Friday, May 27, 2011

ATC trade

This post was not supposed to be published, at least not yet.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Mary Kruger's Died In The Wool


It so very well pointed out that you really need to know your subject before you start writing... Now, I have to say that there might be some differences in the American way of doing things and the way I have learned, but I really find it hard to believe the differences would be that... big and obvious.
Nevertheless, those details were easier to overlook, but the main point that made the book unenjoyable to me was the main character's behavior.
She forces herself into the investigation, holds back information from the investigator, and then gets angry with him, because he arrests one of her friends. Mind you that she lives in a tiny town where everyone knows everyone and are practically "friends" with everyone - had he arrested ANYONE it would have been "her friend", and she would probably have pouted about it.
Then this friend's wife, who is also the main character's best friend, gets angry with her, because... I really don't understand. Because her husband was arrested for a murder that happened in the friend's yarn shop? Or?

The main character is also supposed to be a knitting designer, and doesn't know anything about internet, selling patterns online, free patterns online - and this book was published 2005.

"Are you going to have any patterns available?"
"Of course I am. That's the whole point."
"I didn't mean that. I meant, sample patterns."
Ari stared at her. "Give them away, you mean? The whole point of this is to make money."
"A lot of people have put free patterns online", Barbara said.
"Really? Why would they do that?"
"Sometimes it's the only way for people to publish their ideas", Kaitlyn said quietly.
Ari turned to her. "Have you done that?"
"What, and lose my copyright? If I tried to publish it in print later, I wouldn't be able to because of that." She paused. "When I was first learning to make web pages, I did put a design on my own site, though, a simple one. A scarf in garter stitch."
"Well, anyone can make one of those, so that's okay."
"It was for beginners", Kaitlyn said defensively.
"And it was nice", Susan said firmly. "Of course, though, she's right. Why give something away for free?"
Barbara was leaning over Ari's shoulden. "Ari, haven't you ever looked at anything to do with knitting online?"
"No. I told you, I think the Internet is a waste of time..." 
blah blah blah
"Maybe." Ari was frowning at the screen. "people really put their patterns online without expecting payment?"
"I hate to say it, but I've gotten some good ones that way."
"Hmm. maybe that's an idea. What do you think?" She turned to ask Kaitlyn.
"Why?" Kaitlyn said.
"As samples. You know I do that every now and then in here. It gets people to see what I do, and I usually get customers from them."
Kaitlyn was frowning. "Well, if you want to."
"I'll think about it. I think I'll check out some other sites here tonight", she added.
blah blah blah

Free knitting patterns. Now who would put those on the web? 
blah blah blah
Typing some more, she st back, waiting for results. "Free knitting patterns", she read aloud, scanning one group of type. It had a web address highlighted at the bottom. Below, there was another grouping and then yet another. Shew glanced up to see the number of results for her search, and blinked. It numbered in the thousands. "That many?" she muttered, and clicked on the address for the first site.
Now, this is the results I get today... it wouldn't have been much different 2004. Knitty has been around since 2002, Knitting Pattern Central since 2004, I started my blog 2006 and Ravelry was launched 2007. In 2004 Magknits was around and Fibertrends' felted slipper clogs was a free pattern online... oh, that I didn't know that then... *sigh* Today the pattern has sold over 8000 copies. Think about that a little, miss Kruger. Who indeed puts their pattern online for free and loses the copyright? What?

