Sunday, November 18, 2007

Hats ahoy!

I've been so busy recently I've just had no time to blog so I've had potential posts stacking up. One thing that I haven't written up properly is the pledge for all the mini-hats for Innocent!

My aim in setting up the pledge was to raise at least 40 hats - so £20 for Age Concern - by asking 35 people to knit at least 1 hat, if I knit 5.

Well, I'm happy to announce that we raised way more than 40 hats! For a start 39 people joined up, so we were 4 over target already. And it turned out that hat knitting is addictive, and many people knitted more than their suggested number of hats.

I made 10:

Some others sent me either their hats or their photos. One thing that came out from using the pledge was that people who had never heard of the hat drive got to know about it, and people who wouldn't normally have knit a hat decided to rise to the pledge challenge and get some done.

Here are Chris's hat - I love the hat stands!

Ann did 7 - each has a different little emblem on:

These are Celia's matching set (love the bobbles on these):

My friends R & Fizzysister invited me to their Innocent knit-in where they made some awesome rainbow coloured hats and one in the shape of an elephant, but sadly took no photos. I stole the idea for the ribbon-tied cloche hat (the third one along in my photo collage) from them.

Alaha made 5 - including an awesome one with horns! - Janette eventually made 22, Bod made at least 6, Adeline made at least 3, Ruth 2, Juliette made at least 3, and Fran referred to 'hats' so I shall assume there was more than one...

And then beating us all, Miss Shine & her knitting group managed to send off a whopping 63 hats! She has a photo on her blog of a selection of them.

So out of only 13 pledgers who let me know about their hats, we've produced well over 100 hats!

And then finally, today, Mr Bee & I found a Sainsbury's and found the results of all the at knitting! Hats in the wild! The hats go on Innocent smoothies sold in Sainsbury's in November, and 50p from every hatted-bottle sold goes to Age Concern. So it's important to close the loop. We're going away this week, and I can't wait to find more behatted bottles in the wild:


Thursday, November 15, 2007

An open letter to designers of Mystery knit-a-longs

Dear Designers,

For the love of wool PLEASE stop running mystery KALs on yahoogroups and mailing lists. Seriously.

I admit it. I have a low tolerance level for email these days (consequences of two jobs where I have to deal with morons sending moronic email all day). But I can't be the only person turned off from these sorts of KALs because they're run via mailing list.

When KALs and the online knitting world were small then it wasn't a problem to run these sorts of groups via mailing list. However, with increased popularity - there are over 2100 knitters on the now-closed Secret of the Stole, and over 1100 on Spring Shawl Surprice already and that doesn't even start for nearly 2 months - it's becoming less and less feasible to run a group this way.

I suggest moving away from email-led groups into a more structured forum setting. Free forum software is very good, members can be required to join and messages can be kept restricted so that nothing appears on public view.

At the moment with the mailing lists one's choices are essentially receive everything (and I mean *everything*), or receive nothing but special notices from the designer. I feel that a forum would be a happy medium between the two.

There could be a special 'announce' section for those who just want to get the important messages from the designer & nothing else; there can be sections for advanced queries, and those for beginners, those for photos, as well as a separate section for people to chat about things in general.

Important posts can be 'stickied', and it would be a lot clearer when someone had already asked a question, avoiding unnecessary duplication. Those who want the full socialising atmosphere can hang around all the sections. Those that just want to knit the pattern can simply keep an eye on the relevant pattern sections.

I would like to keep up more with the lists, but there is just so much traffic that I just can't. And a lot of the traffic isn't always relevant immediately to the pattern - or it's very basic questions that have to be asked over and over because people don't tend to search the archives of mailing lists in the way that they would on a forum. I haven't been able to keep up with my email and I currently have over 100 unread *digests* (so 1000s of messages) solely from the past *month* - from only 2 KALs! It's ridiculous!

I think this problem is only ever going to grow as the online knitting world grows, and while mailing lists have their place - I'm on lots of other ones, so my problem isn't with the concept of a list - I think that the mystery KAL has outgrown them.

Yours grumpily,

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