26 October 2011

Closing Temporarily

Greetings all! Long time no see.

I've been trying to juggle too many things lately and after some serious thinking, I decided that this is currently my lowest priority. I love mailling and blogging about it, but I need to focus on other stuff. Namely my career as a designer, and some upcoming personal events.

I'm closing Knitted Steel for a while. The shops (Etsy, Storenvy) are still open, but I won't take custom orders and I won't be restocking. KS will hopefully return to full glory on January 10th, maybe with a little cosmetic work.

I will start taking limited lanyard orders in January for the coming convention year.

Cheers all, and see you in 2012!

31 August 2011

Wrapping Up PAX (in a big shiny bow)

Photo Courtesy CliffNordman.com
Wow. WOW. What. a. show.

Thank you all so much for such a wonderful weekend. This one will definitely go down in the memory books (aka this blog) as one of the best overall PAXes I've attended. As I write this I work my way through a stack of music including The Protomen, MC Frontalot, Supercommuter and the amazing Jonny Nero Action Hero. I'm also working my way through bottles of allergy meds and vitamins, because I may have fallen victim to the ConSARS again this year. OH DANG.

I also want to thank everyone not only for buying my lanyards - you are all awesome! - but also to thank  you all for being my walking advertisements. All weekend I was barraged by total strangers asking me about my wares, and I KNOW that it's not because of this little blog. Now I'm approaching 10,000 views and I am blown away! Really, thank you.

Now that the show has ended, it's time to turn my sights onto other things. I am still taking maille orders and filling my store, of course, but in the meantime my focus will finally be on my online presence. This blog could definitely use a face lift, and now that I own knittedsteel.com (woohoo!) as well as .net, I feel like I need my own site beyond Blogger and Storenvy. So let the adventure begin.

I'm already making lists and doodles of things I want to include on the site, including a section dedicated to building custom lanyards and another for pirate bands. I'll also mod my Storenvy shop to fit the theme of my site, which will hopefully link directly.

Oh man guys, Protomen's The Fall is freaking epic.

ANYHOO. If there is anything you would like to see on my new site, please drop a comment here and let me know. I'd love to hear your opinion since I am building it for you, after all. It's been a while since I worked with web code so bear with me as I work through the bumps and hiccups. There'll be some beta testing for sure, and it will be a fairly simple site. When it's all done and built and pretty, hopefully it will make the bi-annual PAX lanyard ordering way smoother and easier for everyone.

Speaking of ordering, my summer blackout is over! If you would like to custom order something, please email me. Keep in mind that custom orders may take up to 2 months if I don't have the materials on hand. If you're interested in buying multiple lanyards (some little birds told me there are expo companies interested? YES PLEASE!) it will likely take me longer than that, but I guarantee the wait will be worth it!

Cheers everyone! See you at Prime 2012!

23 August 2011

PAX Prime Lanyard Delivery!

Huzzah! Last night I learned my Enforcing schedule for PAX Prime, which means I can plan the rest of my show hours. Let's start with YOU folks. Please read this entire post carefully.

If you have not yet paid for your lanyard, please do so. Either send via paypal (email listed below) before the show, or bring cash with you. Exact change is ideal.

I will be distributing lanyards before my shift begins each day.
You can find me on Level 2 at a table in front of Juice It (listed on the official PAX map), from 9am to 9:50am.

If you can't make it to the morning pickup time, email me ASAP to set up special arrangements - jules @ knittedsteel . net - I'm happy to accommodate. I will do my best to keep up with Twitter, but I have no idea what kind of WiFi signal is available at the WSCC.

FRIDAY NIGHT: I will be at the Protomen concert, helping JonnyNero with his tee shirt and CD sales. He is awesome enough to allow me some table space as well. If you're going to El Corazon and don't have your lanyard yet, stop by and pick yours up. I will likely entice you into buying some of Jonny's merch, too. :)

[ENFORCERS]: I will be at setup for a few hours on Thursday morning, likely folding shirts on the 4th floor. I hope to arrive at 11, and I will stay as late as 2pm. You can also ask me anytime during the show in Enforcerland.

