Friday, February 28, 2014

Upcoming Events!

First off, though I'm still collecting tallies, the knitting community deserves a MASSIVE, heartfelt, very teary thank you for their support during the Olympics donation drive.  The number of people who have emailed, blogged, Raveled, Facebooked, Tweeted, other social media that I don't know how to use-d, and just plain stood up and shouted about this was mind-boggling.  And then you bought patterns! You really bought patterns! I am one for grand ideas, for tilting at windmills, and I never know quite whether anyone will be willing to come with me when I say "let's go!" But you came with us in force, and for that I am so proud and thankful.  More details to come soon!

In the meantime, I wanted to check in with some updates about upcoming events.  Super exciting things on the horizon!

First up is an event I'm really excited to attend, the Common Cod Guild's FiberCamp Designer Fashion Show.  This will be held at 4pm on March 15th, at FiberCamp building, MIT’s Tang Center, Building E-51, 2 Amherst Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Though I won't be walking in the show (thank goodness, that would probably end in a hospital visit after an epic fall off the stage or something), four of my sweater designs will (including a brand new one)! They'll be joined by pieces from other amazing designers: Julia Farwell-Clay, Misa Erder, Thea Colman, Amy Christoffers, Ellen Mason, and Allison Green.  These are some of the most talented and funniest ladies in the biz, and I'm so excited to be part of this event with them.  Check out the FiberCamp page for further details!

I've also got a couple teaching events coming up here in Portland at KnitWit; Brioche Knitting (including a head start on the Windrow Cowl) and Blocking 101.  The Brioche class is currently full, but there's a waiting list and I'll hopefully be running it again later this year.  The Blocking class on March 29th is open and I'd love to see you there! 

I wanted to get the word out as well about a super cool trip I'll be taking across the pond July 12th and 13th to the Unwind Festival in Brighton, UK.  Dani's put together the most amazing crop of teachers and classes and I'm looking forward to it so much.  I'll be teaching brioche and blocking there as well, but with a British accent (just kidding). 

The final event on the calendar so far is a perennial favorite, The New England Fiber Arts Retreat at Medomak, July 27th-August 2nd.  We're meeting up to finalize class schedules in a few weeks and I couldn't be more excited about this year's lineup.  How many more weeks until I get to lie on the dock in the sun and chat about knitting?

Whew--I think that covers it! This is going to be an awesome year, my fiber friends. :)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Stock(inette) Market: December 29th-January 29th

Hello and happy February! Okay, not so much with the happy if you're as cold as I am, but the days are getting longer and there's hope (or maybe just the smell of Valentine's Day candy) in the air.  Let's see what January brought us in terms of knitting stats--but first, if you haven't looked yet, take a look at the list of designers participating in the Olympics/Ravellenics donation drive.  It's growing daily, and I have a wee bit of a cry anytime anyone else signs on.  I couldn't be more proud of my community! 

Also, after a lot of discussion following last month's post and query about monetizing The Stock(inette) Market, I had decided to add a PayPal donation button to each new post.  However, in researching it further, PayPal places certain strictures on the open-ended "Donate" button, as opposed to the set-price "Buy Now" button; you must be (or it is strongly recommended that you are) a registered non-profit to use it.  So I'm still looking into further options.  Thanks for your input so far--much appreciated!

 Now! Back to stats.  Neck accessories gained back some percentage points in January, up from 22% in December.  Hats and cowls, while staying popular, shrank from 18 and 19% to 13% each, and garments rose from 7% each to 10 and 12%.  This is bringing us more in line with what we saw at this time last year, so I'll be curious to see what happens in the next month or so--whether garments regain dominance over hats and cowls, indicating a seasonal trend, or whether accessories stay on top, indicating a change from last year.  There were two other changes this time around--despite the release of patterns from Stephen West's Crazy for Color collection towards the end of the month, men's garments dropped out of the top grouping, and mittens and gloves gained a place for the first time ever. 

Garment types didn't see a whole lot of change over the month, despite several sharp spikes in multiple categories.  The three big movers were neck accessories, which fell over the month, and pullovers, mitts, and mittens/gloves, which rose.  The former saw several spikes both organically (as over the around January 6th-12th) and concurrent with promotions (including one by Mademoiselle C late in the month).  The latter three all had organic spikes throughout the month, but garments (including cardigans as well as pullovers) were well represented in the many and major publications of the month: Knitpicks Gloss Collection at the very end of December, Brooklyn Tweed Winter 14 on the 7th-9th, Berroco Folio and Norah Gaughan vol.14 from the 10th-12th, Amy Miller's collection with Malabrigo, Classics, on the 15th and 16th, the Scrumptious Collection Vol. 3 from Fyberspates, and the Interweave Knits Spring 14 preview.  We saw a sharp sock spike concurrent with a promo from Louise Tilbrook, whose Ravelry store is predominantly socks, multiple organic hat spikes throughout the month, and a homegoods spike at the end of the month related to the Ravelry Spotlight on chevrons.  This is probably the most varied month we've seen in terms of predominance; five different categories took the lead over the time.  Given that December is almost universally given over to gift knitting, we may be seeing three possible options: one, an organic shift back to the normal patterns that preceded the holidays, with a gradual mix of gift knits fading out and the regular distribution of knits fading in; two, a shift to a completely different algorithm altogether; or three, a sense of relief that, since gift knitting is over for the season, you could knit anything you wanted--and therefore the knitting populace ran amok.  Something to think about!

