Thursday, December 24, 2020

Just in time for Christmas!

It's a new pattern! This is the Alana Hat, and it comes in five different sizes, from baby to large adult. It's a fun and quick knit which uses a very small and straightforward stranded knitting motif. It's also really good (especially in the smaller sizes) for using up leftover bits of sock yarn.

It's regularly $5.50US, but for the rest of the calendar year you can get 10% off when you use the coupon code ALANA-MERRYHOHO

Buy Now

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Time travelling

 There's a new book that was released today, and I have a pattern in it!

Outlander Knits book cover

This is "Outlander Knitting: The official book of 20 knits inspired by the hit series", edited by Kate Atherley. My contribution was a reproduction of this fair isle vest, worn by Frank in a fantasy sequence from the end of Season One's "The Way Out":

Screenshot from Outlander show
© 2020 by Sony Pictures Television, Inc.

It's called "The Man I Left Behind", and it's a traditional fair isle slipover, steeks and all:

Modelled photo - full vest
© 2020 by Sony Pictures Television, Inc. Photograph by Gale Zucker

Modelled photo - front of vest, closeup
© 2020 by Sony Pictures Television, Inc. Photograph by Gale Zucker
Modelled photo: back of vest
© 2020 by Sony Pictures Television, Inc. Photograph by Gale Zucker

Yeah, I did a lot of squinting to try and get the chart right. :)

Fun extra image of my husband, who was a very good sport as I attempted to recreate the original scene from the series:

My husband modelling the vest

Available at quality bookshops and probably quite a fair few LYSes!

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Possible Giftalong alternative

The annual Giftalong on Ravelry is coming up, and although the volunteer mods who run the whole huge thing are concerned about accessibility (what with this situation happening), they looked into what was needed for the Giftalong and concluded that they couldn't host it anywhere other than Ravelry, because it's intrinsically built around the tools available there.

They are making some accommodations (e.g. a Google spreadsheet of participating designers and alternative places to buy their patterns for those who can't use Ravelry, increasing incentives to participate on Instagram, and suggesting that designers who want to participate but can't use Ravelry find someone else who can sign up and do all the designer requirements work for you). However, the fact remains that this year, it will be, at its core, a Ravelry event. Participating designers would have to allow sales of their patterns on Ravelry, for example. And I for one am just not willing to have my patterns be a source of income for the staff there - that's why I took my patterns off that sales channel during the summer.

So there are designers and crafters who simply won't be participating this year. And that's a problem:

  • There are designers who rely on (or at the very least, really like) the sales boost and increased marketing awareness which they get at the end of each year from the Giftalong.
  • There are crafters who like the discounts they can get on the patterns.
  • There are crafters who adore the feeling of community and camaraderie that they get from participating in the event (extra important given the world's current state of isolation; for some, it may be an issue of mental health)
  • I'm guessing there are crafters who need the event in order to be motivated enough to finish all their holiday gift knitting
So I was thinking...what if a bunch of designers banded together off-Rav to offer discounts on some of their patterns? And we'd have a central database which would list all those patterns. The database would link out to the different pages on different sales channels where the patterns could be bought, meaning that any kind of sales channel could be supported (providing the designer can set up the discount code on it). There would be info pages for each participating designer, too, which could link out to a designer's page where they list all of their available patterns, not just the discounted ones. And all participating designers would use the same discount code, which would be valid for the same period of time.

This would give designers more marketing reach than if they just did discount events individually, which could help to make up for the lost revenue and marketing from the Giftalong. We could possibly even figure a way to start up a basic online discussion forum so people can have a central place to chat about the projects they're making, or anything else for that matter. And of course we'd figure out a hashtag for social media.

I did up a proof of concept for a central database. It ain't pretty (I haven't "put the lipstick on the pig" yet), but it should give you an idea of how it could function. It runs off SQL, which presumably means that I could create some Google Forms for designers to fill out with information about themselves and their discounted patterns, get Google Forms to save completed forms to spreadsheets, and then upload the spreadsheets to the SQL database, thus hopefully resulting in a minimum amount of effort whenever updates need to be done.


UPDATE: I created surveys to try and figure out how this would best work for the majority of interested people! It would be super-helpful if people could fill them out.

Some disclaimers:
  • I am not a real programmer, I am merely geeky. I'm quite sure that what I've done to make the proof of concept work is not an elegant way to have coded it! But I thought it would be a good start.
  • The onus would have to be on the individual designers to make sure the discount code is set up properly on their sales channel for the patterns they're offering discounts on.
  • I don't see prizes as being in the cards, at least not in this first iteration. Maybe if it catches on, we could have prizes in subsequent years.
Feedback welcome!