Learn how to crawl: the New York City Yarn Crawl is on through Sunday, September 25.

Socking it to Stephen Colbert

Dear Kay,
Just a quick postcard from Monteagle to show you Proof of Progress on my vow to help provide a lifetime supply of handknitted socks for Stephen Colbert–if he decides to cover the recent Ravelympics fiasco and I do mean fiasco. I’m knitting these with Size 2 pitchforks.
This is Sock Number One using the sock pattern we named for Stephen Colbert: the Stephen Colbert Sock from Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines, back in 2008.
Mr. Colbert, let’s just say that there are more where this came from, should you decide to shed some of your Colbertian light on the recent unpleasantness regarding the United States Olympic Committee’s attitude toward the knitting community. There are 476 knitters over at the Ravelry Socks for Stephen group . . .




  1. I don’t do socks but I can knit him a nifty tie in sock yarn. I told him so in a post. Another Rowdy Ravelry Rascal.

  2. I don’t do socks but I can knit him a nifty tie in sock yarn. I told him so in a post. Another Rowdy Ravelry Rascal.

  3. I don’t do socks but I can knit him a nifty tie in sock yarn. I told him so in a post. Another Rowdy Ravelry Rascal.

  4. I love “size 2 pitchforks.”

  5. sz 2 pitchforks and what’s that yarn? Hellfire colorway? yum!
    (also, took delivery of Bowling Ave on the weekend to read on vacation next week- yay!)

  6. Not for nothing but I was just on the horn with a reporter from the Washington Post. Mr. Colbert: Everybody wants to know: will you accept the socks? It’s like winning the lottery! Relatives will come out of the woodwork asking you for a pair of socks.
    Socks for Stephen! Socks for Stephen!
    xoxoxo Kay

  7. How would one pronounce “Colbertian?” With a silent ‘t,’ obviously, but I can’t quite figure this out.

  8. In the spirit of the ‘husband comments” on the header of your page – when I showed my DH the uproar around USOC and the name “Ravelmpics” he said.
    “but there isn’t even an ‘O’!? and that is why I love him

  9. I just sent a pair today. And then I finally found the pair with the new design that I had started a few years ago. The first sock needs another 4″ or more before I can do the toe decreases. Lord help me when I start the second one because this first one drove me nuts!
    Your sock looks beautiful. I hope he agrees to do a show on this! 🙂

  10. Bet he gets lots’o’socks even if he doesn’t mention it.
    Happy summer!!!!!!

  11. Must weigh in on the pronunciation question:
    I think the “t” is sounded, and the “e” is as in Dilbert, not Colbert.
    Thus, “coal-BER-tee-en.”
    But you could say “coal-BEAR-shen” and be understood, in these parts.

  12. Personally, I am surprised we haven’t heard from the man. Perhaps he is out of the country.
    I would pronounce it, Coal-bear-zee-en (You don’t pronounce the T, so why worry about it?)

  13. Am reading Bowling Avenue. Almost finished. Wonderful. Love it. Write more.

  14. Your effort to keep Stephen in socks has been mentioned in Bloomberg Businessweek (See page 2 of the article)! If I could knit socks, I’d be with you. Perhaps Stephen would like a rabbit too? I’m quite good at them…

