Of all the amazing panels offered at GGC 2019, I was most looking forward to Knotty Geeks: Fiber Arts and Fandom. Crafting is having a bit of a renaissance in the geek world, and I am all here for it! I am an avid geek crafter, and I really wanted to see what other crafty geeks have been up to while possibly getting some new inspiration for myself. I waited patiently (not really) for 4 p.m. to roll around on Sunday and I headed down to the room with high expectations. I was not disappointed!
First off, the room was pretty full, which was encouraging to see for a late Sunday panel. As I looked around the room, I saw folks of many different ages waiting patiently for the panel to begin. Some of them were even working on knitted projects as they waited. I was actually a bit jealous, since I hadn’t brought any current projects of my own.
The panelist really didn’t waste any time once things got started. She kicked off the panel with one of the biggest and most important issues facing people who like to craft with ideas derived from pop culture—copyright infringement of trademark and licensed properties. Basically, what it boils down to is don’t sell this stuff. You can make patterns for things, knit a sweater depicting your favorite anime character, and even give them away as amazing one of a kind gifts, but the key is not to exchange money for said goods. It is really the safest practice. Now, you can absolutely jump through the hoops to create patterns in collaboration with license holders, but it is a lengthy and difficult process. Many times, it is simply easier to find licensed patterns that already exist and purchase those.
Another aspect of this issue that was mentioned is something known as “The 30% Rule.” This rule states that if a product that derives its design from another idea is not infringing on copyrights if the new product differs from the original by at least 30%. This can be tricky though, as it is largely subjective. Personally, I find it much easier to just find a fun pattern online and run with it.
When the necessary legal stuff was out of the way, we got to see some really fun and cool examples of fiber arts in the geek world. We were treated to a brief history of knitting, crocheting, and cross stitch, and were shown some cool and fun work that other geeks are doing out in the world. We had a discussion about how much math is involved in the art and the panelist showed us how some people are crocheting hyperbolic planes. She also passed around pieces that we could feel and look at in-depth, which was really fun. You could just feel the air in the panel room change with different levels of interest and awe with every project that was passed around.
The last portion of the panel was dedicated to a show and tell, and the attendees really delivered! It was wonderful to see geeks of many ages and skill levels get up in front of the room to show off work that they were so proud of, and to be supported by a community of like-minded people. The one I remember most was someone who showed their double-knitted Star Wars scarf that was readable from both sides! It was one of the most fantastic pieces I have ever seen! Even after the panel ended, there were groups of people in the room who stayed to talk about their crafts. Information was exchanged and connections were made. To me, this is what GeekGirlCon is all about—connecting you to your people. I was so, so glad that I attended this panel, especially since it has special significance to me.
I have been a crafter all my life. As an adult, I have taught myself how to knit and crochet. My mom taught me how to sew when I was very young, and it has proven to be a valuable skill. When I was 10-years-old, my father taught me how to cross-stitch. Yeah, my macho dad who worked in construction taught me how to cross-stitch because I was in love with the stitched Christmas ornaments he had made before I was born. No matter what goes on between my dad and me, I will always be grateful to him for giving me this gift.
Like many people, I have struggled with anxiety and depression for a very long time. And, also like many people, I was mis-diagnosed as a teen and didn’t receive the proper treatment for my mental illness. When things got hectic or hard, or when there would be too many thoughts running through my head, I would use cross-stitch as a type of therapy. It was something I could do that would calm my spirit and order my mind. I spent so many hours sitting in a really comfortable (and ugly) pink recliner, watching movies, and just having a great time creating beautiful things. Even now, over twenty years later, it is my favorite hobby.
There is also a timely and important issue that this panel brought up that I feel very strongly about, which is the gendering of crafting. We tend to think of knitting, crocheting, and other fiber-based arts as being a purely feminine pursuit, but that just isn’t true. I learned from this panel that, historically speaking, fiber arts have been practiced by people of all genders. If you think about it, it makes sense. I mean, everyone probably needed to have some kind of sewing and knitting skills just to keep their clothes in decent shape before they were mass manufactured. It wasn’t until fairly recently in human history that these skills were branded as being “womanly” and were relegated to the lowly position of being a housewifely, old lady hobby. I was taught to cross-stitch by a man. My boyfriend and I like to spend quiet nights crocheting together. Young people can make amazing things. Fiber arts are for everyone. Period.
