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!