A funny thing happened this weekend. It was cold, and I didn't want to spend a lot of time outside the apartment. Apologies, there is a long, image-free post ahead. There's a lot to read and many links.
In all fairness to Cynthia Chesterfield, I did finally receive a response to my inquiry. Her response never addressed what I set forth in both my email and in my first post about her blog comment. [To recap, I requested the following: the title of her college publication, and for a reply on her university-issued email address.] I'm not posting Cynthia's response here, because it's long and most of it is not relevant to this discussion. [In the interest of not appearing to be misleading, if anyone has questions about the exchange, please contact me privately.]
Suffice it to say that Cynthia was not, as we had so correctly predicted here, doing research for her "college magazine." She isn't even a student! Instead, she was doing research for a college-based publication that her stepson hopes to start. I don't know the name of her stepson's college or the title of the publication. Those facts were omitted from her response.
Remember the whole thing about the initial message originating from an IP at Innovator Corporation? Complete coincidence! While our friend Cynthia admits to being employed by Innovator Corporation, Innovator itself is NOT involved with knitting in any way. Really?
Cynthia, honey, how stupid do you think I am?
Can you explain this? Looks to me like an online craft store with a section devoted to knitting and crochet. Innovator is the entity behind the "Addicted to..." brands; furthermore, addictedtocrafts.com is hosted on rubberstampmanagement.com. We already know that Innovation Corporation is the corporate entity behind rubberstampmanagement.com.
Finally, in an effort to "clear things up" Cynthia closed the letter by including her phone number.
Because my middle name should be "Nancy Drew," I googled the phone number. Well, well, well! The phone number was connected with a few press releases. Here and here. These press releases are for a website, shophandmade.com, that can best be described as an Etsy clone.
There has also been a lot of discussion about shophandmade.com on Etsy. There are many, many threads to read over there. Reviews are mixed. There was a great deal of confusion over the original wording of shophandmade.com's terms of service. Reading through, it looks like those concerns were addressed appropriately by shophandmade.com's administrators.
This press release describes shophandmade.com further. I'll quote from my favorite paragraph, to save you the trouble of clicking and scrolling:
As sellers flock to open new stores, ShopHandmade has got off to a stupendous start. It has become the `Facebook' of the crafting community. A free platform to buy, sell and network.
"...and network." Having established all of these connections, the fact that Cynthia (or Stacy or Nabanita) would be doing research with members of other crafting networking sites makes even more sense to me. Really, what's wrong with that? Nothing! If she was doing legitimate marketing research for her company (which I believe that she was), that inquiry would be innocent. There's no crime against asking questions. Had Cynthia been honest and upfront about her intentions, and revealed her connections with both Innovator Corporation and shophandmade.com there would be no need for me to post this.
My sole point is that her approach was sneaky and misleading, her response even more so, and I'm calling her on it. I don't want to deal with a company that works like this, and maybe you don't either.
Finally, finally, finally, DO NOT confuse shophandmade.com with shop-handmade.com. Shop-handmade.com redirects to winkelf.com. I can't find much information about shop-handmade.com or winkelf.com but I do not believe that the two are related to shophandmade.com. All three domains were registered with go-daddy.com, but I'm not sure if that's significant in any way. Maybe someone with more technical expertise than I have can dig into that a bit more.
[Ahh, this is my first blog post written under a Democratic presidency. Ahh.]
So, yesterday morning I found an email in my box from Karen. Karen noticed that she and I received the same comment on Monday. Now, receiving comments from the same reader is not unusual, but receiving the SAME comment from the SAME reader is.
The first thing I did is hop over here and check my comments. Sure enough, there it was:
First, let me say that I?m a huge fan of your posts. You're on my List Of Ravelry Favorites, and I often share your stuff with my knitting friends.
I am writing everyone on my Favorites List with a couple of questions. If you can answer them for me, it would be a HUGE HUGE HUGE favor. Really HUGE.
Thing is, I am writing a piece on Ravelry for my college magazine. Topic is WHY Ravelry is such a huge success. I need opinions from fellow Ravelers like you to back up this claim I am making.
These are the questions:
1) Why did you choose to join Ravelry?
2) How did you learn about Ravelry?
3) What does Ravelry give you that other sites don't?
4) Absolutely anything else you?d like to share with me on this subject.
My quandary is this: I love the site and come here almost every week to look for knitting tips and ideas. (I haven't joined yet, as I am too shy to talk of my own work?)
I want to understand why others do the same. Each person must have his or her own reason and I am very curious to understand this trend.
Once I write the piece, I intend to send it across to Bob the dog. Maybe, he will post it on the site to encourage newcomers or even use it for other promotion purposes.
Thank you in advance
Keep writing, keep sharing, keep creating
My first reaction was "what?" For those of you not on Ravelry, you should know that it's impossible to create a list of favorites without registering for the site. Also, the poster claimed to be writing an article for her "college magazine" without identifying the title of the publication, and contacted me via her GMail account. Doesn't that college give you a .edu address? Hmmm.