Friday thru Sunday, 10am-2pm, I will be at the PA Merch Booth outside the main Queue Room. Please read this extra carefully: DO NOT COME TO THE MERCH BOOTH FOR YOUR LANYARD. When I am selling Merch, I am on shift as a volunteer for Penny Arcade, Inc. and NOT representing my own business. I will not have the lanyards with me and I will not accept payment for them during those hours. Do not ask anyone else at the Merch booth about my lanyards as they have nothing to do with Knitted Steel. The Merch booth is for Penny Arcade merchandise only! If you want to catch me as I leave my shift, that's absolutely fine. I'm 6ft tall with short blonde hair, you can't miss me.

You must claim your lanyard by 2:30pm Sunday. If your lanyard is unclaimed and unpaid at that time, it will be sold to whomever wants it at the current retail price. For those going to the Post PAX Party at Jillian's, I will once again be manning JonnyNero's table and I will sell any extra, unpaid lanyards I possess.

28 July 2011

To All Aspiring Creatives

Someone just posted this to Facebook, and I had to snatch it up. I wish someone had told me this in college, because some days I really could have used the encouragement contained in the message.
Click for full size
It took me a couple of years to hit my stride in mailling. Longer with my graphic design. Sometimes I still make crap. But I work past it to something greater. It takes time and a lot of hard work and dedication. If learning comes easy to you and you're one of those people who catch on quickly and you're used to getting perfect results, don't be dissuaded. Art and creativity of all kinds is messy and personal, and that gap is different for everyone.

Never give up. Keep at it, constantly. Whether you're a writer, mailler, painter, designer, or anything else that takes good taste and a keen eye. Don't quit. Close the gap.

UPDATE: Thanks to reader nw for linking the speech that inspired the poster!

25 July 2011

Supporting Local Artists: Jonny Nero

Three months ago, I never thought I would be working so often with other local artists. But there are so many incredible projects going on in Seattle right now that I just can't resist! Business at Knitted Steel is taking a very exciting turn.

Jonny's awesome Facebook photo

Allow me to introduce you to Jonny Nero Action Hero. He's a chiptune rock musician who looks like the Tenth Doctor, and he creates fantastic music with his sidekick Sheep. His main instrument, pictured above, is his yellow Gameboy. His most recent live performances have been at fundraising concerts for GeekGirlCon, and he has a hell of a show coming up next month.

On August 26th, PAX FRIDAY, he will be opening for none other than The Protomen at El Corazon. And it's a free show if you bring your PAX badge. (or $15 online at elcorazonseattle.com)

If you've never heard of him, please check out his music and buy a copy of his album if you like it! And if you REALLY like him, or if you want to guarantee yourself a piece of Action Hero swag at the concert, head over to his Storenvy shop and pre-order a tee shirt or pick out some buttons.

The yellow-on-black Logo tee is my design. The Sheep tee is pretty freakin' cool too. If he sells enough of this first run of shirts, Jonny says he'll later stock his store with Ladies' sizes as well!


On a related note, many thanks and sincere gratitude to those of you who have funded the indie film project REVERSAL. In just a few short days the total shot up over $2000, and now they are nearly halfway to full funding! If you haven't looked at it already, I urge you to do so.

12 July 2011

Supporting Local Artists: REVERSAL

Recently my coworker David approached me while I was lunching and mailling at my desk. He's into filmmaking, and rather good at it. (See: THE BOOK OF ZOMBIE) His most recent endeavor - REVERSAL - is currently in pre-production and I think it shows a whole lot of promise.

It started with a killer script...

We chatted and he told me the plot of the movie. Then he said that there's one little movie prop that has a big role - a keychain. He saw my dice earrings at Storenvy and asked if I could make something like that in keychain form. Uh, OF COURSE! I gave him a mockup, which is shown below, and promptly ordered materials for more.

Official Movie Prop!