Anyway, the knitwear designer in the book clicks the first link that appears, and gets someone's personal page where the owner provides free patterns, and among these she spots her own design. It seems that the owner of the site has been lifting patterns from books, leaflets and prints, and publishing in her site. Now, remember, this was the first result of the list, according to miss Kruger. The knit designer returns to the "main screen" and finds out that ALL the sites giving knitting patterns away are of the same quality.
"Some of the sites were for businesses that sold patterns, like hers. Others gave credit to the original publishers. A lot of them offered original designs, free of charge. Too many, though, had been pirated.
Ari was more than disturbed now. She was angry and appalled, as she leaned back in her chair. Kaitlyn had mentioned designers losing their copyrights if they published online, but this was far worse. This was direct infirngement, direct theft. She wondered if the publishers knew. She wondered if her own designs had been stolen."
It - naturally - turns out that that indeed had happened, and that plays a big part in the whole murder investigation.
But - the author of the book knows so painfully little about yarn, spinning, knitting, keeping shops, keeping sheep, designing... uh. Murder investigation, even how people behave, act, react... The main character uses a lot of time thinking about how everyone is going to be SO upset, but totally ignores her own 7-years-old daughter. She whines "running your own business is 24/7. So is being a mother. I have to find some time to work on new designs. And somewhere in there I have to get housework done", but she isn't doing any of this much in this book. I think she has 2-3 SHORT discussions with her daughter, PLANS sitting down to design, but, ah, cannot, because she is interrupted, and then she goes off to Internet to google her name again. Yap yap yap yip yap. Whine whine, yada yada, blah blah blah.
No. No more Mary Kruger for me.

If you want to read kntiting related murder mysteries, read Maggie Sefton. It's not the best mystery book I've ever read, but if I'd give Mary Kruger 1-2 on the scale 0-10 (Yes, I have had worse.) I'd give Maggie 7-8.

If you'd like a copy of Mary Kruger, pocket, bought from bookstore, but read by the dinner table, so it's full of stains, thrown discusted away several times, picked up again, after lots of sighing, being waved in the air during upset exclamations and explanations on how one actually spins, or that you can hardly garrot anyone with wool, because it's almost as elastic as rubber, and tends to break before it gets tight enough to actually stop anyone from breathing, and that you don't keep your sheep free on your front lawn. You just don't. If you know ANYTHING about sheep, that is. Anyway, if you want a copy which is in no way mint condition, but you get the second book, that IS in mint condition - I think I have opened it once - with it, just tell me and I'll send it to you. :-)
(P.S. The other book isn't in mint condition either. There are some marks on it. I don't know where they come from, but it's not flawless either. Readable, and free, though ;-))

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I'm still new at this, and for some reason I didn't quite got the instructions... so I am changing everything at my Zazzle store. The tags are all over the place, all wrong, because I put () around the tag words, and not "" as I should have.
Also, I should have read the advice given to people before I started posting things. I'm going to lower my part of the sell from 1/3 to 15%.

I'll be back on line very soon. Luckily I haven't posted that many designs yet :->

Saturday, May 14, 2011

More about egg art

A couple of years ago there was an egg decorating contest at Instructables. I was very upset about the fact that the contest was open to only Americans, and that I disagree very much with the jury's decision on the winner. I expressed this in "Today I'm whiny".

A couple of days ago I received a comment by "anonymous"

"I just came across you post on the egg that I created in 2008. I am so sorry that you thought my egg was boring and that you expected more from me since I was a Master in Egg Art. I was trying to create a piece of art that people that see it on Instructables could create for themselves. My intent, in any public forum, is to expose as many people as possible to egg art." 

I ASSUME it's Patricia, as she says "my egg", but I'm not sure, because she didn't sign the message. Nevertheless, this is my response to her:

Dear Patricia,

"Sorry my egg and my abilities disappointed you."
Frankly, it was the uninformed and stupid decision of the contest jury that disappointed me.

"Being inspired by something doesn't mean trying to duplicate it!"

Of course not. Especially when duplicating the egg is far beyond your capacity.
But, as you use pre-cut cabochons and findings, you could have also experimented a bit more and showed a bit more variation in the pattern. Now, you didn't and that's fine. Your egg is beautiful, which I have already said. It is just too simple and easy for a Grand Master of Egg Art. I bet it didn't take you long to glue it together. I bet it didn't take long to even "design" the pattern. I bet finding the opals was the hardest part in making this egg. And THAT is denigrating egg art, the competition and your rivals.
Now, that you don't have more respect for your co-competitors is one thing... but that the jury is so ignorant of egg art, that they choose an egg made with ready-made parts glued on an egg, THAT is the biggest offense of it all... and that everyone acts as if you had just invented Fabergé eggs! Anyone with a high-speed drill, glue and money can make an egg like that.

