Subscriber Giveaway

As a thank you to those of you who have shown your support of the upcoming show, I have a giveaway for you!!!

There will be many more in the future, as the initial response from the news of the show at Stitches West was very encouraging! As a matter of fact, I have already received quite a few items to give away to viewers of the upcoming show! Some of these will be open for everyone, subscribers or not, and others will only be for subscribers. Just a little tease as to what some of these things are (I’m not saying which are which):

  • various yarns (at least 10 brands have either given or have promised to give yarn)
  • knitting needles from HiyaHiya
  • Products from Jimmy Beans Wool (needles, yarn, and Namaste swag)
  • A personally autographed copy of Strange Brew from Tin Can Knits
  • A copy of The Complete Crochet Course and Designer Crochet by Shannon & Jason Mullett-Bowlsby, the Shibaguyz
  • One of 6 Stitchips® by XRX Publishing
  • … and many, many more!!

For now, we’ll start with one of the Stitchips®. One name from all subscribers (regardless of the level) will be drawn and that person can choose one of the following:

  • Arans & Celtics
  • The Knitters Handbook – Essential skills and helpful hints from Knitters Magazine
  • Socks – Socks – Socks
  • The Great American Afghan collection
  • Shawls and Scarves
  • A Gathering of Lace

For those that don’t know, Stitchips® are a digital representation of books and magazines published by XRX. They are a business card sized casing housing a .pdf file of the selected work. They attach to your device through the USB port and allow you access to the book, magazine, or collected works within. The .pdf files also contain clickable hyperlinks! You can find out more about them at this link:

Stitchips®

If you haven’t subscribed yet, there’s still time! Click below on the level you’d like to subscribe at and you’ll see the benefits of that level. All levels, other than wool, are a monthly subscription and can be cancelled/changed at any time. If you choose the wool level, you’ll be charged $12 for one year. Should you cancel your subscription during that year, you will be refunded any full, unused months remaining.

Level Price  
ITBTK-Wool $12.00 per Year. Select
ITBTK-Alpaca $3.00 per Month. Select
ITBTK-Silk $5.00 per Month. Select
ITBTK-Cashmere $10.00 per Month. Select
ITBTK-Qiviut $25.00 per Month. Select
ITBTK-Corporate Sponsor $62.50 per Month. Select

Make sure you do it by March 11th though, as that’s the cut-off date for the Stitchip® drawing! The winner will be announced in the next blog post after that date! Good luck to everybody!!
And be sure to watch this page for an upcoming review of Stitches West, an announcement about the launch of the show, and a new streaming platform for It Takes Balls To Knit! Your support is not only appreciated, it’s getting some great stuff going!

Huge hugzzz 😎


It’s Back!!

… with a little help from you, that is! Yes, you!

This was 5 years ago …

And now, I’d like to bring this back. As a matter of fact, I’ve already started creating content for the show, and it’s return is slated for early April! If you haven’t seen this before, please feel free to watch the Pilot episode from 5 years ago to get caught up and see what I’m talking about.

Back then, I ran out of funding 10 episodes in. What made this unfortunate was the fact that the show was just starting to get traction and we had lots of great content to bring you. Well, no good dream ever dies, and I’m glad to say this one didn’t! As a matter of fact, I think the timing is even more essential this time around and I hope to bring you great content from around the world every week to keep you informed and entertained!

In order to do this however, I’m going to need your help. While the cost of production has been reduced thanks to available technology, it’s still a massive burden to bring a show like this to you every week. As a result, I’m soliciting your help via subscriptions to this website. You may notice the extra menu items in the header of this website. Those are tabs for you to subscribe to this website and help me bring you the interesting and informative content that’s out there. If you haven’t already registered, and want to do so, simply click on the Register tab, and select the level you’re willing to subscribe at. When you click on the level you want, you’ll see the benefits of that level and a PayPal checkout button to process your payment. It is not necessary to have a PayPal account to pay, as you can use your credit card.

I know you have a lot of questions, so I’ve prepared a short little Q&A to answer some of the more obvious ones you may have. Please feel free to contact me if you have any others.

Q: When will I see the benefits of subscribing?
A:  Immediately! Membership at all levels includes a % discount on anything on this site. You will get the discount for the level you’re at applied to any on site purchases. Within the week I will be releasing 3 new patterns that you will get a discount on with your registration! This discount is on top of any other promotion or sale price. More benefits will be available on a regular basis and once the show is launched.

