Open letter to designers who'd like to use my stitch patterns in their work.

Dear Designers,

It has come to my attention (because of a few conversations recently) that some designers are tempted to use my stitch patterns in their designs, but feel shy about doing so.

At first, I was startled. I put the designs out there because I wanted people to use them! For anything — including published designs, as if my blog were a stitch dictionary. The free ones to be freely available, as if they were traditional stitch patterns.

I was secretly feeling a little sad that nobody was using them for publication, nor were many people using my “secret code” methods (that I knew of: after all, maybe they were keeping it secret). Maybe they weren’t any good? Oh, self-doubt.

Further conversations and a little thinking about role-reversal shed some light on the situation.

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Mercy, Justice, Equality stitch pattern. Equality by itself will be much simpler.

Charts for justice/equality/mercy

(I’ve fussed with color and focus.)

These are the two charts I worked out for combining all three words for those who want to work with all three. (These are all the posts about this project.) You’re welcome to use them for whatever you like. Use as many or as few of the words as you like (the blue lines mark the boundaries). The two versions are based on two different ways of charting the encoded letters. I don’t have the swatch for the chart on the left (which is silly – I know better than to rip out swatches!) so the swatch above shows the chart on the right.

justice/equality/mercy knittingcharts(Click to enlarge.)

If working flat the repeat on “Justice, Equality, Mercy” is 10 stitches plus 1. That is, cast on a multiple of 10 stitches and then 1 more. If working in the round, eliminate the extra stitch. “Mercy, Justice, Equality” is 8 stitches plus 1 if working flat; again, eliminate the extra if working in the round.

Justice, equality, mercy:
Row 1 (RS): *k4, p1, k1, p1, k3 ; work from *, k1.
Row 2 (WS): p1, *k1, p7, k1, p1 ; work from *.
Row 3: *k2, p1, k5, p1, k1 ; work from *, k1.
Row 4: p1, *p1, k1, p5, k1, p2 ; work from *.
Row 5: repeat row 3.
Row 6: p1, *p3, k1, p1, k1, p4 ; work from *.
Row 7: repeat row 3.
Row 8: p1, *p2, (k1, p3) x 2 ; work from *.
Row 9: repeat row 1.
Row 10: repeat row 4.
Row 11: *k5, p1, k4 ; work from *, k1.
Rows 12 – 13: repeat rows 10 – 11.
Row 14: k1, *p9, k1 ; work from *.
Row 15: repeat row 11.
Row 16: repeat row 14.
Row 17: *(k3, p1) x 2, k2 ; work from *, k1.
Row 18: repeat row 14.
Row 19: repeat row 3.
Row 20: repeat row 4.
Row 21: repeat row 11.
Row 22: repeat row 6.
Row 23: repeat row 17.
Row 24: p1, *p4, k1, p5 ; work from *.
Row 25: repeat row 1.
Row 26: repeat row 4.
Row 27: repeat row 3.
Row 28: repeat row 8.
Row 29: *k1, p1, k7, p1 ; work from *, k1.
Row 30: repeat row 6.
Row 31: repeat row 17.
Row 32: repeat row 6.
Row 33: repeat row 11.
Row 34: repeat row 14.
Row 35: repeat row 3.
Row 36: repeat row 24.
Row 37: repeat row 11.
Row 38: repeat row 4.
Row 39: repeat row 29.
Row 40: repeat row 6.

Mercy, justice, equality:
Row 1 (RS): *k2, p5, k1 ; work from *, k1.
Row 2 (WS): k1, *(p1, k1) x 4 ; work from *.
Row 3: *k1, p2, k3, p2 ; work from *, k1.
Row 4: k1, *(p3, k1) x 2 ; work from *.
Row 5: knit.
Row 6: purl.
Row 7: repeat row 3.
Row 8: p1, *(k1, p1) x 4 ; work from *.
Row 9: *k2, p1, k3, p1, k1 ; work from *, k1.
Row 10: p1, *p3, k1, p4 ; work from *.
Row 11: *p1, k7 ; work from *, p1.
Row 12: p1, *(k3, p1) x 2 ; work from *.
Row 13: *k1, p1, k5, p1 ; work from *, k1.
Row 14: purl.
Row 15: *k4, p1, k3 ; work from *, k1.
Row 16: p1, *(p1, k2) x 2, p2 ; work from *.
Row 17: repeat row 3.
Row 18: repeat row 10.
Row 19: *k2, (p2, k1) x 2 ; work from *, k1.
Row 20: p1, *k2, p3, k2, p1 ; work from *.
Row 21: *(p1, k3) x 2 ; work from *, p1.
Row 22: purl.
Row 23: *p1, (k1, p2) x 2, k1 ; work from *, p1.
Row 24: p1, *k1, p5, k1, p1 ; work from *.
Row 25: repeat row 9.
Row 26: p1, *p1, k1, p3, k1, p2 ; work from *.
Row 27: repeat row 15.

The name above each chart lists the words in the chart from bottom to top.

I will be using a different equality chart for the final project.

Onward: a top-down hat recipe with the word Onward encoded in the stitch pattern.

Pattern Release: Onward top-down hat recipe

There are days when I need to acknowledge unpleasantness, but keep moving forward. On those days, my motto is onward. I made this hat as a tactile reminder to myself for those days.

I took the letters of onward, encoded them as numbers, and then charted those numbers, using my methods for encoding words as patterns. The marked squares were turned into purl stitches, and thus I made this stitch pattern.

