Ups and Down, Knits and Tinks

A word of celebration:

Angel and I have a house now. The house in the earlier pictures. I learned more about the story of the bidding war and what happened around it (Angel knew some of it, I was off geeking with the home inspector when that discussion was going on.) Our closing was officially rock awesome – we had a great team, the seller had a great team and everyone was doing their part. I’m told that if anyone involved doesn’t have that going for them it can make the process a lot harder.

So, thank you. Thank you seller for having everything not only done, but documented and neatly shipped off to your lawyer. Thank you seller’s lawyer for calling when she was going to be late and showing up with all of her ducks in a row. Thank you our lawyer for not only having your part together, but being able to explain each part of the closing, each thing we signed, in a way that allowed us to trust you and understand what was going on.

And finally, big thank you to our Awesome Agent who found the house and counseled us through how to get it. It was a close thing. The other offer was a full price offer that the woman rescinded to make a lower price offer on the advice of her lawyer friend. She’s been calling the seller’s agent continuing to ask about the house and if the sale was still going through. Of the many concerns we have about this next adventure, selling the house again isn’t one of them.

The final walk through was unexpectedly emotional for me. I had expected a pretty cut and dried rendition of checking the things we found at the inspection. Instead, it was this homecoming feeling. The seller left the house in not just move in condition, but in new home condition.  He left the pretty wood blinds and a gift of a bottle of champagne and one of sparkling cider with a framed ink drawing of the house in the livingroom. He left the lacy window treatments and the cushions in the sunroom.  Fun discoveries include paint for all of the rooms and the original blueprints for the house in the basement.  It’s a home, just waiting for us to live in it and fill it with stories and laughter and life and I want to be in it right now.

Instead we’re doing smart things like having an electrician come make estimates and figuring out if we want to paint anything different colors before we put furniture in it.


A word of annoyance:

Ravelry, if you are not aware, is a wonderful franken-site for knitters and crocheters and yarn and fiber arts goodness. It is a collection of forums and message boards that range from topical (Cable Lovers and Beginning Lace Knitters) to commercial (Colourmart and DyakCraft both have fan boards) to social (there are swap groups and charity knitting groups) to political (This is What a Feminist Knits Like). All of these have their own cultures and microcosms and you could go mad trying to investigate all of the social groupings in the forums. But that is one corner of Ravelry.

Ravelry, at its heart, is the best database I’ve had the pleasure of using. It has a database of almost every yarn you will run across, catalogued with vital statistics like what fibers it’s made of and what weight it is and who makes it and where you can buy it. It has a database of almost every knitting or crochet pattern you can run across in the modern era, catalogued with who wrote it and for what yarn (hyperlinked, of course) and where you can get a copy of it. But what it really has is users who have made projects – patterns with yarns – and written comments on the yarns and patterns and you can get to any of them from any of them. So when you are looking at buying a yarn you can pull up all of the pictures of what people have made with it and their comments of what they thought about that yarn. Or if you are looking at a pattern you can figure out what different yarns people used for it and go look at how those projects turned out.  You can track your own projects, when you started them, your notes on what you changed and tried and learned, and your pictures of your work. You can link patterns you would like to make (your queue) to yarns you own (your stash) that you would like to use, even before you start a project.  It is an amazingly useful resource, even if you use just one bit of it.

So I love and respect Ravelry. A while back, Stephanie Pearl-McFee started a knitterly habit of celebrating the Olympics by selecting a project that challenged yourself as an artist and trying to finish it during the timeframe of the Olympics. Ravelry, being full of knitters who thought this was a great idea, has gotten in the habit of putting in some functionality in the database to support such a celebration. Ravelry users took to calling this the “Ravelympics”

The US Olympic Committee sent a cease and desist letter about the name – something about protecting trademark and Congress ruling that the USOC has sole use of the Olympic mark and “Ravelymics” being close enough for government work. This would just make me roll my eyes, but I get it, I really do. Intellectual Property protections are in a weird state right now and trademark is a use it or lose it proposition and the USOC has a lot to lose so it has to at least bark a bit whenever anyone gets close. (Like the yappy dog down the street.)