Q: I’m already a member of the Close Knit Community on this website. Is this the same thing?
A: No. The Close Knit Community is a way that I can contact people who have joined via e-mail. It is a free group. This a way that you can be a Patron to my cause of connecting the world through knitting and sharing our stories. Much the same way that Shakespeare had Patrons to allow him to create his works, I am asking you to assist me in bringing the world of knitting to everyone. (No, I’m not saying I’m Skakespeare–we’re just in a similar situation).

Q: If I don’t subscribe, will I still be able to view your website?
A: Yes! The website will remain and there will still be regular posts available to all–subscribers and non-subscribers. There will periodically be posts for subscribers only, with information on new benefits, or contests/giveaways that only they are eligible for.

Q: What will you be giving away?
A: All sorts of things! Since the segments of the show will cover all aspects of knitting, I will be working with all sorts of people connected with the knitting world. Most of them have already agreed to donate swag for me to give away! It’s a win/win as they get the promotion, and you get the swag! Anything from yarn (who doesn’t love yarn?) to books, needles, event passes, and more!!

Q: Will I be able to get any giveaways if I don’t subscribe!
A: Yes! There will always be giveaways available to everyone, but there will often be giveaways that are available to subscribers only.

Q: Isn’t this crowdfunding? Why don’t you use Patreon or Kickstarter?
A: Yes, it is. I am relying entirely on your generosity in order to see this project to fruition. In return, I will not only bring you information and entertainment I think you want (you’ll also have the opportunity to tell me what you want to see), I will work with the very people I inform you about to give you samples of their products.
I have chosen this platform because more of your money actually goes to the cause you’re supporting. Most crowdfunding platforms retain up to 10% or more of all monies collected. This way, only 3% is retained, meaning 97% of it goes towards helping create the content you desire.

Q: What if I don’t like the show? Can I cancel my subscription?
A: Yes! I’ll be sorry to see you go, and will try to do everything in my power to ensure you don’t leave (create great content and make this extremely interactive), but if you choose to leave, you may do so at any time. If you chose the Wool membership, any remaining FULL months in your annual term will be refunded. All other subscriptions are billed monthly, and partial months are non-refundable.

Okay, I think that answers the pertinent questions for now. Feel free to ask any others either in the comments below, or by sending me an e-mail directly to mrhugzzz@gmail.com.

Lastly, I’d like to leave you with this if you’re thinking about Subscribing to this website to help me get this show going. If you’re not sure which level to subscribe to, look at them this way …

If I’m the kind of person you could see yourself …

Buying a lunch once a year, Subscribe at Wool
Buying a coffee once a month, Subscribe at Alpaca
Buying a latte once a month, Subscribe at Silk
Buying a lunch once a month, Subscribe at Cashmere
Buying a dinner once a month, Subscribe at Qiviut


By donating here, you’ll help me keep my waistline in check! 😉

Regardless of what level you subscribe at, your support is invaluable and greatly appreciated!

Huge hugzzz 😎

Subscribe t our site and help revive It Takes balls To Knit–The Show! Great new content, contests, and giveaways!

All we need is hugzzz … and CABLES!!

Well, it’s been an exciting, interesting, informative, reflective, saddening, and emotional (yes, there are more I could add) few months in the online knitting community, hasn’t it?! If you’re unaware of what I’m talking about, head over to Instagram or Ravelry, and scroll through your feed. I’m sure in no time at all you’ll come across the “conversation” that has been going on. If you’re not following me on Instagram, you can do so, and you’ll see mention of it in my feed.

I’m going to bypass a summary for the time being, but I will be visiting this topic again. In the meantime, I’d like to get back to what I’m on this site for, sharing with you news and stories about knitting! And with that I have a couple of things to share.

Firstly, I was at Vogue Knitting Live in New York City last weekend, and have a lot to telll you about. Unfortunately, I have to edit and upload videos, pictures, and dessiminate notes before I can do that. That will happen next week so you’ll get a recap of VKL in case you weren’t able to make it. It might even convince you to get there next year! Or to another event this year!

The other thing I want to share with you is a new pattern. Malcolm. I’ve wanted to release this pattern for awhile now and was planning to do it in conjunction with VKL, but with all that,s going on in the online kntting community at the moment I thought it may be inappropriate timing. I think I may have erred in that assesment. Actually, it may be the very best timing possible right now. I was speaking with a good friend yesterday and she convinced me that right now “we definitely need cables, and hugzzz”, so I’m releasing the pattern.