"The point is to post something on Instructables that others can do."

The point with the competition was to decorate an egg to celebrate Forbes' Fabergé egg exhibition.
The point with Instructables art section is to showcase your art.

And, interestingly enough, you don't give any instructions on how to make the egg.

This is your Instructables page on this egg: No instructions, just images.

Also, when someone asks you for instructions, you say "Please e-mail me @ --- for any more questions".

Not even with instructables the point is to post something EVERYONE can make.
Instructables is not exactly meant for beginners, Patricia. There are people of many different levels of skills, and not all instructables can be followed by everyone.

"My goal is to spark interest in and to promote egg art."

By participating in egg decoration contest with piece of "egg art" that didn't require much artistry nor skills to produce? An egg made as "something that others can do"?

I'm sorry, ma'am, but you fail in your goal and didn't even manage to make the point you intended when you created the "instructables" for your egg.

Sure, it's beautiful, but take a look at this:
Or this:
(very simple, just stuff glued on egg, not even a hinge there, but still better than yours.)
or this:
or this:
or these one from the competition:

You are seriously trying to tell me that the judgement was correct, that your egg was the best of them all, and you deserved to win with this boring, simple, mostly premanufactured egg of yours?

You ought to be sorry, but not because I'm disappointed. You ought to be sorry because you aren't.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

More knots

To something different: knotting
This is Stormdrane's blog, where he shares about his hobby; knotting. I'm amused, as half of the things he does would be called something different if he was a woman. Knotting is manly, macramé and naalbinding is womanly. :-D

P.S. I actually wrote a little more to this entry, a couple of days ago, right before Blogger went down, as I noticed that I had forgotten to say the most important thing: go to see the site, it's very nice, inspirational and educational, and Stormdrane is really good at his craft.
Also, I'm not accusing Stormdrane of being a misogynist, not at all, but the crafting society. Even if a man would be knotting macramé, naalbinding or bobbin lace, it would be all OOOH and AAAAH in the crafting community. Just look at 90% of fashion designers, and Kaffe Fassett. I didn't even know who Alice Starmore was before I joined Ravelry.

Today's design

I wear blue for my father; my father has prostate cancer. Available also "for my grandpa", "brother", "son" and "husband", adult sizes and for children.

Constellation t-shirt with medieval manuscript illustration featuring Ursa Major, Ursa Minor and Draco.

There are also other items with these images available, and just ask if you need something I haven't in my shop :-)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Today's design

Pagan American - even Pagans can be patriotic and proud of being American.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Ha... I've said it everywhere but here...

I have designed two t-shirt for Zazzle:

The first one; Fight like a Girl, is for Fibromyalgia awareness. "Fight like a girl" is for all "girls" fighting for life threatening or limiting illness, and the ribbon for Fibromyalgia is purple. I hate purple. :-D Very appropriate :-D (As, naturally, I hate my fibromyalgia as well. Good to have something ugly representing something ugly.)
Anyway, here's some humor - I don't think people who hasn't lived with something like this understand even half of the jokes, but I found it hilarious :-D

The other one is English Springer Spaniel, as anyone can clearly see, laughing, as they do :-) That image is also on cups. I can put it on everything, if you want me to :-D I love it.

P.S. Today's design is a badger

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Two videos

Etsy's facebook page published a Derek Sivers video: "Obvious to you, amazing to others"
The audience thought this was so true and wonderful and "Remember, you are not "not enough" because you can be more, but what you already are is fantastic!"
As if Etsians needed more of this. Everyone who has a store at Etsy already thinks well enough of themselves.

What I thought was more thought provoking, valuable and inspiring was the next video:

“Think not those faithful who praise all thy words and actions; but those who kindly reprove thy faults.”
-- Socrates

“The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.”
-- Norman Vincent Peale

“He who praises me on all occasions is a fool who despises me or a knave who wishes to cheat me”
-- Chinese Proverbs

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

How to make a three piece hammock

All you need is a piece of cloth; about 1 1/2 as long as you are and about as wide as you are long - and two pieces of rope, also about your length or twice that.

