A nod to “Small Business Saturday”

I type this from my bed, where I am isolating after catching a pretty bad cold that we are pretty sure isn’t COVID. I hoped to have this stuff out before everyone was inundated with Black Friday emails but I was too sick to get it done. Now that that bizarre “holiday” is over, I feel it’s more appropriate for me to post this on “Small Business Saturday” anyway, as I am the smallest of small businesses.

What you are probably waiting for — the 2023 workshop listings — are a little later on in this post. If you like, you can jump right there now. But you might also want to read on, as there’s an uncommon occurrence you might want to take advantage of.

I do not usually do sales on my patterns, but occasionally I take a chance. For the past couple of years, I have managed to miss the deadline to join Ravelry’s Indie Design Gift-A-Long — but this year I made it in. This means I’ve got 18 patterns which are discounted by 25% until Nov 28th. I am sorry for not giving you more notice of this, but see above about illness. I did mention it was coming up in my last blog post. But more importantly, I am only one of a couple of hundred independent designers with patterns on sale, and I highly recommend you check out the others as well. For example, one of my friends and a designer of stunning lace shawls, Anna Dalvi, is also participating (and I will more than likely be buying some of her patterns at least). For more info, visit the Indie Gift-A-Long group on Ravelry!

Finally, Workshops

I have been, as I’ve mentioned already, going absolutely nuts trying to get my ducks in a row to get the new slate of BuildingBlox workshops out and ready so you can sign up for them. They’re finally up, and you can get all the details on my Workshops page (for workshop descriptions and more info in general), my BuildingBlox page (for info on my virtual workshop series), and my Recordings page (for a listing of all recordings that are scheduled/available).

I also have another set of virtual workshops I’ll be teaching for Maryland Sheep & Wool’s Virtual Winterfest in late January; these are listed on my main calendar along with all of the other events I’ll be teaching. Nota Bene: these are all in a two-hour virtual workshop format.

Other workshops including the live ones I’ll be doing for Vogue Knitting Live and Red Alder in February 2023 are also listed on my calendar.

Under normal circumstances I would post links to all of my workshops here in the blog post but I am exhausted enough from all the work I’ve done today and it’s already getting dark. I hope you’ll forgive me and just click through to get where you need/want to be! I’ll be posting more about all of these workshops in the near future!

2023, here I come …

Lest you think I’ve been “resting” for the past month, I want to give you some updates. Hold tight, there’s a lot of info coming. Want to skip ahead? Jump to Patreon, In-person Workshops, or Website updates rather than slogging through the general Workshops updates (but honestly, read the workshop updates — it’s exciting stuff, at least to me).

BuildingBlox & Workshops in general

The biggest news is on my workshop front. For a long time, my workshop offerings have remained approximately the same. Earlier this year, I added a couple of new workshops and taught each of them once — then I put everything on hold. It was clear that I needed to make some big changes, and I was never going to be able to do so if I didn’t take the time, pause, rethink, rework, and restart. This has meant a lean quarter, but I think in the long run it will be well worth the lost revenue from these 3 months.

The new workshop offerings are now up on my website! There are 35 of them, as opposed to the previous 10 or 12! Only a handful have anything scheduled, as I’ll be doing a couple of live shows in February 2023 but nothing else is announced yet — still, you can get a preview of what’s going to be offered in 2023 and beyond.

I have deliberately held off applying to teach anywhere else until this step is complete, and have missed a couple of opportunities in the meantime. Still, my priority right now is getting ready to schedule my own virtual workshops.

So, about that: the BuildingBlox virtual workshops will also be restarting in 2023, although dates and precise selections of workshops have not been selected yet (stay tuned for that — and sign up for my workshop interest lists to be among the first to find out). But I do have some good info that you may have been waiting on about the pricing and other infrastructure stuff that’s changing.

First, you may have noticed that the workshops are all listed by Tiers (previously “levels”). Each new tier builds on the previous ones in some way, and there are four tiers, including the Foundations workshops. There are now four Foundations, but only two of them are really meant to build most of the next Tier of workshops on top; the other two are specialized Foundations for specialized skill building. This is important because the Tiers inform the new pricing structure. Rather than all workshops being the same price, workshop prices now rise with each new Tier.

In addition, all workshops are recorded and made available to those who enrolled for a year from the workshop date (previously 6 months). But these recordings will also be sold (at a discount) to those who can’t or didn’t make it to the workshop.

