Fallingblox Designs on hiatus again

Obligatory cat photo for social media visibility

Hello loyal friends and followers, and thank you for your patience with me. Fallingblox Designs‘ social media presence went dark two weeks ago, at the worst possible time for a small creative business to do so — the start of the holiday gifting season.

You may have seen the previous iteration of this post while it was briefly up a couple of weeks ago. Shortly after I posted it, I was advised by a friend with experience in these matters to remove all mention of the incident from any public location until I’d had a chance to speak with a lawyer. I have been trying for two weeks to get a lawyer to respond, but at this point I am tired of waiting and I owe you an explanation. I have received some basic guidelines to what I should and should not say, and will do my best here.

It’s been a year and a half since the last time I had to do this. In that case, my home burned down and I lost almost everything I owned. I had to stop all my work and life responsibilities while I regrouped for a while. I have news on that front (short version: we’re finally proceeding with the rebuild!) and wanted my next post to be an uplifting one about how we’d faced adversity and came out victorious. But then something else happened.

As you may or may not be aware, I have a day job outside the city 3 days per week. Due to Covid, I’ve been trying to keep off public transit. I used to bicycle home from work most days, after taking my bike to work on the commuter rail. For the past year or so since work restarted, I’ve been biking in both directions. Mostly I keep to the bike paths which run from my home city to my workplace, with very little reason to ride on the streets. But I do ride on the streets when necessary, and on Tuesday (Nov 30) I was dropping something off at a friend’s house a few blocks from the path.

As you can probably guess from the direction of this narrative, that day didn’t go smoothly: I was hit by a car. At the recommendation of legal counsel, I’m leaving out all specifics and just saying that I have sustained an injury and I am not sure how long it will take to fully recover.

So what does this mean for Fallingblox Designs? In short, I need to dial everything back for a while. I’ve cancelled my virtual workshops where possible. I’m putting my Patreon on pause (they’ve already been notified). Patterns I was designing will need to slow down or stop, depending on how well I’m able to knit going forward. My social media posting will be paused for a month and we’ll re-evaluate beyond that. For those looking forward to my in-person appearances at Red Alder etc, I am assuming I will be recovered enough by February, but will update you if not.

Unlike last time, however, I still have the infrastructure I need to fulfill book and pattern orders, so that part of my business is still operational. I know I’ve missed the ideal time for holiday shipping of physical books and patterns, but if you are not concerned about timeliness, I am (with help from my wife) still capable of shipping. Otherwise, you can still get (and gift) my digital versions.

Stay tuned. I’ll update you as soon as I have a better idea of where things are going from here. In the meantime, if you want to support me, join my Patreon (you’ll be charged if/when it restarts), buy my books and patterns, tell your friends about my books and patterns, or (as I’ve lost the immediacy needed for something like a GoFundMe), toss something in the Tip Jar. And if you’re interested in my virtual workshops when they restart, sign up on the workshop interest lists to be informed.

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

Introducing the fifth Element: Bocote

The Wuxing: 5 Elements collection has been a long time coming — I released Agni Deus in March of 2020, just as the pandemic was beginning. I had finished one more pattern from the collection when my home burned down a few months later. This slowed my creative process (to say the least) but finally, about a year and a half later, all five hats in the Wuxing collection are complete!

Bocote has been a journey, and not always a smooth one. The hat is very complex, so I decided it needed test-knitting before the pattern was released (3 of the 5 hats in the collection fell into that category). I released the pattern to them in chunks while I was designing it, expecting to complete the crown decrease planning well before any of my testers got to the decreases. With their feedback, I made a number of changes to the pattern, and all three of them finished their respective hats before I’d even cast on for the final version of mine.

My own hat was slow in coming because I made some math errors along the way — a couple of glaring ones right in the pattern that none of my testers caught meant that their hats ended up quite a bit larger than expected — as did my own. Once I fixed the errors, I had to rip out and start fresh, which was disheartening and I had trouble restarting with as much enthusiasm (this was also during the hottest part of the summer, which made it harder to spend a lot of time knitting). Finally I hit my stride and made some true progress — but as I reached the decreases, it became clear that I had made still further measurement errors in both directions. The hat that I was expecting to be a 21.5″ circumference ended up closer to 23″ around. The height of the hat was also considerably taller than I expected, despite the round gauge matching my original calculations — another case of sloppy designing (now rectified in the final pattern). I did do some livestreams of me working on the pattern for my supporters on Patreon, so if you’d like to see the recordings of those (and now that I’ve got a good setup for doing livestreams of me working on knitted pieces, probably more in the future), join my Patreon!