This is a top-down hat. It can be ended when the yarn does if necessary; the pattern has sufficient purls in it that it doesn’t curl. A shorter hat will be a cap; a longer one can cover the ears for warmth; an even longer one can be slouchy. Knit the crown and some ribbing in a contrast color if desired. I have seen this hat worked to good effect in solid yarn, tonal yarn, variegated, and self-striping. Gradient would also be fun!


Onward Ravelry page

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Equality: simplifying the fundraising pattern

There were two things running round my head the last couple of days as I was swatching:

  1. If a few people are unhappy with Mercy with this small a number of people contributing their opinions, how will that be magnified for a larger audience? I want this pattern to appeal to as many people as possible. I don’t want to spend a lot of time explaining it.
  2. I want this to be not too complicated to knit. I’d like it to be accessible to as many people as possible. Three words was making that goal harder – it’s a pattern of twenty purls on a knit background.

I woke up at three in the morning last night, and my brain said, “Equality.” That’s what I’m going to do. One word. Eight purls on a knit background.

I doubt anyone on my side of this problem would deny that equality is a desirable goal.

I’m going to make the stitch pattern for Justice/Mercy/Equality available for those who want to use it, but I’m going to make the pattern I publish for the fundraiser just be Equality.

Poll Results: Equality, Justice, Mercy

Equality, Justice, Mercy 15 57.69% 57.69%
Human Rights 7 26.92% 26.92%
Civil Rights 4 15.38% 15.38%

The results are in: Equality, Justice, Mercy was the most popular by far (a small sample size, but we work with what we’ve got).

It’ll be a few days before I post about this project again – in the meantime, I need to decide how to lay out the words (I’ve already worked out the code for all three options, to save time). Then I’ll need to knit the sample, write the pattern, and have it tech edited.

I’ll let you know when I’m at the pattern testing stage! It’ll be a week or two; in the meantime, I’ll be back to my more normal blog content.

Thanks very much for all the debate and input – I’d really rather not make all the decisions by myself.


For more context on this post see Post 1 and Post 2.

A followup on words for the fundraising pattern.

(See last post for more context.)

There seem to be two major opinions: combine Mercy, Justice, and Equality or combine Justice and Peace. I lean toward the former of the two: a large part of the specific problem that sent me down this path is that our justice system exhibits mercy (maybe too much) toward white people who commit crimes and misdemeanors, especially rich ones, and so little mercy toward people with brown skins that the mere fact of existing seems to be enough to provoke attacks by police.  We can’t have true justice without mercy, and both need to be applied equally.

Peace on the other hand – I love it as a general concept, but it feels too nebulous for this particular purpose. I am personally not happy with Peace and Justice for this project, so I’m going to set that aside for the moment. I might do it another time; I might not.

However, Mercy is problematic as a concept for some (because it implies an adversarial relationship).

Another specific concept that I would be happy to use for the purpose (and which would sidestep the Mercy vs. Peace question) is Civil Rights, which also seems specifically applicable. Human Rights would also work.

I am uncomfortable deciding entirely by fiat, so here’s a poll for the options I’m willing to work with for this particular project.

Vote for all the options you like (you can choose more than one). I’ll leave this up for 24 hours (starting at  1 PM EST, December 9.) and go with the result.

In which I get political and start a fundraising project

I’ve narrowed down the options I’d like to work with. Please see my next post for my reasoning and to take a poll.


I don’t think I’ve gotten politics in my craftblogging before. (Unless you count the Bread & Roses and Occupy patterns.) On Twitter, yes, on Google+, yes, in some of my comments on Ravelry, yes. But not here. I’ve tried to avoid it. But I’m starting a design project for some political fundraising that requires me starting a discussion and asking questions. This is the best place for it, I think.

I’ve become more and more horrified over the last decade about the state of systemic racism in the United States. (For-profit prisons, voter suppression — not just Voter ID and reduction in earlier voting, but also disenfranchising felons in a country where more people with brown skin are convicted of things that shouldn’t be felonies, or where white people aren’t charged as much as they should be; the school-to-prison pipeline, the difficulty in finding jobs after being convicted as a felon… the list goes on and on and on.) And then of course, Trayvon Martin and in the same year, Marissa Alexander. And the many, many cases of cops shooting unarmed black people and not even being tried for it. These are names I wouldn’t know if their owners hadn’t been killed in this last year: Mike Brown, John Crawford, Eric Garner, Darrien Hunt. And they are just the tip of the iceberg.

I can’t be silent. I can’t pretend that it’s fair that I don’t have to be scared of being pulled over by the cops for a traffic violation – nervous, yes. Worried about fines, yes. But not scared that the police will think I’m pulling a gun when I’m getting out my driver’s license. So that’s part of the reason for this post. There is an unjust situation in this country, and has been since its founding. It needs to be fixed. One of the ways to fix it is to talk about it, but that isn’t enough by itself.

I often find myself at a loss about what I can do as an individual to change things. One thing I can do is to listen and recognize what’s happening. Another thing I can do is to try to raise my child to be aware of injustice and discrimination (pretending to be “color blind” is counterproductive). I can write letters to my politicians and vote. None of those is enough by itself.

What else can I do? I can protest. I would like to donate to organizations that are working for change, but I don’t have a lot of money.

So, what am I able to do? What do I do in my everyday life? I am a knitting designer. I can design a pattern and sell it in exchange for donations. This seems like a very small thing, but I do think that having physical objects that have been made for a purpose can be a reminder of that purpose. People are of course free to make donations without needing to buy anything! But sometimes getting something in return is a help in motivating people.

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