Without further ado, here are the prices by tier (for a 3-hour workshop; multi-session workshops will have different prices):

  • Foundations: $39.95; $34.95 for the recording only ($5 savings)
  • Tier 1: $59.95; $44.95 for the recording only ($15 savings)
  • Tier 2: $79.95; $54.95 for the recording only ($25 savings)
  • Tier 3: $99.95; $64.95 for the recording only ($35 savings)

So, let’s talk about the “why” of this change. It’s a pretty radical change; my previous workshops were based on a sliding scale starting at $35, across the board — so I’m sure you have questions about why the big jump. As I mentioned in previous posts, the old price was based on faulty math, and here’s why. I have been teaching for the big shows for about a decade. I have come to expect payment of a certain amount per workshop, and if it’s more, I feel extraordinarily fortunate. When I started offering my own workshops, I based the price I required on those payouts. When I started doing the virtual workshops, I set the price so that if a workshop filled halfway with people who only paid the minimum, I’d get approximately what I’d have been paid if I taught that workshop for one of the big shows. You can do the math, but I’ll do it for you: a typical payout for a 3-hour in-person workshop at one of the big shows is around $350. Obviously, if I got more than 10 people, or people paid more than the minimum, I’d make more than that.

But here’s the thing: when you pay for a workshop at one of the big shows, only a portion of it goes to the instructor. Typically, quite a bit more of it goes to the show and all of their overhead. This is fine — the show needs to pay its bills and still show a profit or there’s no point in them running it again. But even though there’s a maximum I can expect to get from a workshop taught for a big show, it’s important for me to remember that that amount does not determine my value as an instructor.

What I should be doing when I run workshops myself is to charge something similar to what you pay when you enroll at one of the big shows. So that’s what I’m doing. I did some research, talked to some people whose opinions I trust, and made the changes I needed to make. Typically, I’d have sent out a survey, asked my existing customers how they felt about the proposed changes, and used the responses to decide on a set of prices. But multiple people advised me not to do that, and just to make the prices reasonable based on what others were offering for similar products. I got advice that I could easily get $90-125 for most of my workshops. This seemed like too much of a jump, and the people who advised me thus will probably roll their eyes at my relatively modest increase — but the math works well, and offers room for increases over time if needed.

The issue with my research was twofold: first, almost nobody is doing anything as robust as this virtual workshop series, at least as far as I could tell. Second, there’s no way to compare the content of my workshops to others. Why not? Well, I am the only person on the planet running workshops on the vast majority of what I teach. That’s one of the reasons behind the Tier-based increases. There are plenty of people teaching Foundations-level double-knitting, in-person and virtual. With each successive Tier, there are fewer other people teaching these techniques (and at Tier 3, there’s really nobody else doing anything remotely that advanced). In addition, there are fewer students who are both willing and able to take workshops in the higher Tiers, so a higher price covers lower expected enrollment. But I found prices, and found that the prices I am charging here are reasonable based on what others charge per hour, whether independent or through some other venue.

I also don’t intend to cancel workshops for low enrollment. Even if I only get a handful of people taking a Tier-3 workshop, I’ll still run it because I will get a recording which I can continue to sell for most of the next year (although I expect fewer people will purchase them the longer they sit, given the finite end date).

So here’s the bottom line: My virtual workshops are longer than average, have access to a recording for much longer than average, are mostly on topics you can’t learn anywhere else, and are still less expensive than many of the big shows’ fees. Do you need any more reasons to be willing to enroll?

There is one caveat, however. The BuildingBlox workshop experience will be somewhat different (better, I think) — each workshop will have a dedicated page where homework, links, Zoom links, and (later) the video recording will be housed. Everyone who enrolls in the workshop will get access to this, although those who buy the recording only will get access only to certain parts of it (no Zoom link, for example). This means that everyone who enrolls in one of these workshops will need to have an account on my site (as that’s how I can control who gets access to the page). You can make an account at checkout by simply choosing a password, or you can get a head-start by creating your account now.

Patreon updates

If you’ve been keeping track of my Patreon, you might know that the highest tier had a free-workshop-per-month perk. This was based on the fact that the tier price and the workshop base price were the same. This is no longer the case, so that perk has been removed. However, in its place there’s a benefit to almost all patrons in the form of a monthly workshop discount coupon. The coupon will work on any one virtual or recorded workshop per month, and (like the workshops) the value is based on the Patreon support tier. Now here’s the neat thing: the discount you get is more than the amount you pay monthly for Patreon support. So this is the one and only way you can get regular discounts on my workshops! If you think you’re likely to want to take a bunch of my BuildingBlox workshops in 2023 and beyond, maybe think about joining my Patreon! Here are the discounts:

  • Slip-Stitch Tier: $5/month gets a $10 coupon ($5 savings)
  • Modern Tier: $15/month gets a $25 coupon ($10 savings)
  • Extreme Tier: $35/month gets a $50 coupon ($15 savings)

Sorry Tubular backers, the lowest tier doesn’t get a lot of perks and also doesn’t get a discount here.