I also love the idea of crafting for a cause. Sometimes you have an important message to get out there, or sometimes you get the itch to knit something, but you already have a million hats and aren’t sure what to do. Margaret and Christine Wertheim created a crocheted coral reef that has traveled to museums around the world to bring attention to the plight of coral in the Great Barrier Reef. My boyfriend and I have been knitting marsupial pouches to send to Australia to care for animals orphaned by the devastating wildfires. Premature babies, cancer patients, shelter animals… there is no end to the possible good that crafters can do, and have done, in this world. I am proud to be a part of a community that cares.
It doesn’t even have to be about knitting or crocheting. I want to take the opportunity to open this up. Sewing, quilting, sculpting, jewelry making, weaving, and any type of crafty outlet belongs here. In fact, I want to see what you have made! Share your projects! Stand up and be proud of the things that you have made! Inspire and be inspired by others! There is a place for you here.
Want to find some more inspiration and fun patterns online? Try heading over to ravelry.com to find another great community of knitters and crocheters. Want to learn? YouTube has so many great tutorials available for any skill level. Or you could do what I did and pick up a copy of Knitting for Dummies. There are a ton of resources out there for eager students. Don’t be afraid to try things. You may make something amazing!
I can’t wait to see if this panel will be back at GGC 2020!
As a writer and aspiring author, one of my favorite parts of GGC19 was hearing from some of the biggest new voices in publishing during the “Rising Stars” panel.
Each author had so many great things to say about their personal and professional experiences that I had a hard time cutting down my notes from the panel, so please enjoy this overly lengthy recap before checking out the authors’ books for yourself!
Is it hard for anyone else to believe that GeekGirlCon was a full two weeks ago? Maybe it’s because the daily routine of work, sleep, and Con-less days has set in; maybe it’s because this fall has felt like it’s lasted about two second, but I for one am already feeling nostalgic for the whirlwind of panels, workshops, cosplay contests, DIY Science Zone-ing, Exhibitor Hall-perusing, merch-purchasing days of the Con.
The perfect solution to the post-Con blues? Looking through all of the awesome photos from the #GGC19 photobooth! Taken by veteran GeekGirlCon photographer Sayed Alamy, the full photobooth album is up on Flickr now.
While I highly recommend looking through them all to fully relive the Con magic (and get excited for next year!), here are just a few of my favorites:
First off, from everyone at GeekGirlCon, thank you so much to our Agents, attendees, contributors, and exhibitors. As always, we just cannot do GeekGirlCon without you. Thanks for making the magic with us.
Before we beginning peppering your feeds with some more formal recaps of the weekend, I wanted to bring some cheer to this Monday we’re all experiencing while coming down from our con high with some staff selfies from the weekend. So peruse these, reflect on the pure joy of the weekend, and share yours with us using #GG19.
Can you believe it’s Day 2 of GeekGirlCon 2019? Since GGC is one weekend long, that means it’s the last day as well. This is the first year I’m working at the con, and I have to say it’s so satisfying seeing everyone sharing their passions and favorite fandoms through panels, cosplay, performances, and art work.
While this is the official last day of #GGC19, keep the spirit going after the convention ends by using the hashtag #ShareYourWorld. Each one of you, whether you’re a volunteering or attending, makes GeekGirlCon so great!
GeekGirlCon ’19 is in full swing, and we’ve packed so much into one weekend that it can be hard to see and do it all. BUT, if you’re a person who likes things of any kind, and you haven’t had the chance to pop up to the Exhibitor Hall on the fourth floor yet, you should absolutely check it out.
Not convinced? Here’s just a tiny look at everything you can see, do, & buy:
The theme for our Con this year is ‘Share Your World,’ and I wanted to take this opportunity to share a bit of mine. I am a huge Pokémon fan, and I have been an avid Pokémon GO player from the very beginning. Coincidentally, Novembers Community Day happens to coincide with day one of GGC! It is a true melding of my worlds.
For any who don’t know what Pokémon GO Community Day is, for a few hours on one day a month, a specific Pokémon is featured and spawns more frequently in the wild. The game also offers other bonuses during this time, such as increased instances of shiny Pokémon, experience boosts, and special moves for evolving the featured Pokémon.
Todays featured Pokémon was Chimchar!
Living in a suburb north of Seattle, I generally have my preferred Pokémon hunting grounds near to my home. Today, however, I had the chance to hunt in the city around the Washington State Convention Center. Just walking around the Con, I could tell that the love for Pokémon was strong, which is great because the area surrounding the convention center is chalk full of gyms and pokestops.
Hunting for Chimchar in downtown Seattle was a new experience for me this time because I set out on my own. Usually, I go out in my neighborhood haunts with my boyfriend to celebrate Community Day. The environments are familiar, the best spawn places are well known, and I have the company of my partner. Today, he was out of town visiting a friend, and I hit the crowded and less known streets of Seattle to catch as many Chimchar as I could.
