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."

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

Lacey Endeavors

Lace Close-up I know I have mentioned this to a few people in person, but I haven't gotten around to mentioning this here.  Helen, Maria and I had a little run in with insanity last month. There is a really long and fairly amusing story  - but the long and short of it is that we are running a KAL (Knit-along.) It is a Lace knit along, not based around a specific pattern, just based around knitting lace for the summer. We got started organizing it a little over a month ago, and already we have a pile of sponsors and prizes (Helen has done an awesome job procuring these for us.)  We have a Ravelry group and a Blog and I am pretty excited about how it is all coming together. Its called Seasons of Lace - and if you are interested you are welcome to join us! Even though I am Mod there, I am really quite the lace newbie. I have 2 lace projects on the needles right now. One of them I am doing in my own made up pattern - but I am not very far along on that one. This one is someone else's pattern and is the one that i am working on primarily. This is the Strangling Vine Lace Scarf. I got off to a rocky start, there is a bit of a discrepancy between the written pattern, and the chart. But once I worked it all out and put some stitch markers in everything smoothed right out. I am knitting it in Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool - which I love love love! I bought this yarn to be Aibhlinn, but after I started knitting, it really was just about the most boring thing ever - and you needed to pay just enough attention to it that it wasn't even "mindless" knitting. So Riiiiip! Its been a few thing in between, but now its found its happy match.

Lacey Endeavors

Originally posted at Which-Crafts

Lace Close-up

I know I have mentioned this to a few people in person, but I haven’t gotten around to mentioning this here.  Helen, Maria and I had a little run in with insanity last month. There is a really long and fairly amusing story  - but the long and short of it is that we are running a KAL (Knit-along.) It is a Lace knit along, not based around a specific pattern, just based around knitting lace for the summer.

We got started organizing it a little over a month ago, and already we have a pile of sponsors and prizes (Helen has done an awesome job procuring these for us.)  We have a Ravelry group and a Blog and I am pretty excited about how it is all coming together. Its called Seasons of Lace - and if you are interested you are welcome to join us!

Even though I am Mod there, I am really quite the lace newbie. I have 2 lace projects on the needles right now. One of them I am doing in my own made up pattern - but I am not very far along on that one. This one is someone else’s pattern and is the one that i am working on primarily.

This is the Strangling Vine Lace Scarf. I got off to a rocky start, there is a bit of a discrepancy between the written pattern, and the chart. But once I worked it all out and put some stitch markers in everything smoothed right out.

I am knitting it in Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool - which I love love love! I bought this yarn to be Aibhlinn, but after I started knitting, it really was just about the most boring thing ever - and you needed to pay just enough attention to it that it wasn’t even “mindless” knitting. So Riiiiip! Its been a few thing in between, but now its found its happy match.

Okay Brunch plan and not brunch plan – For Avenue Q folks – or I anyone else who wants to come

After mea culpaing - and saying I was full of fail - Here is what I am doing: I am going for brunch. I am gonig to Wishbone (the one in the west Loop) I will be there, Evan will be there, Helen Pope will be there. David and Erin will probably be there - and anyone else who wants to come can be there. They do NOT take reservations for breakfast. I will be there to eat at 10am. Anyone else who is there, can also join me. Yes I realize 10am is early. They tell me they are pretty busy by 11am. So 10 seemed safe if I want to sit with many of my friends. After we eat, there will be bumming around the loop - maybe a trip to a yarn store. Maybe hanging at the local Borders Books 'N' Music. Then there will be meeting up at the theater according to Bamm's Spec at 12:30. RSVPing - you don't have to - but it wouldn't suck. If I don't know you are coming I can't help facilitate you getting a seat at a table.