Posts Tagged ‘giving’

GAL Is Coming!

Only a couple weeks left til GAL 2015! New to the Gift-a-Long? You can find plenty of detailed info here, but basically, GAL is an annual sale on patterns by a huge (and I mean HUGE) group of indie designers, including myself. The sale is followed by 6 weeks of knit- and crochet-alongs and many, many prizes donated by the same designers and usually a number of indie yarnies and other artisans as well. This year’s sale runs Nov. 19-27.


This will be my 3rd year participating. It really is quite fun, even for those of us who aren’t eligible for prizes! It’s also a great way to learn about new designers you might otherwise have missed!

gal 2014 poster

Because of the sheer number of designers now involved, this year we are limiting each designer to 20 patterns to include in the sale. All patterns will still be eligible for knit-along prizes, but for those of us who’ve been designing a while (or prolifically!) it can be tricky to pick just 20 to discount.

So I’m putting the decision in your hands. Which of my indie patterns would you like to get at a steep discount? I have a thread running here to discuss it and make requests or suggestions. Of course, I’d love to hear from you in the comments too!

GAL Interview: Sashka Macievich

Last year during the Gift-a-long I interviewed a couple designers for the blog, and it was so much fun I’m doing it again! Today, meet Sashka of Sashka is Canadian (from BC), but sells her patterns on Ravelry in U.S. dollars. Twelve of them are on sale this week for the GAL.

Tell us about yourself, both as a person and as a designer. What makes you “you”, and what makes that noteworthy?

Ha ha, I’d like to think that all the little idiosyncrasies that make me ‘me’ are charming but I might be slightly delusional about that.  I am always awkward in social situations, especially large crowds.  I do best in small groups of people I know well.  I do make friends easily especially if we have something in common.  I love reading – all types of books but right now I am reading a lot of Scandinavian mystery novels translated to English, I drink good coffee and nibble on dark chocolate.  As a designer I love detail and texture and spend a lot of time experimenting until I get the right mix.  I am a process knitter, when the project is done I don’t have a whole lot of attachment to it and usually give it away as a gift.


“Auberge” by Sashka Macievich

Describe your design process for us. Do you usually start the same way? Is there a particular place you go for inspiration? Do you have a set routine?

My inspiration could come from anywhere – sometimes while I am working on one design another one works itself out in my head, sometimes I see a pattern while I am out and about and sometimes the yarn itself tells me what it wants.  A lot of time I have one idea in my head and when I start swatching it morphs into another better idea.

Once I start though I do have a set routine, I always swatch, sometimes several times, then I do the math in a spreadsheet and make my charts.  Then I knit my sample working from the spreadsheet and the charts.  My spreadsheets are very detailed and I keep meticulous notes during sample knitting.  Once the sample is knit, it is time to put the pattern into words and take photos.

Do you have a favorite fiber, yarn weight, or color family you tend to gravitate toward? You certainly have a wide variety of pattern types and textures represented in your GAL patterns!

Yes, I love fingering weight yarn and I love texture.  I love to experiment with creating texture with cables, lace and ribbing. Now I am starting to add colour to mix as well. As far as the wide variety of designs I decided to design whatever I wanted for a while to determine what it was I meant to be designing instead of what I thought I should be designing.

What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever designed? Why? 

I love my Windmill Bay Stole.  I knit it purely because I needed a warm snuggly wrap for when we were camping at our favourite spot.  Whenever I pull it out I am immediately transported to a calm happy place.

Windmill Bay

“Windmill Bay Stole” by Sashka Macievich

Why indie patterns? Why do you publish them, and why should crafters buy them?

I tend to over commit myself.  With self-publishing the only deadlines I have are the ones I create for myself.  While this is definitely a job where I have to wear a lot of hats, I wear them because I want to and I like to take the time I need to do them well.  I love to be part of the indie community, knitters and designers are always ready to help and teach those who truly want to learn.  Crafters who buy indie patterns are really getting a lot for their money, indie designers are putting a lot into their craft.  Never before have so many resources been available to designers and so many places to provide their designs for sale.

Which of your GAL patterns do you think would be the best gift?

Arboles Cowl, Alberni Cowl, Busu Cowl and Syxx Hat are all quick knits and I think would appeal to many people of different ages.

arboles cowl

“Arboles Cowl” by Sashka Macievich

Do you plan to make anything during the GAL? If not, do any other GAL designs really stand out to you?

I do!  But I can’t reveal my plans as it is secret Christmas knitting. (shhh)  I have discovered so many designs in the GAL I would not have known about otherwise, many have jumped into my cart already!

Any new or exciting developments on the horizon? We’d love to hear as much as you’re comfortable sharing!

I have so many designs for next year already.  Watch for shawls and garments for spring and fall.

Now for one of the hallmarks of the GAL – prizes! Sashka was kind enough to offer a free pattern to one of my fabulous readers. Would you like it to be you? Check out her full list of GAL patterns (here!) and tell us in the comments which one you’d most like to make and why. The random number generator and I will announce a winner this Sunday, November 23 at 6pm EST. Be sure to leave your Ravelry name or some other contact info in the comment so I can get you your prize!

