My fellow crocheters, what I am about to write in this blog post is, indeed, controversial. It is also inflamitory. It is, also, my opinion. Before I make the wide, and sweeping statements I am about to make, I want you, the readers to understand something. I have considered this post very carefully, what to say, when and if I should say anything at all, how much and how harshly? I am a woman of principle, truly, I would rather say what is unpopular and true, than to lie and smile to get ahead. That is just me, however I am also no idealist, I am a pragmatist.
Those of you who have read my posts on our board on Ravelry, will have noticed that I am a proactive person. I am not one to whine, whimper and grumble unless I have a solution. So as you read this post, keep that in mind. This is not merely a rant; what is written today is the beginning of a solution.
My friends, fellow hooksters, crocheters, yarnies, designers and handworkers;
We have been bound by chains that do not serve us. There are those who claim that copying of patterns is what keeps those who design under employed and overworked. There are those who further complain that publishers are wanting in their choice for patterns. And there are those who claim that the yarn companies have used our skills, knowledge, and creativity with little in the way of compesation, while building profit upon our carpel tunnel syndrome, RSI, and arthritis.
I say, all of this is true. And yet, we as women (as the majority of those who design/crochet...and yes I recognise you males out there, you too deserve fair compensation) have allowed ourselves this very servitude. To paraphrase Ms. Eleanor Rooseveldt "No one can take your power from you, unless you allow it."
It is time that we stopped allowing this usurping of our due.
- Pattern Theft: This must stop! Those of you who copy, or pass along patterns because you find them too expensive, understand this: You are stealing food from the mouths of those who design. It takes time, effort, and skill to make patterns.
As women we must support each other, not grumble over resources. If we are constantly fighting over the space, and resources, we divide ourselves, and allow the manipulation and poor wages that have historically kept us vulnerable. This is 21st century, it is time for a new way forward, a time to group together in support. When you purchase a pattern from someone, know that you can use it many times...It takes an inordinate amount of time to come up with patterns (consider all of the sizes involved!), it takes creativity, motivation, and skill! It costs money to produce the patterns!!
2. Publishers: It is time that you stopped only offering patterns for beginners, and wised up that there are those who want to see more, and do more. Listen to the message boards, ask people for what they want.
We recognize that you cannot make everyone happy in each issue, but we indeed call you out for more! We have begun to see articles on technique, and enhancement of skills, this is a good sign that you are moving forward. We salute such moves, and we beg that you accept meatier patterns, and find new ways to market yourself. We beg you to offer (as you have begun to do) more lucrative renumeration for those who create the designs that sell your publications.
3. To the Yarn Companies. Without patterns your yarn will not sell as well. You pay a pittance to those who use their bodies into a burdened state. This is not the 1950's, we are not little hausfrau's asking for egg money (nothing wrong with being a hausfrau, the term is being used to indicate an archaic and mysogynist attitude). We are professionals, we deserved to be paid as such. We deserve credit for our labors, just as lyricists and musicians gain credit for their work.
Finally to we the crocheters... I, too, once suffered from the delusion that crochet was "just something I did", I took for granted my skills thinking them beneath my many other skills that had paid the bills. After all they were just "domestic", and of "lesser value" than my ability to negotiate a million dollar contract, or to manage a team of 12 men in a warehouse, or keeping the inventory of 20 multinational corporations. That was until I studied the matter, and paused for thought. How is it of less importance?
It is our cultural heritage. It is not a sign of repression, of "lowly women's work", first of all women's work has never been lowly. How many of you work full time or part time outside of the home, but to return home to cook/clean & deal with children? Very few of our male counter parts have to endure such an exhaustive schedule. My great grandmother was of a repressed generation, she was denied higher education, she worked long hours cooking, washing and cleaning, long before the modern convieniences of life arrived on the scene. Crochet, knitting, and tatting (and reading) were her salvation from the average life of a woman. She delighted in her skills, they represented LEISURE time to her!
When I thought on these very ideas, my attitude changed. My husband never has looked down upon my handwork. Rather he is amazed that I can, "Take that fuzzy string and make into something useful, or pretty...it's like watching magic happen!" Those are his words...I used to laugh at his amazement, "How silly!" I mean, really I had learned as a child, it was child's play in my mind! That was years ago...today is a different story entirely. I realise that the hook my hands weild is a legacy. It is historic, it is skilled, and it is worth notice.
In what other industry can you have 20 or 30 or 40 years of experience and not be considered a professional worthy of a living wage?! Yet until we see own selves in such a light, nothing will happen. Nothing can change without our own perceptions evolving.
When you make something for a gift for someone else, a cardigan for your child, a hat for your head, you are doing something that has economic value. As much as cook, a plumber or mechanic.
See your value, see your worth! Demand your worth, demand your time and skill be respected, respect your fellows, purchase their work, offer to support their work. As long as we are scrambling for crumbs, we shall be the last served at a glorious banquet. It is time we sat firmly at the table, and enjoyed the whole 10 course meal.
It will not work if only one or two people become names, and raise the ladder, it will only work if we in all our varied glory from new crocheter to advanced, from pattern user to pattern tester, from editor to owner, clasp hands and hold firm.
It is time for a new economics, one built on support not divisiveness.
Nice rhetoric if you can get it? No, join me on Ravelry on the board...I've got a journey planned, and I want you to join me on this path. Maybe it will be a magic carpet ride, maybe it won't...we won't know if it works if we don't try!
Our next book seminar is Jan 30th 4pm PST (7pm EST) and the final will be on Feb. 9th at 2am PST (-8gmt) you don't have to be American, you don't have to be female, you don't have been published or not published...Join us...
We're going to change things...