But those two mis-measurements went together to make a hat that’s still quite wearable for me, because the need to roll it up twice means that it now hugs my head a bit better (and even fits my wife pretty well). So even though it wasn’t exactly what I had intended, and if I had figured all this out earlier I could have saved quite a bit of time, I’m happy with the final result (especially the crown). I opted to model it myself for simplicity’s sake.

The yarn I chose for this is 3 natural colors of Bare Naked Wools Stone Soup Fingering. I was able to do the largest size with the equivalent of three 2-oz skeins!

Thank you for your patience through this journey — if you’ve already bought a copy of the collection, thank you! If not, and you’ve been waiting to see all five patterns before biting the bullet, it’s available to purchase now!

In the coming months, I plan to put all of the patterns together into a single eBook rather than five individual patterns, and I might even consider printing it (similar to the Parallax collection). If I do that, I’ll make a discount code available for anyone who purchased the digital version.

In other news

I have some workshops coming up in December, both my own and a couple for VKL. Especially if you’re interested in the techniques around the Wuxing collection, I recommend taking the Off-the-Grid workshop on Dec 4th. All times are in Eastern Time:

If you’re waiting to hear about January virtual workshops (and beyond), stay tuned; I will have a dedicated post for that soon. In addition, my (in person!) workshops at Red Alder in Tacoma, WA are up and taking enrollments:

Thanks for your continued interest and stay tuned for more soon!

Workshops to round out 2021

I’ve scheduled some new virtual workshops in the BuildingBlox series, and I’ve given the people on my workshop interest lists and my Patreon supporters first crack at enrollment, so now it’s time to give everyone else a chance to get in. There’s still space in all of my workshops, even the ones later on this month. As usual, they’re pay-what-you-want, above a modest minimum. I have just opened some more slots in the Intro workshop this coming Thursday, so if you were trying to get into that, there’s now more room!

In case you missed the memo, all of these workshops are being recorded. But you need to enroll to get access to the recording. The good news is that you don’t actually need to attend the workshop (if it doesn’t work for your schedule/time zone/etc)! If you enroll and select “No” on the attendance dropdown, you’ll still get access to the recording but we won’t wait up for you at the workshop itself. Access to recordings is promised for 3 months but it’s likely that they’ll be online for at least 6 months, possibly longer. It’s still a new wrinkle in my workshop process, and just as with everything else, I’m still figuring it out and will try to make it better and better each time.

Without further ado, here are all of my upcoming virtual workshops (all times in Eastern time). For more info on each workshop, click through the enrollment page to the workshop page:

Virtual workshops for January 2022 and beyond will be scheduled and announced later. I am also going to make an appearance at Red Alder Fiber Arts Retreat in February, 2022 — yes, in person! Here are the workshop links for that event:

Stay tuned for more soon(ish)!

New pattern: Waverley

This is Chad. He’s a knitting and crochet designer and teacher who loves cephalopods and the color teal.

In 2019, I was approached by MDK editors to contribute a pattern to their book of KnitStrips — knitting patterns written as if they were in a comic book or graphic novel. Further limitations placed on the request were that the pattern had to be gauge and yarn-agnostic, and (unbeknownst to me) I’d have to actually lay out the graphic novel pages myself (their artists would take my layout and “art-ify” it). This was all well beyond my comfort level, and I struggled quite a bit — first misunderstanding the nature of the request, then missing the whole thing about doing my own graphic storyboard for it. I ended up working up a whole sample (seen above on Chad) that didn’t even meet the initial requirements, and had to rework another sample later that year. I was pretty done with the pattern at that point, and ended up making a Moebius cowl that was a bit shorter than it should have been.

Fast-forward to 2021; I had heard nothing throughout the pandemic but finally I got a message from the editors that they weren’t using my pattern and that the rights were reverting to me. I got the sample in the mail a few weeks later. The original sample was also one that had survived the fire, so I now have both samples available, and the pattern was mostly written. Rather than trying to shoehorn such a non-traditional pattern into my usual format, I kept most of the formatting I had worked up for the “storyboard” and added a series of instructional pages in the middle.

