28 February 2012

Why I don't sell my FOs

I post one photo selection of each of my finished objects on Facebook, as a way to show my non-knitting friends (and long-distance family members) what I've been up to. They don't have Ravelry accounts, so they can't see the extensive project information that is stored there: specific yarn choice, pattern designer, yardage, start and completion dates, and much more. This just gives them an idea of what projects I've done.
I often get really supportive comments about how great my stuff is, and I get quite a few suggestions that I should start selling my finished products. Without going into too much detail, I usually just say I can't, due to copyright... Which isn't exactly accurate, so here's a better explanation.

Unlike other pattern-based clothing, knitting patterns sometimes come with notes from the designer, saying the pattern is for personal use only, and the objects cannot be sold. Is it really possible to restrict someone's finished product entirely? I'm not a copyright lawyer, but the general consensus is no, technically you can't limit the sale of the item, but it's generally frowned-upon to sell. Are we selling just the physical labor of making a piece, or are we also selling the designer's creativity? What will sell better: a simple, universal pullover, or one with design elements, stitch patterns, and built-in ease?

I asked my Twitter followers what their views on the copyright matter are, and it was almost unanimous: it's not illegal to make and sell an item, but it's kind of a jerk move to do it without simply asking. Then you have something like this:
I used a pattern for this sweater to get a quick stitch count (to avoid doing gauge swatches), but didn't use the color scheme, striping concept, button band, or suggested yarn. At what point are you far enough away from a concept that you can claim it as your own improvisation? I don't know that I can answer that question.

I DO know that it becomes a frivolous debate very quickly for me, though, when I think about how much yarn costs, how long it takes to make an item, and how much money that would end up equalling. Let's take my last FO, that Versio sweater:

I finished it in one month (36 days). Probably spent around 3 hours each weeknight working on it, and another 4 or 5 hours each weekend day for the entire month. Granted, there were days I didn't knit, and days I knitted a ton, so this is just an average. Let's say right around 100 hours total of knitting and finishing. The yarn, Wollmeise lace, is a generous 1700 yards, of which I used about 1200. The whole skein is about $50, so at 1200 yards, I used just over $35 worth of yarn.

If I get paid for my yarn, pattern cost, and labor at minimum wage, I end up at:
$35 + $6.21 + $7.25(x100 hours) = $766.21, before sales tax.

Before I even got to the labor part, I was over $40, which could buy me a machine-knit sweater at a mid-quality store in the mall. 

Let's try something smaller, like my Raphaelite shawl:
Two skeins of Madelinetosh yarn, a $5.50 pattern, and about two weeks of work:
$44 + $5.50 + $7.25(40) = $339.50

For those of you who don't knit, take a moment to think about the things you do in your free time. Your hobbies, arts, interests... Would you be willing to trade your time at minimum wage? Would your work be worth more? It is for me... Giving away something I've made, no matter how small, is a huge sacrifice of time, before you even start valuing the materials and labor. 

This is also why I'm super picky about who I knit for, and what I knit for them... When someone snubs your gift, it can be devastating... but that's a different post altogether. 

Leave your opinions in the comments, and don't forget to enter the giveaway!
- YX

27 February 2012

Queued: tops with drape

I recently queued two tops that share a similar design concept: small gauge, draped cowl necklines.

The first is Hannah Fettig's Framed Pullover:

This top calls for a fingering weight yarn, so any of the fun semi- and multi-colored sock yarns are fair game. I love the vibrant green on the model, despite the fact that I could never pull off such a beautiful hue. Green pulls out the olive tones in my skin, making me look even greener. It's a shame, too, because I have a gorgeous skein of Wollmeise in Wasabi that would nearly replicate the look:

Although the length of the top is perfect for current fashion (yeah, crops are coming back in... I refuse to share my midriff with the world again), I'd probably lengthen the hem to overlap with the waistband of my jeans. This would be so pretty in a plum, vibrant pink, or even the neutral families.

The other top is called Ropery, by Michaela Moores, and has a super low cowl, which is created in part by some great bias work:

Again, the pattern is fingering weight, and the openness of the front means you can pair the top with a visually-calming neutral tank, and go wild on yarn choice. See how the variegations are angled on the front piece, due to the bias knitting? Any semi or multi will emphasize that directionality. This is definitely not a pattern for everyone, since I'm sure some people won't appreciate the bulk across the stomach, but I think it has some interesting concepts that could be used in other ways.

I love cowls for their dramatic silhouettes and dressy-casual feel.

Finally, let me leave you with a reminder that my first giveaway is almost at an end! Only three more days to enter. Check back on March 1 for the winner! Good luck!