One other change, only affecting the Extreme tier backers: I removed the “office hours” perk because in over a year of offering it, only one person has ever used it, so it wasn’t worth it for me to keep paying for the booking system. If there’s more interest in that in the future, I’ll look into reinstating it some other way.

In-person Workshops

Yes, as I mentioned before, there are in-person workshops scheduled, and you can sign up for them now if you’re in (or traveling to) NYC or Tacoma, WA next February for Vogue Knitting Live or Red Alder. Red Alder even has a couple instances of new workshops I’ve never taught in person before!

Because this post has gone on pretty long already, I’m just going to refer you to my handy Events Calendar, where you can get all the info you need. You can also (of course) look me up on the individual event pages. I’ll do another post later with updates on all my upcoming workshops once I’ve scheduled my first set of BuildingBlox workshops, and have even more virtual workshops aside from those to share as well.

Website, Blog and Social Media updates

You may have already noticed if you’ve been following my blog for a while, as well as if you’ve followed many of the links from earlier in this post, that I’ve been doing some heavy work on my website and blog.

The work on the website has mostly been focused around the places one might visit while looking for workshops, while the books and patterns have been left alone for a little longer. I’ve made a lot of aesthetic changes along with the structural ones. One of the changes you might not immediately notice is the one you’re using right now: the fonts! The fonts have been changed to web versions of the same ones I use in my books and patterns. I’m excited that I’ve been able to figure out how to achieve this, and I hope you like the look of them. Fine-tuning continues, so please let me know if anything is broken.

The blog is a separate, less-complex site, but I was also able to import the fonts here, and with some CSS wizardry I’ve been able to customize this theme to use the same fonts my website uses.

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you have probably noticed I haven’t been doing much in those spaces. I made a post a while ago about this — in the absence of my former social media manager, I have had to choose between “production” and “promotion” weeks. I have been deep in production and have had no time for promotion — but as time goes on I will need to do both, so I have hired a new virtual assistant. I’ll introduce you to her in a future post, but you’ll start seeing more from me on social media if you follow Fallingblox Designs in those places.

What about knitting?

Among all of these time-consuming projects, what about knitting? This is the season for knitting, where I live. It’s getting colder, and I really, really want to get the needles and yarn out and make some stuff. I hope I have the time, after all this workshop prep is done but before I actually have to start teaching them. I miss the simplicity of just knitting, whether for myself or for a new pattern. It’s hard to find the time for it now, but I hope that after all this infrastructure is done, and I have someone to help schedule workshops and take some other work off my plate, I’ll be able to get back to the basics of this craft I love so much.

Thanks for your patience with me, and for reading this far in such a long post.

Alasdair Post-Quinn, “Softwear Engineer”, Fallingblox Designs

The future of Fallingblox & Buildingblox begins to solidify … but first:

Read on if you want to hear an early report on the direction I’m taking with my 2023 (and beyond) workshops — but before that, let’s talk about what’s already on the books:

I will have more virtual and in-person workshops to announce soon, but since time is of the essence, I wanted to let you know that I will be teaching a few workshops at Vogue Knitting Live in NYC next February (2023). VKL doesn’t allow me to link directly to workshops, but here are the ones I’ll be running there; you can go to their main site to sign up. Early bird pricing is in effect until Oct. 27, so get your tickets now!

  • Fri, Feb 10, 2-5pm: Intro to Double-knitting (SOLD OUT)
  • Fri, Feb 10, 6-9pm: Texture in Double-knitting
  • Sat, Feb 11, 2-5pm: Multi-color Double-knitting
  • Sat, Feb 11, 6-9pm: Intro to Double-knitting

I have more to tell you about, but it’ll need to wait until workshops are posted! One hint: expect me later in that same month in the Pacific Northwest again …

Now, to business

If you’ve been following my virtual workshops over the pandemic, you may have heard me wax philosophical about how to proceed into a “post-pandemic” world. While you can read more of those musings in a previous blog post, or watch my recent podcast, I want to keep you updated on my current thinking so you know that there is movement, not just silence, from my desk.