Waverley is a pattern that differs greatly from my usual “engineered” style. Aside from a mention of the yarn used to make the sample (Elemental Affects Cormo), there’s no mention of specific gauge, needle size, or yarn weight. This is due to the original pattern requirements, but also because the pattern does work in almost any combination of those things, depending on what you’re trying to get out of it. I have a simple formula for the cast-on which allows you to approximately work out the width of a piece without measuring it. I have a number of ideas which you can use to get the kind of garment — worked flat or in the round — that you’d prefer. Aside from that, it’s a pretty basic intro-level pattern with one extra trick (grafting) as an option depending on what you choose to create.

The return of this pattern to my stable is also a bit of a blessing because it gives me a leg up on my next collection of topological knitwear. As you may remember, I got my start knitting Moebius cowls before I had even heard of double-knitting — and yet, I have never made a double-knit Moebius cowl (until now). This pattern will be the framework on which I build two different Moebius constructions (only the simple one is available now).

Get the pattern now on Ravelry — or join my Patreon before Oct 18th and get it (and any more patterns that come out while you are a Patron) for free!

In other news

My new workshop format (in which I will be recording workshops for future viewing by any who enrolled) seems to be taking off, or maybe it’s just the season. Today’s workshop on Multi-color double-knitting has sold out — and more than sold out, because anyone who marked “No” on their plans to come to the class vs watch it later meant I could open another seat. In the end, I have 20 “actual” seats filled and 5 more who intend only to watch later. So I can sell more enrollments (yay!) while still keeping a number of “live” participants at a comfortable level.

Next month I continue the experiment by adding some weekday evening workshop slots. While these slots won’t work as well for some people, I am curious if people will still enroll (at least at the base price) to get access to the recording. These October workshops still have space, so enroll now before they don’t! November and December will be announced soon.

Also, if you’re excited about getting recorded workshop access and expect to take more workshops in the future because of this, consider joining my Patreon at the Extreme tier, where you’ll get (among other things) a free workshop of your choice from my BuildingBlox virtual series each month (subject to availability).

Next weekend, I head to Amherst, MA to take part in an even grander experiment: an in-person show (the WEBS Retreat) for the first time in almost 2 years. My in-person chops may be rusty, but we’ll see!

Finally, the Wuxing: 5 Elements collection is almost complete. The pattern for the Bocote hat is done; I’m just working up the sample for photographing. I hope it’ll be ready for consumption next month. You can always grab the collection now, and when the new pattern is released, it’ll drop into your library automatically.

Survey Results … and lots more

Fallingblog Podcast #5 is now up!

Last time I posted, I was trying to get you to take a survey I was running to try to determine current levels of interest in my virtual workshops, as well as many other facets of Fallingblox Designs. The survey was up for about a month and closed with 216 responses. Today, I’ve got a new Fallingblog Podcast where I talk about some of the results of the survey and what they’re going to mean for Fallingblox Designs going forward.

I’ve also lived up to the promise I made to split off the “technique of the month” segments from the podcasts, and I’ve released two more Youtube videos on double-knitting single decreases and troubleshooting your double-knitting.

One of the big takeaways from the podcast might be a game-changer for my virtual workshops. I had a number of people respond that they were frequently unable to get to the workshop during its time slot, due to schedule conflicts or time-zone issues — but that they’d be interested in recorded workshops. I also had plenty of people request to be able to go back and rewatch parts of the workshop. I had been resisting recording my workshops because of the cost — I had tried it once, and the resulting file was about 1gb in size, which takes up my entire Zoom cloud storage. But I figured that if this made the workshops more marketable, it might just mean that I’d get enough extra monthly income to make the cost of extra cloud storage worth it.

So I’m going to be recording my workshops in the future — the recording will be accessible to all who enroll, whether or not they attend! And I’ve got some other big plans but will hold off on announcing the next steps until I’ve made sure the first steps work. For now, I can tell you that I scheduled my first Fall 2021 workshop as a Multi-color Double-knitting workshop (the most popular according to the survey) about a week ago, let folks know about it, and it’s technically sold out already. Also, the number of students who paid over the minimum is much higher this time, which I think indicates greater perceived value in a workshop which can be accessed later. I have added a few more slots, so it’s not completely sold out yet.