Photo by Eric Stewart of @langaraphoto

The pattern is called Malcolm, and it is a sweater featuring the Barrington Braid in an asymetrical placement. You also have the option to knit the sweater with the braid on the sleeve as well, or not. I actually created this pattern 2 years ago for North Light Fibers using Atlantic, a Falkland Islands Merino wool. The yarn is a delight to work with and has an excellent hand. You can click on the link above to find out more about the micro mill on Block Island. They are definitely worth looking at for their yarns, colours, and kits available!

With regards to Malcolm, I wanted to have a cable in the sweater (I know, big surprise), but wanted it to be fairly simple otherwise. I also liked the though of off centering the cable to give it a unique look. While it is a man’s sweater, it can be worn by women as well, as Sophia shows in some of the images in the pattern. The cable pattern is both charted and written out in the pattern, so regardless of your comfort level, you’ll find the pattern readable. It is an advanced beginner or intermediate pattern. The cable may look daunting, but by the time you finish the first repeat, you’ll have it firmly in your head.

@sophiascalora wearing Malcolm

The pattern is on Ravelry, here, if you’d like to have it in your onine library, or you can get it on this site here. I hope you enjoy making Malcolm as much as I did and I know you’ll get lots of wear from it. Whether it be a layer for those cold winter months, or an outer garment for those cool spring and fall days.

Hugzzz 😎

Racism in our Close Knit Community?

If you’re a knitter and you have even 1 outlet to Social Media, I’m sure you’ve heard of the current discussion relating to racism in the fibre arts community. I know racism is a strong word, and there’s also diversity and other more subtle words being used, but from experience, it has been seen that unless something is shockingly graphic, it tends to be ignored. So how did we come to this? I mean, aren’t knitters and the fibre arts community as a whole, the most inclusive group of people out there?

I like to think so. Unfortunately, that may be navieté speaking. If you think about it though, it’s not surprising. Regardless of the group, it is still comprised by human beings. And human beings are flawed. So yes, there will be problems associated with being human beings (racism for one), in any group, including (if not especially), the fibre arts community. We are arguably the most diverse and inclusive group out there – with people from every demographic imaginable, from both sexes and almost any age range. In my opinion the question is not whether or not racism exists, but rather, how do we address it and minimize it to have the least possible effect in our beloved community. I’ll return to this in a minute.

You’d think that being a black male in the knitting world, that I’d have lots of stories and this would be an easy topic for me to write about. In actuality however, it’s the exact opposite. Yes, I’m a black male in a predominantly white female industry, but believe it or not, I have yet to experience racism as a result. Has it been there? Perhaps, and I am not trying to make light of the struggles of anyone who has experienced it or had to deal with it directly. I, myself, however, am not one of those people.

Have I experienced discrimination in the knitting community because of being a black male? Absolutely, even today, it still happens. Have I experienced racism in other areas of my life? Absolutely! And from the unlikeliest of sources as well. I am actually embarrassed to say however, that until a very good friend of mine (a black female) pointed me to an article by Julia Farewell-Clay, https://bit.ly/2SSwagZ, I was blissfully unaware of the plight of so many in our beloved Close Knit Community. Julia herself, is a “privileged white woman” (her words) in the industry. It was her enlightening article regarding the existence of racism (there’s that word again) in the knitting community that opened my eyes. I strongly suggest you read this article if you have not yet done so!

I have been blessed and very fortunate for being so accepted into this community that I love. Almost everyone I meet becomes a friend, with knitting providing the instant connection. Quite often, after a little interaction, we find that we have so much more in common than our love of knitting. I have even been lucky enough to be welcomed by two of the most influential people in the industry today, and truly, I am humbled because to this day I don’t know why. I accept it with what modesty I can muster and appreciate their support. Yes, I’m talking about you two, Trisha and Ben – thank you.

So you can imagine my embarrassment when I realize that it hasn’t been that way for everyone – and because of racism, no less! I have honestly been thinking about this since I discovered the article in November, and feel it is time to step up and do what little I can. If that sounds narcissistic, my apologies. I don’t think I can simply wave a magic wand and solve this problem, but I do know that there are some that listen to some of the things I say, and if I can inspire a few to raise their voices, maybe we can help this wave along and influence the decisions we all make every day.