Know How to Make a Hammock

Just a little rant...

"People on the internet are jerks and they're going to say mean things because it's really hard living in your moms basement playing Everquest and Halo all day after getting fired from Wal Mart two years ago"

Oh? I don't live in my mom's basement. I don't play Everquest and Halo, or anything else. I have never worked at Wal Mart and I have never been fired. So take another guess.

"I don't care if he calls it "art" or not. Anyone who would spend their time making stuff like that, especially in that quantity...There's something deeply wrong with them."

And you think it matters whether you care or not? It is art, whether you care or not, or whether you agree or not. Also, even if you dislike the artist's choice of subject, he is very talented and skillful at his job, and he supports his family with it. That's good enough for me. He could be doing things that are really sick, like filming children being raped.

"Why is it the people who aren't artists always the ones so loudly criticizing art? What is and isn't art. What is and isn't proper. What is and isn't normal.
The average person is an idiot and not qualified to give an opinion about anything. They should just keep their mouth shut until they bother getting an education."

I'm an artist and not bad at it either, and I have expressed my opinion on what is art and what is not, and I stand by it.
99% of scrapbooking is not art.
Dusting bodily fluids with colored powder is not art.
Trashing public transportation is not art.
99% of graffiti is not art.
Pretending to be psychotic is not art.
A toilet seat is not art, even when you sign it, and a museum is stupid enough to buy and exhibit it,
and neither is an armchair cats have used as scratching pole.
Making photocopies of someone else's art and coloring it is not art either.

Perhaps it is because I'm jealous of how some people can be so insolent and get away with it, while I actually put time and effort to produce things and get nowhere.

"She seems like a bit like a bored, possibly talentless person herself who could't find anything better to do than pick on other people."

LOL Yeah... well, she isn't.

"people who rip you down... ...are defining themselves as people who need to be mean and critical, they are not defining you."

Actually, no-one was ripping HER down. People were expressing their opinion on an object, a thing, with no feelings, my dear, an inanimate object, one of many the artisan had made.

They weren't defining themselves, YOU do that. You really cannot define a person by a couple of words said on the internet, how ever hurtful the words are. Most of the people commenting items at Regretsy are hard-working artisans themselves, who actually help others frequently, and that's more than can be said of the majority of the people at Etsy.

And - what if what I do IS crap? There IS something called beauty and good taste, and even though we might disagree on what is beautiful and what is of good taste, most people agree on these things most of the time. I mean, even the "artists" who make art by squirting paint from the different cavities of their bodies, or by smashing the museum floor and walls in, or kill animals and so on, they do understand that what they are doing is not beautiful nor of good taste.
And, sure, even if I were a crappy artist, that doesn't define me. It defines my artistry, and I should be prepared to accept that I'm a crappy artist. Also, not everyone in the world is going to like what I do, how ever good I am at what I do.

"The only part that's unexcuseable are the nasty comments that try to hurt our businesses or sabotage our hard work. Some of the comments were slander and you could tell they were meant to be mean!"

How can people's opinion, how ever rudely and nastily expressed, hurt your business or sabotage your work?
Opinion is not slander, neither is truth.

"some people have so much *PLECK* inside them, they have to jump at every opportunity to let some out"

"small minded ppl band together to form a force that "can" hurt."

Small minded? It's small minded to call a turd a turd?

"Yes, regretsy is a mean, snarky place. If you let their meanness get to you, they've won. Just consider the source, try not to let the opinions of a few people who don't even know you get to you, and enjoy the extra shop exposure. If you do that, then you win."

Unless you are a reseller or pushing real crap, then you will get flagged, not your stuff sold, with the exposure at Regretsy. And as we are not out there to push people down, crash their fragile dreams and kill their shops, we all win, if you actually take it as it is and enjoy the sells, if you are selling something worth selling.

"The real joke is on Regretsy, and the commentators. They'll bash something time and again, but more often than not, that item sells."