So now the project has a cast and crew, a solid script, and the coolest prop ever. All it needs is funding. The crew has set up a fantastic fundraising page over at IndieGogo, and I ask you to please go check it out. It will answer all your questions and leave you very intrigued. And please donate! Supporting the local arts and small businesses of Seattle is what makes this city so great and colorful. Besides that, if you donate $100 or more you will get an OFFICIAL MOVIE REPLICA KEYCHAINalong with other cool stuff!

These keychains are not available for sale outside of this fundraiser. The keyring is a nickel-plated steel split ring, roughly 1" in diameter. 7 titanium rings connect the silver-plated die cage, which when pulled gently at both ends, releases the die for use in your on-the-go gaming! It's strong enough to contain the die in your pocket, purse, wherever. The die is a standard d6 and can be swapped out for any other die sized 8-12mm. The keychain will not be found in my store, and I will refuse all custom orders for it until this film is funded. Support the arts!


*Note: The keychain pictured above is the prototype. The final design will not change but the die inside will vary slightly in size and color. I will update this post once a color is chosen!

10 July 2011

Custom Orders Closed! and a note on Social Networks

This post comes with two subjects!

Lanyard Crafting for PAX Prime 2009

Custom Orders Now Closed
Thank you all for your lanyard orders! I came just shy of my 50 cap; perfect. My final materials order for the summer is made, and I'm going into blackout mode. What does this mean? I won't be taking any more custom orders until September. I will, however, be updating my stores at Etsy and Storenvy. Whatever materials I have leftover from custom lanyard orders will be put toward making a few random lanyards to sell online. Their base price will be $50 each, with the usual +$5 per color beyond the standard 2.

This will be the new standard base price starting September 1st.

Any orders I get AT PAX will still start at $40. More on that later.

So many choices!

Knitted Steel's Presence Online
There is a LOT happening with social media and networking right now. It can get a little overwhelming and there is more coming down the pipeline to pay attention to. With two stores, a blog, a facebook, and a twitter, it's getting kind of crazy on this end. I'm going to break it down a little.

I'm getting a little tired of Etsy. Granted, I haven't put a whole lot of effort into it lately. But it seems like the quality's gone downhill since I originally joined. A lot of it is filled with, as Regretsy queen Hellen Killer puts it, Whimsicle Fuckery. Please don't comment on the spelling.

There are some amazing stores on there and some truly wonderful people, groups, communities and products. But it's getting harder and harder to find unique and admirable handicrafts amidst the "vintage" junk, resold Chinese knockoffs and upcycled crap. It doesn't seem like the admins are doing much to clean up the site, either. I am going to slowly let that store disappear as I delve further into Storenvy.

I really, really like this website. It's customizable, it's free, it's SUPER friendly and it's not yet overrun by people who don't really want to be there. This is where I want to set up shop for now, and this is where I will be posting my lanyard leftovers before PAX this summer. Best of all, Storenvy is still in Beta, which means I can grow as it grows. And speaking of Beta...

This is amazing. I got in really early on the Beta and I'm happy I did, because I've been able to add my feedback to its growing pains. One feature I love is the Hangouts. Google has yet to roll out business profiles, but they are taking applications for the business beta. I just filled out the application and I sincerely hope they let me join. I want to implement Q&As and Tutorials via Hangouts. I want to organize my customers by what they're interested in. And I can't wait until Google+ integrates Blogger.

I'm still on Facebook, and I will be for quite some time. It's great for creating events, there's an app for each of my stores and for the most part it's simple to use. I've never been impressed by the privacy settings, and a lot of the customization is just plain confusing. Unless they can announce something truly awesome (and I don't think adding Skype is that awesome, because Skype is nothing new) I'll continue to be unimpressed. Really, the fate of my Facebook page hinges on the future G+ business profile. Even after that launches, I'll likely use my Facebook page to forward links to my G+ page.

