Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sheep 'n Socks

Grab a cuppa coffee, because we've got lots to talk about today! First, the report from Black Sheep Gathering. Just to get you in the mood, here are some sheepies:

See the black one? This little guy was talking to me:

It was really funny, because he had such a flat little "Baa". He didn't have any vibrato at all, so he almost sounded like a person.

Anyway, Black Sheep was HUGE and so fun. I drove down with my new friend Nicholette (we'd met up to knit a couple of times, but yesterday we REALLY got to know each other after spending 8 hours together), and it was delightful to hang out with someone who is just as happy to talk about knitting and fiber as I am. She's another local designer and knitting teacher - you may have seen her work in the latest Interweave Knits. She's also a mom, so we talked about knitting, kids, designing, yarn, politics, our childhoods in the Midwest, how we met our husbands, etc. etc. etc.

When we got there, we started making the rounds, petting all the amazing rovings and handspun yarns. If you don't have the yen to spin, going to a fiber festival will really make you reconsider. There were so many incredible rovings, and they were so cheap! There were also many, many unique fibers and blends. There was one booth that was selling completed Orenburg Lace shawls, and they had about 50 of them draped all over the place. They were incredible, and to go along with it they had piles of ultra-soft yarn like qiviut, camel, yak, angora, cashmere - Nicholette picked up a hank of amazing laceweight yak-cashmere blend in this incredible pewter color. Don't ask me why I didn't take more pictures!

I was totally on sensory overload most of the day and didn't end up buying much yarn. I did stop by the Blue Moon Fiber Arts booth to drop off the Bambu tank I designed for them. Fortunately, they absolutely loved it and apparently there were people asking for the pattern all day. Yay! I even got a big hug from Tina as a thank you. It was hard for me to part with it, but fortunately it wasn't in my size. I of course bought some yarn from them, some of which is for secret pals and can't be shown (especially now that one of my secret pals knows who I am...), but here are a couple hanks of STR that will be going into the grand prize Sock-A-Month basket:

And just what I need - more bumper stickers! How could I resist, though? At 1:30, a bunch of us knit bloggers met up and did a little knitting.

Here we are with our socks! From L-R, we have Dene, Tammy, me and Jen (who had her adorable little guy Andy with her, but he didn't make the picture). We also met up with Yvonne, but she was too busy shopping to do any knitting (who can blame her)? She did have a hank of her hand-dyed yarn along with her, and it is totally gorgeous. It was so much fun to meet everyone!

After I got home, I continued work on the sock I'm making from my One Skein Secret Pal yarn.

I know that I said I didn't have any socks on the needles the other day, and technically that was true. I'd pulled the needles out of these to swatch for something else, and put them back in yesterday morning so I'd have something nice and portable to drag around Black Sheep. I have so many dropped stitches with the kids pulling my needles out of things that I have absolutely no fear of yanking needles out when I need them for something else and putting them back when I'm realy to start knitting again. Unless I'm knitting with mohair.

I'm kind of at a project impasse right now, so the socks may be getting lots of attention this weekend. The Big Girl Knits 2 cardigan is ready to steek, but I haven't gotten up the courage to stick it under the sewing machine needle just yet. I have three other design projects to work on, and some submissions that it wouldn't hurt to make, but I just don't feel like doing any of them. The submissions would be to JCA, which is the yarn company that makes/distributes Reynolds and Artful Yarns. It could be that the Reynolds that I bought to swatch with is Lopi, and I hate the stuff. It feels like baling twine to me. I was going to felt with it, but I'm having problems touching the stuff even for that purpose.

I'm really trying to decide which way to take the design business anyway, especially after talking to Nicholette, who sells her patterns through the Yarn Garden and has only submitted a couple designs to magazines. She makes SO much more money selling her patterns wholesale than I would ever make from a magazine or book submission. I love seeing my stuff in print, but I think self-publishing is going to be the way to go if I ever want this to go beyond a hobby and actually turn a profit.

For example, the BGK2 cardigan, which is a size XL sample, has stranded colorwork around the yoke and is steeked up the front, is paying me $200. So that works out to, what, 50 cents an hour? No, it's not quite that bad, but it's not much. Definitely below minimum wage. I know it's bad manners to talk about money, but I think it's important for people to know how little knit designers get paid, and why it's so important to BUY PATTERNS and not copy them!!! Unless all you want is garter stitch scarf patterns knit in novelty yarn that the yarn companies will give you for free on their yarn ball bands. But creative designs from good designers are going to be a thing of the past if they can't make any money from it!

One of the designers on a mailing list I'm on said it well. When someone asks her to copy a pattern for them, she asks them if they're planning to steal the needles and yarn they're going to use to make the item. They get all huffy and irate and say "Of course not!" She then explains to them that copying a pattern is the exact same thing. Just because you're much less likely to get caught doesn't mean it's not stealing...

Okay, I'm off my soapbox. Let's see some socks (and we've got a bunch of them)!

Adelle finished some Meilenweit socks for her friend Al.

