Stitch Applications are due Today

From our Friends over at Naughty Secretary Club and the Austin Craft Mafia:

If you have been debating whether of not to show your clothing line on the runway or sell you handmade goodies in the craft bazaar on Nov 10th, debate no longer. Stitch must have your application in today as we are choosing the designers and vendors on Thursday.
We are also still interested in swapping sponsorship packages for tote bags. If you want your tote bags in the hands of 500 Austinites email Jennifer at info [at] naughtysecretaryclub [dot] com We ask that the bags be large enough to hold magazines and that you can donate at least 10. Tote bags must be received by October 1st.
Want to sponsor Stitch? Join companies like Simplicity, Etsy, Duncan, Sublime Stitching, Dremel, Bust Magazine, Sakura, Baby Lock and more by supporting Austin’s largest independent fashion show and craft bazaar. We have packages for as low as $100! Email Jennifer at info [at] naughtysecretaryclub [dot] com if you are interested. This is a great way to spread the word about your business!
We’ll see you at Stitch Nov 10th at the Austin Convention Center.


Back To School: Marimello's abandoned projects, Summer 2007 edition

This is the first year since high school that we've had a summer vacation. And we had so many plans laid for things we were going to accomplish...sigh. Apparently the long break form vacations has taught us nothing. Once again Labor Day is right around the corner and all we have done is the laundry. Here's just a few of the things we've flaked on this year:

Project 1) Get back into Ceramics. Speaking of High School, we were once heavily into ceramics. It was such a pleasant calming craft, and the studio definitely had the bast air conditioning. We were interested to start up again when we saw Barry's Big Clay Blog which included some great video posts. Reason for flaking: our house has the worst air conditioning and we already have 14,000 mugs.

Project 2) Learn to Crochet. The Marimello staff is full of knitters. Crochet does not make sense at all, but earlier this summer we were inspired by hyperbolic crochet and rushed out t obuy matching hooks. A couple of days ago this pattern for crazy cat hats showed up on Craftster and our interest was renewed. Maybe it's not to late for this one. Reason for possible flaking: the cat is not amused.

Project 3) Intarsia. We saw this video post that made it look so easy. Unfortunately we are very picky about our color combos and couldn't make up our minds. We completely forgot about the whole thing after one crazy week running from yarn shop to yarn shop. Official reason for flaking: whatever we choose color-wise, it will be warm. Let's put this one off 'til winter.

Project 4) Yohji Yamamoto's super cute jacket. Doesn't it look fab? So simple, so comfy; this should be the official new uniform in the Marimello office. Reason for flaking: we have no excuse on this one.

So with summer dwindling down, it looks like all we have time for is wallpapering our doors. It's about time we revamped the color scheme around here and this project looks so simple ever we cannot fail to complete it. Let's just hope the landlord doesn't come by.


Speaking of Charity Crafting

You don't necessarily have to send out a million afghans to make a difference. As our friend Renee of Wolfie and the Sneak points out, "Living a passionate existence doesn't seem to coincide with a well-insured one." More often than not, there is a crafty individual in need of our help.
The Wyman benefit over at Wonderland Retreat will be wrapping up on September 15th and there are plenty of items left in the shop. So go on over to Etsy and take a peek.
Renee also alerted us to a couple of other benefits that are happening.
If you're a crafty sort, there's little doubt you've heard of mymy, an indie shopping dream.
perhaps you also keep up with Taryn's blog well enough to know her sister is in the hospital?
Jenifer, a single mother who works 2 jobs AND pitches in over at mymy.
Well, the ever-so-lovely Trisha combs has decided to step up and help out; she's looking for goodies to fill a basket for a raffle to benefit Jenifer's hospital bills.
Check out all the details here.


