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Forced Anticipation As a Marketing Tactic

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Text on Ravelry announcing that a pattern is available for sale now but will only be sent in October

 

Oh, this sort of thing drives me nuts.

Listen, I get it. I work for a publisher. I understand publishing schedules, and I know how nice it is to build anticipation for a product.

But when a designer releases digital goods for pre-order three months before launch, complete with styled photos, there’s something wrong. They’re frustrating their fans, not just building anticipation.

Anticipation is when Jared Flood releases a photo of a tiny detail from one knit in his upcoming collection, one week before the launch. Anticipation is when people start asking around on Ravelry for the launch date of the latest Twist Collective.

Digital publishing is still new. We’re still figuring out the rules, especially in the crafting space, where some companies still rely on the digital illiteracy of their longtime fans to make a profit (I’m looking at you, Rowan).  I know I sound angry, and I am — crafting is a big part of my life, but digital publishing is an even bigger part, and it frustrates me to see it used to such bad effect.

Love the patterns, but this is leaving a bad taste in my mouth.

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Dilemma: when knitting meets minimalism

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I tried, I really did. When Jared and I first moved to Australia, I left my considerable yarn craft stash behind and vowed to never again accumulate a stash, and to only knit one project at a time. Ok. Two. Two projects at a time, maximum.

But then, we decided to stay a bit longer, and we moved to a nice new condo with so much space. I once heard someone refer to our living room as “the yarn corner”. At first, I ordered from stores like the wonderful Jannette’s Rare Yarns, since local options left much to be desired. Then a shop opened in my neighbourhood, better than I could have ever expected. Since I now teach at the Woolarium, my stash has increased by, ah, quite a bit.

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Ah, Sharron, I’ve just realised I still have your loom, tucked away in the back.

I left Montreal with a suitcase of clothes, just enough to take me through the seasons. When I first landed in Melbourne, it was late August, mid-winter, and I was wearing a jersey sleeveless dress and sandals. It was 17 degrees celsius, I was fine, but everyone around me was shivering in their winter jackets. I soon adjusted to this new “winter”, and added store-bought and hand-knit sweaters to my stash.

So how do I balance my love of acquiring beautiful yarns, and of making handknit wearables, with my desire for a simple, pared-down, clutter-free lifestyle? Do I give away my knits to people whom I love, but who might not appreciate the investment, both in time and in money, that goes into a handknit? I’m picturing silk-merino shawls thrown in the washing machine, cashmere hats dropped on the ground.

A third option appears: selling my knits, or knitting for hire. That’s quite controversial in knitting circles: knitting is skilled work, after all, and surely deserves a hefty hourly rate. Right? So would I dare charge someone $15, $20, $30 per hour for a sweater that will take upwards of 300 hours — plus materials? Would anyone even pay those prices?

But so little of knitting is about the finished product. For me, it’s all about the process. So why not knit for others, basically for free, if I can just enjoy the work that goes into it?

Ah, I don’t know, and I don’t know how others do it. So, dear reader: if you craft, if you make more things than you can possibly use up, but feel a compulsion to make, what do you do with the extra?

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Simple shawls are the best shawls

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I am lucky enough to have a job that requires a lot of reading and thinking, leaving me with many hours of mindless knitting time while my brain tries to work through problems.

This WIP shawl is perfect for deskside knitting: portable, light, time-consuming (thin yarn, small needles) and, best of all, utterly mindless. 10 rows of stockinette, one row of eyelets bordered by some garter stitch. Increases on the right side only. Finishing off with a generous garter stitch edge. The end.

On Ravelry: A Shawl for Jess

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On Twitter

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Ophelie Knits Twitter

The vast majority of followers on my regular Twitter account don’t want to hear about my knitting endeavours, and I doubt my knitting friends want to read about content strategy and web publishing. To that effect, I now have a brand-new Twitter account for knitting stuff! It’s @OphelieKnits. It has no followers yet. That’s pretty sad.

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Beach interlude

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I spent the last week visiting Port Douglas and beautiful Far North Queensland.

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It can be quite confronting up there: everything can kill you. The towns are fine, safe, sanitized, but spending time in the rainforest and walking along secluded beaches was so very different from my day-to-day experience of Australia!

It rained most of the week, so i knit up a storm.

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My favourite part of the holiday: the endless inspiration from the forest, the beach, and the art.

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The Mindless Office Knitting Shell

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Striped grey, red and white knit top

I don’t drive, but from what I hear, it’s quite common for people to pull into their driveway after a long commute home and have *no idea* how they made it there — no recollection of actively driving home.  Muscle memory takes over, shifting, indicating, turning, accelerating, braking. Meanwhile, most of the mind is free to wander.

After awhile, knitting is the same. Muscle memory takes over — knit, knit, knit, purl. The hands get into rhythm and the mind is free to occupy itself.

That’s why I’ve started knitting at the office, while reviewing articles, reading topic pitches and while Google Analytics reports.  That’s how this tank came about: I needed something mindless, knit in stocking stitch, something I could pick up and put down as needed.

Mindless tee 2

On Ravelry here.
Yarn: Cascade Ultra Pima, just over 3 skeins (I had to dip into a second grey skein for the armhole and neck trim)
Design: improvised, using the wonderful random stripe generator.