Monday, February 4, 2013

Store Review: Argyle Yarn Shop

(I recently wrote this review for Google Local, but I decided to post it here and go in depth a little more... plus, I wanted to show off the haul from the last time I went :P)

Whether you're a novice knitter, or a Knitting Diva like moi, Argyle is an excellent LYS (local yarn shop) to patronize. The owners (Esther and David) are very helpful and sweet and the shop just oozes welcome.

They have a decent selection of yarns (Malabrigo, Madelinetosh, Shibui, and Rowan amongst others...). They wind your yarn for free when you buy it, and I have even seen Esther helping out someone with a pattern a few times! I've been there several times and they always remember me---very touching, since I live out-of-the-way and make it out there sporadically at best.

They have a room in the back where they host trunk shows and local knitting groups, as well as a table and chairs in the main part of the store. The space is well lighted and modern looking; yarns and accouterments are neat and tastefully displayed.

The only minus I can think of is their distance from me :/

They're located at 288 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn, NY 11215. They are open Tuesday-Sunday 12-7.

This is what I got from them last time:

I got some Knitter's Pride Nova Needles (40" size 0 and 1.5), a Lilly Brush ( which is like the bestest thing EVAR if you're a Malabrigo fan... Esther brushed the pilling off my Fetching mitt made with Mal Rios and I was SOLD!, A skein each of Schaefer Yarns Anne in the Tatiana Proskouriakoff colorway (which btw, SY is liquidating and stopped making yarns :/), Malabrigo Sock in Impressionist Sky, and Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Baltic. They even threw in some sample packs of Soak for free :DDD 

I am not a frequent customer of NYC LYS, as I do prefer to buy stuff online due to laziness and being a bit frugal, but this shop is worth supporting and taking two buses to get to :P

Saturday, February 2, 2013

I'm Spinning Again! :D

Inspired by my dear friend +Beth Reed, I decided to start spinning again.

At first I was going to try using one of my drop spindles. I have both top + bottom whorl spindles, but I quickly got frustrated with them both. I decided to use my Mayan spindle instead.

For those of you who've never seen or heard of a Mayan spindle  (I've also heard it called a paddle spindle), it's an interesting looking contraption. It consists of two parts: a blade and a handle. The handle slips in (smirk) a hole in the blade, and you spin the blade around the handle sort of like one of those spinning party favors that make noise. You use the park and draft method to spin fiber.

This is me with the spindle parked between my legs while I draft the fiber. Rawr.
I find it better and easier to use than my drop spindles. I find my yarn is more consistent and even...even after not spinning for over a year! I prefer it over a drop spindle, and am much faster using it. 

My drop spindle yarns tend to be extremely thick and thin... ranging from fingering to bulky. This seems to be between fingering and sport, so not too shabby, if I do say so myself. I'm using some BLF roving I got a couple of years ago in a swap. It's actually a nice royal purple, but I took these pictures at night, and the flash always washes out purples on my phone -___-

One of these days I'll post a video of me using my spindle, but I found a similar spindle in action on YouTube:

See? Easy peasy.

If you would like more information, I found the following links to be of much help to me: (this link has a tutorial to make your own!)

I expect to finish spinning the rest of the 4oz roving soon. Pictures of the finished yarn to come! :D

Friday, February 1, 2013

My Take on Copyright Wank

I've been reading about copyright wank on Ravelry a lot lately, and I wanted to weigh in on it.

Here's my take on selling FOs:

Contrary to popular belief, the designer's copyright only goes as far as the pattern. Doesn't matter what kind of disclaimers they may post to the contrary. If I bust my ass making a lace shawl and wanna sell it for $100, there isn't a damn thing a designer can do about it---whether the pattern is free or paid.

I'm a designer too... I don't give a shit what people do with the FOs they make from my patterns. Credit would be nice, but at the end of the day if someone feels like making 100 of my crochet nail polishes, sells them all, and never mentions my pattern---more power to them. As long as no one is claiming my pattern is their original creation, IDGAF what you do with YOUR finished object. Go crazy :P

Designers that get all defensive about this issue confuse the shit out of me.