  15. I do so hope Stephen Colbert gets the 411 soon. Washington Post- yay!

  16. I’m a knitter. I waited on pins and needles for my Ravelry membership in 2007, as soon as sign ups were allowed.
    Y’all are making me ashamed to be associated with knitting or Ravelry. And my Mason-Dixon books are about to be tossed in the bin.
    Are y’all so Internet deficient that you can’t use a search engine and look up trademark law? The USOC has no other choice but to send cease-and-desist letters when the trademark is infringed and/or diluted. Otherwise, per current US & International law, they can lose all rights to the trademark and it becomes a generic. Aspirin, zipper, bikini and escalator are all former trademarks that, because they weren’t enforced when others started to use them, now have no value for their former owner.
    And trademark dilution means the trademark owner has to go after similiar sounding names and the use of the name even in a diffferent context.
    The letter used one unfortunate word. One. “Denigrate.” But the USOC did not choose the word with malicious intent. They did not wake up and rub their hands and twirl their mustaches and run to the thesaurus to find the most insulting word for knitters in specific. This is their standard cease and desist. And again, per trademark law, they must show why their trademark is valuable and why the infringer’s use, why yes, I’m afraid, there is no other way to put it, denigrates that value.
    It’s. A. Legal. Letter. Period.
    Nor did the USOC tell Ravelry to cancel the event or to not watch the Olympics. They suggested a name change. That’s all. Big whoop-de-doo. The event itself can still be held. And I bet even more Ravelers will join in now that this teapot tempest has been blown into a snit-filled hurricane.
    But now, let’s moan and demand attention as if the USOC personally came into our houses, stole our stash, and outlawed handknits as Christmas gifts.
    And the the USOC apologized! Twice! How many people get apologies for being offended by a legal letter? Not many, that’s for sure. Oh, but no, let’s not take the apology in the spirit in which it was given. Let’s sharpen the size 10 needles because the poor misinformed guy had the gall not to understand the politics of someone else’s pastime and inadvertently inserted what only the most obsessed would take as an insult: if you’d like to support the athletes with handknits, we’d be happy to make sure the handknits got to London.
    Oh the horror!
    So let’s protest by sending handknits socks to Stephen Colbert instead!
    Oh, the hypocritical irony…
    Meanwhile, I’m sure Ann and Kay won’t mind when I publish my new book, “Dixon-Mason Crochet,” written with my blog partner who lives in a different geographic region of the US. I’m Anne and she’s Kaye.

  17. Mr. Colbert obviously is not aware of the joy that is handknit socks, or he would be howling about the Ravelympics Debacle. He would be looking for those socks in the mail, already.

  18. Hey! I’ll write about it, too, if someone will knit me hand knit socks for life! I’m size 9.5 US.

  19. Hey! I’ll write about it, too, if someone will knit me hand knit socks for life! I’m size 9.5 US.

  20. This. Is. All. In. Fun. Period.

  21. Well. We’ve been SCHOOLED in trademark law.
    Point of clarification: we’ve never argued against trademark law here. Everybody who has a trademark should go right ahead and enforce it, as expertly –or clumsily– as they want to. Full employment of lawyers is a good thing in my book.
    As Mary says, this is all in fun, as it seems plenty of people have understood. Thanks for playing along. It would be great attention (for knitting) and entertainment for us all, if Colbert did do something, but regardless, it’s fun knitting socks for him.

  22. Kay, you forgot “‘Kay?” Also, diphthongs: “Ka-ee-uh,” for instance. ; )

  23. I just wanted to let you know that after reading your posts about the kerfuffle, and responses to comments, I, a self-taught knitter who also happens to be a lawyer, who has hemmed and hawed about purchasing your books (do I NEED another knitting book? shouldn’t I just be good and stick to FREE patterns? don’t I have enough OOHHH LOOK AT THAT DISH CLOTH), will now, you guessed it, be purchasing your books.
    So thanks! My knitting book stash thanks you!
    I can’t really comment on the Trademark issues, as I don’t lawyer in that field, but I do have to say, I know snotty writing, and that cease and desist letter was snotty writing. And the USOC deserves to get some snot right back at them. So kudos and thanks!

  24. I agree with Rebecca about the snotty writing. Oh!– she meant the cease and desist letter. Never mind.

  25. Colbertian: pronounced like I would say. Humbly. Truly loving reading abt this, in the spirit of fun with which it was intended… xo to the 2 of you…

  26. that would be ‘Colbearshun.’ (disappearing comments!)

  27. Geez! The Olympic lawyers could have been more tactful, but enough of this wounded pride carping. If you really care about the athletes, you should read the Yarn Harlot’s post on this subject; she makes much more sense – she gets it!

  28. Geez! The Olympic lawyers could have been more tactful, but enough of this wounded pride carping. If you really care about the athletes, you should read the Yarn Harlot’s post on this subject; she makes much more sense – she gets it!