I’m also experimenting with weekday evening workshops, per the survey results which show significant interest in those times. I’ll be interested to see if signups are higher for those, again, due to the recording.

So, without further ado, here are the September/October BuildingBlox virtual workshops. I am currently not scheduled to teach workshops with any other show during this time period, except the WEBS Fall Knitting Retreat, which is (so far, anyway) going to be taking place in person! All times are in Eastern Time:

To see what else is coming up (virtual and in person), visit my calendar.

In other news

The Bocote hat (the final hat from the Wuxing: 5 Elements collection) has hit a snag but is still on track for release this Fall. This will complete the collection, and I will then work on putting the whole thing together as an ebook rather than 5 separate patterns. If there’s enough interest, I may also consider printing the booklet, similar to the Parallax collection.

Patreon patrons in the Modern and Extreme tiers got another advanced double-knitting video recently, and I’m hoping to have another announcement for Extreme-tier patrons soon. If you’re interested in getting access to those perks and more, consider becoming a patron today.

Finally, if you didn’t fill out the survey but still want to get an email when a workshop you’re interested in is scheduled, visit my new workshop interest signup form!

Thanks for your continued interest, stay tuned, and I’ll post again soon(ish).

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

Help Fallingblox Designs Grow!

If you’ve been following me for a while, you may have had a chance to fill out a survey I posted around this time last year. A lot has happened since then, and many of you have had chances to take virtual workshops with me. As we approach a relaxing of pandemic restrictions here in the US (whether or not that’s a good idea right now), you may be wondering whether the BuildingBlox workshop series is about to encounter the chopping block in favor of a return to live events.

Rest assured, I will continue to run virtual workshops. It has become clear that this is a viable medium, as well as a great equalizer — many people who are not able to travel to the big shows where these workshops are ordinarily taught are now able to learn these techniques, and my sliding scale enrollment fees make it easier than ever to learn them from the comfort of your own home.

But I am also looking toward the future, and as I think about the evolution of Fallingblox Designs, I want to make sure you have a chance to weigh in on that future. Are you interested in virtual workshops? What kinds? What about books? Should I keep making those in this increasingly digital age? Answer these questions and more on my 2021 Survey!

In other news

I have been delaying scheduling of June and July workshops because I’ve been waiting to hear about a couple of events (including a wedding) which I needed to schedule around. Now that my non-knitting schedule has solidified, I’m free to offer some workshops, so here’s the current list for June and July (including Stitches and Fiberworld!). Links for the Stitches workshops are not yet live but will be soon. Check my calendar for updates.

If you are a member of my Patreon at the Extreme tier, remember that you are welcome to attend one of my BuildingBlox workshops per month for no charge; simply contact me to request the one(s) you want. If you are not a Patron yet, or are supporting at one of the lower tiers, and would like to have an easy way to take a lot of my workshops (in addition to all the other perks), consider joining at the Extreme tier! Thank you!

Wuxing and Workshops

The Wuxing: 5 Elements collection has been at 2 out of 5 patterns since October of 2020, when Honey Locust came out. Since then, I have struggled with the Metal-themed hat (now called Spinneret) and could not release Pluvium (the water-themed hat) until Spinneret was released (due to the progression of the elements). Both hats are finally released and have been added to the collection. If you have already bought Wuxing: 5 Elements on Ravelry, you should have received a notification when the patterns were added. If you have not, the patterns will all be available for you whenever you decide to take the plunge.

By the way, if you’re interested in getting this collection as well as any upcoming patterns I release for free, join my Patreon! Higher tiers also get access to a growing library of double-knitting videos that go well beyond the basics, and more.

There is one more hat to do, and I expect it to take rather less time to design and knit than the Spinneret. The Wood-themed hat will be done in three-color off-the-grid double-knitting, a combination of techniques not yet attempted but very much anticipated. I have already begun the planning and am liking the direction things are going so far. I hope to have it completed and released before the Fall. When all five patterns are released, I plan to combine them all into a single eBook which will have detailed photo instructions for all of the techniques involved. If there is sufficient interest, I may do a limited print run of the collection as well.