- YX

23 February 2012

FO: Versio

SO so sooo excited to show you my finished photos of Versio:
I picked up 4 out of every 5 stitches around the neck, and did a teeny rib to finish up the hood and neck. The original pattern had a slip stitch edging, but it still rolled on me, so I decided to do something that would match the cuffs and hem.

I chose to rib the cuffs and hem (instead of the split openings the pattern suggested) because I absolutely love the look of ribbed hems. My second choice would've been a turned hem, but since this is knitted top-down, it would've required some gymnastics I wasn't up to.
The hood is created by knitting up from a provisional cast-on, increasing in a middle section, then sewing or grafting the stitches together to make a T-shape. 
I'm really happy with how it turned out, and it's super comfortable (I'm wearing it today!)

Speaking of happy things, have you entered my giveaway yet? Just a few more days until we pick a winner!

- YX
P.S.-- I added a gallery of finished objects to my sidebar, so feel free to check them out!

21 February 2012

Welcome to www.Yarnexploder.com

More news today! I've just finished setting up my custom domain, so you can now reach this site by going to www.yarnexploder.com! Hurray progress!

And for those of you who didn't catch it yesterday, we're doing an awesome giveaway, so go sign up!

In yarn-related news, my Versio is currently blocking and will be ready for a little photoshoot tomorrow! I'm so excited to show you guys how it turned out. I love the smell of Wollmeise when it blocks...

Last night, I tried to look into new projects to cast on, but nothing stood out to me. Of course, I'll be starting the Brownstone I talked about last week, but before I plunge headlong into another large project, I wanted to take a break on something small and quick. I have some WIPS I could finish:

My ongoing Alpaca Square afghan was on hold because I couldn't figure out a good way to seam all the pieces without having the fabric pull and pucker. My interknit friend, Michael, suggested a sewn or 3-needle bind off with live edge stitches, which will do the job well, so maybe I should work on that a bit...

I could always bite the bullet and finish up the sleeves on my Spine Cable Sweater:
Excuse the awful photo... There's something so disappointing about ripping out sleeves and having to reknit them, so I keep shoving this one back into my stashbox like a petulant child.

Or I could get a few rows done on my Blue Heron Rayon Metallic table runner, but it's boring me to death still, so I'm pretty sure I'd get maybe one repeat into it before falling asleep:

The weird thing is, it's not like I hate these projects... They're just not inspiring me right now, and I believe knitting should always bring me joy, not an impending sense of underachievement.  When it feels boring, I move on to something else and save myself the frustration. Why pick a hobby that makes you feel like your downtime is unenjoyable?

I have plenty of time to conform to that particular stereotype... Until then, I'll be surfing new patterns.
- YX

20 February 2012

Big things happening!

Happy Monday! I hope you guys had a good weekend. Notice anything different? I made a new banner this weekend... The images are all from FOs I've completed in the past, but they've been toned to purple to match my current layout.

You may also notice a small image on the righthand side of the page. I'm super excited to announce that I'll be featuring one knit/crochet-related sponsor on the blog each month. In exchange for the ad space, we're getting awesome yarns, fibers, and products to GIVE AWAY each month! Awesome!

For the rest of February, I'm featuring amazing wood buttons by Blue Lab Workshop. Blue Lab specializes in exotic wood buttons and toggles. This month, one lucky reader will receive a handmade "Moby" whale button, like the ones pictured above.

Blue Lab has provided buttons and toggles for two of my hats, as well as simple round ones for a cardigan I completed. Check them out:

The buttons are hand-finished and are smooth, shiny, and have incredible graining. I love their earthiness, which works so well with crazy or variegated yarns, instead of fighting with the color. They're lightweight, too, so they won't pull on your finished fabric.

Win one of these "Moby" whale buttons by checking out the Blue Lab etsy store. Then, come back here and leave a comment with your favorite one! Our winner will be chosen on the last day of the month, so check back!
Blue Lab Etsy

Good luck!
- YX

17 February 2012

Acquisition: Tosh!

Last weekend, I happened out to Nimblefingers, an awesome little yarn/needlework store in Houston. This store isn't as close to my house as others, but I'm drawn to it because they're my primary supplier of Madelinetosh yarn! I was initially looking for a skein of the mesmerizing Edison Bulb colorway, to continue feeding my neon craving:

Alas, they were out of it, but I managed to snag a skein of Tosh DK in "Pop Rocks":

I also happened upon a breathtaking skein of Lace in "Nostalgia":

I picked both up. I'm thinking the pink will team with the leftovers from my Raphaelite Shawl to make a pair of fingerless mitts. I think I'll improvise the pattern this time, instead of using a pre-written one.

The lace will become an airy dress of my own design, which is still in the nascent phases of sketching. More on that later.

And lastly, I got an awesome I got an awesome package from Sunrise Fiber Co., which included that skein of UFO I ordered after the Etsy shopping post.

