Vogue Knitting Live

I have a lot of friends who are teaching, speaking, selling or attending VK Live, and believe me when I say I hope everyone has the BEST TIME EVER!

Knitting is a beautiful thing.  Even with the small disputes between folks – the same kind of disputes that crop up in ANY industry – knitting (& crochet) are a great place to be.

I only hope the best for VK and this event.  I want them to make tons of money, for folks to spend (and get great value for that spending) AND for all of the marketers & teachers to be well compensated.  It’s a big pie, folks, and the more fairly it’s divided, the quicker folks will return for the NEXT pie eating contest.  There’s some analogy in there, you figure it out…

But [ominous music] WHILE folks are enjoying their time at VK Live, please take a few moments to consider that the compensation for knit designers has stayed pretty level with what it was in the 1980’s.  I’ve written about it before, and instead of going into the gory details here I’ll just refer you to previous posts.

Here We Go Again
Valuing our Work

Hell No!

It’s important – as consumers & producers of knit content – that we ALL are aware of where Vogue stands in their compensations practices (photographers, models, editors – they all earn much more than they did in the 80’s when working for Vogue.  Knit designers, not so much…)

And, perhaps most egregious, Vogue retains ALL rights to every pattern so they can re-use them over and over with little or no compensation to the designer.  Vogue pays designers 10% of the price of every online pattern sale (actually, I receive 0% because I wouldn’t agree to these terms)

The other major player in online magazine pattern sales, Interweave Knits, pays designers between 20% – 50% for each pattern sold.  It’s a sliding scale based on how exclusive the designer is with the pattern, and whether they become an affiliate of IK.  It’s a VERY intelligent setup, and it allows the designers more autonomy.

There is no union or guild for designers [yet.]  All we can do as designers is to stand together so those of us who are better known may have an impact on the incomes of those coming up.  If we don’t, the revolving door of designers who publish a few pieces then burn out because they can’t afford to stay alive on less-than-minimum-wage fees will continue.

Quality pay = quality designs.  Just sayin’

So please, have a GREAT time at VK – I seriously mean it!  Have great classes, sell LOTS of yarn, and most of all just enjoy the whole knitting culture.  But take a few moments while you’re there to think about the compensation that the folks who’ve designed all those pretty sweaters receive.  And if you’re so inclined, share your thoughts with the VK Powers that be.

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15 thoughts on “Vogue Knitting Live

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  2. Laila

    It’s a no brainer…no designers, no patterns, no knitting magazines… Open up those purses magazine publishers. With blogs, Ravelry, Patternfish and other pattern cooperatives I really am not so tempted to buy something I can read or store on the computer. Annie keep at it!

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  6. Helen (of troy)

    Do you know about the volunteers? Vogue asked for them on Ravelry

    the DEAL–(1st) Pay full frieght ($100) work 2 8 hours shifts. maybe get to audit a class, get into market place free.

    after (some time in UNNAMED future) get $50 back.. (OR as i like to say, pay $50 for the privilige to work for free!)

    the didn’t get many takers so offer 2–Pay $75 up front, and ALL of it will be refunded (if you meet terms of voluteering. Again refunded in unnamed future.

    LOAN VOGUE live MONEY, interest free, to work free.

    I suppose they got some–but some of the workers (one boasted, I got this job because of my sister) were less than helpful (can you please move this table (about 50 pounds!) out the way?

    This was asked of 3 young guys who moved about as a set . It took an HOUR to do it.

    One of the same guys asked “what you going to pay me?” when someone else ask for something .

    moments later, he claimed. “i was just joking…” but his voice sounded menasing enough when he first asked. (i went out of my way to avoid them!)

    Other organization details were less than perfect (but as always great knitters, and beautiful hand knits everywhere!)

  7. Sheri

    I was there Thursday and Friday as a volunteer. I didn’t have to pay anything. I got some free Vogue stuff including their new book Knitopedia. I had a fabulous time and thought of you often while I was working.

    Rather than go to that event in the UK, you could have been in NYC teaching classes that cost a fortune to take. You would have been close to your friends in NJ. You would get paid. In US dollars – it is Vogue, after all.

    Designers on friendly terms with Vogue have passages in that book I mentioned above, as well as having their biography information in the A-Z portion. Sadly, as a cover designer for Vogue Knitting, you are missing.

    They are doing Vogue Knitting Live again in September, this time in Los Angeles. I suspect you won’t be there either. Wish you would be. I only know you from your patterns and your blog, and I would love to meet you in person.

    I do understand your choices, even if they are not ones I would make myself. But to cut yourself off from such an important player in your industry takes alot of guts. I wish you well.

    1. Annie Post author

      Perhaps it does take guts, but mostly it takes not accepting a large entity like Soho press taking advantage of the small players like the designers just because they can.

      It’s very gratifying to see how well the Teachers seemed to be treated at VK live, and what a good time everyone had – I’m very happy about that!

    2. Helen (of troy)

      Work for hay
      There will be pie in the sky
      In the by and by.

      I don’t want my pie in the sky.(in the by and by)

      YOU said “classes that cost a fortune to take

      but the teacher aren’t getting PAID a fortune.

      so who is? if not the designers if not the teachers, who?

      if you sit back and wait, you get pie in the sky.

      I (and lots of others) want our piece of the pie NOW, thank you very much!

  8. Renee

    Amen to getting the designers more of the pie. I’m tending more to support the ventures that pay designers more of what they are worth – either Twist Collective, paid Ravelry downloads, directly to the designers. Thank you for your leadership on this issue! I don’t think Vogue Knitting has gotten a dime for me in the past few yearss.

  9. BER

    What is the circulation and what are the website stats of the various magazines? Does VK have higher circulation and more Web traffic than the others. Is their argument that designers will sell more with them and thuce make more per sale, netting more? If not then it seems right that they should be in line with everyone else. They all maintain the costs of magazine production, marketing and sales, including Web sites, and events such as the VK Live. The more successful one is over the others the more it can ask. Keep workingv at it. Best, BER

    1. Annie Post author

      I’d hazard a guess that VK doesn’t really care or compare their web stats & circ against Interweaves in this specific instance. I think they just feel that they don’t want to pay more than 10% to a designer to reuse their design.

      That’s works out to 90% FOUND MONEY for them for each pattern, and I just don’t accept that they require that much to market already written, edited and sale-ready patterns on a website.

  10. Kathleen

    Thanks for reminding folks about this, Annie.

    I posted some of my thoughts about VKL on my blog. While I enjoyed my classes and think VK did a good job, especially for their first knitting conference, it *was* expensive, and I already had mixed feelings about VK. The panel discussion about independent knitwear designers Saturday afternoon was very interesting, especially as there wasn’t a single independent knitwear designer on the panel (Trisha Malcolm, Stacy Charles, Melanie Fallick, Brett Bara, Debbie Bliss).

    There was a lot of axe-grinding about how designers should be professional and communicative (but not too communicative), and Stacy Charles at one point said that designers shouldn’t get hung up on one design, that they should design a project and then move on, which left me a little surprised. It reaffirmed my decision to self-publish and/or publish with groups that take better care of their creatives.

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