I’m not going to offer numbers just yet, partially because I haven’t fully settled on them yet, but I do want to give you advance notification that my prices are going up. Significantly, in some cases. Why? Bottom line: the numbers I was using were based on faulty math. I’ll explain that in a later post.

It’s hard for me to ask for more, but the fact is that if I ever want to realize this as a full-time job, I need to. And here’s the thing: I’m worth it. I am teaching workshops that nobody else in the world is teaching. I’m doing them for 3 hours rather than 2, and I’m recording them so you have access to them for a long time. Anywhere else, you pay much, much more per workshop, and in some cases you don’t get as much as you do from a BuildingBlox workshop.

Will I lose some customers? Almost certainly. I’ve kept my prices artificially low for altruistic reasons, and that means that some people who have gotten used to those prices will not be able to afford the price increases. But I will always be open to negotiating on a case-by-case basis with those who truly can’t afford the prices.

So here’s the breakdown of what the new BuildingBlox workshops are going to look like:

  1. There will be almost three times as many workshops, including some project-based ones. This means that a workshop might run only once per year, unless I start offering more than 3-4 per month.
  2. Workshops will be scheduled several months out — a whole season at a time, if possible. This will give people more time to plan, more time to enroll, and gives me more time to advertise.
  3. Workshops will be charged under a tiered model. Previously called “Levels”, each tier will have a base price. Lower tier workshops (such as Intro to Double-knitting) will be priced lower. As the tier level rises, the price will rise.
  4. Workshop recordings will be offered to all workshop attendees for a year from the date of the workshop, using a new portal which I am building into my site to keep people from having to navigate a video hosting site.
  5. Workshop recordings will also be sold at a reduced rate (also per tier). So people will have the choice to take the workshop at the time with all the interactivity that entails, or access the recording without the interactivity at a discount.
  6. When a workshop runs again, the recording will be replaced in my shop, but the original recording will still be available to any who purchased access to it earlier (until its time limit runs out).
  7. In order to take a workshop or buy access to a recording, you will need to have an account on my site. This is the only way I can control access (a guest user can’t be given access to the recording in the same way).
  8. Patreon supporters will get a monthly discount code equivalent to a certain amount more than their support tier (in other words, those who support me at $5 might get $10 off a workshop in a given month; supporters at $15 might get $20 off, and so on). It’s my hope that this will encourage more Patreon supporters as well.

In the past, I’ve always tried to avoid making these kinds of big changes without checking with my customer base — I’ve run questionnaires, had focus groups, etc. This time I was counseled from a number of quarters to just make the changes I need to make, and let the chips fall where they may. This is hard for me to do; I care a lot about what my students think about me and my work and workshops, but I also need to make sure I’m able to continue doing this without so many workshop cancellations.

Thank you for understanding. More info will be forthcoming as soon as it solidifies.

Alasdair Post-Quinn, “Softwear Engineer”, Fallingblox Designs

Podcast #8 is up!

Well, folks, it’s been a long time since the last one of these, but here’s the new one! Thanks for your patience; I hope it’s worth the wait! In it, I talk about plans to futureproof Fallingblox Designs (specifically regarding virtual workshops), some new innovations, and more. If you click through to YouTube, the clickable links for the various things I share in the video are also there.

In other news

I want to give you a heads up about the next few months. I will be closing out my Fall season with this month’s virtual workshops, listed here:

It has become clear that I need to find a sustainable way to continue to offer virtual workshops in a post-pandemic world (as alluded to in my previous post), and that if I just continue to offer the same workshops in the same way, I’ll never actually find a time to make that transition. At the same time, I need time to work on workshop content, perhaps formulate some new workshops, and then come back in 2023 with a real workable plan. So I’m taking the rest of 2022 to figure this stuff out. Want to make sure you’re among the first to know when the workshops return? Join my mailing lists on my contact page.

Want to stay updated on what I’m doing in the meantime (and help me weather 3 months of no workshop income)? Join my Patreon! Patreon folks saw (and got way more detail on) the techniques I worked on during my August of Innovation, mentioned in the podcast above, in more-or-less real time.

Stay tuned for more news soon!

Looking toward a post-pandemic Fallingblox Designs

First of all, I don’t believe we are in a post-pandemic world. A lot of people have decided that masking is no longer necessary for them to feel safe, but regardless of how we feel, the pandemic is still occurring and it’ll be a while before we can truly say we are past it. But in the knitting world, as in other communities, we have already started to move past pandemic measures — more in-person events are being scheduled and happening, to begin with.