Save the World Sunday

The latest issue of Wired appeared in our mailbox recently. We do not remember subscribing, but being the voracious magazine readers we are, we did not complain.
We especially did not complain when we read Clive Thompson's article "Count on the Geeks to Rescue the Earth." It's online too so go check it out.
Thompson brought our attention to the interesting research Paul Slovic is doing on decision making. Slovic has discovered that people are more inclined to help a singular person in need over a group of people who share the same need. It's not that we are stingy, just that we're better at conceptualizing the plight of smaller groups and terrible when it comes to larger groups. Thompson's point is that this is why people like Bill Gates are good at tackling large scale third world diseases through philanthropy. Geeks are better wired to conceptualize big numbers. "We look at the huge numbers and go numb. Gates looks at them and runs the moral algorithm: Preventable death = bad; preventable death x 1 million people = 1 million times as bad."
Uh huh. Sounds simple enough. What does it have to do with crafting? Well we got to thinking about how in fiber arts particularly deal with large numbers. Cast on a sweater in the round lately? Calculate the number of threads needed for the warp and weft of your pattern? If we too conceptualize large numbers well, Slovic's research and Thompson's suggestion probably explains crafters' ability to launch large scale charity projects. It also suggests a root for the optimism with which these efforts are launched. 12 stitches = pattern; 12 stitches x 100,000 = afghan; afghan x 1 million = afghans for an entire country.
And if that's not inspiring food for a Sunday afternoon's though, well we don't know what.



CROQ 10: Marimello in Print

Hey everybody! CROQ 10 is out and your very own Marimello editor is there on her soapbox for all to see.



Should I Stay or Should I Go: Weekend Plans

We here at Marimello are too bogged down with important work to even consider setting foot outside the house this weekend and if you're like us, you have a will of steel! However you also might need some distraction in between moments of inspiration. What a conundrum.
There, there, Marimello will make it all better…

You should stay:
International Fiber Collective needs your help to cover a gas station with craft. So craft a 3'x3' square and send it on in.
Craft and Adorn both have new issues out. Get thee to a bookstore (ok that means going a little bit out) and cuddle up with your mags.
But if the bookstore is too much of a trip there's always a bit of reading to do online. May we suggest you peruse Sisterhood of the Needle. Our favorite is definitely the mother-daughter team who both needed shoulder surgery after too much knitting. Cheesey? Yes, but Marimello likes it too.
Finally, nothing says distraction like a good i-cord project. And nothing says too much time on your hands like a headphone cord cozy. But surly you can think of something that needs an initial a la LaVerne and Shirley, or maybe some one you love needs a curse word emblazoned on a pennant.
Or you could do your work...sigh.

You should go:
Giant Robot NY is showing
Susie Ghahremani's work and there is an opening tomorrow. You all know Susie from Boy Girl Party. The best part is Susie will be there handing out free copies of Craft and sample of the sampler.
Down New Zealand way, you can hit up Craft 2.0. Our noses have been pointed decidedly south ever since we heard about Lynda Dorrington's plans to turn Perth (yeah yeah we know, different country) into some sort of arts and crafts utopia.
Back on this side of the equator, there's a Recraft Fair happening in Somerville, MA on Saturday. Besides music and loads of free stuff, our friends from Magpie will be there.
Also free and also tomorrow, there's Craftanostra, hosted by the St. Louis Craft Mafia. If you had a private jet, you could make both events, because Craftanostra goes until 1 a.m. Best part? Drinks at the bar.
If you're in our neck of the woods, head over to Fiber Fest in Santa Monica. We might duck out for a moment and head over too. We hear there's an alpaca that needs petting.
And while alpaca-petting may get us out of the house for a moment or two, this Toronto event is our favorite. Maybe it's their offer of weenies, or maybe it's because 20 vendors are all cramming into some one's backyard. More likely it's that afterward, they having a clothing swap and chocolate tasting.

Oh did we say we were going to make your weekend easier? We meant harder.

Image Ann Taintor. She is hilarious.



We are beginning to love Jezebel. With this new installation of LOLVogue, they finally seem to prove their understanding of our love of crafting and our fascination with over analysis of idiosyncratic web speak.