Also, better photos will be forthcoming in the final eBook, if not sooner. Due to the pandemic, I have had to use Philip (and his post-fire successor, also named Philip) to model the most recent hats.

In other news

I have scheduled a couple of BuildingBlox workshops for May, as well as a couple of intro workshops for the May VKL. I also have two workshops coming up this coming weekend, so if either of those interest you, please sign up soon. For all of my upcoming appearances, please visit my Calendar. Without further ado, here are the workshops coming up in the next 30 days:

If you are interested in taking my BuildingBlox workshops on a regular basis, here’s another plug for my Patreon. For only a little more than the minimum fee on my workshops’ sliding scale, my Extreme-tier patrons get access to one of my workshops per month for free (subject to availability), along with many other perks.

New Podcast episode and more

Hello and thank you for your patience with me as I worked out some technical limitations on my podcast. In the end, I had to step back and not let the attempt to fix the technical troubles delay me, but find a way to move forward despite them.

So without further ado, here’s Fallingblog Podcast #3. In it, I talk about my workshops (and the difference between taking a workshop with me at one of the big shows vs through my BuildingBlox series), two new/newish patterns and the first look at the completed Spinneret pattern (the Metal hat from my Wuxing: 5 Elements collection), a pattern focus on the Heartbound Again hat and headband, and a how-to on double-knit single decreases.

For those curious about Spinneret and Pluvium (the water hat, completed months ago but unable to be released because it was out of sequence), I have test knitters finishing with it and shortly thereafter I’ll be releasing both patterns simultaneously. Then all that’s left is to finish the Wood hat, the last in the collection. As always, with this collection, you can buy into it whenever you want, and when the new patterns are released, they’ll be added to your Ravelry library.

In other news, I wanted to update you on some of the workshops I mentioned last time, but now with counts of how many spots are left. The only one in danger of cancellation is currently the VKL Multi-color session.

Stitches At Home:
Fri, Apr 9, 2-4pm: Intro to Double-knitting (8 spots left)
Sat, Apr 10, 2-4pm: Double-knitting Off The Grid (15 spots left)
Sun, Apr 11, 2-4pm: Two-pattern Double-knitting (11 spots left)

Virtual Knitting Live (cannot link to individual workshops):
Thu, Apr 15, 2-4pm: Intro to Double-knitting (7 spots left)
Thu, Apr 15, 7-9pm: Multi-color Double-knitting (25 spots left — may be cancelled)
Fri, Apr 16, 2-4pm: Texture in Double-knitting (20 spots left)
Sun, Apr 18, 7-9pm: Intro to Double-knitting (22 spots left)

BuildingBlox Virtual Workshops:
Sat, Apr 17, 10-5pm: Double-knitting Entrelac (10 spots left)
Sat, Apr 24, 1-4pm: Marling with Double-knitting (16 spots left)
Sun, Apr 25, 2-5pm: Intro to Double-knitting (19 spots left)

I am also teaching at FiberWorld 2021, but registration for that opens on May 15th.

If you’re itching for in-person workshops, I am still expecting to be teaching at Red Alder (Tacoma, WA) in February of 2022, but I have also received an overture from another event in September of this year which is trying to go in-person. More updates on those as I have them.

More workshops and two “new” patterns!

I have two exciting announcements and I don’t know which is more so — but an announcement about workshops is more time-sensitive so I’ll put it in first.

As the last post about workshops ended with March 7th, it’s about time I updated the list. So, without further ado, here it is:

Saturday, March 13th, Sunday, March 14th and Saturday, March 20th, 3-5pm: Stitches at HomeDesign your own Double-knit Hat (3 2-hour sessions) (yes, this starts tomorrow so get in now if you want to!)

BuildingBlox workshops (3 hr sessions)
Saturday, April 17th, 10am-5pm: Double-knitting Entrelac
Saturday, April 24th, 1-4pm: Marling with Double-knitting
Sunday, April 25th, 2-5pm: Intro to Double-knitting

Virtual Knitting Live (2 hr sessions)
Thursday, March 18th, 7-9pm: Intro to Double-knitting
Friday, March 19th, 7-9pm: Multi-color Double-knitting
Saturday, March 20th, 7-9pm: Intro to Double-knitting
Sunday, March 21st, 2-4pm: Two-pattern Double-knitting

Friday, March 19th, 4:30pm: Swatch What Happens Live at VKL with Lucy Neatby and Josh Bennett!
Tuesday, April 6th, 7pm: London (Ontario) District Weavers & Spinners Guild
Wednesday, April 14th, 8pm: Fox Valley Knitters Guild

A few items of note:

Double-knitting Entrelac is the highly-sought-after 2-session workshop that I almost never get to teach. This will be my first time teaching it in the virtual environment, so I hope it’ll be a success.