The current phase of Fallingblox Designs is primarily based on education — during the pandemic, I found virtual workshops possible and practical (and profitable) and this has been my main focus over the past 2 years (I got a late start due to the fire). Throughout these years, I’ve told myself (and others) that I intend to keep doing virtual workshops even as physical ones become possible again, primarily because I’m able to reach people I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to reach. Not everyone has a “big show” near them or can afford to travel to one.

But as people tire of the pandemic and the trappings of pandemic life, I am seeing fewer enrollments and having to cancel more of my virtual workshops. This is almost certainly partially my fault for letting my social networking slide — but if the survey I put out last year is any indication, social networks are less important to the majority of my customers and the issue could be simple market saturation. Regardless, I need to figure out how to proceed.

A few things occur to me, after conversations with some students and further discernment on my part:

  1. I need to schedule my virtual workshops further out. I’ve been scheduling them a month, maybe two, ahead for the past couple of years. This worked during a time when people had fewer conflicts due to lockdowns or simply lack of events, but with more and more events now vying for everyone’s time and money, I need to allow my students to plan further ahead. This also means I need to be able to plan further ahead, which has been difficult.
  2. If I need to settle into the reality of lower enrollments, I need to raise my rates so that I won’t need to cancel so many workshops. This may mean I come up with a slightly different way to deal with my “sliding scale” model, perhaps enacting a more formal “scholarship” process. More on that later.
  3. I need to figure out how better to get the word out about my virtual workshops to people who might actually be interested in attending.

Am I ready to take all of this and put it into practice? Not yet. Right now it’s more important that I let folks know about my upcoming workshops than that I radically change my process — but expect workshops for the rest of the Fall season to be announced soon.

Right now, here’s what I’ve got scheduled. As usual, I’m starting my season with an intro workshop, then I’m bringing back the two workshops I cancelled in June for a second chance. Then, at the end of September/beginning of October, I’m teaching some workshops at Knitters’ Day Out in Harrisburg, PA. These are the last of my in-person workshops for the year (stay tuned for more in 2023). All times are in Eastern Time:

In other news

I made a proclamation to my mailing list that I was taking August as a break from knitting-related work — no workshops, no pattern work, etc. August last year was miserably hot and I don’t have effective AC that makes it comfortable for me to knit. This year it’s been a bit better but I have largely been absent, on “actual” vacation (from which the photo above is taken). It’s also a time when many others in the US take vacations, and less knitting is done due to the heat, so workshops rarely fill. But I knew I needed to schedule some workshops, so it couldn’t be completely devoid of knitting work. I also said that I hoped to use this month to do some experimentation on some new or undeveloped techniques, and I’m happy to say I probably have enough to do a workshop on double-knit short-rows, and am starting work on stacked stitches. I hope to have some experiments to show for my next podcast, but if you want a look sooner, I recommend joining my Patreon, where I’m showing these swatches as I go.

Stay tuned!

June and July workshops are up!

…and there are two new ones to choose from!

Advanced Double-knitting Texture draft sample (probably not actually the one from the upcoming workshop)

I have been watching interest in some of my workshops dwindle a bit, and in order to breathe new life into them, it’s really past time that I brought in a new workshop or two. Some months ago, I put out a survey where people expressed interest in some new workshops I had in mind, and while I have not been able to work out all of them, I’m a little further along on a couple. To be honest, I am not ready to teach these workshops right now. But scheduling them at the end of July will give me a deadline by which I must be ready. And I will be. I look forward to it, and I hope people are excited about them.

Also, my Off the Grid workshop which was cancelled in May for low attendance has now been rescheduled for next weekend. It’s got enough people to run now, but I’d love a couple more, if you’re interested and free.

Without further ado, here’s my list of upcoming scheduled workshops, both virtual and in-person (all times in Eastern Time):

BuildingBlox virtual workshops:

(all of these will be recorded for all who enroll, whether or not they are able to attend at the scheduled time)

Vogue Knitting Live workshops (NYC):

Also in September/October, I’ll be at Knitters’ Day Out in Harrisburg, PA, with a schedule very similar to the VKL workshops above. Links to that when I have them.

I have a new mailing list signup form which you should go check out, especially if you’re interested in my new workshops. Aside from the main list, you can sign up for the individual workshop interest groups (including for the two new workshops), which get first crack at my virtual workshops when they’re announced.