Happy GAL Ya’ll!

It’s officially GAL time! Are you as excited as I am? I plan on going on a serious shopping spree this weekend! I’ve been carefully avoiding looking at the Pinterest boards (well, mostly) because they are so, so dangerous. I may have lost a good half-hour on the sweater board already, and I SO don’t have time for another sweater with all the upcoming designs going on. The rest of the boards are totally getting devoured once I have an hour or two to devote to it (and buying) this weekend though.

puck drop detail

Which types of patterns do you plan to knit for the holidays? Or for that matter, just because but before the end of the year? I don’t tend to lean towards any particular type of pattern myself, but for the sake of my upcoming design deadlines I’m going to try to limit my GAL knitting to accessories like hats and mittens. Don’t forget that patterns you don’t buy during the sale may also be eligible for some of prizes in the GAL! As long as they’re indie patterns by a participating designer and not free patterns, they totally count.

swept crop

As a designer I’m also really psyched for the start of the GAL, and not only because the extra exposure for my independently published patterns is nice. It’s actually really fun putting my favorite other designers out there, and I have a pair of really interesting interviews coming up to share on this blog. Keep an eye on my G+ and Twitter for other exciting info on participating designers.

hyacinth neckline

Just as a reminder, you can find all of my discounted patterns here. The discount lasts until next Friday, November 21. I hope you’ll take advantage!

gal 2014 poster

It’s Almost GAL Time!

Thanks for all your empathy and warm wishes this past week; every little bit is truly appreciated. As promised, I have a real post this week.

Did you participate in last year’s Indie Gift-a-Long on Ravelry? Dozens of designers and hundreds of knitters and crocheters did! Sign-ups have begun for this year’s participating designers, and we’re already up to over 250 designers. I seriously can’t wait to see how many makers we get. Just over a week to go!

GAL join in yellow

So those of you who didn’t participate last year are probably wondering what on earth I’m talking about. The Gift-a-Long (GAL) is a huge event on Ravelry that starts in November and ends New Year’s Eve. It’s designed to both provide exposure for indie designers and provide some seriously sweet discounts and prizes for avid knitters and crocheters. For the first week of the event all eligible patterns are 25% off, and we all (even the designers, frequently) go on a shopping spree to get all the patterns we plan to knit for the holidays. This is the “gift”  part of the Gift-a-Long. You can see which designs your favorite designers are including by checking the GAL bundles on their designer page (mine is linked below) or see all the participating patterns on Pinterest.

2014 bundle

Once you’ve got your patterns it’s time to join a (few) KAL/CAL(s). Each KAL/CAL gets its own thread in the GAL Ravelry group where we all share progress, cheer each other on, and ask questions as relevant. Thus the “-along” part of the Gift-a-Long. The designers tend to be extra busy during this time as we’re not only frequenting the threads to answer questions and cheerlead, but also often working on projects of our own! Another good reason to be an active participant in these threads is that, every now and then and without warning, a mod will post that the next person to post a WIP photo gets a prize! The prizes range from free patterns to yarn and other fibery goodies.

gal 2014 poster

While only select patterns (by which I mean hundreds) are eligible for the discount and only for a one week period, all independently published patterns by participating designers are welcome in the -alongs. Additionally, all paid (not free) patterns by the designers are eligible for prizes. Some designers save new releases for this period for this reason. There are also periodic games and contests where the winners get still more prizes, and a huge giveaway extravaganza at the New Year’s Eve “party”. For those of you who are not new to Feel Good Knitting, yes, I will be giving away prizes in addition to my usual birthday/New Year’s giveaways.

As you can see, this is a big, big deal. This year’s specifics are below (note that some links will lead to empty pages until the start of the event). I hope to see you in the threads!

Sale Dates– November 13-21, 2014

Event Dates – November 13-December 31, 2014

Ravlery GroupIndie Design Gift-a-Long

Pinterest Boards – List of boards with links

Prizes – Listed here!


Sandy Hook Elementary

This was a busy weekend for us, as Hubby and I both had our office holiday parties this weekend. Unfortunately, particularly for mine, Friday’s events in Connecticut threw a bit of a damper on the festivities.

Regular readers know that when I’m not writing blog posts and knitting patterns, I teach elementary school. On Friday, December 14, a mentally ill 20 year old killed his kindergarten-teaching mother, and then proceeded to her school and massacred most of her students, as well as several other staff members and children. While Sandy Hook, CT is nowhere near Virginia, and a school shooting is always an unthinkable tragedy, this one is hitting particularly close to home. In all, 20 children under the age of 8 were killed, as well as 7 innocent adults, one of whom was exactly my age and literally took a bullet protecting her students.

What do you do in the face of horrors like this? What can you do? The answer is not much, and frankly, that sucks. So I’m going to do what little I can. For the next week, all profits from my Ravelry store will go to the Sandy Hook Elementary PTSA, via Crowdrise and the Network for Good, in order to help pay for things like funerals, and counseling for the survivors. I will also be making a donation from my personal funds to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) in the hopes that we can fix our broken healthcare system and a tragedy like this will never happen again.

Is it enough? No. But it’s something.

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