caution: threadybear testing underway

caution: threadybear testing underway

It’s really happening, folks!

I started my ThreadyBear test garment over the weekend, I got the last of the yarn out to my test knitters yesterday, and the class that got the whole thing going met for the first time last night. Woohoo!

I’ve been amazed at the number of folks who have joined the Yahoo! group to participate, and I’m really excited to get testing out of the way and get the kits out to everyone who’d like to try one of these little guys out.

Oh, quickly for those of you who weren’t there for the germination of this idea, ThreadyBear is a teddy bear sweater in Fair Isle that I’ve developed to offer knitters who have been intimidated to take on the emotional and financial investment of a full-sized project a smaller, less expensive, and hopefully easier beginning project. The yarn for the entire project, if purchased as a kit from ThreadBear, should be under $25 (we haven’t calculated exact yarn usage yet– that’s why we’re test-knitting).

Anyway, I’m very excited about having my own started, and I’m finalizing the pattern during the testing process, so it should be ready for public consumption in a week or so.

About sixteen hours ensue…

Um… Ok. I was in the middle of my blog post when I stepped away to shower and get ready to open this morning. Since then, we’ve had yet another phenomenally busy day on Hutchins with both your orders and our tremendous local business. Fortunately, we have a couple of people helping out now that are really making life somewhat bearable. Seriously, I love what we’re doing, but it’s been so busy that it was really getting to be too much of a good thing.

Anyway, as I started to tell you this morning, the ThreadyBear test kits have left the building and are on their way to my test-knitters: Wendy of Wendyknits and Teresa of One More Row and Another Latte. Wendy is getting the largest of the sweaters (since she’s da’monstah and will likely complete this miniature project in fifteen minutes or less) in the Spice colorway, Teresa’s doing the smallest of the sweaters in the Winter Wheat colorway (though she’s doing the smallest only because she was concerned about keeping up… as if), and somehow I suspect in last place will be me fitfully completing the medium sweater in an original colorway just because Spice and Winter Wheat were the only two full colorways I had in stock.

I did get a little bit done on a sleeve cuff over the weekend, but I suppose I could rip it and do a real colorway, now. Why? Oh, didn’t I tell you? The Jamieson’s 2-ply Spindrift for ThreadyBear came in.

I’ve spent every moment that I’ve had not devoted to clients or legal crud today getting that checked in and verifying that I have the yarn for each colorway. There were backorders, so I’m scrambling to make substitutions where I can to complete as many colorways as possible before the test-knitting is done.

Please, know that if you have a color consultation on hold with me right now that I’ve gone through the lot of them tonight and that I am trying to get back with everyone as quickly as possible. There is most definitely a backlog, and I can only apologize. As always, every client’s business is exceptionally important to us, and we devote whatever time is necessary to each customer to get their needs served. If that means that the person in line behind them has to wait a bit longer, please understand that you will get the same attention when your turn comes.

Fortunately, though, we do have a new toy!

Office geek porn!! Woohoo!

If you’ve ever been a slave to having to run to the post office as a part of your job, you know how orgasmic it is to finally have a postage meter. Rob and I have looked at each other at least four-to-five times a day for the last week and said, "that thing is amazing, isn’t it?!?" We may not have load of excess time, but we have more time to get done the myriad things that there are to be done each day. I didn’t realize how time-consuming our post office trips had been, but the difference is amazing.

Ok. It’s late, and I’m off to bed.

Good night, everybody. Be well, love deeply, and know that whether you see it or not, you are deeply loved.

Much love,
Matt.

give my creation… LIFE!

give my creation... LIFE!

Hey, everyone. Busy-busy at Chez ThreadBear, but I wanted to let you know that you folks that had asked about an online version of ThreadyBear are getting your wish. I’ve opened a group at Yahoo! for anyone interested in a knit-along or just watching me flounder through my first Fair Isle design-in-motion.

Just to make sure that it’s all just us chickens as opposed to spammers and such, I’m approving everyone as they sign up, but I’m not trying to be a total control freak… it just comes naturally, sometimes. 😉

Check out the group at by clicking the logo below.

Much love, folks. I’ll talk to you soon.
Matt.

ThreadyBear Teddy Bear Fair Isle Group

scrooge, soldier boys, & mary freakin’ pickford

scrooge, soldier boys, & mary freakin' pickford

Happy New Year, everyone.

Wouldn’t it be nice to actually do something really nice this year that you really feel like you could accomplish? How about considering a little giving this year?