Now if someone will just put together a LOL Craftzine blog, we can ROFL until we dies.


God How We Love the Local News

We know it's old timey to craft. But it's really only a little bit old timey; say maybe only on the public transit. Other circles we travel in think it's A-OK and totally hip to the jive, if not a little trendy. So we were happy to see this posted as news today. Offbeat crafting billed so shockingly makes us feel fresh and young again!

But the breaking new we really wanted to bring you was that Marimello wriggled in the glow of the spotlight today. We know that it's gauche to mention, but fuck it.
Check us out in Pack Rat Magazine and on Manolo. We made him blush. Ayyyy!

So shine on you wacky indie! Or indie wackos. We forget which. We'll deal with Miss Web 2.0 Manners next.

Ideas Unbound: Interview with David Bernstein Part II

Digital content (i.e. your patterns, your words, your pics) will find an audience who doesn’t want or need to pay. This is faboo if you are posting on say Instructables, but not so if you are trying to make a buck. So, we’re back with part deux of the David Bernstein interview where in we discuss the desire for digital content to be free, what gets the New Pamphleteer out the door, and the future of print in the digital age. The New Pamphleteer has embraced the ideas which big publishing houses have not and has big plans for navigating the murky waters between print and digital formats.

M: Many publishers, small and large, are worried about giving away any scrap of their merchandise, including allowing access to a book via Google Book Search or Amazon Search Inside the Book. But you send out an ebook version of your pamphlets to everyone who orders. While we may be so sated with the instant readability, who says we're not gonna turn around, print it out and circulate it our damn selves?

DB: Our mantra on this is unoriginal, but true: Digital content wants to be free. Ebooks are to, me, a not particularly attractive product as a reader. What advantage do they have, as currently constituted, over printed books? The bottom line is, if someone really wants the content, they want to own it in physical form. If they only want to read it, but aren't willing to pay ... well, they would just borrow the printed book from a friend or a library, or but a used copy fro a buck from Amazon. For us, ebooks are just an easier way to let people pass around our stuff to their friends, which I don’t see as a bad thing. The more people who see our pamphlets, the better it is for us. Marketing guru Seth Godin proved this a few years ago, when he gave away the ebook version of one of his books and saw sales of the physical copies skyrocket. Most publishers are terrified of this model, but we're pretty certain that it’s what the future will hold – at least until someone comes up with a more interesting (meaning interactive and fun) way of creating ebooks. Which I might add, is one of our goals as well.

M: Your background in big publishing houses suggests to us that you've had lots of lots of in-house resources—designers, copyeditors, publicists, worker bees, knuckle draggers, etc. Are the Pamphlet Guys handling these tasks with freelancers or what?

DB: We have a VERY talented pool of freelancers who do our design, copyediting, and publicity. But we also do quite a bit ourselves.

M: Aside from revolutionize publishing and the digital stream of consciousness on the web, have you got any big plans in the works? Because we think you are onto something. We think the fate of creative industries, and those that support them lie in the hands of the indies.

DB: As I alluded to earlier, we have big plans for the future relating to ebooks. Print and digital are going to continue to converge in ways that are difficult to predict, but we plan to be right at the center of it, creating a whole range of innovative products. Our logo says "The Future of Print in a Digital Age" which I think sums it up perfectly. Print is going to look different. Digital is going to look different, as our ways of accessing content continue to evolve as a result of new products and technologies. And I think the line between the two will just get blurrier.



Ideas Unbound: David Bernstein of the New Pamphleteer Part I

For some time we've been thinking about how the ever-expanding world seems constantly to be reeled in by indie minds and indie ventures and so far it has involved some of the most interesting people we've ever met. Most recently we've had a chance to chat with David Bernstein of The New Pamphleteer (or one of the Pamphlet Guys as we have been referring to him). A joint venture of David Bernstein and Adam Bellow, The New Pamphleteer started out as an effort to sift through the best of online writing and putting it into print. Fascinated with the way The New Pamphleteer mantra has lined up with the digitization of the craft world through online mags, zines and social networking sites, Marimello traded a few friendly emails. We'll post the rest tomorrow.
Sample their wares here.

