts of fibers (some things not even considered “fiber”) and broken most taboos out there. And what I haven’t broken yet, I will endeavor to before I die. You can’t focus on being able to see. This is the eternal quip between my grandmothers and I. “But grandma, if you really know how to crochet, you don’t have to see your stitches, right?” It’s our private little laugh between us. But it’s true. I’ve used lots of stuff people didn’t think you could crochet with. But I also find that people get in a rut with fibers because they only use one type of hook or tool. Hooks can make an incredible difference in the variety of things you can create. Certain ones are better for certain things.

Only once have I come across a fiber that I felt was the spawn of satan and that I refused to try again and actually threw it away. Something called whirly-gig. And the monstrosity was difficult to use because it falls apart. Shouldn’t have been called yarn! In my experience, as long as it doesn’t fall apart, it can be crocheted!

I find most yarns do not meet people’s expectations because they approach it either with preconceived notions or one hook fits all approach. And that’s OK. Specialization is important too. Let the fibers speak to you and you’ll figure out how they best like to be used.  It’s like anything in life, you learn how it works. All fibers have a personality of sorts and a way they “prefer” to be handled. All you do is just figure that out.

I say take the fear and hesitation out of it and just let go. Get some paint and splash it on that canvas and see what you get.

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Crochet Movie Titles Fun….

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We had a fun thread awhile back at The Crochet Liberation Front group on www.Ravelry.com (a crochet and knit community) about possible Crochet Movie Titles.

These are the ones I came up with – reposted here for your enjoyment! Feel free to participate and add yourself to the fun in the comments!

How to Lose a Hook in 10 Minutes

Last of the Mohair

Triple X-Stitch

Hot Yarn and Cold Feet

The Accidental Crocheter

What About Bullion?

Bullion 5 (Babylon 5)

Backstitch (Backdraft)

Balls of Furry

Attack of the Zombie Fiber Hookers (John suggested that one!)

101 Things to Do with a Naughty Skein (another John contribution!)

The Cable-Stitch Guy

Cast Away the Sticks!

Chasing Stitches

Chronicles of Intarsia (a technique in crochet)

Cirque du Filet

Clash of the Tritons (a shell stitch)

Code Name: Decrease

Cluster Theory

Cables Under Fire

The Craft (Hey I like it!)

The Hidden Lives of the CLF

Crazy Shell Dundee

Weaving in Ends

Cross Trebles Make Hidden Dragon

Saving Popcorn Stitch

Scary Mohair

The Stash

Star Stitch Troopers

Herringbone and the Half-Close Stitch

The Stitch-hiker’s Guide to the Marquerite (a star stitch)

House of Flying Picots

The Coffee Stain (I know I’m not the only one who has spilled coffee on a project!)

Tapestry C and the Hook of Destiny

That Darn Cat (need I say more?)

Triton A.E.

Basic Crochet 2: Risk Addiction

The Back Loop Killers

Ruffling Evil

OK I had some fun with this…..!  What about you? Add to the creative #crochet fun in the comments below!


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Getting the Most Out of Your Fiber Blends – The “Half-Stitch” Technique…

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This is an article I wrote over a year ago for potential use on Ravelry or for The Crochet Liberation Front First Ever Book.  Thought I’d reprint it here for your reference.

Getting the Most Out of Your Fiber Blends
The “Half-Stitch” Technique

by Julia Meek Chambers – Aberrant Crochet ™

 Fiber blending in crochet is when we use more than one color and/or fiber in a project at the same time.  Many people have crocheted with at least two fibers at a time to increase the gage of the stitch or add variety to the colors and shading in a product.  It is a great way to add extra dimension to any look.

 Sometimes, in our work, we assemble the perfect combination of colors and textures for a project, only to discover that there’s not enough of one of the fibers to complete it as envisioned.  Whether the lack of yardage is due to budget constraints or because the fiber itself is simply discontinued or otherwise unattainable, this limitation does not have to mean a disappointing dead-end to an otherwise fantastic fiber combination. 

 Why not try using the determinate fiber for partial stitches only?  I call this the “Half-Stitch Technique.”  This technique is accomplished by using the fiber in question for only some loops of a given stitch, but not others in the same stitch. 

