Sock Wars requires each participant to knit a pair of socks for another player and ship them off to the target. Players are eliminated from the contest — or “killed” — when, like Ms. Williams, they receive the socks. Once they receive their socks, participants have to ship to their assassins the pair they were still working on for their own targets. The assassins then must finish those socks and send them along, hoping that they don’t first receive their own killer socks from another assassin. The last assassin standing — or sitting — wins.
Participants say Sock Wars brings out bloodthirsty instincts in the knitting community and sets hearts pounding each time these women (and a few men) check the mail. When the fateful package comes, “you stand there as if you really were dead,” says Ms. Williams, a chef in Cape May, N.J.
I think it is so cool that a solitary activity like knitting, has become successful communal recreation on the internet. I tell you, we should do something similar. I joked with Colette and Jane that we should all make sewing work aprons. And not just plain old aprons, cool ones with colorful leather insets and trims. Do you use a sewing apron? I don’t feel dressed if I’m not wearing mine. Before I get off track, do read the article, I don’t think it’s gated. There’s a companion video and sock pattern included.
I don’t knit but I have grown partial to socks. Jan DiCintio first turned me onto the Sock Lady last year and I bought more than I care to admit. They’re made in the USA of recycled cotton. This year, Crystal sent me a notice the Socklady was having a year end sale* and after I got over being miffed about not having been notified of it -I am a paying customer- I went back to buy too many more. [Eric, I told you not to read below the fold so if you’re still reading and you see the christmas gift spoiler, it’s your own darn fault.] Here’s the stash I got for gifts this year:
These are socks for Eric, Socklady says men prefer muted colors. The wide ones in the middle are wool.
Below are three pairs in just my size. I got one for me, one for somebody who’s not my friend anymore (a real bummer) and a pair for somebody who’s most likely reading this so it should still be a surprise if I don’t say who.
I got two pairs of kid’s socks, not knowing they’d be much larger than I expected, these won’t fit my nephew, and why did I buy two sets? Oh, and you’ll notice there’s three socks to a pair. That’s something every mom will love.
Lastly, I got a pair of infant socks -pair as defined by the Socklady, meaning five of them- for my niece. All are different.
Aren’t these cute? Infant socks are so easily lost. Sally says the biggest sock monsters are pillow cases. I used to have this cat that retrieved lost socks beating the sock monster at his own game. The first time she found one, she came caterwauling with it in her mouth. It was so adorable that I gave her a bit of half and half as a treat. After that, she found socks all the time, my son’s room was an endless source. I was quite happy to be reunited with long lost footsies and not having to buy more socks for Mike, that I continued to reward her for it. That is until I saw her jumping out of the laundry basket with one in her mouth.
Okay, enough of socks but not handmade. Several parties sent a link to Handmade 2.0, an article describing the Indie craft movement. This isn’t the first article to detail the trend, just a good treatment of the topic. On one hand, I think it’s great. I couldn’t be more pleased to see people making things (most are in their thirties). What I am uncomfortable with is much of the rhetoric (not in the article but promulgated in the community) which is decidedly anti-manufacturing. Tossing aside the rhetoric, many of these people are actually manufacturing themselves, why are they okay but you aren’t? Worse, of course they want lower priced inputs and resources -in other words, wanting to benefit from the wholesale system- so I think it’s disingenuous to criticize a system they’d like to benefit from. I also note they’re not against manufactured goods across the board (cars, computers, cell phones, consumer goods, appliances etc); they reserve their contempt for classes of goods they make. Why is a manufactured car or computer okay but not clothes or bags? Seems a tad self serving.
The article highlights a few vendors on etsy, good ones, but boy, I’ve seen a lot of junk there too. I wonder if some people are selling themselves short, criticizing a system they fear they don’t stand a chance doing full time, a way of hedging their bets. Regardless of scale, some should copy standard manufacturing practices -mostly quality related rather than repeatedly saying their products are quality. There’s truth on both sides; just as there’s a broad range of quality and competence in manufacturing, there is in the indie community as well. I found one etsy vendor I’m concerned about. Stitch Pixie makes (from what I can tell) some very well constructed bags, very nice designs too. The thing that concerns me about her, is that she is target for a knock off which distresses me. I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody started copying her (also, a lot of indies copy each other too) specifically because the stuff will sell but she’s only doing one-offs and people want more. She does have a distinctive look; maybe she could license if she doesn’t want to manufacture herself.
In the end, I think indie craft manufacturing will spawn a whole crop of DE companies, while still others will eventually fall out and move onto something else. I’ve seen a lot of DEs who used to be indie producers (and are still using the label because it’s been financially advantageous to do so, you little devils) who move up from there. Moving up doesn’t mean selling out. If you can make a living doing one-offs, I could not be happier for you. I mean, that’s what I do, pattern making is producing one off patterns. Whichever way you go, be it indie or manufacturer, you don’t need to sell out. Imbue your products with integrity and the best of your ability.
*Oh, this has nothing to do with anything else other than the mention I made under the end of year sock sale. All kinds of vendors have end of year specials. If you’re in the market to buy some big ticket goods and can afford to buy before the end of the year, this is a good time to do it. Many vendors are offering 10% discounts on machines, software etc. Everyone is trying to bump up their numbers before the end of the year. You’ll probably have to ask the salesman if they’ll do it. Maybe you won’t get much of a discount but can negotiate free shipping or something. It seems like anything I’ve bought lately has cost over $200 to ship so that’s a good discount if you can get it.
I have to go now, I’m off to attempt negotiate free shipping on a man’s dress form.