I'm at a loss for what to do with Twitter. I get several follows each day, but 99% of them are spam, or other crafters who follow me 3 times per week in hopes that I'll follow them back. I don't like that strategy. Annoying me is not going to make me want to follow you more, fellow Twitcrafters. If I don't show interest in your Twitter feed, don't be offended. It's likely because I hardly log on. I hope to use it more often as Google+ and Storenvy progress, updating with new products and events. For now I just don't have much to offer via Twitter. Don't give it up yet! I won't.

All in all, I hope to streamline my online presence with the help of Storenvy and G+. G+ will especially make everything online more efficient, and Storenvy provides the edge and style more appropriate to my brand than Etsy.

TL;DR - No custom orders until September, and Social Media is running amok. Cheers!

30 May 2011

PAX Prime 2011 Lanyards - Order now!

'Tis the season once again to gear up for PAX Prime in Seattle, WA. I'm doing things a little differently this year, so please read this entire post.

First off: All orders must be emailed to me by 11:59pm Pacific Time on July 6th. I'm sticking to a very hard deadline this year with the hopes of preventing burnout.

Second: I am only taking 50 lanyard orders. If the 50-mark is hit, I'll update the blog saying so.

If orders are cut off for either reason (deadline or hard cap), you can still find some lanyards on my Etsy store but I will NOT take custom orders.

Third: Unless you specify otherwise, all lanyards will be hand-delivered at PAX. Time and location TBD, once I get my [Enforcer] schedule.

A new feature of all my lanyards is that the badge clip is affixed to the neck strap with stainless steel, for extra durability. If you have an older lanyard that doesn't have this feature (yet) I'm announcing a soft recall. Find me at PAX during my delivery times and I will upgrade your lanyard for free.


Step One: Choose your colors.
There is a variety of colors to choose from. For $40 you can have one or two colors. Each additional color is an extra $5. If you want a 3-color lanyard, it's $45, 4-color is $50, etc. These lanyards are made of anodized aluminum. They are brightly colored, durable, lightweight and more often than not have zero negative effects on people with metal allergies. Other metals are available, but often times more costly (contact me for prices), less comfortable and have a tendency to tarnish and leave marks on the skin.

Colors below may vary slightly as I have no control over the anodizing process (think of it like a dye lot for yarn or cloth). Click on the images for the full size, courtesy TheRingLord.com. The second image is bright (silver) aluminum.

Step Two: Choose your stripes.
The lanyard can be given horizontal or vertical stripes. In the image below, you can see a solid (brass, on the left), vertical stripes (blue & yellow on the right) and horizontal stripes (black, purple and silver in the center). If nothing is specified, I will assume you want vertical stripes. Horizontal stripes will be equally sized unless otherwise requested.

Step Three: Contact Me!
I won't know what you want unless you let me know! To order a lanyard, please email me at jules@knittedsteel.net with the following information:

-- Write "PAX PRIME 2011 LANYARD" in the subject line

-- Name & Handle (nickname, gamertag, etc)
-- Your choice of colors and stripes
-- Any other questions or requests
-- Your payment option (paypal or cash)

Step Four: Pay Me Please.
Once I receive your order by email I will reply with your total and arrange payment. You will not receive your lanyard until I receive payment in full, no exceptions! I take PayPal in advance of the convention (preferred), or cash in person.

These lanyards are not exclusive to PAX! In fact, they are in no way affiliated except that I'll be there, enjoying the weekend with the PA community. If you want a lanyard for another event, let me know and I will ship it to you for an additional $3.

If your lanyard becomes damaged, minor repairs are free. If the clip breaks, if the lanyard becomes entangled on something and pulls apart, if a few rings become scratched, I will fix it!

03 May 2011

Etsy, Regretsy and Resellers

I've had my Etsy store for a few years now, and when I first joined I thought the company and community were fantastic. Handmade goodies everywhere, the admins and crafters were happy and nice, and I felt like I had a fighting chance at selling some of my stuff.

Now, my sales could be much better if I put some more effort into it (and I intend to), but I've noticed a startling trend of late - resellers are taking over. April Winchell aka Helen Killer over at Regretsy brought my attention to it in her fabulously snarky way. It's tough to compete with resellers. They buy cheap stuff from China, Tibet, etc. and jack up the prices until they're similar to (yet slightly lower than) many of the gorgeous handmade products that Etsy has to offer.