  29. Geez! The Olympic lawyers could have been more tactful, but enough of this wounded pride carping. If you really care about the athletes, you should read the Yarn Harlot’s post on this subject; she makes much more sense – she gets it!

  30. Goodness, vitriol and snarkiness and threefold postings – what is the world coming to?! Yes, the name of the Knitting Summer Event has had to be changed, and yes, there are far worse problems in the world, just about everywhere you turn, and yes, a large group of knitters (and crocheters) said loudly and publicly ‘Show some respect in the way you deal with others, even if it’s ‘only’ on a business level’ – and now some of those knitters are sending socks to a TV personality with permission to distribute said socks as he sees fit – and people really feel the need to bin their books because of this? I’m sorry, that just leaves a nasty taste in my mouth, with its connotations of burning books (but maybe that’s just an issue where I’m oversensitive)…
    I’m pretty sure that for every person out their rolling their eyes in disbelief at this whole kerfuffle there’s at least one small café-owner whose Olympic torch breakfast baps were binned, one creator of a cushion from the Woolpack project whose finished work may not be presented to the intended athlete for fear of upsetting corporate sponsors, and one British family whose kids are in tears at not being able to attend this once-in-a-lifetime sporting spectacle because of the ridiculous way the ticket sales were handled, will be saying ‘GOOD ON YOU, KNITTERS (AND CROCHETERS)!’
    I’ll only be posting this once, and my name does not end in an
    ‘-e’ (though it could if I wanted).

  31. that would be ‘Colbearshun.’ (disappearing comments!)

  32. The eye-rolling persons are, of course, out THERE and not all clustered on a possessive pronoun… Sorry!

  33. Lordy, all of the vitriolic remarks seem to be coming from people who have no idea about how to have fun with something. Have they missed the humor of the Colbert Report in all of this time?
    I’m knitting socks (in fact, I’m knitting a second pair of socks) for this because Colbert has a good heart as well as a good sense of humor about such things. He’ll likely donate all of the socks to a charity or the active-duty military, which is just fine with me. This is not much different from knitting for the Red Scarf project or Afghans for Afghans. In fact, the only difference is that we have an opportunity to call attention to the way that people who engage in various crafts often do so with love in their hearts for people they have never met.
    Time to dismount from the high horses, people. Pick up your sticks and do something good!

  34. Curious, isn’t it, just how closely ‘barrister’ and ‘barista’ resemble each other? This w-e I am the ‘caffeinated knitter’!!! Xo -K

  35. oh well its hot outside go cool off your heads
    this has begun to turn a bit nasty i do not
    watch colbert just debby messing up florida
    how ever this all started t.is a yarn to be passed
    on to the generations to come may be a marble
    sock on the mall in dc with a parade of the veterns of 2012 with crossed needles and
    mr colbert in his wheel chair leading the parade

  36. I am in a pickle. I’m a long-time reader and your books are treasured friends. I’ve promised my sister for months that I was just about to get started on the pile of burp cloths for her second baby. Naturally, the baby is nearly here, and I’ve packed up all my knitting books to move house, because all events always arrive at once, right? I don’t know where the box is, the nearest library with a copy is 98 miles away, and I doubt Barnes & Noble are going to like me “borrowing” the set-up instructions for the Baby Genius. I fully expect to be told no, but would you take pity on an aunt and give me a nudge?

  37. Suspect you saw the Washington Post coverage of USOC (TM) and Ravelry?

  38. Ann,
    I had to make a quick comment, I just found the link to your blog via the USN alumni newsletter, ’08 myself. I was shocked to see you were an alumni! I am familiar with your books and actually studied at University of Alabama. I always love meeting and learning about fellow knitters as well as USN alumni, glad to put two and two together.

  39. Just waiting for the USOC to go after the Romney Olympics bit of ‘copyright infringement’. Sounds like a much more blatant case than Ravelympics to me.

  40. Hoxton Handmade points out that John Oliver has covered this in a quite humorous vein…

  41. Great post you shared. It’s very informative details. Thank you so much for guide. I really admire your talent.


A bit of news from us, every now and again.

(Your email is safe with us.)