Thanks for your continued interest and I’ll have more to post soon!

Alasdair Post-Quinn, Fallingblox Designs

I have come to a realization …

In the absence of my social media guru, I have tried my best to keep up with the weekly scheduling of social media posts. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you’ve probably noticed the result. The reason I had a social media person working for me was simply because I don’t “do” social media naturally. I am working on it, though.

However, in the past couple of weeks, I have been so overloaded with responsibilities, real and self-imposed, that I have realized something very important: in any given week, I have time for either production or promotion — rarely both. This realization has been very freeing for me — previously, I would get hung up on the fact that I was unable to get any social media posts scheduled, then get stuck in a spiral of guilt and executive dysfunction and the week would end with nothing getting done on the knitting front. Last week, instead, I just told myself “OK, I didn’t do any social media posts — this must be a production week” and I got 3 Youtube videos out, moved my mailing lists from MailChimp to MailerLite, set up some email automation, and cancelled a workshop for low enrollment 🙁 .

Will this mindset work forever? It remains to be seen — but I think it’s healthier than the alternative. So if you don’t see any social media posts from me for a week, you can rest assured that I’m being productive and will have more news for you soon (hopefully). This isn’t great for the almighty algorithms, but short of spending a mint, very little that I can realistically do will help much with those. The best you can do is like and follow my Facebook page, and with luck you may see some of the posts there. That, or stay tuned here or on my mailing lists — which the last survey I ran told me were much more important to most of my customers than social media anyway.

Workshops update

Per my recently-posted virtual workshop cancellation policy, I’ve had to let my Off the Grid workshop go this week for low enrollment. I am still trying to figure out June, and in all likelihood, I will move that workshop to June and give those students another chance to take their preferred workshop (as well as more time to get more students into the workshop). However, I have two more workshops this month as well as new in-person workshops scheduled for August at Vogue Knitting Live in NYC! (all times below in Eastern Time)

BuildingBlox workshops:

Vogue Knitting Live workshops:

When virtual workshops for June are scheduled, you’ll find out here (or sign up for my workshop interest groups to get first crack at them).

New videos posted

Hopefully you’re following my YouTube channel so you already saw these go by as they were posted, but just in case you’re not, I now have 3 new short technique videos up. These were originally the “Technique(s) of the Month” from my last 3 podcasts, so if you’ve been watching those, there’ll be nothing new here — but they are at least easier to access than having to scroll through to the end of a podcast.

Patreon updates

If you’re interested in joining my Patreon but don’t want another monthly charge on your credit card bill, I’ve just qualified for (and enabled) yearly payments, which come with a 10% discount on your month-by-month tier cost. Thank you to those of you who support me there in whatever way you do so! Not sure what Patreon is or why I’m using it? Read more here.

A good start to May

It’s only May 4th, and I’ve released a new pattern, gotten a podcast out … now if I can just get some more enrollments in this month’s workshops, I’ll be golden. Without further ado:

Two new patterns!

Since the last blog post, I’ve now released two new scarf patterns that are available for purchase on Ravelry or LoveCrafts, both using Rowan Felted Tweed/Colour solid and gradient combos. Vesica is a wide scarf based on a sacred geometry pattern; Arabiyya is based on a segment of a pattern I’ve been playing with for years. Arabiyya uses increasing and decreasing to shape the ends of the scarf, but there is an option for a plain rectangular scarf for those who’d rather keep the pattern intro-level.

Fallingblog Podcast #7 has been released

If you’re interested in the two patterns above, head over to the recent podcast for some more info about them, as well as a long-requested tutorial on weaving in ends in double-knitting.

Workshops in May (and beyond)

I have virtual workshops galore — both my own and through Stitches — and also some in-person workshops coming up in August and September. If you’re interested in intro/intermediate level workshops, sign up soon for the Stitches ones; if you’re interested in advanced-level workshops, look no further than my BuildingBlox series — I’ve even got the elusive Double-knitting Entrelac workshop this month! You can see them all on my calendar but here’s a quick rundown:

Stitches Expo at Home (2 hours each, all in Central Time):

BuildingBlox workshops (all in Eastern Time):

As usual, all of my BuildingBlox workshops will be recorded so you’ll have access to the workshop video even if you’re unable to attend at the time of the workshop (but you do have to enroll to get access!)

I also have in-person workshops coming up at Vogue Knitting Live in NYC in August, and Knitters’ Day Out in Harrisburg, PA in Sept/Oct!