For the first time in months, I took a look at the front page Featured Treasury and noticed a familiar pocket watch. Last year I went shopping for Steampunk fob watches on eBay and discovered a multitude of cheap, mass-produced watches. I snatched one up for $5 and planned to someday spruce it up with a Knitted Steel watch chain and sell it as a complete piece on Etsy - focusing on the chain and using the watch as an accent. When I saw the watch in the Featured Treasury (April noticed it too) I decided to explore the seller.

Lo and Behold, I found my $5 fob watch... and again. Look at the prices. Look at the other watches in that shop. There are a LOT of shops like this. Buying cheap bulk items that look handmade and vintage, and reselling them, is against Etsy's terms of use. So why are they promoting this crap on the front page? Why aren't these shops being shut down? Why does Etsy punish those who notice rather than exile those who blatantly ignore the Terms? This community doesn't look so friendly anymore.

Image Credit: Helen Killer, Regretsy.com

Thank you, April, for bringing this to light in such a hilarious and simultaneously serious way. I was nervous to participate in the forums when I first joined Etsy. Now, I'm afraid. I love constructive criticism. I love having a sense of humor. Neither of those seem welcome in that community.

I do like my watch. It's nice, durable, and an excellent addition to any steampunk costume. But you can't have it; it's unique! If you'd like an identical, unique, handmade pocket watch, I've put together this lovely Treasury of my own for you to peruse. Please enjoy. I'll let you know if something happens to my store because of this.

If any of you dear readers out there know someone who knows how to make and maintain a secure online store, please contact me at jules (at) knittedsteel -dot- net. I can't offer much compensation other than product and promotions; perhaps some graphic design?

09 March 2011


Just a quick post, which I will update later with stories of shenanigans.

Click the link below to see the Q13 FOX Photo Gallery from ECCC! It was great to represent work and have a different reason to attend a show. I've now been volunteer, vendor AND media at various conventions and fairs. Volunteer's still my fave, I think.


When I return, I shall tell the tale of how one group of crazies invaded a small pizza place/bar and used up all their drinkware.

02 March 2011

2011 Conventions

What a busy year this is already shaping up to be! How is it March already?! With March comes madness, and with madness comes SPARTAAAAAA!

Just kidding. But March DOES bring the beginning of the convention circuit for my 2011, and that makes me a little crazyface with excitement.

First up is this weekend - Emerald City ComiCon
  For the first time ever, I'll be representing with a media badge! I snagged one through work, so if you see me at the show my hands will be full of camera lens rather than pliers. When I return to work Sunday I'll weed through all my photos and post them on one of our websites. I hope to take a LOT of cosplay photos, so if you're dressed to the nines (or Seven of Nine) come find me and I'll take some pics.

Next weekend (March 11-13) - PAX East
  I'm still sad to be missing this one. I know my fellow Enforcers will take good care of the show and its attendees, but it feels weird to miss a PAX after working every one since 2007. This doesn't stop me from participating, though. I just finished up a bit of a secret project for a very cool attendee. I can't say/show what it is now, but I will post again once the show is over.

There's a big break around summertime. I'll either be feverishly cranking out lanyards and wedding invites in this time, or I'll find a show somewhere to go to. Maybe one of the local street fairs around Seattle/Bellevue? Another Punk Rock Flea Market?

To start the fall off in the last weekend of August - PAX Prime
  Back to the normal shenanigans and lanyards, dicebags and earrings. I'll be enforcing again, as well as setting some time aside for personal maille deliveries at the show.

A few weeks later (October 8-9) - GeekGirlCon
  Despite the fact that I won't be attending due to a schedule conflict, I may still get to represent. No official announcements yet, but I'm talking with another vendor about carrying some of my goodies. If that pulls through, I'll let you all know which booth is the coolest.