 For instance, a single crochet stitch is accomplished in two steps.  If you don’t have enough of a fiber to complete an entire project or section of single crochet, then with the Half-Stitch technique, you would instead use the fiber in only one half of each stitch and then drop it for the second half of each stitch.  Though more understated than being used in a full stitch, this allows the color and texture of your limited fiber to still be present in the project. 

 Remember, there really are no rules in crochet other than the use of a hook, so give it a whirl and see what this technique can do for you!

  Copyright © 2003 – 2009 by Julia Meek Chambers, all rights reserved.

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Julia’s Beefy Beret with Tailored and Newsboy Variations – My Most Recent Pattern

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Designed by me!
Beefy Newsboy Style with Brim

Beefy Newsboy Style with Brim

You can get this pattern here!
(also includes a license to sell the finished product – see below for complete details) 

Purchase of this pattern also entitles buyers to free updates to this pattern (supplied via Ravelry).

Craft: Crochet
Type: Hat
Published: April 2009

Yarns suggested: Premier Yarns Serenity Chunky Weight
Yarn weight: Bulky
12 ply (7 wpi)
Gauge: 8 stitches and 8 rows = 4 inches in hdc
Hook size: 6.5 mm (K)
Yardage: 250 – 300 yards
Sizes available: S, M, L, XL

Julia's Beefy Beret

Julia’s Beefy Beret

About this pattern:

This 4-page pattern offers a beefy “artsy” beret style hat with slim and newsboy variations. Includes glossary of terms, full color photos and instructions for S, M, L, XL sizing, striping and brim options.

Stitches are over-all fairly simple. However, this pattern requires knowledge of how to use multiple yarns at once through out and some elements of this pattern require tapestry crochet skills and interchanging colors.

As such, this pattern ranks as intermediate crochet according to pattern standards guidelines.

Julia's Tailored Newsboy Variation

Julia’s Tailored Newsboy Variation

Notes on Materials Needed:
Four or more yarns are required for this pattern. The brands listed in this pattern are not required for this pattern to work as mentioned in the variation. The band/stripe colors for this hat are made from stash scrap yarn and therefore are not mentioned by brand. Keep your weights and gauge as listed and this pattern can be replicated again and again.
For more detailed information about my work, see: http://PixieWorx.etsy.com

All Content Copyright © 2008-2012 by Julia Meek Chambers, Aberrant Crochet and Pixie Worx, all rights reserved.

You may sell finished products created from my pattern as long as they are not mass-produced and are hand-made by you individually. Any items for sale must state in the item description that they are based on my pattern and include a link to my website. Any items you sell based on my patterns must also feature your own photographs. You may not use my images to help sell your finished items. If you have a charity project in mind which would require multiple volunteers, please contact me.

Purchase of this pattern grants you permission to make and sell items created from it, but not to republish, share or resell the pattern itself. A lot of time, cost and technical expertise go into my designs, as well as over 35 years of intensive study and application. Tech editors, etc.. So my patterns may NOT be reproduced or distributed — mechanically, electronically, or by any other means, including photocopying, without written permission. Please do not hurt my ability to feed my family and pay for medical bills. Thanks!

Other licensing inquiries: worx@pixieworx.net

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The Book My Crochet Design Was Published In….!

Since some have asked, here’s a link to the Crochet Liberation Front’s First Ever Book now on sale that my “Flaming Crochet Hook” tapestry crochet design was published in:


My tapestry design is even featured in the “Look Inside This Book” links! Yay! Very cool!

Fair warning though, this is an advanced crochet book. If you are into crochet, this is not a book for beginners and it’s that way by design. Though some patterns require less skill than others, none of these patterns are basic by any means. This book is a crochet book designed to push the bar. A book for avid crocheters, by avid crocheters and mostly targeted towards those who want so much more out of a book of crochet patterns. You will be exposed to all sorts of techniques in here that if you do not already know, you will be expected to learn them first elsewhere before you can really implement them in these patterns.

I am honored and proud to be featured in this book and to rub shoulders with so many talented designers and artists from around the world!


Project Bag sporting my "Flaming Crochet Hook" tapestry Crochet Design

Project Bag sporting my "Flaming Crochet Hook" tapestry Crochet Design

The CLF First Ever Book

The CLF First Ever Book

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