Yarn type was also relatively stable over the month as a whole, but there were many spikes and trades during that time as well.  As usual, solids and semi-solids traded for dominance, with tweed taking over during BT Winter 14.  Semi-solids had an organic spike early in the month, and then two later concurrent with Amy Miller's Classics and the Scrumptious Collection.  Solids didn't have as many spikes, just the one organic one later in the month, but had a steady presence that caused them to gain over the time period.  3+ color projects rose slightly, perhaps due to the chevron projects spotlighted late in the month, but all others remained steady.

Modeled garments remain the clear, steady winner, but the other three spiked at various times during the month; mystery knits have seen a consistent presence with Ysolda's Follow Your Arrow MKAL, dressforms saw organic spikes throughout the month, and flat items saw consistent use throughout, and a spike at the end of the month due to the Rav spotlight on chevron projects.

It's hard to even know what to say about the fabric type data for January; while each individually maintained a steady trend throughout the month, they traded for top spot and spiked so often and so variably that it's hard to create a clear analysis.  Texture and stockinette won overall, with large spikes in the former correlating with BT Winter 14 and Amy Miller's Classics.  Lace spiked multiple times in relation to both organic causes and to publications such as Norah Gaughan's vol.14, the Scrumptious Collection, and Mademoiselle C's promo.  Colorwork also peaked in the middle of the month organically, and even cables saw play organically in the beginning of the month and again in BT Winter 14.  This again points to a very volatile month in pattern distribution or selection; with such a wide range it's clear that January isn't necessarily susceptible to the typical trends we might see in other months.
As with the rest, color was also all over the place in January.  Though the cool tones we saw last winter are predominating (blue, white, and grey), there were also spikes in red and green several times throughout the month.  White and black both rose steadily through the month (both were featured in many of the colorwork projects seen in January, and white solo in many projects), and though it spiked throughout the month organically, blue fell overall.  Brown, green, and red also fell, despite the aforementioned spikes, and the colors we tend to see less of, such as purple, orange, and yellow, rose.  The next time I write a post will be a year-long wrap-up, and how colors have shifted over that time is one of the things I'm looking forward to exploring most.

So, in summation, January was pretty crazy.  Though the predominant winners that we've seen previously remained steadily trending across the month, the numbers within that were wildly variable and unpredictable.  Almost everything that could've spiked did, both organically and due to the large number of publications.  With everything as up in the air as this, I look forward to seeing what the next month will bring!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Frost Fair

I know, I know, three posts in as many days, what have I done with the real Bristol? But now that the donation drive is taking off like a rocket (thanks to everyone participating and spreading the word!) I figured I would sweeten the pot.  How about three new patterns? This is Frost Fair, three shawls inspired by winter, light and shade, and frost on the water.

The three shawls in Frost Fair (Har, Hrim, and Freosan) are available both individually and as an e-book, and you can find them on Ravelry here! You can also check out the lookbook in-depth on Issuu here.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Making Right

So, I've always been obsessed with the Olympics.  I'm not normally a super patriotic person, nor really a sports person (unless it's UMaine hockey--GO BLUE!) but the second the Olympics start, there's a constant background chant of "USA! USA! USA!" going in my head at all times as I watch every single random event I can find.  I have memories of curling up on the couch as a kid as the snow fell outside the window, watching biathlon, curling, and slalom in Albertville and Lillehammer, yelling "TOMBAAAAAA!" at the screen, cheering Carl Lewis on in the summertime, screaming at the TV as Jason Lezak hit the wall mere milliseconds before the French relay swimmer.  Every time the Olympics comes around, it fills me with unbridled joy and delight.  But not so much this year.

I don't talk a huge amount about politics in my life as designer and in the knitting world.  I have strong views, but they're mine, and I'd rather talk about knitting, or British TV series, or food, or cats than get into it.  Knitting is my safe space.  But I stand firm and vocal about my support of gay, trans, and human rights causes.  And watching and reading all the stories coming out of Russia regarding abuses of these groups, it got me thinking about how I wasn't the only one who deserved a safe space.

