Remember Me?

I haven’t posted for a while because we have been battling various pressures, none of them terrible alone , but together they create a firm barrier which I’ve been alternatively digging under and leaping over.

It’s curious how we underestimate a smooth, level, unobstructed path, huh?

Various recurring health battles (both for Gerry and myself) have reared their ugly heads, made bolder by the non-Spring weather, which kept me from cycling (which has slowly worn away my health resources.)

Nothing fills all my reservoirs like a good, long bike ride. As a matter of fact I was SO hurting for a ride that I borrowed Ysolda’s prop bike from her TNNA booth and rode around the show floor for 10 minutes.

Not near enough, but it was fun while it lasted. I got the idea when I saw Cat Bordhi doing it, so haul us both off to convention center jail!

Yes, I went to TNNA. I wasn’t going to go. Between Gerry’s returning health issues and my own recurring pain and exhaustion I felt as if it were too much. About Gerry was insistent – he said something to the effect of “if you don’t go to TNNA and have a bad year, design-wise, I will feel responsible.”

I didn’t want to drive alone, I haven’t driven long distances for several years, (not since I took out a construction barrel on a highway in Illinois and scared myself silly) and I wanted to take Max with me. But I didn’t want to leave Gerry home alone, and he was up for the ride!

So we did the drive there over two days, stayed a day at an extended suite type of place (good for everyone!) and while I was at TNNA doing the necessary schmoozing, Gerry and Max slept in, then went to CoSi and had a terrific time (Gerry’s dreamed of taking Max to this great science center for years!)

Hannah (who would like to be called “Andy” for the present) is already up at Menogyn working as an engage for 2 sessions, then late in July she will head out on her 32 day Nor’wester canoe trip up into Canada with 4 other young women. I’m alternately bursting with pride, and terrified for her.

I’ll be teaching a two part lace class at a FABULOUS yarn shop in Stillwater, MN, Darn Knit Anyway!

Lovely Laces: July 17th 6-9 pm and July 27th 10-1pm.
We will cover the basics of lace knitting, charts, and how to go about memorizing a repeating motif to make lace knitting more enjoyable and intuitive. ANYONE CAN KNIT LACE!!

It’s been a crazy busy few months of designing, which I love and which is good work for me as it doesn’t require a lot of movement (I move we’ll many days, but sometimes those unmovable Fibro days coincide with a teaching engagement, and all hell breaks loose…)

I don’t know that I’ve ever felt both so useless, and also as if so much is depending on me. It’s a bad feeling, but there’s really nothing for it but to keep my mind on my work and do my best.

I’ve just finished 16 designs for various magazines and knitting pubs, all places that pay fairly and offer good terms for designers to retain their rights on their designs. Look for my work in Jane Austen Knits, Downton Abbey Knits, Interweave Knits and Interweave Crochet, Twist Collective and in Austrlia in Yarn Mag and in the UK in The Knitter.

I have 6 other designs I’ll have completed by mid-July, also for publications that deal openly and fairly with their contributors, so I’m actually very fortunate, all things considered.


I had a chat with a sister designer at TNNA where I was warned not to “burn my bridges” and I laughed. Some “bridges” are little more than zip lines, they only work in one direction.

Other bridges may be burning, but I didn’t set them on fire, I simply balked at the high toll.

I know I have carved a well deserved reputation for someone who will speak her mind about fair working conditions for hand knit and crochet designers and teachers, and that this has perhaps made me persona non grata with some entities.

There are still publishers who still insist on retention of designers rights after publishing a pattern, will only pay 10% of online pattern sales to a designer (50% should be more like it in my book!) or won’t cover the full hotel and airfare for a teacher at their functions (another designer told me this weekend she makes NO money teaching at TNNA for Offinger, but she does it to get at least part of her airfare covered.)

To me this remains unacceptable.

I think I was a little afraid I’d go to TNNA and begin to regret decisions I’d made to avoid/openly discuss corporations that make money off of the fruit of designers and teachers, yet treat these same designers and teachers as if they’re doing THEM a favor by hiring them.

But, happily and surprisingly, I found myself comfortable with decisions I’ve made, happy to continue to work with old friends and eager to forge new relationships with other yarn companies.

There is room for MANY different opinions in our business. If holding a position outside of the mainstream means I’ve burned a bridge, that might not have been the right path for me, anyway.

Now, off to get a good LONG bike ride in so I can start rebuilding my health and grow my strength for what lies ahead. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: if hard work and fair dealing cannot provide me an income in this industry, it may not be right for me. I’m not going to change that by underselling myself or working on the cheap.

Note: if you see odd typos in this post, chalk it up to the fact that my computer has been out of commission for wifi use for 2 weeks, so I’m doing all of my online stuff with my iPad.  This is my first time doing a whole blog post on this tricky, disappearing keyboard!

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10 thoughts on “Remember Me?

  1. Tony Starratt

    Oh, it is so good to hear from you again. Life may have conspired against you in some ways, but not in all. Good to hear that you’ve got designs going out and money coming in. As we age it is sad to contemplate that our bodies are likely to deteriorate, but with any luck we become smart enough to compensate. Get back on that bike as soon as you can, Annie!

  2. kristi

    So glad to see your electronic face again! I skipped TNNA this year and really missed it. I’m still imagining who is currently in the lobby of the Hyatt after breaking down and who is sitting at their gate, exhausted and knitting some new skein, at the Columbus airport. I drowned my sorrows in a new ice cream maker and the Jeni’s ice cream book.

  3. Marilyn Nance

    It takes guts to speak out against unfair practices in an industry/company. However, the practices only get worse if everyone accepts them. Some bridges are burned and some are opened.

    Keep up the good work! (and biking)

  4. Sue B

    Good to hear from you. I’m hoping to take our kids to CoSI on our road trip next month. There was a Rav discussion on Remants about the price of patterns and I immediatly thought of you. And I stand by what I said:

    “I admit to being a slow knitter with attention issues, …squirrl! Anyway, when I look at how long even a dishcloth square takes me and the cost of good yarn, a $7 pattern would translate into pennies per hour for the entertainment value of my knitting. Frankly, if you can guarntee that there are no mistakes (unlike my spelling tonight) and the pattern is easy to understand I’d pay $10 easy. Given the number of knitting books (and cookbooks) I have paid for with the thought that I MIGHT make one thing from them someday, I’m really fine with a designer making a proper living from her art.”

    Seriously, I don’t understand the wholesale side of not paying designers properly. Without designers, those 6 months of knitting magazines get empty awfully quick. Or the designers who are cheaply paid don’t get paid enough to do the job carefully and right. Which means my knitting time is filled with frustration and mistakes.
    Stand your ground.

  5. CG

    So happy to see your post. Please know that lots of people support you and your family in all your challenges. You all are mighty warriors!!

  6. andi smith

    I was so very happy to spend a little time with you on Saturday – it’s always the greatest of pleasures to see you! I’m so proud of you! You know why!

  7. Marietta

    Love to hear that life “may be” getting back on track. Sometimes just the daily “fails” can be just too overwhelming when they’re added together.
    Just a word about the blog-site which may give you an idea of how things go wrong there – – at the top, above your website id-banner is about 2 ins. of ED-treatment ads. It’s really weird looking & could be hi-jacking (?virus) some of your blog. Just an idea. I haven’t gotten an iPad yet – – I have a really cool 13in. Apple MacAir laptop that I love. It’s not as small or as light as an iPad, but has a bit more power. The electronics just keep on improving so much & so fast – – you just can’t hope to keep up with the innovations. What softwear do you use the most in your designing & writing of patterns?
    Keep on knitting & riding.

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