Yeah... again, the real joke WOULD be on Regretsy, IF we tried to see no-one ever bought the items.

"I find internet bullying of this sort abhorent. who you are and your talent has nothing to do with the comments of these miserable creatures."

Miserable bullies... Isn't that rather harsh thing to say about people you know nothing about? Internet bullying is not when a thing you have made is being criticised, how ever harshly, meanly, hurtfully, even unfairly.

"a few random people on the other side of a computer have nothing better to do than be a-holes for no reason at all."

"people are asshats wherever you go and don't stop making your art. Eff the petty small minded bored losers who have nothing better to do"

"people that have nothing better to do with their lives than to hang out on a website talking smack about someone else's art are the ugly ones. Apparently the only way they can feel good about themselves is to tear others down, really immmature behavior. "

I do a lot of things in my life than hang out on a website talking smack about someone else's "art".
Frankly, I don't think Chinese resellers are the poor victims of the wicked us, I think it's the other way around, and I'm pretty sure you would agree, if you stopped to think about it. I also don't think people who steal someone else's work and then sell it as their own, are worth any kind feelings or words.

Also, if you take deserved critique as "tearing you down", I think you might need to grow up a little. Sometimes things look bad, even when they were made with all good efforts, and it should be okay to say so, and not need to call turd chocolate, so as not to hurt anyone's feelings.

Frankly, I don't express my opinion to feel good about myself. In the case of Regretsy, I express my opinion because I'm offended, upset, sad, angry, abhorred, disgusted or confounded.

Considering a well made and pretty object, that unfortunately look as if it was made of crap, I don't think it was Regretsy-worthy either, so there were no feelings and no opinion either. I just jumped over it and moved on to the next item. You see, I don't hang out on the website, I visit it like 1-2 times a month, and read it in chunks.

"people with nothing better to do than type out (un)witty comments criticize others who are at least trying to be creative and unique."

Yeah... trying to be creative and unique is the universal excuse to produce crap and waste the resources.
Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.
Either you are creative or not. You are creative if you create something.
Just putting two things together to make a third thing is not itself creating.
Assembling IKEA furniture is not creating.
It has to evolve from your thought, your imagination, and the work created must be art or an invention, a work of beauty or insight.
The first person who attached a chain on a metal octopus created something. The nth person doing exactly the same thing, especially, if she does it the nth time, is not creative. That's copying and mass-producing. There is no element of creation involved, nor design, not even a thought or imagination.
It is definitely NOT unique, not even TRYING TO BE. It's trying to earn some money by copying someone who succeeded. It's not original, not creative and not something that warrants you immunity against your peers negative comments - because we are your peers.

"never mind those miserable cunts. theyre just mad because the have huge saggy vaginas. "
Oh? Hysterical, perhaps?

"what kind of person has the time to sit online and search for items to post on regretsy anyway? someone with a bit too much time on their hands."

Oh... I better stop looking at items at Etsy, then. Now, I have been adding tons of things to my favorites, and wasting my time in making treasuries, but it takes the same amount of time as looking for crappy things, and just as fruitful - to me... so I must have too much time on my hands as well.

"I'm not buying the theory that it's perfectly ok - and should be expected - to viciously comment on another's work. It's not ok. It's not funny."

I think you have misunderstood the theory a little.
Firstly, you WILL get your work criticised, commented, talked, and sometimes this is harsh, rude, hurtful. This is reality, and expecting anything else is living in a fantasy fairyland where unicorns poo sweetly smelling rainbows. You should realize and accept that not everyone is going to like your work, and not everyone is going to express their dislike in a polite and proper manner. Shit happens, and one has to accept that it does happen. Sure, it is hurtful, sure, you are going to cry over it, but it doesn't change the fact that shit happens. Sure, it shouldn't happen, of course the world would be a better place if it didn't happen, but it does happen.
Secondly, people have the right to hold any opinions, and alse express them, the way they choose. They also have the right to take the consequences as well, and that means the people who express their opinions on-line will be called rude, mean bullies, miserable people with no lives and nothing better to do but be mean and so on and so forth. But is that in any way kinder or more appropriate, acceptable, correct or polite as sarcastic, even mean comments about someone's work? Now, if someone has actually worked on the piece, created something, given something from inside oneself into the piece, then I can understand people get hurt, but come on! Most people who get their "work" criticised, laughed at, mocked, frowned upon or abhored, haven't even tried. Some of them were very well aware of the possible negative reactions of people.
And, yes, sometimes mean is funny. It is not considerate nor kind to laugh when people are getting hurt, whether it is AFV or Regretsy, but it is funny, if you laugh.