At the same time, I got to thinking about my favorite form of rebellion and subversion: kindness.  I was raised Quaker, with strong emphases on the concepts of grace, karma, empathy, and individual rights.  If someone is unkind, you understand that they are fighting their own battles, so you help where you can, and make sure others aren't getting hurt.  Little by little, the strength, empathy, and grace changes what force can't.  To quote the Shaker spiritual, "by turning, turning, we come 'round right." It's not an easy path, but it's the right one for me.

So all of these thoughts were roiling together over the last few months, watching events unfold in Russia and with various squabbles regarding gay rights on Ravelry.  I want to make right, to do what I can.  So I put the call out.  And the call was answered.

I'm so pleased to announce that for the duration of the Olympics, I and many other designers will be donating proceeds from our pattern sales to gay, trans, and human rights organizations of our choice.  Please join us in supporting these causes over the next few weeks--and long past that, until we come round right.

Here's a list of the participating designers and their promotions--it's still evolving and changing, so keep checking back!

Bristol Ivy -- 75% of all proceeds of Ravelry store during the opening and closing days, and 50% of all proceeds during the remainder of the Olympics, will go to Lambda Legal and Equality Maine

Kate Heppell -- 100% of sales of Jane Socks, Hercule Socks, Fox Isle, Sunny Later, Ollaberry, and Tiny Shoots will go to the Albert Kennedy Trust

Emily Peters --100% of sales of Berkeley, CA shawl and 50% of all other pattern sales will go to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

Lee Meredith -- during the first four days, 100% of sales of the Spiraling Stripes hats and Freak Out!, 50% of select rainbow-able patterns, and 35% of sales of Coloring Book will go to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

Rena Varsakis -- 25% of all pattern sales throughout the Olympics will go to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

Maureen Folds -- 75% of sales during the opening and closing days, and 25% of sales during the remainder of the Olympics will go to Egale

Mary Annarella -- 100% of Lyrical Knits sales on February 7th will go to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

Nell Ziroli -- 50% of pattern sales and 100% of sale of Isle of You during the first four days  will go to the Atlanta, GA chapter of the Human Rights Campaign

Brenda Castiel -- 80% of sales during the opening and closing days, and 50% of sales during the remainder of the Olympics will go to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

Rebecca Zicarelli -- Pillow Scarf and Rainbow Collar are both 25% off with the coupon code "EqualityMaine".  50% of proceeds of these sales after fees will go to Equality Maine

Kate Atherley -- 50% of sales from her Ravelry store will go to Egale

Kim McBrien Evans -- 50% of sales from her Ravelry store will go to Egale

Natalie Servant -- 50% of sales from her Ravelry store will go to Egale

Kylie McDonnell-Wade -- 50% of proceeds from Feb 7-9th, then 25% for the remainder of the Olympics will go to Egale

Annika Barranti -- on opening day, 75% of all sales from her Ravelry store will go to Lambda Legal, and 50% thereafter

Miranda Jollie -- 100% of the sale prices of Talboys Wrap and Montserrat will go to the Albert Kennedy Trust

Vera Sanon -- 25% of all sales on opening and closing days will go to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Katherine Matthews --  50% of sales from her Ravelry store will go to Egale

Elanor King -- 100% of proceeds from Bow Ties Are Cool and Collared!!! will go to Stonewall UK

Alex Tinsley -- 50% of sales on patterns featuring stranded colorwork on February 7th will go to International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

Lynne Sosnowski --50% of all sales from February 6th (the day before the opening ceremonies) to February 24th (the day after) will go to Egale

Patricia Martin -- 50% of all sales of Way Up High will go to the Albert Kennedy Trust

Tanya Thomann -- 50% of all sales will go to Marriage Equality Michigan

Karina Westermann -- offering the pattern My Heart in My Hand for free

Kathleen Sperling -- 100% of all sales from patterns not currently already fundraising will go to Egale

Christina Harris -- 75% of self-published pattern sales will go to Egale

YellowCosmo -- 100% of sales from 2/7-2/9 and 2/23 on Slopestyle and First Snow will go to the  International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

Sarah Pope -- 100% of sales of Winter Garden will go to an organization TBD

Kelene Kinnersly -- 50% of sales of Hollyhock Fingerless, Hollyhock Mittens, Hollyhock Junior, the Hollyhock collection, and Sidetracked Cable will go to Egale

Linda Lenkovic -- 50% of all sales from Brioche Hat will go to Stonewall UK

Elizabeth Green Musselman -- 50% of all proceeds from her Dark Matter Knits (self-published) patterns throughout the Olympics will go to the National Center for Transgender Equality

Kate Lonsdale --100% of sales to the Human Rights Campaign in Los Angeles

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Stock(inette) Market: The Best Laid Plans. . .

Hi all! Just a quick note to let you know that I'm running behind schedule on the latest edition of the Stock(inette) Market.  The last couple weeks have been a perfect storm of deadlines, work craziness, and winter in Maine, but I'm hoping to have everything together by next Monday at the latest.  Thank you for your patience!