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Why Pinterest Beats Google Images


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In 1906, strolling around the local livestock fair, a man comes upon the crowd at a weight-guessing attraction. An ox stands on a scale as people guess its weight on scraps of paper. I avoided feeling like the ox in this game every summer at our local amusement park at all costs – including the best hot pink stuffed animals. Being livestock, this ox was just chillin’ and eventually the closest guess won a bag of hot peanuts, but our observer noticed another funny thing. Most of the guesses were off. Wildly off. Like, “haven’t these country bumpkins ever seen an ox before?” off. But he was one of those charming old-timey polymaths, so he had an idea. After the crowd shuffled off, he approached the man in charge and inquired whether he might have the scraps of paper guesses. This is one of history’s best data collection moments, by the way.

Long story short, our man, Francis Galton, ran the numbers and found that the average guess was one measly pound away from the ox’s weight. In fact, the average was much closer to the animal’s weight than the single best guess. Somehow, the unruly mob, who couldn’t be trusted with democracy, much less you life in a bar fight, could be trusted to know something no single member of the mob knew. This is also one of history’s best WTF moments, by the way.

Fast forward a century and we are using crowdsourcing every day. Sometimes it’s just another word for statistics, the field Galton helped birth. Sometimes it’s just another word for voting, and the result is no great WTF moment. We can use the crowd to answer questions in different ways. Anyone who researches their blog’s SEO knows that Google’s algorithm for search results uses certain data points from your blog more than others. And this is why I think Pinterest is better for images of interesting stuff. An image explodes across pin boards based on one data point: someone found it interesting enough to repin it. In 2010 when I started pinning, this didn’t happen much. Now, when I see an image in my Pinterest feed, someone either pinned it from the web, or – more likely – re-pinned it from another board. This means that the images I see are filtered through at least two iterations of interest, and usually way more. Interest sells, people. This is powerful stuff.

This is why I increasingly search Pinterest for trends, styles, and techniques to use in my art and products. Google images is good when I need a perfect amigurumi blue bird, but Pinterest is best when I’m looking for some cool amigurumi to make for my friend’s kid’s birthday party. Pinterest finds a more interesting result because of crowdsourcing. It hits the ox on the head. (Whoops! Poor ox.) The same applies to product development, inspiration, illustrating blog posts, or whatever iron you have in the fire right now.

Below the images are the best boards to follow for fiber art and other fun stuff. Show me your favorites with links in the comments.

If you’re not on Pinterest yet, leave a comment and I’ll send you an invitation.

Yours truly,

Lorna at Knits for Life

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Free Crochet Patterns and My Crochet Designs by Anne Marie’s Crochet Blog

Camp Crafts by Jill Watt of The Dapper Toad

Knitting Apps and other fiber art boards by knitomatic

CROCHET and My Projects by According to Matt

Techniques I Love and San Francisco Etsy Team Spotted by Lisa Spinella of Tickle and Smash

Scarf inspiration and Patronen en kleuren (Patterns and colors) by Mia Vandenbossche

Fun with fiber and textiles and DIY by Lorna Watt at Knits for Life

One’s Tea Cozies by Loani Prior, the Tea Cosy Queen

Eco boards by Team Eco Etsy

Sustainable Lingerie by Oceana’s Canvas

Clothes to Wear by Andrea of The Paper Sparrow

Fun boards by The Men of Etsy

Eccentric beauty and Imagination by Cody James

News

Tweetup With Eco-Friendly Designer Eileen Fischer


Join me, eco-conscious designer Eileen Fischer, and special guest Practically Green for a tweetup this Thursday at 12:30 EST about the Lifecycle of a Garment. Just search for and tweet with hashtag #EFCSRChat on Twitter during that hour. I’ll be there talking with designers and crafters who, like me, reduce the demand for new resources by using existing ones. Learn more here.

Knits for Life uses yarn from the garment life cycle

In anticipation of this exciting event, I wanted to tell you a bit about how my products use the garment industry. My most popular products are made from a special kind of yarn spun from shredded European textiles. It’s called Berroco Remix. It’s made by mixing top quality fabric remnants by color, shredding it into a new fiber, and spinning the fiber into new yarn. This means it’s 100% recycled. Best of all, you can be more eco-friendly by starting your next project this wonderful recycled yarn.

Click here for more images of this yarn knitted up.

More about Remix from Berroco.com

Reduce, reuse, recycle.  How are you greening your knitting? Reducing doesn’t seem like much fun and reusing generally means you’ve had to rip out a failing project, a painful part of any knitter’s process. Enter Remix, a new, 100% recycled Berroco yarn made using a low-impact manufacturing process patented in France. Remix is the result of over a year of collaborative work between mill and textile engineers. Read a bit more about this new offering:

How is it made?  Garments and high-quality commercially knit fabric panels left over from the ready-to-wear industry are collected from across Europe and sorted by fiber, then color. Because these pieces are pre-dyed, there is no need to dye them again, which saves water and prevents water pollution. Instead, colors are created by carefully blending garnetted fibers. Garnetted fiber is the result of shredding old textiles to make a new, fleece-like fiber that is ready to be spun into a new yarn.

