New Pattern: Resistimus

This will be the last “craftivist” pattern for a while — I’ve got other things I need to do, but this one was burning a hole in my brain and I decided to get it out. Shortly after I released Felis Hattus, a fellow designer got in touch with me and asked if I’d like to be part of a book of craftivist patterns. While the book didn’t pan out, I did come up with another pattern that might have been included. This one was, clearly, made for the March for Science later this month (in case it’s not clear, those motifs are resistors; pun definitely intended). As it turns out, I’ll be teaching at Yarnover that day, so I won’t be able to attend. In addition, I’m getting it out merely a week before that event, which isn’t enough time for anyone else to finish one before the event (unless you’re very, very fast, about 4x my speed). However, I think there will still be use for this kind of piece and the message it conveys even after the march.

So a little about the pattern: It’s a double-knit scarf in 15 colors — but don’t worry, you’re still only using 2 at a time. The lettering is done with two-pattern double-knitting so that the “RESIST” is visible on the other layer as well. Yes, the other layer isn’t quite as presentable; this is one case where there’s definitely a right and wrong side. But it’s still nice to look at and readable on the “wrong” side. Color B (the green background) stays constant throughout, but Color A changes between 14 other potential colors (not all 14 are used in this particular scarf, but they can be) to make the wire, the resistor bodies, and the color bands that denote what type of resistor each one is. In this case, I decided to make the second set of resistors identical to the first, but you could choose otherwise. In between the first and second sets (in the place that would probably go over your neck) there’s a resistor symbol as well.

It’s called Resistimus, which is Latin for “we are resisting”, and you can download it on Ravelry.

I used Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted, but especially for the little bands you could just use scrap worsted wool of the right colors if you have it.

Like Felis Hattus, this is a free pattern. I want people to use it in protests and any other way that helps the visibility of the movement to defend the sciences from the ravages of the Trump administration. With funding and other support stripped from science, environment, education and more, we approach the standing of a third-world country. Our momentum in innovation will only carry us so far; eventually all science and innovation will be the purview of mega-corporations who can fund scientists on their own for their own reasons, and education and the environment will be under the control of people who think the Bible is more important than textbooks and that prayers will save us from rising seawater and rapidly changing weather patterns. So I hope that if you like this pattern, you’ll do something to support STEM advancement, or at least donate to one of the organizations fighting the Trump administration’s policies.

Thanks and stay tuned for more!

Colorwork Challenging

It’s no secret that one of the most visible pieces in Double or Nothing is the Adenydd shawl — the magnum opus of that book in double-knit lace. What you may not know is that it was also one of the most enjoyable pieces to design and knit, and I’ve been wanting to play more with lace design ever since.

Each year, as I am able, I go to an event for guy knitters called the Men’s Spring Knitting Retreat. It’s fun and relaxing with a great group of guys. One of the things they’ve been doing the past couple of years is called the “Colorwork Challenge”. There’s a bin of crayons, and you pull 4 or 5 out at random. Those random colors are your challenge — you can add a black or a white for contrast but you’ve got to stick to those colors. People do all kinds of things with them and it’s always fascinating to see the interpretations. This year, for the first time, I’m taking part. Here are my colors, and the yarn I chose:

I actually found the yarn on a field trip during the retreat! But I was in the middle of finishing my book at the time so I haven’t really had time to deal with the pattern I had in mind. Needless to say, it went through some permutations before solidifying into a fascinating double-knit lace pattern that I adapted from a lace pattern called “Sunspot Lace” in one of the Walker treasuries. I loved those concentric circles, so I added more and linked them in chains — and then nested them together. The resulting chart is actually impossible to chart intelligibly in a grid, so I’m finally making use of Stitch Maps to chart it. Will it end up being released as a pattern? I don’t know. But for now, it’s a great way for me to keep on my toes. I hope to be able to show you the real thing at some point soon, but for now here’s a progress shot of the prototype swatch, done in the same yarn I used for Adenydd. When blocked, the circular shapes become much more clear.

In other news:

My workshop season continues apace; having so many workshops in the northeast has understandably had an effect on my average class sizes. While this is a little frustrating for me, it’s nice for those who are taking my classes since they get more one-on-one time with me. However, in future years, I’ll probably need to be more careful about how many workshops I schedule in the same geographic area. It’s hard to remember sometimes that New England states are all so close together compared to the rest of the country, and people often don’t mind traveling across one or two of them to get to a workshop.