M: A little background por favor: What's your inspiration for filtering the digital stream; taking blogs and putting them on the printed page?

DB: Initially, we saw value in preserving some of the most interesting online content in print for both commercial and archival reasons. However, over time we have become less interested in blog content than in we are in the bloggers themselves, many of whom are terrific writers and thinkers. The reason that blogs have become so popular as an outlet for talented writers is that there are numerous artificial barriers preventing these folks from publishing with mainstream outlets – from the need to get an agent, to having a media profile, to gaining the right contacts. What we want to do is open up the publishing process a bit, by allowing talent to find an audience over time rather than being beholden to the vagaries of the Barnes & Noblization of publishing – the trend that increasingly requires every book to be a “bestseller.”

M: Can you help elaborate on the difference between a zine and a pamphlet?

DB: Well, to me 'zines have this underground, haphazard feel to them. Multiple authors under one cover, no real point-of-view or consistency throughout. Not that 'zines can't be fun and interesting, but what we are doing is different – a pamphlet has a single point-of-view, a consistent voice, and a purpose in terms either providing concrete information or advancing an idea, argument or viewpoint.

M: Why'd ya pick a fashion blogger like Manolo [the shoe blogger] (aside from the fact that he is genius complete)? What's the submission process?

DB: Manolo is the ideal example of what we look for in an author – a rich blend of talent, a strongly passionate connection with a loyal online audience, and a mischievous entrepreneurial streak. In the case of Manolo, he was one of the first authors we sought out. But at the same time, we are very eager to see unsolicited submissions as well. One of our most successful, and I think best written, offerings is “Raising Wild Boys Into Men: A Modern Dad's Survival Guide” by Kansas blogger Tony Woodlief. Tony sent us about 6 pamphlet proposals by email before we settled on this one. We're also working on putting together a contest where we invite submissions, and we'll post them as ebooks and let the public decide which should be published in print.

M: Who are your target readers? What's the distribution process like?

DB: Our readers are the same people, by and large, who read blogs. We see the pamphlet as a physical extension of the online connection which top bloggers have with their readers. In pure marketing terms it's a “brand extension”-- like when you buy a Spider-Man t-shirt to go along with your closet full of comics. Currently, we distribute primarily through our own website. We sell a bit in independent bookstores, and we also have negotiated several bulk distribution deals with brick and mortar partners. In general, though, we have stayed away from traditional retail channels (and I count Amazon among those) because, first, they take too much of our money and second, we like having direct relationships with our customers, which is something you lose with retail sales.

M: Do you see these pamphlets as possible promotional tools for say a community effort? Say a publicist who reps a bunch of writers or designers? Or for that matter a bunch of writers who can't get it all together at Kinkos?

DB: The cool thing about the pamphlet format is that it can be purposed for pretty much any kind of content. We are looking at a wide range of opportunities and ideas right now, including using them for promotional purposes, reprinting classic or archival material, and even doing short graphic novels. So yeah, any ideas people have we're willing to entertain.



Smashing Darling: a new marketplace for indies

Speaking of interesting sites for indie minds, check out the interview with Trish Ginter and Julie Rorrer of Smashing Darling on PR Couture. Smashing Darling is another growing online community, resource and commerce site for the indie world. We even spied a few familiar Etsy faces. The Smashing girls tackle questions about what exactly indie is, how to more effectively use indie marketplaces and how to use multiple indie marketplace shops to your advantage.

And a quick word on PR Couture; it's a hot site for fashion PR, but it's also a good resource for crafty minds who might be in need of a little self-promotional advice.


