Signal boost – Artisan vs. Big box; knitting edition

This is one of those stories that I want to do a signal boost for.  I know many of my friends are knitters/crocheters or other kinds of yarnies and crafters.  This is a story about what happens when a popular Big Box Store wants to bully small artisan shops.

I know that for a long time many folks have purchased yarn and needles from Knit Picks and its other sister companies that carry Quilting supplies and Art supplies. I used to occasionally purchase yarn and needles from them too, that is until I met Tom Diak and learned about his experience having his intellectual property stolen by Knit Picks. Tom and his wife run Dyakcraft, previously known as Grafton Fibers.  Tom makes beautiful hand-crafted knitting needles, crochet hooks, Harmony lap looms and drop spindles.  Linda blends beautiful bats of spinning fiber; if you've ever been to my house and seen the gorgeous bundles of brightly colored fiber - almost all of them have come from DyakCraft.

Girl from Auntie has a really good post summing up the current situation between DyakCraft and Knitpicks with some legal commentary (her forte). For many years Tom Diak hand-made colorful wood laminate needles called "Darn Pretty Needles", he was contacted by Craft Americana (Knit picks parent company), about purchasing the rights to make the same kind of needle.  When Tom refused permission they went ahead and produced them anyway, calling them Harmony Needles (if you'll notice above the Diak's already had a product called Harmony). Now Knit Picks didn't hand-make their needles, they had them mass produced, and as such significantly undercut Tom's prices.  All in all this was pretty shitty and made a noticeable dent in the sales of Darn Pretty Needles, and being that Knit Picks is such a large company with such a large presence many people eventually started thinking that Tom was stealing the idea from Knit Picks!!

Now Craft Americana has gone ahead and filed for trademark and patent rights on the name Harmony and the style of needles. HELLO!!!!! WTF!!!!  This would prevent the Diaks from using the name Harmony on their looms and from making the needles they invented!  So  now Tom and Linda have started legal action against Craft Americana attempting to protect their products.

In any case Knit picks is apparently well known to steal/knock-off yarns and knitting tools from other companies and then undercut them.  And I understand that for folks on a budget their price points are pretty alluring.  But for me I can't face giving money to a company who behaves this way in the market place.

ETA: I got an email from the Diak's with a clairification: "Petkun said he wanted to sell our needles.  And then he never contacted the distributor.  That was in 2007.  In March, he offered us the trade agreement you can see in the USPTO files.  He never offered to buy our rights in 2007 and we never refused."

I made this …

I am sure many of you are familiar with that phrase from the produvtion company tag line at the end of some tv show. I found that line running through my head this morning when I was conbtemplating breakfast and realized that I mostly needed to go out into my backyard and pick some strawberries. And while no, I didn't hand-make the strawberries, I did create the bed and pick out and plant the strwaberry crowns. I get the same happy "I made this" feeling when I am wearing something that I have knit. Or the apron that I sewed, or get to knit with the yarn I have spun, or get to spin fiber I have dyed. Its a delicious little thrill. I am curious what other folks do that gives them a similar thrill?

Linky things January 18th through January 20th

Here is some stuff I have been reading that I thought folks might like:

Emergency Stash Organization

To be knit This holiday season was pretty hectic over at our house, including at least one event where the house was as full as I have seen it for big house concerts, and one where are few people slept over. Those of you who have been to my house, can attest to its petiteness. I *do* have 3 bedrooms, but  I wouldn't really want to put more than a double bed in two of them. Of course those bedrooms have multiple personality disorders, being asked to function as guest bedrooms, craft storage, music room,  library, adjunct closet, attic extension and an emergency cleaning dump location. Let me remind you that these are 2 fairly small rooms. Considering that both rooms needed to be availble for guests to sleep in, they had to largely cease to do most of their "dumping ground" functions. At Christmas my yarn storage cubes had foothills of unsorted, unorganized yarn. Much of it was in random boxes and bag (sometimes even the box or bag it came in). The fiber was mixed up with the yarn and much of it was jammed into corners or piled sort of haphazardly at the base of the yarn cubes like some sort of pagan sacrifice. Enter many storage cubes, Jill the cube constructor and Evan the whirlwind cleaner. By year end all of it was up off the floor and in at least moderately organized cubes. Obviously there is much organizing that still needs to happen. But it is very nice to have the stash up and at least mostly visible. I can't tell  you how many times I found yarn and fiber that I had completely forgotten that i had. It was like instant new yarn that I didn't have to pay for.  There ended up being quite a bit more fiber than I thought there was. It is quite clear that I am going to have to start spinning a LOT more to keep up. And you can just see a little bit of the setup I use for dyeing yarn on the left in the lower picture. To be spun - annotated

City Snow

City Snow
Originally uploaded by which_crafts

This was the view last night on the train platform. As much as it sucked to walk and drive in, I couldn't keep myself from being charmed by the sparkle in the glow of the lights.

My little camera couldn't really capture the fairie sparkle of the snow on the ground, but it tries hard. :)