That said, I’ve landed another workshop in Maine! But it’s in September, so hopefully it won’t be affected by the phenomenon I just mentioned. I’ll be teaching 3 workshops at Fiber College in Searsport, Maine!

If you’re a last-minute scheduling sort of person, I’m teaching this coming weekend at WEBS! Two of the classes (an intro and a multi-color class) have plenty of room, so if you’re in the Western MA environs and have time and interest on April 1 or 2, I hope to see you there.

Speaking of this coming weekend, since I can’t be everywhere, I specifically can’t be at Interweave Yarn Fest this coming weekend. This has been traditionally one of my more popular shows and it’s too bad they didn’t book me this year. However, if you’ve been wanting to check out my book or patterns, they’ll be at the Wall of Yarn booth (#301).

Finally, another new appearance as of this morning, I’ll be vending my books and patterns at the Yarn Sellar’s Fiber Marketplace on April 8th in York Harbor, ME.

Find other workshops and appearances on my event calendar, updated as I finalize agreements.

Thanks for keeping up with me, and I’ll try to keep updating around the end of each month if not sooner.

Alasdair’s Fine Mathwear revisited

I’ve had some projects that have been waiting on the back burner while I finished the book, and now it’s time to bring them forward again. The one that’s been the longest away is a project I wrote about in my Craftstory (for the book). Not merely a knitting project, but a small side business that I stopped before jumping into double-knitting with both feet. I called it “Alasdair’s Fine Mathwear;” I designed moebius scarves, klein bottle hats, hyperbolic surfaces … but I didn’t know anything about pattern writing at that point. I sold or bartered with the pieces themselves, did a few commissions, but this business was ultimately short-lived. Many of the math-related patterns I came up with have been left alone for some time, but I think it’s time I revisited a few — but now, in double-knitting. It’s likely that I’ll be releasing these as a small ebook/print booklet similar to Parallax.

Here’s the first one — or at least, here it is before it’s been stitched together. It’s a very weird garment and a very weird shape. In case it’s not clear, it’s a tube with a slit in the center. Anyone want to make a guess as to what it becomes when it’s properly assembled?

In book news

It’s been a great first (whole) month, with fantastic book sales numbers at Vogue Knitting Live and again at the Wayland Winter Farmers’ Market this past weekend. Online orders are down to a trickle, but I’ve got hope that a few new publicity opportunities will bear fruit. I’ve had some new wholesale accounts opened, so there will be a few LYSs around the country stocking my books as well. I hope Stitches West will be a big success; the Adenydd shawl will get its major runway debut there too (it took a short spin on the catwalk at the Fiber Festival of New England).

In a couple of weeks, I’ll have a new edition of the Parallax booklet available. I liked the print job on Double or Nothing so much that I decided to do a short run of Parallax there as well. It cost quite a bit, but this is a book that routinely sells well and has never had trouble doing so. I hope that it will continue to do so, since I am about to have 1000 of them. The lower price point per book means I can also afford to wholesale them as well, for those who are interested.

I’ve also begun having some of my patterns professionally printed. On my store, you can now see printed patterns as well as books to order. All of these (as well as my new book and the Parallax booklet) come with a free PDF download from Ravelry. Each book and pattern has a unique code on a sticker inside, so you can even give them as gifts and your recipient can easily redeem the code.

In other news

I’ve got another local class, and have been booked to do two intensive workshop series at two weekend retreats, in addition to the dates posted a couple months back.

March 5, 1-4pm: Intro to Double-Knitting workshop at Stitch House Dorchester. There will also be a mini-trunk-show and book signing event afterward at 4pm.

May 5-7: The Flaming Ice Cube knitting retreat in Canfield, Ohio. Learn double-knitting, two-pattern double-knitting and multi-color double-knitting — a great introduction along with some intriguing next steps.

June 1-5: Camp Stitches Vermont in Essex Junction, VT. If you already know double-knitting and want a 3-day, 15-hour intensive workshop on a huge number of double-knitting techniques beyond the basics, this is the event for you. Don’t know double-knitting yet but still want to take this? Get a head start on my Craftsy class first.