Marling with Double-knitting is a brand-new workshop which I have taught for Stitches but never to “my own” audience. It’s an intermediate-level workshop which is easily done having only taken the intro class.

Patrons of the Extreme tier of my Patreon now get their choice of one BuildingBlox workshop per month (alongside all the other perks), so keep that in mind if you’re interested in taking a number of my workshops!

Now, to the patterns!

By a coincidence, both of these patterns are based on the classic Falling Blocks hat from 2010. One is a pattern I designed in 2013 for the Willow Colorwork Club; the other is a new design which is a simpler rendition of that pattern. They are both “new” (in quotes) because one was previously available through Willow Yarns but I have reformatted and updated the pattern slightly; the other is merely a derivative pattern of an even older one.

Falling Blocks Redux simplifies the two patterns of the Falling Blocks hat to two colors rather than three. It occurred to me, while I was doing a workshop on two-pattern double-knitting, that all of the samples I had to show in two colors used lettering to show off the two-pattern properties of the fabric. I have three-color patterns that use two-pattern concepts for more complex patterning, but not in two colors. So Falling Blocks Redux fills a gap in the world of two-pattern projects — and is a great place to start for people who loved the Falling Blocks hat but didn’t want to deal with three colors. The crown on this is just stunning, so have a look at its pattern page on my website. Thank you to Holli Rossum for knitting up the sample!

Shadow Boxes further simplifies the tumbling blocks pattern; there is no second pattern on the other layer — it’s just standard double-knitting — and I’ve removed every other diagonal strip of cubes to create this shadow effect. Due to Covid and the shortage of available models, I’m making a rare selfie appearance in this pattern. Thanks to Denise Palmer for knitting up the sample!

Stay tuned for more news soon!

Workshops abound this Winter!

(sadly not in person, sorry!)

As we look forward to Spring, there is still quite a bit of Winter (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere) left and many virtual double-knitting workshops to teach! Without further ado, here’s the list of my upcoming workshops so far (all via Zoom):

Sat, Jan 23, 2-5pmDouble-knitting Lace (7 spots left – yes, this is THIS Saturday)

Stitches Expo at Home (all workshops 2 hrs long):
Fri, Feb 05, 11am-1pm: Intro to Double-knitting
Sat, Feb 06, 11am-1pm: Double-knitting Cables
Sun, Feb 07, 2-4pm: Marling with Double-knitting

Virtual Knitting Live (all workshops 2 hrs long):
Thu, Feb 11, 7-9pm: Intro to Double-knitting
Fri, Feb 12, 7-9pm: Texture in Double-knitting

Sat, Feb 13, 1-4pmDouble-knitting Intarsia
Sat, Feb 20, 1-4pmDouble-knitting Off The Grid

Sun, Feb 21, 12-3pm: Intro to Double-knitting via Plymouth Harbor Knits

Sun, Mar 07, 2-5pmDouble-knitting Cables

Looking further forward, I will also be speaking at a virtual meeting of the Big Apple Knitters’ Guild on May 8th, and will be teaching at FiberWorld 2021 in July. For more info on those and more, visit my calendar!

In other news

My first Fallingblog video podcast is up on my Youtube channel; the second is in the works but may be a little delayed due to a last-minute change in my day job’s schedule. I’m hoping to have one out at the end of each month but until I get into the groove, it may not be totally regular. Stay tuned on my channel to be informed as soon as a new episode comes out!

During the next podcast, I will show the new hat in progress from the Wuxing: 5 Elements collection; in the meantime, if you want to see more progress shots of this and future patterns, consider joining my Patreon! Patrons of the “Modern” tier also get access to a (slowly) growing video library which now includes a new video on an esoteric technique which will be used in the new pattern!

Stay tuned for more news soon!