"Now I have no problem with one individual going 'oh man, that's bad crafting' in private, to themself. I have a problem with an individual posting the bad crafts for hundreds of others to ridicule at once--and write the meanest things they can think of, pass judgement on the seller, harass them...."

Er... it is very rarely the seller is being passed judgement on, and never harassed. Nevertheless, there is an easy solution to your problem. Avoid sites like that. People are different. Some people go to Cute Overload, others to Cakewrecks to find some entertainment.

I expect people who are selling things they make, whether it is on Etsy, in a bakery or elsewhere, to be adults. It means, that they should know that sometimes someone says something that is not nice to hear. They should be old enough to have created a strategy to deal with the feelings born of the hurtful words. They should know that for every person who doesn't like what I do, there are others who do. Can't please everyone, and shouldn't try either. No, it's not nice, but it's life, it happens, shrug it off, move on.

I expect people who are selling things they make to be professional artisans and artists, like I am. It means that I understand sometimes things don't work out as I thought they would, accidents happen, and so on, but I should at least do my best and not accept anything less. If I know I'm not very good at something - and I should know, if I am an adult artisan - I also know that someone is going to notice it and also say it.
I should know I cannot ask the same prize and reputation for a beginner's work, as I could for a master's work. All crafters are not equal.
I also shouldn't try to sell something most people can make themselves as well - or better.

I am pretty demanding customer, because I can do most things myself, and I can do them better than most. I am also interested in many things, so I know quite a bit about the things I'm interested in buying, so I have a pretty good grasp on what is original, creative and unique and what is not. I'm an artist and an artisan, and I know how hard it is to earn a living in this field. I find it offensive that there are people out there "trying to be creative and unique" by copying what I do, and because they don't need to use time to actually BEING creative and unique, they can steal my market and thus my livelihood. Then there are hundreds of people who act as if I were the bad guy, and defend these little thieves, when I try to get a release of at least some of the frustration, anger and resentment. I do it by getting mean, like a lot of other people.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

So... I finally gave in.

 Good bye, my love...

I have moved to new Blogger templates, because Blogger started making it VERY difficult to upkeep my blog with the old one. :-(
I hate the fact that I have lost the easy way of controlling the HTML. I'm an old dog, I don't wish to learn new tricks. :-(
So - the comfort of my readers is important to me, and if it is impossible for them to get the access to my old posts, because Blogger refuses to show more than a couple of posts for each month - cannot be helped. I have to swallow my pride and "upgrade" my blog.
Well... What ever.
I still like Blogger better than Blogspot, and it's way better than Tumblr, Sharebook or what Yahoo! is offering.

Today I was learning more things about shibori. So nice that there are ways of dyeing fabric that I can use.
I learned how to cut Katazome - there is more about that on his webpage. (yay. I always thought I need the silk as screen to do this... thanks to the Japanese I now know I don't. I can "glue" the silk on the paper pattern, and get by :-))
I also watched "how to fuse plastic bags" as I found out that Etsy has a channel, (I'm really going to make myself a raincoat, rainhat and boots of plastic bags, and not those flimsy ones but real, thick ones - just to show that it works.)
and how to spin paper,
and something else, and  I was slightly... well... it looks so... complicated. Why hang the wool on your shoulder? And spinning against your thigh? What's with that? It's so much easier to give the spindle speed with your fingers. I don't get that. Looks really uncomfortable. Like not something you'd actually spin any amount of yarn to actually use for something.