Tuesday, August 24, 2010

to contract or not to contract

i've been getting some treats in the mail lately, but the one i was anticipating the most is Shannon Okey's The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design.  until earlier this year, i self-published or sold designs casually here and there.  now I've been getting to work with some pretty cool companies (Malabrigo and Sanguine Gryphon, anyone?), although there were a few straggling projects leftover from last year, one of which came back to bite me in the butt.

without getting into the gory details, the main point is this:  last year i was naive enough not to sign a contract for a certain design project.  i held up my end of the bargain, met my deadline, etc, and assumed that their word was as good as mine, only to be told in july (after i'd already completed the work) that the design fee they'd promised last year was now half that.  compound that with a lot of frustration due to communication issues (very hard to get any sort of response whenever i contacted them - never a good sign!), and i have been left with a bad taste in my mouth. 

obviously, this is a shining example of how a signed contract could have helped us to avoid mistrust and bad blood, and while i was already coming to that realization on my own, reading this book is already giving me a lot of good pointers on so many aspects of publishing a design and working with other people in that context.  i can't put it down - it arrived yesterday afternoon and I'm already on page 63! other budding designers, i highly recommend!

since i had a paypal balance and wanted to get free shipping (that's how they get you!), i also added Debbie O'Neill's The Stitch Collection to my order, just for yuks.  i already have a couple Harmony Stitch Guides as well as the The Vogue Stitchionary - Cables (and, perhaps it should be mentioned, a few vintage knitting books with some inspiring stitch-dictionary sections in them).  who needs another stitchionary?  what this series of portable little books housed in a nifty box offers, besides some solid stiches (old and new), is some well-thought-out packaging.  i predict this coming in handy over the next few months, as i will most likely be taking a few 7-hour train rides down to my hometown of kansas city.  with so much uninterrupted crafting time, i think it's safe to say i might be happy to have some portable inspiration - i can save my back from having to lug around a larger, heavier stitchionary from my collection, not to mention have more room in my bag for projects.  you gotta love that.  

as i flip through, it's pretty apparent that this series is adding something new to the world of stichionaries - sure, there's the old standards (brioche, moss, seed, chevrons, etc), but there are some pretty interesting ones as well - madeira leaf pattern?  art deco arches?  scrolling cables with bobbles?  is anyone else thinking about making some fingerless gloves at this point, or is it just me?

speaking of fingerless gloves - though i have a gift list a mile long, one last design due in about 4 weeks, and a few of my own designs i'd like to self-publish between now and thanksgiving, i really want to make myself some elbow-length fingerless gloves.  i've been pondering such a project for a while now, but yesterday i dropped by Knit 1 in lincoln square and found the perfect yarn:  

i'm a big fan of noro, i'll say that right now.  who doesn't love yarn with a good, long color repeat?  it's like having all the fun of colorwork, but without the weird pooling that can sometimes happen with multicolored yarns with shorter color repeats, not to mention, there's not a zillion ends to weave in.  A+!

at any rate, i've been seeing crystal palace yarns' noro-like mini mochi yarn here and there, but just couldn't justify more sock yarn.  and so i present to you the two skeins to the right, undoubtedly soon to become some killer fingerless gloves pour moi: crystal palace yarns' mochi plus, a ridiculously soft (80% merino wool, 20% nylon) aran-weight yarn.  i was immediately drawn to the lovely autumnal hues of these skeins - i always find it curious when yarn companies choose to print only the color number, and not the name, on their label.  color 557?  ok, sure!

i know a color name shouldn't be informing my secondary reaction to a yarn - but sometimes that's the bit of information that can make or break something for me.  i don't think i'm alone in this feeling - lots of my friends have confessed that a colorway they'd purchased that seemed out of character for them was because they couldn't resist such a clever or evocative name.  i've also had a few instances where i picked up some yarn that i liked by sight, saw what a terrible name was attached to it (groan-inducing puns tend to have this effect on me the most), and set it back down immediately. 

hmm, after that tangent, perhaps it's a little clearer to me why a company might opt not to include a name on the label - it's harder to be turned off by just a number.  but "puffball jubilee" or "crocus in the frog pond" (which are not, to my knowledge, actual yarn color names....i hope) could certainly have such an effect.  i think i'm getting away from myself, because all i was going to mention is that the colorway of the yarn i bought yesterday is very appropriately titled ' autumn rainbow.'  yep, i'm not surprised to have discovered that at all.  a very utilitarian name indeed - although i have to say, if i'd been shopping for this yarn online, i might have completely overlooked this colorway and gone for something like 'neptune rainbow' or 'fern rainbow' (as though i don't have enough blue and green yarn in my stash!)  they just sound more exciting to me....

what is in a name, anyway?

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