Want to see where else I’ll be teaching? Check out my events calendar.

Finally, I’ve just begun to release my patterns on Fibermob, a new website recently opened by the good folks at Yarnbox. They’re still tweaking things over there, but it seems to be working, so give it a shot if you like. How can you resist the Aardman-like sheep logo?

 

Attention US customers: Due to the uncharacteristically high number of lost or damaged packages sent by Media Mail, I have disabled the Media Mail shipping option on my online store. For one or two books, Priority Mail is only a couple of dollars more expensive, will get you your stuff faster, and carries less risk for me. I hope you’ll agree that it’s worth a little more money to spare both of us the possible headache. Thanks for understanding.

Gratitude and Getting Stuff Done

On the subway that runs near my home, there’s a sign that says, “Your tax dollars pay to clean this vehicle. Please do your part by taking your belongings with you.” This always gives me a little cognitive dissonance: Don’t I already do my part by paying my taxes?

At the risk of further cognitive dissonance, I’m going to both thank you for your help and then ask for more. But first, let me give the final update.

Double or Nothing has arrived. On December 15th, a couple of friends and I moved 2.5 tons of books into a moving van, up a ramp, and into my storage unit in approximately one hour. About 10% of those books came home with me and I spent the next 36 hours packing, labeling and shipping books on the coldest days of the year (single digit temperatures with a -20F windchill). Over the next week, I began hearing from excited people who were getting their copies after a long wait (the earliest preorders came in 2 months before shipping). Since then, I’ve been troubleshooting issues with orders, sending promotional copies for reviews, shipping wholesale orders and stocking up my Amazon storefront. Oh, and spending time with my family for my birthday and Christmas, of course.

I posted on my FB page that all I really wanted for my 40th birthday was to get this book done. But now that it’s done, to be honest, what I really want is to help it succeed — not only to help make my small business pay for itself, but to really get these innovative techniques into the hands of as many people who’ll use them as possible. Now I’m going to be teaching a whole lot starting next month, and will, of course, be bringing my books to sell wherever I go. But let me be perfectly straight with you: in order to “break even” I need to sell about 50% of my current stock, or about 1500 books. I’m a bit over 20% there.

So here’s where I ask for your help. I don’t want to seem ungrateful, so I’ll start by saying that if you’ve done any of this already, THANK YOU! And all of this is purely optional; I’m happy to have any help, and every little bit counts more than I can possibly express.

So how can you, as a customer or student or (dare I say) fan, help me? In no particular order:

  1. Like (and follow) me on social media, especially Facebook. I’m happy you’re reading my blog; it means you’re of a mindset that pays attention to long-form text. But I can’t post here every time I have a little bit to say, so you’ll find me more visible and accessible on other platforms.
  2. Tell your friends. I can advertise until my fingers are blue, but the real power is in word-of-mouth referrals. Recommend my books and patterns to friends you think would enjoy them. If you follow me on social media, share my posts so your friends will see them.
  3. Tell your local yarn shop about me. I do sell some of my books and patterns at wholesale to resellers like LYSs and bookstores. Also, I teach double-knitting all over the country; if I’m not coming close enough to you, see if you can get your LYS interested in bringing me in.
  4. Tell your guild. I do speaking engagements and have presented about my techniques and my adventures in the world of knitting design and publishing. I’m not Franklin Habit, but I’m happy to share my love of double-knitting with your guild. Also, see above about teaching — it’s often more cost-effective to bring me in to teach through a guild than through a LYS (or you could collaborate).
  5. If you liked or loved my book, leave a review! New customers often want to know what other people think about a product before buying. If you bought my book from my web store and created an account when you did it, you can log in again and leave a review on the product page! You can also leave reviews at Goodreads or Amazon.
  6. If you didn’t like my book for whatever reason, please do me a favor and contact me personally about it. I’m always happy to take constructive criticism, but too many negative reviews in a public forum can really sink a small business. If I made a real mistake, I’ll own up and do my best to correct it in the next edition.
  7. Are you a podcaster or blogger or in some other way a tastemaker in the knitting world? Get in touch with me! I’m happy to send you a free PDF of my book for review, and we can even do a giveaway game with another copy for one of your readers/viewers if you like. If you’re not a podcaster or blogger but are friends with one, see point #2 above.
  8. Nobody likes to talk about money, but that’s what it all boils down to. If I can’t make sales, I won’t be able to keep doing this. To be honest, I’ll probably keep doing it anyway because it’s something I love — but I won’t be able to increase my output. Buy my books and patterns. They are priced fairly for what they are, and I try to make it easy to get them. Take classes with me, if you can, when I come to a show you’ll be attending or an LYS near you. Take my Craftsy class, even though it’s getting a little dated. If you have some disposable income and a thirst for knowledge, consider helping me to help you.

