Tool Talk

The first part of the August GM was simulcast to a small group of invited participants. Committee members Ann Jackson and Katherine Henry (with a lot of help from Katherine’s daughter Isabella) put a great deal of work into setting up the broadcast and made a lot of adjustments and adaptations throughout the morning so they could get things working in time for this month’s Tool Talk. Ann Jackson emphasised that the idea of the simulcast is not to replace the monthly meetings but to provide another place where people can join in. Ann then explained the realities of copyright during simulcasts, anything that is broadcast on the internet (or most other mediums) can legally be copied and consequently reviewed or commented upon by anyone. The problem of copyright control for any speakers or guest artists appearing at the Guild is one that needs to be resolved in the future. Ann suggests that people need to accept that if their work is in the public arena they should be prepared to deal with some people borrowing their ideas or techniques. Any work shown during the simulcast will be acknowledged.

Members should also know that in 2010 the NSW Government passed an Associations law which allowed for general meetings and committee meetings to be held via the internet with members in different locations – so it’s all totally legitimate! It was mentioned that 2011 is the first year that graduating university students have lived their whole lives with the internet. From now on this sort of technology will be an even larger part of every day life. Very soon the internet and related technologies will not be new or advanced but quite simply the only methods people know how to use to communicate with and find out about the world. Ann hopes that by introducing these concepts to the Guild she will help to keep it relevant for the next 65 years.
Apparently most of the people who have expressed an interest in viewing simulcasts of the Guild meetings have not been members so this is a great way to introduce them to the Guild and encourage them to join. Ann also pointed out that once they smoothed out the technical problems with setting up the simulcasts they would be a lot less obtrusive and members would hopefully come to think of the idea as an ordinary happening. For each of the first few simulcasts a different provider is being used so that Ann can compare the results and decide who we will use for the long term.
Still talking about tools but this time rather more traditional ones, Ann had a word about one of her favourite subjects – spindles. Recently she has discovered two new (to her) spindle makers, one in Australia and one in New Zealand. Both of them have products available on Etsy and of course Ann has been acquiring examples of their work. It is fairly likely that anyone taking Ann’s support spindling workshop during Summer School 2012 will get to see and possibly use some of these new spindles that have been added to her collection.
At this year’s Darling Harbour craft show Ann came across some interesting new art materials called Inktense pencils. They are are fairly mess free method of marking fabric and ending up with what looks like a painted finish. The pencils are very easy to blend and Ann had some very interesting examples of how they had been used to embellish textile projects.
As the final part of her talk Ann mentioned that IBM had started a new mentoring project but unlike conventional programs where older, experienced people mentor those new to their profession this new system assigns young graduates as mentors to older staff members. The idea is that the youngsters can help their elders with new technology and systems and one would imagine the exchange of information is probably a lot more mutual than in the past.
Part two. Katherine and Isabella Henry use several websites to assist them with their knitting and spinning. Sites such as Ravelry have literally thousands of free patterns but also have many more useful tools that are mostly free for members to access.
Many of the patterns featured have links to posts by people who have knitted a specific pattern and show photos of their finished work plus comments and tips they may have about making the item or any variations they may have made to the it. This is a valuable resource which can help a great deal in making decisions about yarn, etc. and even help you decide if you actually want to go ahead with the project.
Another feature of the website is a catalogue you can build for yourself where you enter in various issues of knitting magazines that you own. If you are browsing through the site and look at an item that someone has made or talked about the site will automatically tell you that you already own the pattern for it and let you know which particular magazine it is in. You still need to buy the magazines (which helps the publishers) but you now have a wealth of information about the patterns you have, above and beyond what could possibly fit into a regular edition of a knitting mag.
There is also a yarn inventory where members can list items they have in their stash or items they are needing for a project and the site can link people up to either swap/buy/donate yarn to whoever needs it.
The Guild has a presence on Ravelry and some of the groups are also members. Caroline Dick also mentioned that Ravelry is safe to use as you can adopt any user name you like and do not have to reveal your identity.
Another website that Katherine and Isabella have discovered is Knitty. It is actually an online magazine rather than a meeting place for members but it has a wide variety of interesting articles and projects and is completely free. There is also a spin-off (pun intended) from Knitty called knittyspin which covers the subject of spinning.

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