Before we opened our store, I acted briefly as the volunteer coordinator for a local guild that was floundering. It didn’t take long for our business to get much too busy for me to continue in that position, but in the brief time that I worked to invigorate the waning membership, I came up with an idea for a giving group.

Some of you my recall me mentioning Ebenezer Project. The idea behind Ebenezer Project is that, as Dickens’ Ebenezer Scrooge discovers, the spirit of giving… the spirit of living… isn’t just a once-a-year kind of activity. If you don’t live it every day, it doesn’t happen, and your entire life is poorer for it. Ebenezer Project was created to keep that spirit of giving and the joy in life that comes with it in our lives and in the forefront of our minds throughout each year.

Basically, as coordinator for Ebenezer Project, I look for charities that are interested in receiving donated gift items, find out what types of gifts these organizations are looking for, and collate that information for folks interested in making something to donate so that, if you know what you want to make (as opposed to knowing who you want to donate to), I can tell you who’s looking for them, how many they need, what kind of materials they’ll accept, etc.

Now, of course, it has to start somewhere, and I do know that there are infinite numbers of charities out there, but my specific interest is in finding earnest people who specifically want donations that will then be distributed with some compassion for the recipient and with respect for the love and concern that were worked into the stitches of the donations. One might think that it would be a slam dunk, but it just isn’t. For some charitable organizations, receiving donations of knitted or handmade items is more a chore than anything else. And there’s one very good reason why: we, as knitters, have an unfortunate tendency to either take entirely too much pride in our work by either not knitting with yarn appropriate for a particular organization’s needs, or too little pride in our work by making things that are not of a quality to make a recipient glad to have received the gift.

I’ve heard the argument that any recipient should be glad they’re getting something. That so doesn’t work in the real world. When was the last time that you got a gift that was either hideously ugly, wildly inappropriate, or simply made it clear that the person who gave it to you either didn’t bother to find out what you liked or needed or just didn’t care? It happens. It will always happen. Did you feel grateful to receive it? Yeah, me neither.

So here’s my point: find out one of two things before you make donations. Either make sure that what you’re giving is appropriate for the use to which it will be put (most grandmotherly types probably won’t need a lime green jester hat with fuchsia pompoms, and there aren’t likely to be too many teenage boys interested in receiving gossamer lace shawls), or know that the organization to which you donate is willing to accept the onus of finding the right recipient for your donation.

And speaking of donations…

I’m such a geek sometimes. Rob’s probably laughing to himself that sometimes includes all days ending in -y. The whole impetus behind this post was that I noticed an article in the most recent issue of Interweave Knits about WWI and WWII era Red Cross drives for knitted donations to "our boys" overseas. The Red Cross website has a page in their Museum area that offers .pdf versions of several of their patterns from those drives. I was delighted. Having grown up rifling through my grandmother’s old Workbasket magazines and the myriad craft/fiber arts books that I found in my wanderings through the antique malls of the Atlanta area, seeing that someone was taking the time to scan these old patterns and make them available for public consumption was very heartwarming. That, and the sheer nostalgia of these patterns is amazing. If you have family or friends that lived through that era, you may well have seen, at one time or another, photographs of these dashing young men in one of these very donated garments. Now, you can make one yourself. For me, that’s actually a pretty hard jones. Like I said, I’m a geek.

And to make my geekiness complete (if creating words like geekiness doesn’t do it) what really caught my eye in the article was the Red Cross poster of Mary Pickford (early Twentieth Century star of stage and screen) knitting, herself. "Mary Pickford was a knitter?" thought I. "How cool is that?!?" Here it comes folks; this is the geeky part. "She’s an Aries, too!"

*sigh* I’m hanging my head in mock shame. MOCK shame, people. I don’t need e-mails telling me that I shouldn’t be ashamed for being a receptacle for useless knowledge.

Yes, I did know that Mary Pickford was an Aries. Her name was on an Aries coffee mug that I begged my parents for in some shop in Gatlinburg when I was maybe six. Her birthday was April 8, 1892 (I had to look up the year), and she was both beautiful and apparently talented though I’ve never bothered to find out myself. I can do some old film, but that particular era’s a bit of a stretch even for me.

Apparently, she also used her celebrity to promote the Red Cross knitting drive. How cool is that?

Ok. Enough drivel for one day. I’m off to get the shop up and running. We’re actually open today for our football-free knitter zone New Year shindig. If you’re interested in providing charity information or donations to Ebenezer Project, contact me at matt@threadbearfiberarts.com or call me at the shop.