All about Remix:  Remix is a soft, comfortable blend of nylon, cotton, acrylic, silk and linen. A tweedy, rustic look makes this an ideal candidate for casual knits, and its machine washability means any garment will be low maintenance and hard-wearing. The yarn comes in an abundant 216 yard ball and knits to a worsted weight gauge. Finished garments are immediately cozy, with the feeling of well-loved jeans or your favorite old tee-shirt.”

New Products, News

Yarnbomb Your Own Furniture


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Some graffiti artists use paint, some use stickers. We crafty types use yarn. If you haven’t heard of yarn bombing or knitted graffiti yet, get yer google on! If you have, maybe you – like me – see the world a little differently than most; a taunting swirl of shapes and structures challenging you to wrap them in bright, snuggly yarn. Ok ok, yes – I surrender! Let’s cover everything in textures and energy! Goodbye to plain statues and trees that don’t hug you back. Hello newborn graffiti artist.

And then the walls inside my apartment began to talk. Psst! Why bomb the bike rack down the street? You’ll only see it when you go for a walk. You could enjoy your graffiti every day in your own home.

Egads, I’m hooked, as the crocheters say. Five skeins of 100% recycled yarn and one reclaimed Ikea chair later, here’s my prettily “upholstered” chair. (Here’s a pic of it in progress.) It will soon be for sale online and in a local gallery, but I have three more pawing at me with their little legs – almost as inconveniently as the Sesame Street U laid in to Smokey Robinson. Wish me luck!

3/7/12 update: The yellow and brown chairs are done too! Come see them here: https://knitsforlife.com/2012/05/07/yarn-bombed-furniture-at-studio-gallery-in-sf/

New Patterns, New Products

Something to Knit Your Man


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In a dark little café pub near the Black Forest in Germany, I came to love hot drinks served in ceramic white pint glasses. Reliving those gemütliche college days every time I sip tea, Earl Grey, hot is easy with IKEA’s lovely and affordable POKAL tumblers.

Slurping the first sip of a hot drink is one of life’s little pleasures, but hard to do without a mug handle. After perfecting a custom cozy, I wanted to make one for my sweetheart for Valentine’s Day that wouldn’t embarrass him at work. A touch of geekery and voilà: I love you in Morse code.

Get the pattern in the shop for just $1.99 here: http://www.etsy.com/listing/92404903

Or get the knitted item for just $15 here: http://www.etsy.com/listing/92404005

What do you sip your tea in?

New Patterns

It’s Here! Crochet Pattern for the Space Man Hat + Scarf + Pocket


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By popular demand, this crochet pattern includes the instructions for a the beanie with a panel for a nice timey wimey button AND for the hat with attached scarf and secret buttoned pocket.

I had tons of fun designing this ultimate warm winter accessory for the Doctor Who fan that is modern enough for any wearer. The lights are on inside the time machine with two stripes of creamy white. Tweedy navy blue yarn is crocheted in a raised stitch pattern to mimic a wood paneled police box all the way down the scarf to the secret pocket. The timey-wimey buttoned pocket stores your soul alongside headphones, phone, mp3 player or keys. This hat and scarf combo will really get your eco-geek on!

The directions for making this textured crochet pattern are easy to understand and do. I aim to design crochet patterns any knitter would envy. Two patterns in one, with directions for each in all four sizes. Each size requires just one size hook and is worked from the top-down in one piece with no joins. Includes color changes, front and back post stitches, and an adjustable loop.

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I’d love to see your finished products and customer action shots on the pattern’s Ravelry page or on Knits for Life’s Facebook wall! The finished items are also for sale in the shop.

New Patterns

Pottery Barn Knit Hack


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You always walk through stores remarking to yourself “Pshaw… I could make that!” But how often do go home and prove it? Here’s a free project I created to help you restore that balance and make your holiday hostess and guests squeal with delight. It’s a knit hack of one of Pottery Barn’s wine bottle accessories, a teeny hat and scarf. They sell it (probably machine made) for about $8. Now you can whip up a priceless hand made one with just half an ounce of yarn! Super duper holiday stash buster to keep your vin chaud or Sierra Nevada Christmas Ale cozy all winter.

Be sure to share your finished hacks on the pattern page over on Ravelry.

Knits for Life Knit Hack!

Pottery Barn product photo

Pottery Barn Wine Bottle Accessory Knit Hack by Knits for Life

Yarn:  0.55 oz (32 yd) Malabrigo Worsted Merino in Amoroso.
Needles: Five US 7 (4.5 mm) DPNs

Hat
CO 24. Divide evenly onto 3 DPNs and join to work in the round.
K2, P2 rib for 2 inches.
(C4B, P1, K2, P1) 3 times.
(K4, P1, K2, P1) 3 times, repeat for a total of 3 rows.
Repeat last 4 rows for a total of 4 times.
K2, K2tog to end.
Cut yarn, leaving 6 in.
Thread through remaining sts, pull tight and knot.
Make a two-finger pom pom and sew in top.
Weave in and trim ends.

Scarf
CO8
1.K2, P4, K2
2.P2, K4, P2
3.K2, P4, K2
4-5. Repeat rows 2-3.
6.P2, C4B, P2
Repeat rows 1-6 to desired length.
Repeat rows 1-5.
Bind off in pattern.
Make a fringe.

Have fun!