In other news

If you’ve been trying to access my website over the past several weeks, you may have noticed some glitches and changes. I’ve been struggling with some serious instability (of my website! I’m OK) and I’ve had to do a bit of an overhaul. It’s stable right now, but at some point I’m going to need to delve into the back-end of the site and finalize some things to make it easier to manage in the future. So what does this mean for you? Not much, unless you run into something that doesn’t work as it should — if so, please just get in touch and let me know. If it just looks like the formatting is a little weird, you can ignore that for now — it’s a work in progress. Thanks for understanding!

Stay tuned — more to come sooner or later!

Alasdair Post-Quinn, Fallingblox Designs

April and May workshops update

This is a quick update about workshops — BuildingBlox, other virtual ones, and in-person!

BuildingBlox

Enrollments in my April workshops are on the low side, and all are in the next couple of weeks, so if you’ve been thinking about it, maybe go sign up now?

May workshops have me working around a number of scheduling difficulties such as Mothers’ Day, plus a weekend with two other big virtual shows (one of which I’ll be teaching at). So in all likelihood, I will schedule May workshops for the last couple of weeks of May. Stay tuned for an announcement about those soon!

I’m also thinking about some policy changes to ensure I’m using my own and others’ time wisely. Right now there is no minimum enrollment number — because I’ve never had trouble filling workshops to a reasonable level. But if/when a workshop doesn’t fill enough to compensate me properly for the time I spend teaching it, I’ve got two options: cancel it, or … shorten it. My workshops by default are 3 hours long, but I frequently teach 2-hour versions of many of them. Shortening the workshop removes some of the time available for Q&A, but with a smaller number of students, there are usually fewer questions. I tested this with a recent workshop, and it worked out well for all involved. I won’t go into a lot more depth here now, but I’ll work up a new policy page on my website soon and mention it next time I post here.

Live Workshops

Later in April, I will be in Loveland, CO for Interweave Yarn Fest. There’s still room in most of my workshops, and while I can’t link to them directly here, I’ll list them and how much room is left, and if you’re available and interested, you can go enroll!

All times are in MDT.

  • Thurs, Apr 21, 9am-12pm: Double-knitting Off the Grid (2 spots left)
  • Thurs, Apr 21, 1:30-4:30pm: Intro to Double-knitting (5 spots left)
  • Thurs, Apr 21, 6-9pm: Multi-color Double-knitting (17 spots left)
  • Fri, Apr 22, 9am-12pm: Double-knitting Lace (15 spots left)
  • Fri, Apr 22, 1:30-4:30pm: Double-knitting Intarsia (13 spots left)
  • Sat, Apr 23, 9am-12pm: Intro to Double-knitting (14 spots left)

Other Virtual Workshops

It’s been a while since I’ve taught virtual workshops for anyone other than myself, but Stitches and Vogue are still doing their virtual shows, and while I don’t have enrollment links yet, I can let you know that I will be teaching for the Stitches Expo at Home event in May, and most likely the Virtual Knitting Live event in June. Once I have enrollment links for those, I’ll post about those too.

In other news

I’ve got a new pattern — one of the 3 scarves in Rowan Felted Tweed/Colour, of which the first was the Tendrils pattern — on the blocking mat right now; once it’s blocked, measured, and photographed, I’ll release the pattern and post about it, so stay tuned! And don’t forget, if you join my Patreon at the $5 tier or above, you’ll get that pattern (and any/all other patterns I release while you’re a member) for free!

I’ve also got a new workshop on Advanced Texture in Double-knitting — folding the old Marling workshop into a new 3-hour session that focuses on transitions between knits, purls, and marls, including some new techniques (and new ways of using old techniques). That will debut later this Summer or Fall, so stay tuned!

News from every corner of Fallingblox Designs

Hello, friends! It’s a jam-packed update today, and I’m trying something a little different. If you’re a subscriber to my RSS feed, you’ll most likely just see this blog post as a normal post — but I’m tying it to my email newsletter as well so that the newsletter is a little more brief, whereas the blog posts will have more info. In the long run, I’m going to change up the format of the blog — but for now, we’re going to just see how this works.

General Fallingblox updates

The watchword of 2022 is “automation.” Perhaps also “integration” — I’m trying to do more with less, and let technology pick up some of the slack. In other words, where things can be done by automated systems, I’m trying to set that up, so I can streamline my content creation a bit more. Part of what gets in the way of my creative output is the time and trouble it takes to process things after I’ve created them. So we’ll see how I can do that a little better in the future.