Intrigued, I did what any crafty knitter would do. I did a WhoIs on the IP (What? Do you think that we knitters don't know how to do these things?) Turns out that the IP from which she sent the email [126.96.36.199] is registered to an "Innovator Corporation" with an address listed in Browns Point, WA. Phone number: 1-253-925-1000.
A quick Google search didn't turn up a website for "Innovator Corporation," but I did find a listing on YellowPages.com. One of the categories under which the company is listed is "Art & Craft Supplies."
Hmmm. Veddy interesting.
The listing also mentions "Rubber Stamp Management." Rubber Stamp Management has a website. Unsurprisingly, it's related to stamping and other crafty endeavors.
So, this could all be some kind of crazy coincidence. Maybe our friend Cynthia Chesterfield is sophomore at Tacoma State, writing for her campus magazine as way to fill the hours between Biology and Business Ethics. Maybe she just happened to be walking by the offices of Innovator Corporation when she decided that she needed to email me with her survey questions, and maybe some kind soul at Innovator Corporation allowed her the use of a computer. I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt (even though parts of her story don't check out).
Because I'm a doubt giver, I emailed Ms. Chesterfield and asked her to provide to me (via her university-issued email address) the name of the publication for which she is writing. So far, there has been no response.
Do you know what I think? I think that Ms. Chesterfield is employed by Rubber Stamp Management, and was doing a little covert marketing research. I don't mind being contacted for such surveys, but I do mind someone misrepresenting her intentions. Would I be more inclined to respond to a survey from a student, rather than a marketing type at a for-profit company? Of course! I'm sure that's what Ms. Chesterfield was counting on. I also wouldn't be expecting anything in return from a student survey. Whereas if I answered a survey from Rubber Stamp Management, I would at least like a free return-address stamp out of the deal, and preferably one that has a ball of yarn next to my name. Or maybe a sheep? Knitting needles? The options are endless.
Curious to see if Karen and I were the only ones to have received such a comment, I posted about this on Ravelry forum. Within minutes, I knew that we were not. There were others, including (and I love this) Mary Heather! [Incidentally, if Jess is Mama Rav, is MH Sister Rav?]
I bet you're wondering, did I reply to Ms. Chesterfield's survey? I did not. Do I think that what she did was illegal? No. Was it phishing? No. She didn't ask me for any identifying information, or my credit-card number. But I do think that it was sneaky. Is this a big deal? No. But I hate being fooled like this. Especially when five minutes on Google tells me what you're really about.
However, maybe you would like to respond? I'm sure that she would appreciate it! Here's her email address. Or, maybe you want to Tweet her? Her profile is here. You should ask her about a free stamp while you're at it.
And it's a loooong weekend around here!
I think that I'm slowly solving the spam problem around here. Besides lowering my spam filter's threshold of what is marked as spam, I've also added quite a few words to a keywords filter that's installed. None of these words are new to me, but when I sat down to compose the list, I really had to think about them. I guess that I should be thankful that these aren't a normal part of my vocabulary.
The only problem is that if any of you start using dirty words on my blog, they'll get picked up as spam, and your comment quickly dumped. So, be warned. For that reason, I check the spam filter every, just to make sure that no "real" comments get mixed in. So far, no problem.
There's also been no problem with the knitting around here. I need to take an accurate gauge counting of the Claudette swatch, and I seem to think of it only as I'm rushing out the door for work. Normally that would be a problem, but because I'm working the Sophie Shawl on the side, I'm never far from subway knitting:
By the end of last week, it was clear that I was in between projects.
The swatch for Claudette was finished and is not blocking.
Yes, I'm being extremely careful with my gauge swatch this time. The store sample was a bit tight on me. I can fix this by knitting the band about a half inch longer. I do not want, however, the hat to droop over my eyes. That's a bad look no matter how you cut it. For this reason, I'm swatching.
While the swatch dries, I'll switch back to Sophie's Shawl.
I'm also dealing with a sudden increase in comment spam. I turned up my filter, and that worked for about, oh, a day. Now, I'm also banning the spammers (I'm not sure what effect that will have, given that these spammers are probably using fake IPs). If any of you receive a message that you were banned (it wasn't on purpose, trust me), contact me.
So, as publishers realize that more and more knitters are coming in different shapes and sizes, and publishers are responding by offering books to suit every one of us.
The first time I was aware of full-figured knits (I don't know a better term for this. If someone does, puh-leese email me.) was when Big Girl Knits was published a couple of years ago. If I remember correctly, Knitsmiths bud Alison had a design in there.
Knitting Goes Large is another entry in this category. The book, by Sharon Brant, contains 20 patterns for cardigans and pullovers, shawls and shells for those among us with the curves to fill out these things. The list of designers is impressive, with Kim Hargreaves and Martin Storey among them.
[The images below were scanned by me, and not provided by the publisher.]