There are arguments that could be made about how Ravelry isn’t really making money off the term “Ravelympics” and how it was user created and blah blah blah, but its all shades of murky.

What isn’t murky, and what transports my opinion from eye roll to ire is the following statement from the cease and desist

“We believe using the name “Ravelympics” for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games.  In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work.”

Let’s put something straight here: the Ravelympics are a social gathering to celebrate the Olypmics. Kind of like throwing a backyard barbecue, only inviting two million people and knitting for 17 days. We’re not competing with each other, Ravelry isn’t sponsoring prizes or judging anything. The relationship to the Olympics is not even an attempt to imitate, but to celebrate the Games. This is how a bunch of knitters and crocheters are recognizing the talent and hard work of the world’s finest athletes. This is what we can do, we can give our hands and our skills and offer them as celebration.

It’s not buying a Big Mac and a Coke, I’ll admit, but I guess we were kind of hoping that our hearts, minds, and the skills we have would be good enough. Evidentially, they are not. An offering of our hearts, minds and skills is actually a big pile of disrespect.


In a shitstorm that anyone with half a brain could see coming when you tell two million people that their celebration is actually a pile of poop, the fiber art world lit itself on fire. In the social media aftermath we got first an apology that should be in textbooks as what not to do when your organization wakes up to the fact that it just stepped on it’s dick.

“The letter sent to the organizers of the Ravelympics was a standard-form cease and desist letter that explained why we need to protect our trademarks in legal terms. Rest assured, as an organization that has many passionate knitters, we never intended to make this a personal attack on the knitting community or to suggest that knitters are not supportive of Team USA.

We apologize for any insult and appreciate your support. We embrace hand-crafted American goods as we currently have the Annin Flagmakers of New Jersey stitching a custom-made American flag to accompany our team to the Olympic Games in London. To show our support of the Ravelry community, we would welcome any handmade items that you would like to create to travel with, and motivate, our team at the 2012 Games.”

Your standard C&D that you send to kill elementary schools “Olympics” includes language like “denigrate[s] the true nature of the Olympic Games”? Seriously? Does your non-profit have a PR person and have they met anyone in your legal department? You can protect your trademark without the (thank you Popehat) DUCHIFY setting on your word processor. Also, while I feel you that you totes have, like, several friends who are knitters, did it occur to you to maybe let them read either the C&D or this ‘apology’? I ask this out of some concern that you may have a miscommunication with the crafting public. We know that working for hours on an article of clothing that can keep you warm and looking good is literally a labor of love. We don’t give labors of love to people who have told us that we’re an insult to them. Saying “I’m sorry you got upset, but you can still send us free stuff, we’ll take it” is maybe not how you wanted to present yourself?

You want to show support for the Ravelry community and apologize for your complete lack of understanding of how to behave like a functioning part of a society? Let us call our insulting little celebration of your international multibillion dollar revenue generating machine the Ravelympics. Maybe fix up your form letter.

Next on my personal hit parade – mentioning to McDonald’s, Coke, Visa and NBC that the group they are sponsoring is piddling on itself in public. They probably know already, but I have some stamps that are just sitting around. And really pretty stationary.

1 comment to Ups and Down, Knits and Tinks

  • AthleteKnitter

    I was an athlete – a danged good one who worked about 30-40 hours a week to compete, PLUS weight training. I know what athletes do to be good. I’ve been to the OGames. I’ve bought O merchandise. Today, I’m a knitter. I USED to be a HUGE fan of the O games. Now, I will buy NOTHING with the logo on it and will not visit burger chains promoting it. I will not watch. I will not record. I am done. I don’t care if they were “misguided” or “careless.” I am done. As a matter of fact, I am thinking of having a public bonfire with all my “stuff” with the OG logo on it. I suppose I’d get shafted with a javelin or bonked with a hockey puck if I did it. The main “sport” of the OC is self aggrandizement of the “righteous leaders” and “hoarding of money.” Shame on them. I guess they will, next, want to rename the Olympic Mountain on Mars.

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