Again, thank you so much if you’ve already done or plan to do any of these things. Thank you, frankly, for getting all the way down here to the end of this post. I’ve got one more thing to ask, and it’s a little more difficult.

At one of my knitting groups, there was someone who I had always thought would make a great model for my new book. I was delighted when she accepted my offer, and we had a nice morning walking around her neighborhood and taking photos. You can see some of them in my book, and here’s one we both particularly liked. Her name was Allison. One week later (to the hour), she was killed in a horrific traffic accident when a sight-seeing vehicle didn’t see her on her scooter and ran her down on a turn. The book is dedicated partly to her memory. Her parents have succeeded in getting a bill through the MA state legislature to help keep this specific thing from happening again, but there’s also a coalition of non-profit groups trying to improve relations between pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and public transit in the Boston metro area. I have donated to one of these groups, and if you’re looking for a year-end contribution, perhaps consider donating to the Livable Streets Alliance in memory of Allison — and thanks.

Book Countdown: Month -1

If you’ve been following me for the past few months, you’re probably wondering “What’s up with this post title?”

Last month, I did my “Month 0” countdown post, which should have been the end. But the fact is that the book is still not out, and that was known even last month. However, by this time next month the book will be out and, with luck, those of you who preordered it will have gotten your hands on it. So next month the countdown will be done, but this month I have one more update — and no more numbers to use. Hence, -1.

First of all, I’ve got an ETA. The printer has told me that the book will be ready to ship on Dec 8 or 9. 2-3 days after that I should have it in my hands and a day after that I should be shipping. Taking high estimates all around, I expect to begin shipping the book on December 15th. If you want to change your order in light of this ship date (for example, to speed up your shipping), let me know. I’m not 100% sure how that’s done since the eCommerce site is still new to me, but I’m sure we can figure it out together.

Second, I decided to release the eBook early after all. If you’ve been waiting for me to release the book digitally, now’s the time. If not, everyone who preordered the book should have gotten an email with a link to get their PDF copy on Ravelry. As of right now, 192 people have taken me up on that, which leaves 102 people still without the PDF. If you preordered but didn’t get an email about the PDF, check your spam folder and let me know if you need a hand. Of course, if you don’t want the PDF, you don’t need to download it. Just to clarify, I’m going to be letting people download their PDFs early until the preorder period is done, then I’ll be closing that door and using unique codes inside each front cover to allow access to the PDF. These will also be in effect for any of the preordered books which are marked as gifts.

So, in case you need a reminder, preorders officially stop in about 2 weeks, or on the day I receive the books. After that, they’re just called “orders” and will ship as soon as I’m done handling all the preorders. So why preorder? Well, at this point your best rationale is to have the best chance to get a copy before Christmas, if that matters to you. I will absolutely continue to take orders after the preorder period is over, so if you’re not in a rush feel free to wait.

I am working on getting the book listed on and sold by Amazon, but it’s not going to happen before the new year. Amazon simply doesn’t want any new items to deal with until after the Christmas season is over. I’ll send an announcement once it’s available.

Here’s a shot of a friend of mine wearing (almost) everything from the book and a few extras.

2016-08-14-22-20-34

In other news, I’m booked to teach workshops all over the place in 2017, starting in January — and many of them are in the Northeast for a change!