So what little can I do? While I have no direct experience of racism in the knitting community, I have far too much experience of it elsewhere in my life. It’s not a comfortable feeling. It’s actually in my top 3 of worst possible feelings to experience. If I every experienced it in a community I loved as much as this one, I simply don’t know how I would react. I would hope I would have the ability to deal with it with dignity, professionalism, and caution. And I suppose that is my answer to the question I posed above regarding how to address it and minimize it.

It is important to call out the person or persons that are violating your right to be who you are, regardless of race. It is important however, to do so in a just manner. If it is at all possible, one on one discussions (not confrontations), should be sought out. If not, perhaps bringing light to the practices of that person or persons through the media. In this day and age of Social Media, we have to be extremely careful however, as things can go viral all too quickly, and sometimes unjustly and unnecessarily.

Part of the discussion that I have heard, is that there is misrepresentation in the industry against certain people based on race. Again, while this has not been my experience in this industry, it has been in others. What can we do? I don’t have the answers, sorry. I do know awareness helps, and continuing perseverance, transparency, and accountability will aid in reducing the occurrences of these incidents. Is that enough? I don’t know. All we can do is try and see.

In this particular instance however, I would like to do 2 things. The first is call to those that feel they are victims of racism in this particular area – exclusion based on race – to submit your bodies of work through all means necessary. If you feel a particular magazine or website is not showcasing your designs or article submissions based on race, submit them elsewhere and get others to do the same. If 1 person submits a design, article, or even retail booth for inclusion in a magazine, show, or other and gets denied, it is difficult to say this is based on race. If 50 do so however, and the representation is still predominantly privileged white women, then there is a basis for argument and subsequent discussion.

The second thing I would like to do is caution against over reacting. Often, when something like this occurs, and there is enough of an uprising, the pendulum swings all the way the other way. We need to monitor the reactions on both sides. Many of you are familiar with Ravelry, and they have started a discussion thread on this board … https://bit.ly/2SXDQie . This will help serve as a place for moderated open discussion on this issue.

I personally will try and educate myself on this issue and help through further education where I can. I will also use whatever influence I have to help garner fairness in this industry. I don’t want to downplay this issue by saying it is only the work of a minority of individuals, but I am sure that on a whole this is the most inclusive community I have ever belonged to. I truly hope that we can establish a protocol for dealing with occurrences of this so that they are the exception, and not the rule.

In the end it is up to all of us to police this (and other) issues that threaten our community. I hope that we can all consider the consequences of our actions going forward.

Hugzzz 😎

Home again … for now! ;)

Wow!! What an amazing 2 months it has been! If you haven’t been following my Facebook or Instagram posts, you might not know that I have been traveling across the UK and Europe for the last 2 months! It was my intention to be blogging regularly as I visited yarn shops and shows etc, but let’s just say I was overwhelmed by all the experiences I had while over there! I did manage a few posts, but after Woollinn (which I will have to add to), I was entirely too busy to post regularly.

I did do “mini” posts through Facebook and Instagram (search for MrHugzzz and you’ll see them – #youshouldbehere will work as well on Facebook) where I videoed walkthroughs in many of the shops I visited. There is a LOT more to add though and a lot of pictures to upload! I took over 7,000 pictures on the trip, and I truly think that I’ll end up keeping at least 75% of them! There are also at least 100 videos!

Unfortunately it will take a few weeks for me to organize these and edit them (the ones on my DSLR have to be edited before I can post them) as I’m back to the reality of “normal” life already! UGH!

The trip was a success beyond my wildest imaginations though, as I got to connect with a lot of family (that’s another story entirely), enlarge the Close Knit Community with new friendships and contacts, visited a LOT of yarn shops, and got inspired almost hourly! The future looks great and I am overflowing with ideas and plans that will hopefully benefit a lot of you in this great knitting world!

Here’s a little gallery of a few (a very small few) of the photos from the trip. I promise to have more up over the coming weeks as well as getting back to the regular blogging about everything great in this amazing world of knitting we’re all so vested in!

 

I’d also like to just send out a HUONGOLOUS HUGZZZ to everyone who shared on the journey with me and all the amazing comments and requests for the continued videos and posts! You have no idea how heart warming and inspiring that was! Even though it was a solo trip I never felt alone – it truly was as if you were all there with me!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Hugzzz 😎