This post is a follow up to my last post "karma". Like most of my posts, it's a bit of a read, but here's the short version: We're still BFF's.
The longer version goes like this...
Just three short weeks after the crazy-fast turn of events that made The Glen Abbey Hat and The Elm Road Hat "Hot Right Now", it happened again!
This time it was The Lighthouse Hat and, honest to goodness, my phone almost exploded from all the "love". Related to the near-explosion: I learned a valuable lesson about sale settings on Raverly...but that's a story for another time ; )
The funny thing is, I wasn't even planning to publish The Lighthouse Hat on Raverly. The same unpleasantness that caused me start moving my patterns there in the first place had also worn me down a bit. And, despite the unexpected success I'd had moving the first two patterns, I'd become anxious about moving any more.
What changed my mind? A fellow knitter; she tagged @coldcomfortknits in an Instagram post of a beautiful hat she'd made from The Lighthouse Hat pattern (originally published here). She had lovingly hand-knit each stitch from a soft, warm, hand-dyed yarn--the finished hat was now ready to be gifted to a friend who was about to start cancer treatment--her first chemo cap.
I published The Lighthouse Hat to Ravelry later that same evening. The next morning it was #1 on the Hot Right Now Top 20. In the following days it went on to receive more likes than my previous two hat patterns combined. As an aspiring designer, that's the stuff knitty dreams are made of. A wonderful moment, to be sure.
But as a human being, I realized that only one number truly mattered: One. One person in need of comfort. One person knitting a heartfelt gift.
What more could there be?
a tale of two hats & some mystical mojo
When I was in high school, I had a BFF named Carma. Yes, that's the correct spelling and, yes, her parents were probably hippies, lol. Despite her unusual name, Carma was a wonderful friend; bright, funny and down-to-earth. Today, however, I'm feeling particularly friendly with the other Karma.
Here's what happened...
If you've been reading the baa baa blog, you know that, recently, I encountered some pretty serious copyright violations. In one instance, one of my PDF files was lifted directly from my website and misused by another.
In order to help protect my work, I decided to move all my patterns to Ravelry, and to charge a fair price for them. To help ease the transition, I decided to give each pattern away for free for a few days, so knitters would have time to adjust.
It was a tedious, but necessary, process that required me to undo countless hours of website set-up and editing. To help take the sting out of all the extra work, I "cognitively reframed" it as an important lesson in my budding design career. Yes, I really did that. And, yes, it really helped :)
Fast forward to September 26th and, finally, I'd finished all the back-end details and was ready to re-publish two patterns: The Glen Abbey Hat & The Elm Road Hat. I went into my Ravelry shop, set phasers to "free", then went to bed.
The next morning, all knitty hell had broken loose...in the best, most wonderful, most surprising way possible. I awoke to find The Glen Abbey Hat & The Elm Road Hat occupying the top two spots on Ravelry's Hot Right Now Top 20!
For me, this was the knitty equivalent of having my name in lights. Suddenly, I could imagine knitters around the world asking, "Who the heck is this Alexis Adrienne person?". I even got a 'congratulations' e-mail from a local yarn store that had never been particularly warm or welcoming to me (actually, that might have been more weird than wonderful).
And all of that was great; I was very grateful for the recognition. But a girl's gotta eat. Once the flurry of free downloads was over, I had to wonder, would I really, tangibly, be any further ahead? Happily, it turns out, YES! After all that positive exposure, knitters actually started purchasing my patterns. Can I get a Hallelujah?!
Isn't it ironic that after years of hard work, planning, and strategizing, it took a reactionary move to propel me forwards? I mean, if that blatant misuse of my pattern file hadn't happened, I never would have felt so deeply betrayed, never would have been moved to protect my work and assert my right to fair compensation, and never would have had the same sudden audience for my patterns, or the resulting sales.
Karma is normally known for her more bitchy qualities; payback for slimey, icky behaviour. But when you're on the kind end of things, when you're trying to do good in the world with an honest, open heart, it turns out Karma really can be a girl's best friend!
#shopsmall and make a BIG difference
According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, October 21st, 2017 is #SmallBizSaturday. This day is meant to remind us that, if we want to keep our beloved neighbourhood shops open, then we must support them with our business.
I say "we" because I am not just a small business owner, but also a consumer. Shopping small has become more and more important to me over the years, as big box stores have all but taken over the modern retail landscape. Sure, prices have dropped, but labour standards and quality have plummeted.
