Packaging Postulations

So I've been tossing around ideas for product labeling on my hand knits. Today I tried out a knitted label. It took a while, I'm thinking maybe too long. I think it's cute, but I don't know if I can handle doing it for every piece I produce. I'm meticulous, but I don't have all the time in the world.

Fortunately for me my cards arrived. I ordered these last week from PSPrint. They have a deal for business cards right now, so I jumped on that 40% off for a short run. I think I'm just going to attach these rather than torture myself knitting thread weight yarn.

Are you familiar with Etsy Treasuries? They're these collections of items compiled by members under various themes. I first heard about Treasuries when I got featured in one earlier this week, then another. I was like: "I'm featured in a what?" Have a look, and leave a comment.


Thick & Thin

Okay, so I've been looking for ways to cover multiple price points in my shop. One option was to make little things like coffee cup cozys which are easy to produce and could be priced accordingly. It's a viable option, but I decided instead to knit up a hat in worsted weight yarn. It's a little strange for me. I'm used to dealing with thinner weights like lace and sport that work up into sophisticatedly thin fabrics.

Totally doable though. Thicker yarns work up quicker, and therefore can carry a lower price point since they require less production hours. This one I'm calling Carve (Alpha). 100% Italian wool and it feels fricken fantastic.

Carve AlphaSkew Bravo

Skew Bravo is coming along nicely, and I have a feeling it will be just as magnificently drapey as the Alpha. I'm really diggin' the rustic brown.

Cotton Blend

I got around to dismantling this cool men's cardigan last night. I had been putting it off because of the sheer size of it. Not only is it an extra large, it's a pretty thin multi-strand weight. I finished winding it up this morning. It's 70% cotton and 30% nylon, and seems to have a sheen I never saw in the original sweater. I wonder if it was because it was ribbed? I'll have to swatch it up in stockinette to see what's up. I have a feeling this olive drab green would make a great Duality Bravo...


Pyramid Bravo

Pyramid Bravo

Some of you may be wondering what the deal is with my knitting. It's pretty simple, really. I don't want to make the same thing over again, and I like to improvise. One thing I noticed from knitting patterns was that I rarely follow them. I tend to change them dramatically. Eventually I came to realize that all I need is a really basic structure. From there I can do whatever I want.

Since I use recycled materials, duplication is not very likely. Besides, I just don't want to. Uniqueness is a good thing. Moving forward is also awesome.

So anyway, here's a preview of Pyramid Bravo, the second in the Pyramid Series. I tried something new this time around: multiple transitions (specifically three). After the first transition, two more are introduced within the diamond section, and eventually get overtaken by the final stockinette transition. Yeah, confusing, whatever. Look at the picture.

Pyramid Bravo will be available tomorrow (Wednesday, October 27th).
Come check out my shop and heart me!


The Handmade Dilemma

The whole research experience of opening up an Etsy shop has been pretty interesting. The subject of pricing was of particular interest. It seems that so many knitters out there are underselling themselves, and in the process undermining the integrity of hand knits. Charging $20 for a beanie that took you a week to make is kind of like working in a third world sweatshop, but that's what people seem to think their time is worth.

As an independent seller of hand knits, not only am I the designer, I'm the producer, the marketing strategist, the photographer, the copy writer, the stylist, the accounts rep and (if necessary) the guy that works the returns desk. Moreover, part of being an independent business person is educating clients about product, and the value associated with buying handmade. The reason handmade costs more is because it's better.

If you've been reading my blog, you may have seen all the sweaters I've disassembled. The process of selecting which sweaters are appropriate for recycling gives me the unique opportunity to examine hundreds of sweaters from all sorts of brands. A good portion of these brands really don't provide much in the way of quality. Major clothiers cut production corners in order to cut their prices. It's not even possible for us independent crafters to take these types of production shortcuts. I don't have a gigantic industrial knitting machine in my house, and I certainly don't want one. Cheap commercial knits are cheap because they're mass produced in third world sweatshops. I have no intention of providing that type of product, and my pricing reflects that.

I spent a good part of the last two weeks researching other people's prices and calculating the value of my time and efforts, yet I still get the feeling I'm not charging enough. In calculating all the man hours I've spent getting this opening to happen, I'm still selling myself short. But the fact that I chose to do it, made it happen, and decide on a daily basis to make something out of nothing means I love what I do. That's what it means to live a creative life.

But enough with the talkie-talkie. The gridjunky shop is open for business. Heart me, Like me, send me a love note, or maybe buy something if you don't think it's a rip-off.