  • Jan 14/15: VKL NYC. I’ll be teaching one class and will be vending my books and patterns at Wall of Yarn.
  • Jan 21/22: Slater Mill Knitting Weekend, Pawtucket, RI. I won’t be officially “there” and may only be there for part of a day, but Dirty Water Dyeworks will be selling my books there.
  • Feb 24-26: Stitches West, Santa Clara, CA. I’ll be teaching all weekend and my books will be vended by Wall of Yarn.
  • Mar 10-12: FiberCamp Boston, Cambridge, MA. I’ll be doing the keynote presentation for the Common Cod Fiber Guild, and vending and teaching at FiberCamp itself.
  • Mar 17/18: Harrisville Designs, Harrisville, NH. I’ll be doing a workshop event (attendees take 4 workshops with me over the span of 2 days).
  • Apr 1/2: WEBS, Northampton, MA. I’ll be teaching 4 workshops at America’s Yarn Store!
  • April 22: Yarnover, Minneapolis, MN. I’ll be teaching 2 workshops at this exclusive event!
  • April 27-30: Stitches United, Hartford, CT. I’ll be teaching all weekend and my books will be vended by Wall of Yarn.

I will also be vending and teaching at the Wayland Winter Farmers’ Market in Wayland, MA — but the date has not yet been set, and I may be teaching at a shop on the MA North Shore. More announcements as I have them, and you can always check my calendar for up-to-date info and links.

If you’re still reading, thanks much for your interest! I hope to have more exciting news for you soon!

Parallax eBook Released!

Three years to the month from its inception, the Parallax project is finally finished. Other things got in the way here and there, but I persevered and last week I bound off Parallax v3.0 and Parallax v1.0. On Friday and Saturday I blocked v1.0 and v2.0 and on Sunday, in the bitter cold, I froze my fingers taking photos of them on the Parkman Plaza statues in Boston.

Last night at 12:30 I finally went to bed, having finished creating patterns, projects and uploading the eBook on Ravelry — and this morning, it’s ready for purchase.

Parallax_Cover

Thank you for your patience and I am sorry for the long delay. I hope you’ll find the wait was worth it. And now, with the release of these long-awaited patterns, I am finally free of (almost) all obligations and can begin to focus on new ventures. In a little over a week, I’ll be at Cat Bordhi’s Visionary Retreat again and beginning to think about a new book project, continuing the vision I had for the first one.

For those eagerly awaiting Parallax v3.5 and v4.0, they’ll be released as standalone patterns once I have the time to work on them. Or, who knows — they could end up in the new book!

Happy Holidays from Fallingblox Designs

As I begin what is likely to be my last post of 2013, I wanted to thank you for making it a great year for Fallingblox Designs. While I haven’t been able to take time to design exactly what I wanted, I’ve been designing lots of new stuff for the Willow Yarns Colorwork club, the KnitCompanion kClub, the My Mountain competition, and an extra for my Craftsy class (which has just passed 5000 students)! With the help of Craftsy, my book sales have been up this year as well.

All this is well and good, but I hear the rumbling now and then: “When is he going to release something new for mere mortals?” It’s true — most of these designs have been exclusive in some way: you’ve had to buy in to something else to get access to them. But never fear — time heals all wounds and I’m happy to say I have some news.

Rustle Of Leaves

Photo copyright 2013 Craftsy Inc

First, I’ve got a new pattern just released on Craftsy. It’s called “Rustle Of Leaves” and is a fascinating keyhole scarf pattern with bold ruffles and a double-knit panel of falling leaves down the center. Craftsy is selling it as a standalone pattern as well as in kit form (with all the lovely Miss Babs yarn). It’s a fairly quick knit, for a double-knit item.

Second, SMC finally released the Moosalamoo pattern as a free download on their site. This is the hat that I had in their My Mountain Hat Contest for which there was much drama a few months back.

The patterns for Willow Yarns and the kClub will also eventually be available and I’ll post about those as soon as I can.

Finally, I’d like to announce that I have added a few more dates to my Spring workshop schedule:

Tues, Feb 4 (evening workshop): Kent, WA (Makers’ Mercantile)

Thurs, Feb 20 (daytime event): Boston, MA (Greater Boston Knitting Guild)

Sat, Feb 22: Wayland, MA (Wayland Winter Farmers’ Market Farm Fiber Day)

Mon, Feb 24 (evening workshop): Cambridge, MA (Mind’s Eye Yarns)

Sat/Sun, Apr 26/27 (tentative): Fairport, NY (Yarn Culture)

Thu-Sun, May 15-18: Manchester, NH (Interweave Knitting Lab)

 

Thanks again for a great year and I hope yours has been as good or better. I’m looking forward to 2014! So whatever holiday you celebrate, or even if you don’t, have a happy one and I’ll see you again soon!