Although the skein I got isn't quite as vibrant as the photo on Etsy, I think it's charming and balanced, and will make some awesome mitts or socks in the near future.

I keep saying I have way too much yarn in my life, and it's true. Luckily, I'm plugging away at stash as well as working on newer yarns. Perhaps I should do a clean out and offer up another giveaway? What would you like to win in a giveaway? Wollmeise? Tosh? Magic angel hair/qiviut? Let me know in the comments!
- YX

15 February 2012

WIP: Versio

I've been plodding along on my versio, for those of you who may be wondering. I took a few WIP photos over the weekend, which show how far I'd gotten:

As you can see, I was almost at the cuff of the first sleeve, and hadn't started the second. Well, I kept working and am now about halfway through sleeve #2... No photos yet!  I'll take the finals as soon as I finish up.

I really like the way the fabric is pooling, and it's always amazing to me how such small changes can make huge ripples through a project. Especially when the project is knitted with Wollmeise:

The few hip increases I did created the crazy chevron pattern in the fabric. I could have avoided this by knitting every other round with a different strand, but I decided not to. Why? I love the way Wollmeise creates a construction story on a garment, for one thing. Secondly, I am enamored with this giant yarn cake, which is slowly decreasing in size... Right now, the sweater consists of a continual strand for the torso, one for each sleeve, and one for the hood. 

I'm trying really hard to finish this sweater by the end of the weekend, so I can start on some new things! A big one is going to be my husband's Brownstone Pullover, by Jared Flood. I have some Sublime Yarns Organic Merino Wool that will fit the bill perfectly:

I also have some mega-awesome yarn purchases to share with you, but I'll save those for another entry!

- YX

14 February 2012

Trend: LOVEly yarn

Valentine's Day! I have some project updates for you, but for today I wanted to share some gorgeous love-themed yarns with you:

First off is Viola Viola's Old Rose M/C/N. Worth mentioning that her "love" colorway was the one I used on my caliper hat:

Next is The Kangaroo Dyer's Heart's Love colorway:

Knit and Fiber Creation's Sweetheart sock yarn sets my feet aflutter:

Not a pink fan? Here's I'm Yours by Turtle Purl:

Show me some yarn love in the comments!
- YX

09 February 2012

Trend: Water bottle covers

I traveled to Columbus last weekend to pay my family a visit. While it was nice to give them a little surprise (I didn't tell them about my plans), ended up coming down with quite a cough thanks to my reliably awful allergies.

No manner of OTC medication seems to help the cough, but I find plenty of solace in a good cup of tea and a hot water bottle or heating pad. I have a little floral bottle that is super cute, but gets cold fairly fast without a good cover. I love to use it on my feet, under a warm blanket while I knit on the couch. So comforting! No matter how warm it is, I always seem to have freezing feet!

So how about the Aran Felted cover from Ann Budd for Interweave? Felted fabric is SO warm! I love the classic sweater look... Even the top is reminiscent of a turtleneck!

Elly Fales has a cute Hot-Water Bottle Cover that includes a little pocket... Perhaps for a small sachet of lavender, or a scent-infused cloth pad? Great for colds, and would look so cute in a little get-well-soon kit. Elly has a really cute blog, too, if you're looking to add to your collection.

Julie Wiesenberger's Hot Water Bottle Cozies design is simultaneously graphic and whimsical. I love this as a masculine (or andro) alternative to the more traditionally feminine bottles. Do you remember Julie? She also designed Liesl and those cute pleated ballet flats I've featured here. Love her!

What makes you feel comfy on a bad day? Share it in the comments!
- YX

07 February 2012

Needles in SPACE!

Those crazy guys over at Gizmodo have shared a video of a statically charged needle in space, playing with water droplets:

Those guys in the International Space Station do some interesting research... I'm essentially accepting this video as proof that one of those astronauts must be a knitter.

Have a good Tuesday! I've made some serious progress on my Versio lately, so I'll have to show you guys!
- YX

01 February 2012

Queued: Pei

I have two lovely skeins of Jade Sapphire 2-ply 100% cashmere that I scored at a big yarn sale a few months back... I bought the two skeins with twin projects in mind: something for my grandmother and Andrew's grandmother.

Looking through my queue,  I stumbled onto Michele Wang's Pei.

I love the balance of smooth and textured area on this piece, and the attention to detail with the edgings. It's beautifully proportioned, too... Not too bulky or too thin for the lace pattern scale and fabric weight. 

I think it will knit up beautifully in lace weight, even though the pattern calls for a sock weight yarn. It'll have a bit more drape, but downsizing the needles just a bit should help with that.

What I really love about the piece is the timeless, sophisticated look of the FO. Classy and works well with casual or more formal styles. Now, the question is... When will I have time to cast on?

- YX