I Tend to Tinker

There's a lot of bleed through in the creative things I do. I tend to tinker. When I draw I just let it out, but I tend to clarify within a series of seemingly identical images. With logos I do the same thing, and now with my knitting I find myself doing the same exact thing.

Pyramid Bravo (I use call signs) is the same pattern as Pyramid Alpha, but with a different trio of stitch patterns. Alpha goes like this: 1x1 rib > 2x2 rib > stockinette. Bravo starts with 2x2 rib, then 4x4, then... I haven't decided yet. Maybe I'll do seed stitch. Anyway, here's a picture:

Pyramid Bravo

Now that I have a yarn winder I can start (and in some cases finish) disassembling the cotton sweaters I've been avoiding for various reasons. The exif data on the armband sweater picture is from way back in April, and without a winder it took forever to whittle away at thread weight cotton (20+wpi!!). This winder makes things much easier. Those spools are rolled up magazine pages.

The other sweater victim was a little easier to deal with. This is a sport weight multi-strand. The cool thing about recycling cotton yarn is that it's already been washed a bunch of times, so it's all broken in and soft. This is a great color too. It's about 65% to 70% gray with a subtle warmth that pushes a bit toward purple.


On the shop front, I'm writing up some snappy product descriptions for everything, and planning out all the branding and graphics. The alphas for Pyramid, Skew & Duality should be up for sale by the end of the week. Tell a friend!



I finished up the Duality scarf yesterday, at least up to the point of washing and drying it. I didn't really write a pattern for it either. It's a provisional cast on with 3 stitch garter borders, with 3 rows of garter stitch at the end. I'm really diggin' how it turned out. It's a clean, organic design which echoes natural patterns while embracing my interest in white/negative space.

Trees are like slow explosions. Branches grow along predetermined paths forming patterns that are seemingly simple, but the process of growth itself is intricate and a little mysterious. Conceptually, that's what's going on in this piece: the duality between perceived simplicity and complex processes.


With the completion of this third piece, I'm just about ready to start my shop listings. All that's left is to make some brand tags and attach them. I spent the bulk of today writing up my shop policy, setting my shipping rates and designing a shop banner, so I think I'm all set as far as that stuff goes. Look for a new shop button when gridjunky launches this month (no really, it'll happen this time).

So what's next? Hmm... I'm thinking: "glitch."


The Organic Nature of Structured Improvisation

Wow, life without internet sucks! I don't think I've spent as much time on the phone with automated robots and tech support people as I have these past two weeks, but I got my internet back up. Unfortunately this tossed a rather large wrench into my gears, and now my shop opening is bumped over a month, but hey, it'll probably be a while before I sell anything anyway.
At least I was able to finish Pyramid and get through the majority of the Duality scarf which is almost done. I also managed to start and finish another beanie. This one I'm calling Skew. Each of these pieces are explorations of the basic knit and purl stitches with an emphasis on structured improvisation.


For example both Pyramid and Skew are essentially the same pattern: 1x1 rib > 2x2 rib > Stockinette. It's the gradual transitions between the three sections that make them different. On Pyramid the sections mirror each other creating a diamond of 2x2 rib that form double peaks when worn folded.


Skew works both transitions from the same vertical point creating a paralellogram section of 2x2 rib. I worked Skew loose and drapier in a fluffy lamb's wool. I like the way beanies look when they are worn long and unfolded. Both have that signature slouchy look that I love so much, but Skew is definitely the slouchier of the two. I almost don't want to sell these...


Duality echoes the same exploration more directly. Triangular scarves like this consist of an increase row on the right side followed by a straight row with no increases on the other side. It's on these straight rows where the improvisation happens, steadily creating a seemingly random fringe pattern. After completing each increase row, I look at the piece as a whole and decide how long I want the next "fringe" to be and mark it. Doing this tacks on more time to complete each row, but I don't really care. I'm more interested in the organic nature of structured improvisation, and how the two halves oppose and compliment each other at the same time. It's sort of like recognizing the growth patterns of lichens or tree branches. Hopefully the person who buys this will see what I see.

Wind It Up!

On a side note, I finally got a yarn winder. I purchased this one from Knit Picks. Up until now I've been using pieces of bamboo as nostepinnes to hand-wind center pull balls which is quite time consuming. This cute contraption's gonna save me a lot of time. Now I just need a yarn swift so I don't have to use my camera tripod to hold the yarn while I wind it.