Sheri knit up some warm little socks for the Dulaan Project.

Karen's got two pairs - French Socks and a pair of Meilenweits.

Lisa finished the last pair of Unity Socks!

Kat finished a pair of Pomatomi.

Emily has a pair made from her own handspun (scroll down past all the Alpaca pics to see them).

Sonya finished a pair of those amazing Norwegian Stockings. Love them!

Ragan finished some Mom socks and some blue cabled socks for brownie points.

Lu also knit some blue socks.

Pam knit up some cool green socks w/ variegated heels and toes.

Rachel knit up something fishy...

Jennie has more blue socks. Seeing a blue trend here?

Newlywed Elizabeth has two pairs of socks - one from before her wedding and one from after, and lots of wedding pics in-between. Congrats!

Jennifer whipped up a pair of Fixation footies.

Jamie finished some lovely shell socks.

Mary Beth has some gorgeous Cherry Tree Hill socks done.

Debbie finished a pair of Simply Lovely Lace socks. However, I can't show them to you since Blogger is once again refusing to upload my pictures. Gah!

Roberta's got Ruby Slippers and Fire on the Mountain. I love them both, but you all know that I am STR-biased...

Stariel knit her 13th pair of socks for the year!

Erica has a pair of Meilenweits (what is with this yarn suddely ALL OVER THE PLACE, including on my needles?) and a pair of twisted Trekking socks.

Kristy in NC finished a lovely blue pair of lace socks, modeled by her daughter, but Blogger refuses them also. I'll try to post the missing pics when Blogger decides to behave again...

Adrienne knit up a very pretty pair of socks she designed, but I can't show them to you either. Sigh.

Nelda finished two stripey pairs.

For those of you who are still with us after this ridiculously long post, I have a very special announcement. Mama-E is going to be dyeing a very special Brownie Point colorway for us that will serve as the brownie point prize at the end of Sock-A-Month. This will also be the August Project Spectrum colorway, and it is going to be fabulous. I can't wait to see it!

I was going to leave you with one more sheepy picture from Black Sheep, but...I don't even want to talk about it.

Happy socking, everyone, and have a great Sunday!


Blogger msubulldog said...

So great to hear about Black Sheep! I will definitely have to go next year. Today we are off for a ride on Thomas! :)

10:12 AM  
Blogger lexa said...

Wow - everyone has great socks, as usual!

When looking at them all, I noticed that Stariel's link goes to Roberta's Fire on the Mountain.

2:09 PM  
Blogger Tammy said...

It was so fun meeting all of you gals. I know the time went so quickly, we'll have to do it again. Would you believe I didn't take any photos at BSG, but did as soon as I got home. I even had my camera with me, just in the van, not in my bags. Oh well.

3:08 PM  
Blogger Sonya said...

Amazing collection of socks! It really is a bummer that designing pays so little. So much time invested as well as blood, sweat and tears. I'm glad you designers do what you do though! I think I'm very technique-oriented, but I don't have a creative bone in my body.

4:06 PM  
Blogger knittinmom said...

Oops! That's what I get for too much cutting and pasting. Stariel's link should be correct now. Sorry 'bout that!

5:36 PM  
Blogger Katrina said...

I'm so glad you had fun at the Black Sheep Gathering. I wish I could have been there with you.

And your Bambu tank is fabulous. I had the pleasure of seeing it in person. I'm not surprised that there was such an interest in it. You really are such a talented designer, whichever direction you decide to take it in. Just don't stop!

5:55 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Whew! That's a lot of socks!
I finished up a pair today too!
And I finished up a pair at the end of May for a brownie point pair that I don't think got counted. I realize that it's not a big deal, so if they can't be added now, that's cool! :)
Thanks for doing all this! It's so much fun to see what everyone is up to!

8:39 PM  
Blogger Ragan said...

It sounds like you had a great time at Black Sheep. :)
That was a great sock post! I really enjoy looking at everyone's beautiful socks! It is a shame that designing doesn't pay more. I love your patterns!

5:07 AM  
Blogger aija said...

Great pics, thanks for sharing. I like the spotted fuzzball :) I have always been curious about the pay for designers and thank you for sharing (I'd never have the courage to ask!)

That IS a lot of socks too!!

9:44 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Glad you had a good time at Black Sheep. I'm excited to hear about your own knitwear line! How exciting! As always I'm in for test knitting. I'll be watching the group page!

1:23 PM  
Anonymous Siri said...

I've been A.W.F.U.L about updating you on socks! There's even one more from May that I posted in June here:
And Three(!) pair from June (so far!):
and here:

12:29 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

Oh, the fiberfest looked like some much fun! I'll have to find some fiber fests that are local.

I did finally finish my last pair of socks for the sock-a-month along. This was a great KAL for me as I actually did manage to knit 5 out of 6 of the socks I was supposed to. Makes me feel good, and now I have two gift socks and almost enough socks to make it through the workweek.

Thanks again for hosting.

9:24 AM  

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