Spring 2014 Workshops, early warning edition!

Whew! It’s been a long year and a long time since I’ve taught workshops, it seems. In honor of the close of my first decade on the knitting scene, I’ve revamped my workshops and will give several new ones a shot this coming Spring. Right now, I’m gearing up to leave for Thailand (in about 7 hours) and before I go off the grid for 2 weeks I wanted to let folks know about my confirmed workshop weekends in Spring of 2014. Some of these are fully confirmed and some are merely tentative; some are also far enough in the future that shops haven’t begun advertising yet. If one of these is your shop (or near you), you’re welcome to pursue them to get more details. I’ll be adding the details I have to my events calendar, but I’ll also post up here with a summary of all my workshops once I have them all confirmed.

Without further ado, here’s the list of locations where I’ll be teaching in Spring of 2014:

Sunday, Jan 12: Madison, CT (Madison Wool)
Sat/Sun, Feb 1 & 2: Eureka, CA (Northcoast Knittery)
Sat/Sun, March 22/23: Mt Holly, NJ (Woolbearers)
Sat/Sun, March 29/30: St Louis, MO (Greater St Louis Knitters’ Guild)
Sat/Sun, April 12/13: Northampton, MA (WEBS)

I’ve also got some tentative (unconfirmed) dates at my local yarn shop, Mind’s Eye Yarns in Cambridge, MA — and I have several more weekends in later April and May that haven’t been grabbed by anyone. They’re far enough in the future that if you’ve got a local shop that’s interested in running double-knitting workshops by me, you can put them in touch and we’ll hammer something out.

Keep your eyes on this space and perhaps I’ll see you in the Spring!

Leaves (and prices) are falling

It’s officially Fall now, and a young man’s fancy turns to … well, knitting, in this case.

I hope your fancy is turning to double-knitting. Here in New England, the weather is getting noticeably cooler, and we’re starting to see hints of the coming foliage color in the trees (Actually, in the cemetery I ride through every day, the leaves have been falling since mid-August. Go figure). Before we know it, we’re going to be bundling up and watching our breath escape in clouds of steam — and wishing we had some warm winterwear. If you’re not in a climate that gets cold (or a hemisphere where the oncoming season is Winter) you’ll have to excuse my Northeast-centrism, and make your own excuses for double-knitting.

To encourage folks to get double-knitting, I’ve done some recent legwork (ok, mostly mousework — my legs don’t do much when I’m on the computer for hours on end) to take many of the patterns available only in my book and create standalone patterns as well. So if you’ve been itching to make something from my book but didn’t want to spend the money on the whole thing, maybe it’s available now as a standalone pattern! Also, I’m having a pattern sale to show you my appreciation for your love of my designs.

FBD-FallSale-Banner

First, go check out my new patterns page — I’ll add more to it as I get more photos and design more patterns, but for now it’s looking really good and working really well on most browsers I’ve tested. If it’s not working for you, you can just visit my Ravelry designer page for most of the patterns. Also, please do email me if you have problems with the page so I can make sure it works for as many people as possible.

Second, remember the phrase “One if by hand, two if by tree”. What does it mean? I have no idea. But remember it.

Third, go buy some patterns! Every pattern I have available on Ravelry is $2.00 off (except Corvus, which remains free), and even my 52 Pickup pattern book and kit are discounted. I’ve even discounted my kit’s base price $10.00 before the sale, so you’ll get a total of $12.00 off if you use the code. What’s the code? Oh right — “twoifbytree“.

A couple of notes and caveats. The “View Cart” button is only for 52 Pickup (the physical patterns I’m selling) right now. Eventually it’ll be for paper copies of my patterns and other hardcopy stuff I might print but for now it’s just a convenient thing for 52 Pickup. Any other pattern eligible for the sale is sold directly through Ravelry. Which brings me to my other note: Any pattern not sold through Ravelry is not eligible for this promotion, nor is Extreme Double-Knitting. This sale is going on through Sunday, Nov 3rd.

Thanks for reading and I’ll be in touch again soon!