I especially like the body-type discussion at the beginning of the book. The book uses two models, similarly sized, but with different shapes. The gist of the discussion is flattering what you have, not trying to cram your body into something that clearly isn't good for you. [Oh, how I wish I could hand out copies of these pages on the subway...]
Might I just add that I think that the cover model's hairstyle is very flattering on her. I was almost inspired to bring this book on my most recent haircut appointment (I'm not ready, however, for a return to bangs).
I loved flipping through this book! The photography is worthy of a travel book (the location shots were done in Paris). As for the designs, Sigrid Olsen came to mind. These are easy, flowing, comfortable styles that, if properly sized for the wearer, would look good on anyone. Knitting Goes Large includes a brief section on altering your knits to get that ideal fit.
These designs aren't afraid to cover hips and butts. I like that. I am so over the cropped look. Here are my favorites.
Simply entitled Camisole. Why do I like this? Look at the armhole height. Speaking for myself, I have this little area up there which I CANNOT seem to tone. No matter how many shoulder presses, or lifts, or pec flys, or rolls, or whatever it is that I do, it's always kinda flabby. This area defies exercise. This cami would cover that up. I would probably make the straps thicker for BSC (bra-strap coverage), because if there's one thing I know it's that knitting doesn't go large by wearing a strapless bra.
I will admit that some of the designs default toward the if-your-butt-is-big-then-cover-it-with-a-bigger-shirt fallacy. So, I think that a knitter would need to carefully consider the length and width of a project in terms of the wearer. One should do that anyway, but with some of these knits it seems especially important. There's that special line. If you hit the line, then the top will flatter. If it's a little bit higher, then hips are all that you'll see. If it's a little bit lower. then all you see is a giant tent covering your butt. [How may times can I use "butt" in this post?] A good example of this is the Lace Tunic:
But I love the design. Perhaps I am reminded here about a blue tunic that I myself had in my early 20s. My tunic was not knit, but I did try that tunic-legging look as a slimming device.
And there are other designs that camouflage and flatter:
I love that Peplum!
I am a bit surprised at the quality of the schematics. Overall length and width are given, but not much else. Seems to me that a book with such an emphasis on body types and customizing knits should offer the information required to decide if a pattern will work as knit, or if it needs some changes. Information like, how deep is that V-neck? How wide is the shoulder? We don't know.
The sizes in the book begin at a 38-inch bust, and look as if they incorporate a lot of ease. Although I'm in love with these designs, the sizing is too large for this knitter. Because I don't have a lot of information with these patterns (see above) I'm not sure that I could alter them for my smaller size.
I'm a little late finding Twist Collective. I heard buzz about it in Blogland, but somehow never quite figured out what it was about. Yesterday I finally wandered over to the Collective's website. First, let me just say that I wanted to add the entire issue to my Ravelry queue. Great job, ladies!
This hat in particular caught my eye.
(Once again, photo stolen, but saved to my own server.)
Yes, yes, it's another hat. And, yes, it's a felted hat. Don't ask me where I'm going to find a top-loader to do some felting. But, still, I like it. Maybe there's a laundromat around here that has an old machine lying around.
I have to remark that this model has the most amazing eyes I've ever, well, laid eyes upon. Do you think that they come with the hat, too?
I told myself that once I completed 50 percent of Sophie's Shawl (a feat that I accomplished this weekend) I was allowed to begin swatching for Claudette.
I'm very happy to have found a new use for this Blue Sky Alpaca & Silk. It's terrific yarn. I guarantee that it'll be warm and cozy on my head.
It's hard to tell from the photo (new year's resolution #1: take less-crappy knitting photos), but I'm working a swatch of the basketweave pattern.
This will be a rare occasion when I am two-timing my projects. I hope that they don't get jealous!
I cannot remember the last time I did this. It might have been in Boston. No, no, on second though I think that I did make it to the Freeze Peach in Astoria one afternoon. But that had to be over 18 months ago. I'm sorry to hear that the Freeze Peach closed.
Anyway, I recently found myself in Boerum Hill (that's the Bo of BoCoCa--the fancy-pants conglomeration of neighborhoods in brownstone Brooklyn) with time to spare. It was cold, so I ducked into a café for a quick coffee. [I must agree with some of the reviewers who wrote about the burnt coffee. It certainly will not go down as the best cup of coffee in my life. Still it was a nice space. Next time, I'll get tea.] As I sat with the sunshine warming my back I remembered what it was I used to do when I sat in a café.
Ah! I could really get used to this. Perhaps this should be a New Year's resolution: more café KIPing.
I'm still plugging away on my Sophie's Shawl from Morehouse Merino. It's such a delightfully simple and relaxing pattern.
Sorry about the terrible colors in this photo. I really need to find a bright backdrop so that the yarn is highlighted and not just washed out.
Here's a closeup of the pattern. I like how there's no wrong side to the shawl.
And I also like how much I enjoy this project.