The brilliant minds in the Designers group on Ravelry came up with a lovely idea to get us all in the gift-knitting spirit for the upcoming holidays. (Gasp, yes, I know, they’re coming altogether too quickly!)
They created (and I gladly joined) the Indie Design Gift-a-long!
The Gift-a-long is a multi-designer promotion — actually, it’s pretty much a massively multi-designer promotion — on independently published designs, running Nov. 1-15, 2013. All of the participating patterns can be yours for 25% off, using the coupon code “giftalong”, during that period. There are over 150 participating designers, many of whom have included multiple patterns, so this is huge. (Go take a look at that list of designers. There are a lot of big names there, like Alex Tinsley, Anna Dalvi, and Ann Kingstone — and that’s just in the A section!)
There’s another cool way of accessing the list of participating patterns: a group of volunteers have gone through and pinned every single participating pattern to Pinterest. This gives you a very visual way of searching through the patterns to see what might pique your interest. Here are the boards:
- Hats and Head Things
- Scarves and Cowls
- Mitts and Other Arm Things
- Shawls and Stoles
- Baby and Child
There is also a knit-along/crochet-along happening as part of this event, and… there are PRIZES! The KAL/CAL runs until December 31, so there is plenty of time to work on your projects. There are prizes to be awarded for each category of project — shawls, cowls, mitts, hats, toys, kids’/baby knits, pet knits, housewares, etc. — so if you are knitting socks for the KAL, you’ll be eligible for sock-related prizes. If you’re knitting a hat for the KAL, you’ll be eligible for hat-related prizes. Not only that, but the there are prizes being awarded throughout the gift-a-long, too. There will be clues posted, and the first correct respondent will win — and the prize will be carefully selected by a team of volunteers whose aim is to match winners to designers they’ll especially love! We (yeah, I’m volunteering) will try to match level of difficulty, style, and so on, as well as category of project, so the prizes should be extra-specially fitting. (Full instructions, and official tags, etc., are over here.)
I’m donating a couple of copies of the Hue and Value Shawl pattern as prizes, too.
I think this gift-a-long is a really incredible opportunity for the knitting community as a whole. For all of us, it’s a chance to score a huge range of awesome patterns at a discount, which is obviously great. For the designers, it’s a phenomenal chance to get some visibility and promote our self-published patterns.
Here’s the thing.
For a pattern like my Chawton Mittens, designed for and published by a top-tier magazine publisher, I made… well. Barely enough to cover the costs of my sample yarn*, and couriering both my submission and my final product to the publisher’s offices. I do get royalties for further digital pattern sales, but they’re minimal, and so far, not even enough for the publisher to warrant cutting and mailing me a cheque. If I were to pay myself for the knitting time, never mind the time spend researching, sketching, swatching, and charting, I would have to count that wage in cents per hour, and it would probably be in the single digits or low double digits. And you know what? I’m kind of okay with that, because this isn’t my full-time job, or anything close to it. I got some exposure from doing it, and more importantly to me, I got a huge amount of pleasure from the knitting, the designing, and the publication.
* There was yarn support for the final product, but I had to purchase yarn to knit the initial swatch for my submission.
For my Hue and Value Shawl, I self-published, but I wanted to really do it ‘right’ and have it tech edited and test-knit. All of that costs money! Sure, it’s ‘free’ to design independently, if you do all your own photography and layouts and so on — but it’s not really free if you want to truly polish the design with editing and testing. And, of course, there’s still that pesky business about paying for your own time. As of this moment, I’ve sold a little over 50 copies of the pattern through Ravelry, and another 50 wholesale hard copies to LYSes and other vendors (and don’t forget that hard copies include printing costs, etc.) I’m finally in the black with this pattern, which I published back in April — that’s six months to turn a profit on one design!
Again, this isn’t a living for me, and I don’t even want it to be, right now. Those pattern sales are at least enough to fund me, if I tend my coins carefully, for yarn purchases for the next design. But for many of the designers in the gift-a-long, knit design is their income. And, of course, the fall/pre-holiday season is the most important part of the pattern-sales year! So when you purchase a pattern for the gift-a-long, whether you’re making a gift for someone else or a treat for yourself, you’re also giving a boost to the individual designer, and enabling them to work on the next great design!
So, happy shopping! And happy knitting/crocheting/prize winning!