Speaking of which, I have been working on getting my podcast back underway, thinking about a one-and-done live stream format on Twitch (subscribe there to be informed when something happens), which I will also record and release on my Youtube channel. The thing that really killed me was all the editing I needed to do after the filming, and if I can automate some of the transitions and come to some happy medium between the previous live versions on Facebook and the pre-recorded ones I’ve posted to Youtube, I may be able to get to a more sustainable place where I can do regular recordings again.

A new pattern — Tendrils

I have a series of new scarf patterns which will be released over the next month or two, depending on how quickly I get them back from my sample knitters. This was the first to return and is now the first to be released. It’s called “Tendrils” and is a basic double-knit scarf pattern in Rowan Felted Tweed/Felted Tweed Colour (their new gradient line of colorways). It’s been too long since I’ve released a truly intro-level pattern, and I hope people will enjoy knitting something pretty that doesn’t require a lot of special techniques.

Perhaps when the pandemic is properly over, I’ll be more easily able to find models; until then, I’m not going to let my lowered social contact stop me from releasing patterns. Lucy Neatby takes photos of her work in nature, why shouldn’t I?

Patreon supporters at the Slip-stitch tier and above already got their free download of this pattern; if you join this month, you can also get it for free (as well as the upcoming ones when they’re released).

Virtual Workshops continue unabated

Regardless of what happens with the pandemic in the future, virtual workshops are here to stay. Yes, I’ve done some live workshops and will do more this year and beyond, but I will continue to run virtual workshops at a rate of 2-4 per month depending on other scheduled events. As I alluded to in last year’s survey, I am thinking about some new workshops but I have not had the time to flesh them out for this season. I expect I will be working on those over the summer and testing them out in the Fall.

Without further ado, here are my currently scheduled virtual workshops; almost all are my 3-hour BuildingBlox workshops which you can enroll in directly through my website, but there is one other special event as well. All are in Eastern Time:

The workshop on March 19th is in danger of being cancelled due to low enrollment. To be honest, the marling workshop has never garnered as much interest as I thought it deserved, so if it doesn’t get more interest this time around, it may be that this workshop will be retired and I’ll find some other way to work marling concepts into a different workshop. Or I’ll put it on the back burner for a while and expect more interest when I have more patterns that use the techniques (nota bene: I have 3 or 4 already, which is more than I have in double-knit intarsia). If it is cancelled, everyone who has enrolled will get their fees refunded, of course.

… and live workshops continue anyway

I’ve just returned from my first “away” show (Red Alder, in Tacoma, WA) since the pandemic began, and it was a bit of a harrowing experience but good to get back into the swing of physical shows. Barring any new variants, I’ll be attending Interweave Yarn Fest in CO in April, and another TBA in October. I am not looking to do more physical shows this year, but will hopefully be doing more in 2023 if/when things have calmed down a bit, epidemiologically.

I can’t link to the individual workshops on Interweave’s site, but you can see what’s available and get there via their main workshop link.

Interweave Yarn Fest, Loveland, CO, Apr 20-23:

  • Intro to Double-knitting
  • Multi-color Double-knitting
  • Double-knitting Off the Grid
  • Double-knitting Lace
  • Double-knitting Intarsia

What’s next?

I’m in a designing lull and have cast on to replace some of the patterns that were never replaced after the loss of many of my samples in the fire almost 2 years ago. Many generous souls volunteered their time to replace some of the lost samples, and all but a couple have been finished now. Some, however, either never found a match or the sample knitter had trouble and decided to return the yarn. Those I never passed on to another knitter, figuring I’d either do them myself, find someone later, or just live without. Spring Willow, however, I’ve always felt a little weird about my needle choice for and I welcomed the chance to rework it on a larger needle for more pronounced lace. So I am finally starting on that. Once it’s a little further in, I’m sure I’ll post it alongside photos of the original.

I am also well aware that I am overdue for a new book — but I have not been developing new techniques at the rate I would want to in order to write a book that continues the progression of the first two. Instead, I am thinking about going backward somewhat and creating a book which fills the space of a truly intro-level double-knitting book, which goes into depth with the basic technique, supported by exclusive and extensive videos, and offers a number of projects which will help new double-knitters get a really sound foundation in the technique. Possibly toward the end, I will add in some decreases to allow for some simple hat patterns. I expect that a lot of the knitting for this will be done by sample knitters to speed up the process.

Stay tuned for more soon — and thanks for reading!