Crafting the Business of Etsy: Size Does Matter

If you haven’t already (it was posted almost a week and a half ago) go read in entirety Rob’s post on the Etsy blog here. It’ll bring a tear to your eye. Or not. It might just bring a little lust to your heart to read about the inner machinations of the increasingly popular craft selling site. Sure, everyone in the craft would knows and adores Etsy, but on the outside, as we like to call it, Etsy is the regular folks are starting to take notice of Etsy and its business practices. From the business world’s perspective, Etsy is an overnight sensation compared to the era (eons?) of trial and error that much larger, more well-known sites went through. Sure they had to wait for us all to get used to buying things online and that took time, but consider also the amazing community that has developed with in Etsy. That can’t be said for some other site where users sold their wares in the past.

Perhaps a better post would look more at what Etsy has learned, rather than marvel at how it works. But here’s an excerpt anyway. Find a similar passage from a larger company and the Marimello team will sit down to a meal of crochet hooks. Our hats are too precious.

From Rob’s post:

These are some particular challenges we’ve faced:

Having a consistent message vs. letting humans be human. There is no “Etsy” in the monolithic sense of a single identity or being. Etsy is the several dozen employees of Etsy, Inc. and even more, the several hundred thousand members of the community.

As I see it, large corporations try to sanitize all their outgoing messages for the sake of keeping face. It is very easy to identify this kind of behavior. Whenever you read something and it sounds like a series of pre-made phrases strung together, instead of a human being speaking, this is sanitized communication. To me, this stuff sounds inhuman.

I want Etsy to stay human. This means allowing each person’s voice to be heard, even if it’s squeaky or loud or soft. I will not put a glossy layer of PR over what we do. If we trip, let us learn from it instead of trying to hide it; when we leap, let’s show others how to leap. Hence the title of this whole blog post: Open Etsy.

We’ve got a ways to go. It’s 2:34am and I have to get back to polishing the new screen designs for Alchemy. To everyone out there, it’s been a good ride so far, and I’m looking forward to the next couple years more than anything.



Carasan, mi Corazon

A mother-daughter design duo? We’ve seen it before. But a mother-daughter knit couture design duo; be still our hearts!

We don’t usually do this, but we do spend a lot of time drooling over couture and when we find a crossover for crafting, we absolutely must make the introduction. So, meet Carasan. When 18 year old daughter Cassandra couldn’t find a job in her new college town (NYC, so quelle surprise), she asked her mother to go into business with her.
Their inspiration ranges from Erte to Fortuny and according to their statement, “Carasan epitomizes today's young American Couture, transcending time with its authentic creations and looking back into history for inspiration, not just for their designs, but also how we all impact the world in which we live forever.” Sure it’s couture, but it sounds suspiciously crafty, yes?

Thanks to FashionIndie for pointing us toward Carasan, and look for an upcoming interview with the duo on Angel Lust PR.

Now let’s go back to drooling…If you don't have a myspace account to go check out the pics, it's worth getting one.



Philip Island Little Penguins: I can has jumper?

What's cute? Little Penguins. What's cuter than cute? Little Penguins used to be called Fairy Penguins. AWWWW!
What's not so cute? That these little guys get all covered with yuck when big tankers illegally dump fuel or crude oil. While concerned penguin lovers can wash the oily birds off, the process logically fucks with their natural abilities to repel water, leaving the penguins cold and not in a cute Chilly Willy way. What? Take away the cutness? Being the most adorable things since kittens there has to be a cute solution right? So this here news from the world of charity crafting is the cutest thing to come across our radar in a long time, albeit it's a little (read "pretty much really") old. So old in fact that the project is over and now the Tasmanian Conservation Trust has switched it's focus to keeping the Little Penguins off the road and out from under cars.
Read about the habits of Little (Can we still call them Fairy?) Penguins here.
Read about the Tasmanian Conservation Trust and the Jumpers project's success here.
Sadly there isn't any need for you to knit a penguin sweater as they collected more that 15,000 (!) but that doesn't mean you can't knit one up anyway. Just think of the questions you'll get next time you're knitting on the subway or in the Dr.'s office.
And of you're really hankering to do some good with you skills, check out craftivism.com where Betsy Greer's activism is always inspiring.