It just won't end! (October 14-16) - SteamCon III
  A lovely con with amazing costumes and creativity, I've had the wonderful opportunity to work in the art room for the past two shows. I hope to do so again this year, and maybe have some space of my own if I can get some show-worthy pieces put together in time. Last year we had an open wall from a no-show artist (artists, NEVER leave your wall blank) so I got to fill it with my sea nymph costume. Since this year is along that 20,000 Leagues theme, I may submit the costume as a feature piece.

I'm always looking for more! If you know of an art/craft/nerd show around Puget Sound, I'd love to hear about it. Leave a comment or drop me an email with details. Cheers!

19 January 2011

Wow, This Place Got Dusty.

After a long absence, it's time to write again. I took a bit of an unexpected, unannounced hiatus from the world of mailling and small business, and I apologize profusely to those I've inadvertently ignored. It was nothing personal, nor was it in any way professional. I have a back log of orders now that I will address this weekend and get everything straight.

So what happened? A helluva lot! After PAX I was a little burned out on maille. I picked up knitting as a hobby again (a hobby to escape a hobby?) as well as a second part time job, a weekly sport, and most importantly and wonderfully - I got married. Life has been blissfully crazy and busy and amazing since October. Now with the new year and practically a whole new life, it's time to get back at it!

Coming up first: PAX East. I will unfortunately not be attending this year. 2010 was a whirlwind and I'm sad I can't make it back, but I am still making lanyards. I won't be taking any more orders for this show, but I plan to get through the orders I have stacked up now. Again, I apologize for keeping anyone waiting!

This new hobby, knitting, is just that: pure hobby. I have no intent whatsoever to sell any knitted goods as they are all made either out of love, or out of experimentation. I do, however, plan to incorporate this hobby into Knitted Steel with a side project called Steely Knits. I will be opening a second Etsy shop to sell knit and crochet patterns, as well as maille knitting supplies including fancy stitch markers. The shop (not yet open) will be at steelyknits.etsy.com. Yay! Patterns will include hats, gloves, scarves, cowls, and maybe even handbags and range in difficulty from super easy to intermediate. I'm still working on pricing and such, but they will be sold either in PDF or printed formats.

My next huge goal is to become a vendor at Geek Girl Con, whenever that happens this year. I have high hopes for this show, and after meeting some of the organizers at their last fund raising concert, I'm even more excited. If I get the space, I will be stocking my table with loads of jewelry, lanyards, hopefully some knitting patterns, and maybe some bigger projects like the fishnet shirts and bikini top I still have. Time to really get serious about this stuff.

Before/After GGC, I will most definitely be attending PAX Prime again. I'm still far, far away from ever becoming a vendor there, and honestly I prefer the Enforcer shift anyway. I will be taking orders for Prime lanyards and goods after East is over, and I will make an official announcement for that. Sometime between now and then, KnittedSteel will also be getting its own Facebook page. The account is already active but it is completely bare. Another announcement will be made once that's up and running more than just bare bones.

GGC UPDATE: UGH. Looks like GeekGirlCon just announced the dates and other than PAX Prime weekend, this is the only other weekend this YEAR that I can't do. The only way I can attend now is if other plans (which take extreme priority over a convention) end up moving. I'll know for sure in a week or two. Boourns!

In the meantime, I need to work and work more and hobby more and exercise and love my hubby and ohmagawdsomuchtodooooo! Here are some links entirely unrelated to maille, but I think you may still enjoy.

www.lionbrand.com - has some great free knitting patterns that have taught me new methods and inspired some of my own patterns
www.curlingseattle.org - For the Puget Sounders, Curling is a hilariously fun sport and this club is having open houses in February and March! Go try it out for $15.
www.ravelry.com - for you serious knitters, this is the best community I've found online for all things yarn-related. Patterns, forums, friends, and oodles of knit/crochet photos.
Jonny Nero Action Hero - An amazing chiptunes artist who performed at the GGC fund raiser. Everyone NEEDS to check out his first album, EXPERIMUTATIONS.