At first, I was scared. I’m very shy by nature and I also deal with bouts of extreme social anxiety from time to time. The area wasn’t what I was used to, and I didn’t have my partner to lean on if I felt uncomfortable. The people around me were not those I had come to know by sight in my own neighborhood through many Community Days together, but strangers.
Despite these facts, the spirit of the day began to wash away my fears. I saw three people meet on a corner (holding two phones each) and begin to discuss their goals for the event. As I continued to walk, I would make eye contact and exchange a friendly nod with my fellow players. Con goers in full cosplay were out and about playing. At one point, and older woman stopped me to ask for some advice. She was a newer player and wanted to know how to tell a shiny Pokémon from a regular one, and I was more than happy to share my knowledge with her.
This is why I love this game. It encourages people to get out, see their community, and make friends. I have seen all types of people out playing at any given time—kids and their parents, couples, friends, and even the elderly. In my experience, there is not any one “type” of person who plays Pokémon Go. People of all genders and ages are able to find enjoyment in the game, and it gives us all a common bond.
In my everyday life, I won’t really go out of my way to talk to people. But on Community Day, that all changes. I almost become a different person. I will go up to groups of people and ask if they want to become in-game friends. There are people gathered around gyms to take down whatever featured legendary Pokémon raid is happening, excited at the prospect of having more people in their raid groups to give them the best chance to catch a rare Pokémon. After raids, people will congratulate or console complete strangers on their luck (or lack of) in catching the raid Pokémon. Children will come up to me to show off their best catches. Pokémon GO creates a safe place to enjoy something fun.
By the end of the three-hour event, I had caught right around 100 Chimchar, which really isn’t a bad haul. Within the first hour I had already obtained a three-star shiny Chimchar, which made the entire day a victory in my book. All in all, I walked away with three three-star Infernapes, including my shiny, with candies to spare to train them up. I ventured outside of my comfort zone to play a game I love, and I feel that my efforts were rewarded.
I’m looking forward to the announcement of next months Community Day! Check in game for details and play safely!
If you’ve never been to the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, you’re truly missing out. It’s one of the cutest, geekiest, most special places in the city, and we were lucky to have hosted our annual pre-con party there this year.
Hanna and I (and my sister!) swung by the party after work, picked up our passes, and meandered around our fellowed geeks for an hour or two. We sat in on a planetarium open house (did you know Pluto and Charon actually orbit each other??), learned about software that was created for embroidery patterns, and witnessed an epic dance party.
It was just good to be around folks who know what’s so important about the next two days, and we were beyond glad to have been there.
Can you believe it? GGC19 weekend is almost here! Start your weekend early and join us tomorrow night at the Pacific Science Center for the most epic GeekGirlCon Kick Off Party yet.
Where: Pacific Science Center. You can enter through the Denny entrance, on the South side of the PSC building.
When: Friday, November 15th from 7:00 – 10:00pm
What: food, a cash bar, crafts, games, music, geeky madlibs, and so much more!
Need some more convincing? Here are the top 5 reasons why you should attend:
1. You’ve already paid for it. The Kick Off Party is included with your GGC pass, so why not go?
2. Skip the Saturday morning line. Speaking of your GGC pass, you can pick it up at the party itself. That means you don’t have to wait in line on Saturday. Treat yourself to an extra half hour of sleep and pick up your pass Friday night!
3. Earn prizes by meeting new people. The Kick Off party is a great way to meet fellow GGC attendees. If you play a round of geeky madlibs with a person you met at the Kick Off Party, you can enter to win prizes.
4. Lots of different activities. On top of geeky madlibs, you’ll have a chance to…
craft a dragon egg,
merge crafting and coding with Turtlestitch,
play board games,
dance to the music, and
fill up with tasty food and drinks
5. Party favors. That’s right, there will be multiple party favors from sponsors.
Get ready to party and join us tomorrow night for the GeekGirlCon Kick Off Party!
As a lot of you might know, GeekGirlCon has this really excellent practice of hiring an artist every year to design our year-specific merch. This year, that artist is Tatyana Vogt, whose art is so beautiful I’ve literally teared up over it. We are all in for such a treat with this year’s stuff, so read on for some of that good good design reveal and a little Q&A with the artist herself! Then, get your passes, check out our full programming schedule, and get yourself organized with the Guidebook app. Three days and counting!
Tell us a little about your story. Where are you from? Have you always been an artist?
Sure! So I was born and raised in California. I’ve drawn off and on my whole life, not realizing that it was something that could be a job until my later years of high school. I went to an art college where I worked part-time to help pay the bills and spent the little bit of free time I had working on becoming a better artist.