Our fixation on having more for less has become like a disease--we shop 'til we drop, yet our wallets and our hearts grow emptier. We're surrounded by "stuff", but most of it is crap, and most of it was produced by exploited workers--an inconvenient truth. Sadly, few of us can afford to completely "opt-out" of this kind of marketplace...but, rest assured, we make a BIG difference every time we #shopsmall.
"Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want".
Author/educator Anna Lappe once said, "Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want". Well, I believe that when we choose to buy less (but better), we vote for a more respectful, less wasteful world. I also believe that when we choose to #ShopSmallBiz, we vote for stronger, healthier, more vibrant communities.
It's true, you can get a hat at Walmart for $12.99. It will probably be made by an exploited factory worker, from petro-chemical by-products, and it will probably fall apart after one season, then take a century to degrade, but it was hell of a deal, right? Wait, what?
It's time to redefine what it means to "get a great deal". Let's start by being more conscious shoppers. Winter is coming. Why not make 2017 our less-but-better winter?
So, go ahead and #shopsmall this season! Purchase a natural-fibre hand-knit hat from cold comfort and cast your vote for a world full of folks with warm, toasty heads.
$10 off all cold comfort hats 10-21-17 to 10-22-17
I must admit, one of the hardest parts of being a knitwear designer is trying to figure out other people.
Why, for instance, does one pattern get showered with love, while another gets barely a nod? I poured my heart into them equally. They're both equally beautiful (in my eyes, at least). So why 50 "likes" for one, and 500 for another? What are my fellow knitters thinking???
I know, I know...what is anyone ever thinking, right?
But, seriously, it can be really hard to understand the dismal response to some patterns. For example, the two hats below--Blossomy and Delicata--favourited just 24 and 48 times respectively. (Ravelry). Whaaaat?
Now, don't get me wrong, I certainly didn't expect Blossomy to hit the Hot Right Now Top 20--it takes a certain kind of confidence to rock that much hat--but 24 likes? I never would have predicted such a sad performance.
As for Delicata, the (lack of) response continues to baffle me...a year after publication! Personally, I love this hat so much I've knit it in three colours...and the ivory one remains one of my most loved, most worn hand-knit hats. How can others feel so "?" about it?
Patterns? They're easy to figure out. People? Not so much.
A few weeks ago, I posted a "teaser" picture to introduce my first-ever shawl pattern, The Ineffable Shawl. Well, I'm happy to report that I was able to publish the pattern on schedule and, despite a meagre 59 "hearts" on Raverly, people are indeed purchasing this pattern to knit for themselves, and I'm definitely grateful for that!
This shawl was pure joy to knit. In fact, that's how it got its name. From the Cambridge English Dictionary...
“Ineffable” (adjective): Causing so much emotion, especially pleasure, that it cannot be described.
I honestly couldn't think of a better way to capture the unique knitting--and wearing--experience of this particular shawl. It provides such a rich visual and tactile experience.
I also love the cheeky double-entendre. This shawl is so incredibly easy to knit it is almost “in-F-able” (wink wink).
The Ineffable Shawl is worked with two strands of yarn held together throughout, so it works up far more quickly than a traditional shawl knit with fingering and/or lace weight yarn.
Yarn #1 is (obviously) a solid-colour mohair-silk blend. Yarn #2 may surprise you--it's "Zauberball Crazy", a self-striping sock yarn!! By using a 4.5 mm needle (and that second strand of mohair) the stripes become softened and elongated--you'd never guess this was sock yarn, yet the yarn does all the hard work!
Plus, the pattern can be quickly and easily committed to memory, allowing the knitter to relax into the process and enjoy every bright, fluffy stitch.
I knit a lot, that's no secret, but it may surprise you to know that The Ineffable Shawl is one of my favourite designs to date. The knitting experience was a unique pleasure. And wearing it? Oh my. The fluidity of the drape, the warmth of the wool, and the fluffiness of the mohair...it's like wrapping myself in a warm, fluffy hug every time I put it on.
I'll definitely be making this shawl again...the colour possibilities are mind-boggling. Plus, I have a good friend who I'm sure could use a hand-knit hug--I think this will make an excellent gift. Any baa baa blog readers out there? What do you think? What colours would you use?
I'm absolutely beside myself in this moment. Tears streaming down my face...right onto my alpaca/mohair WIP...and every knitter knows that tears aren't good for mohair.
What happened? A ridiculously senseless violation of copyright, that's what. Actually two senseless violations, if I'm really going to get into it...and it appears that I am.
Someone posted one of my patterns in the "notes" section of their Raverly project page. Not the link to my pattern, but the actual pattern...every last detail. All four lines of the main stitch repeat, and the decrease sequence for the crown! She altered maybe two lines, but other than that, she essentially re-published my pattern in her project notes.