Aren't you happy people are using your patterns? If you're so concerned about people selling their FOs, why did you bother to release the pattern to the general public? If I made some (say...) super duper awesome mittens and I was afraid of people making a profit off of it I would keep it to myself.

Plain and simple.

Most designers don't have the time to mass produce or sell one-by-one the objects they make themselves, so why should it matter if someone takes their own time to do it? It boggles the mind, it does.

Now, I understand if someone mass produced a designer's pattern and claimed it was their original work---that would piss me off too and would probably be more of a legal issue then. But again, once you release your pattern out in the world, beyond your basic copyright protections, you don't have much recourse.

According to Wikipedia, copyright law grants the copyright owner a number of exclusive rights with respect to a copyrighted work:
  • to produce copies or reproductions of the work and to sell those copies (including, typically, electronic copies) 
  • to import or export the work 
  • to create derivative works (works that adapt the original work) 
  • to perform or display the work publicly 
  • to sell or assign these rights to others 
  • to transmit or display by radio or video. 
Notice there is nothing about items made from instructions or anything else pertaining to our topic. It makes me laugh whenever I see a "copyright" notice that says "only for personal or gift use". Fuck that! I know my rights.

From Knitting Daily's Copyright 101 For Knitters (all emphasis mine):

In the United States, copyright protections do not extend to the utilitarian aspects of “useful articles,” such as clothing or other functional items. This means that only the artful authorship that can be identified separately from the functional aspects of such articles may be copyrightable: the specific ornamentation, for example, on a dress, sweater, or quilt, and not design constrained by the item’s function as a dress, sweater, or quilt. In general, designs for items that have any intrinsic utilitarian aspects are very difficult to copyright, and copyright infringement claims over similar-looking or even clearly derivative works are not likely to succeed. Be aware, however, that original artwork incorporated into useful articles may be protected, and it may be infringing to reproduce that original artwork for commercial purposes.

You can download a free copy of this eBook here.

Funny how Interweave rushed in after this passage to say they ask you to respect their intended usage blah blah they put in their publications. Notice they're asking you to respect it, not giving any sort of demand or threatening you if you don't choose to respect their heed.

Knitty had this to say (emphasis mine again):
When you follow a knitting pattern, you're reproducing the knitted item. Well, obviously, that's what you're meant to do. The question is, did the owner of copyright in the knitted widget [and this presupposes that copyright protects the widget] mean for you to make widgets for sale, or just for yourself and for others as gifts?
It's not always easy to determine the intention of the designer. Some designers, when they sell a pattern, make it pretty clear that their designs may not be knitted for resale.
Tell me... if I just finished making an item from a pattern and decide to sell it, how am I reselling the item? I am not selling the pattern, but the output of my sweat and hours of hard work. SO what the hell, Knitty???

Maybe Merriam-Webster can help me out here....

Definition of RESALE

1: the act of selling again usually to a new party

2 a: a secondhand sale

b: an additional sale to the same buyer

Hmm, so selling a FO does NOT qualify as a resale; who knew?

Both Interweave and Knitty (no doubt) have designers howling after them to say these things in designers' favor. After all, it's their priority to keep designers happy so they can keep putting out stuff in their publications. At least Interweave had the balls (har har) to tell the truth and ask nicely if the patterns can be used as they asked.

So what can you take away from the culmination of my few hours of reading and research? (TL;DR Version)

  1. That you can make and sell items from patterns without fear of legal retaliation and not only that... 
  2. Selling FOs are perfectly legal. 
  3. When a designer says that you cannot make stuff to resell, you can safely say that you're not... even if you make 1000 and sell them to a store. Applying such a stipulation to items that don't exist at the time you get/purchase a pattern is ludicrous. 
  4. Designers who post such notices are ridiculous and are outside of their copyright protections. 
  5. If you decide to sell items from a pattern, don't claim you made the actual pattern. It's not cool and it's bad karma. 
  6. If you make a pattern so super duper awesome and don't want its' FOs sold, don't publish it. 
Did I miss anything? I might have... I'm tired :P 

Also, please note that all the legal mumbo jumbo I quoted in this post applies to US Copyright laws; if you're outside of the US, YMMV.