I mean, seriously. WTF? This is my livelihood. Designing hand-knits and writing patterns is how I make ends meet. How could any knitter do this to another knitter?
And this isn't the first time something like this has happened. Just a few weeks ago, the PDF file for one of my free patterns was lifted from this very website, then used by a yarn store to provide direct downloads from their own site (with the purchase of their yarn)!
The copyright statement on my patterns isn't hidden...it's easy to see and to read (but apparently impossible to comply with). It says that cold comfort patterns are for personal, non-commercial, use. What's not clear about that? Just because something is free, doesn't mean the rights don't belong to someone.
When I provide a pattern for free, it certainly doesn't mean that I didn't spend a great deal of time, money, and effort creating it. When I share my work for free, it's because I'm trying to share the joy of knitting with others. It's because I want to spread the knitty love, and help others find peace and healing through this amazing thing we do with two sticks and some string.
So when people take advantage of that, or don't use their heads and re-print paid pattern details, it makes me cry. And it makes me want to give up designing...just go back to knitting for my own pleasure. For every little triumph, there's just SO much B.S. that it's sucking all the joy out of it.
Excuse me now...I have to go blow-dry my shawl.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
It's the Thanksgiving long weekend here in Canada, which of course makes it the perfect time to get down to knitty business! By my calculations, a whole extra day added to the weekend equals 33.3% more knitting time!
Speaking of percentages, here's another one you might like...50%. If you've had your eye on some of my patterns, this weekend would be an excellent time to save--when you purchase any pattern from my Ravelry store, the second one is free! For the math-phobic among us, that means they're each 50% off! Simply enter promo code Thankful2017.
This year, more than ever, I'm giving thanks for the gifts knitting brings to my life every day---therapy, community, work, and a chance to give back. Although I never planned for my life to revolve around string, the fact that is does is cold comfort, indeed. ; )
From my heart, to yours...Happy Thanksgiving!
To celebrate the Grand Opening of the cold comfort knits online shop, and today's arrival of Fall, I think a special sale is in order!
Now, just let me make one thing clear: I always strive to offer my patterns & products at fair, reasonable prices. So, no matter when you choose to make a difference by supporting handmade, you can rest assured that not only are you creating positive change in the world, but you're also getting excellent value for your money in the process.
cold comfort knits is not a big box store or faceless corporation; there's no CEO here, just a "Chief Sheep". You won't see flashy sales happening here constantly, and you won't see cheap, mass-produced, synthetic knitwear, either. There are no deplorable labour practices at cold comfort, nor are there inflated prices that allow for "huge markdowns" later on. Bottom line? cold comfort is kind. And we think that's pretty special any day of the week!
Wearable. Ethical. Giftable. Squishable. Squeezable. Natural. Beautiful.
warm head, warm heart: save on hats!
cold comfort by alexis adrienne: save 25% on all knitting patterns
09/22/17 9:00 a.m. (EST) to 09/24/17 9:00 p.m. (EST)
After months and months and designing, knitting, and planning, I'm so very pleased to announce that the cold comfort online shop is open for wooly business!
And not a moment too soon--during the few day we were in "test mode", 2000+ visitors stopped by to browse. Holy sheep!
handmade matters: shop small this season
In search of a little cold comfort? Six styles of hats are now in the online shop, with almost twenty different colours to choose from. Every single hat was hand-knit (by me) from 100% natural, luxury fibres. Did someone say baby alpaca?
handmade matters: knit yourself some cold comfort
If you'd rather support the handmade movement by making something warm and wooly for yourself this season, may I suggest a pdf pattern by Alexis Adrienne--that's me!
Together, these patterns have been "favourited" well over a thousand times on Ravelry, some have been on the Hot Right Now Top 20, and one very special scarf (Isn't She Lovely) was even featured in Community Eye Candy.
Whether you support an independent artisan, or knit something lovely for yourself, you really do make a difference when you choose handmade. Happy shopping! Happy knitting!
Alexis Adrienne, Chief Sheep
Okay, I admit it. I'm teasing you with this shot. But I'm hoping it's the good, anticipation-building, kind of teasing--the kind that gets your creative juices flowing.
So, prepare yourself for some fabulously fluffy Fall knitting...my first ever shawl pattern will be available on Ravelry in less than a week!
I'm Alexis, the knitter/designer behind cold comfort knits. My favourite animal is a sheep (obvi). My primary knitting fuel is coffee. And my inner child is actually more of an inner senior-citizen.