Friday, August 7, 2009

Preview and Rant (with lots of parentheticals (as usual))

Read this paragraph even if you skip the rest of the post--
I realized I have listed these new Strong Arm colors with the wrong price for the base. The Strong Arm base should be $19. I have it listed a dollar lower. I will honor the lower price on all the Strong Arm through Sunday. I will include new listings between now and then at the lower price. I am sorry for the confusion.
Okay, you can run away now.

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Here's what I'll be posting to the shop in a few minutes. I only have a few for Saturday unless I get up from this chair and rewind more yarn. Likelihood of that happening? Ummm...zero. I've got a pot full of Kona coffee straight from Hawaii, courtesy of blogless Annie (blog, Annie, blog!) and I fully intend on savoring it while doing nothing.
Friday Preview

Saturday will finish up the current listings:
My creation

[Steps up on soapbox. Warning, I ramble.]

A few days ago a fellow knit-nighter and blogger asked why someone would buy a pattern when they could get a nearly identical pattern for free. I gotta agree from a consumer standpoint. Why would you buy an otherwise free pattern? I wouldn't....no wait. I would. I would and I have. There is an issue of a new knitting magazine that has several patterns in it that are free. I still bought the issue because all the patterns were put together in the same magazine, coupled with better pictures and a few other articles added. There are a lot of reasons someone would buy versus getting it for free--perceived value, a better presentation or layout, added contend in the paid version, being unaware of the free pattern (most likely, I think), trusting the designer of the paid pattern more, or a belief that they are buying some access to the designer (ahem).

I also think the knitting community likes to reward creative minds in some way. Podcasts are free, but I still give my favorite ones money. I can imagine someone paying for the creative ability of a designer by buying their pattern even if that same creative ability is visible in the free pattern.

Although not quite the same topic, the topic of free patterns also got me thinking about the idea of designers selling otherwise free patterns. Many designers provide their work at no charge to the consumer on their website or on free sites such as Knitty. Even though these patterns are free to the individual knitter, those same designers get tetchy when their "free" pattern is given away in a yarn shop and they should be tetchy.

When a designer gives a free pattern, they are often getting some kind of compensation for it. It may not be a monetary compensation, but they are getting blog traffic, yarn sales or promoting their brand. The designer is deprived of those sales, exposure or ad income when a LYS turns around and prints out that pattern for a customer or uses that pattern for a class without any additional compensation to the designer. And since we're on the topic, I've heard of LYSs who don't even get the permission of the designer. If a LYS is going to turn a profit on the designers pattern while simultaneously depriving the designer of appropriate compensation then it is wrong. So there you go. That's how I feel about free patterns from a designing standpoint, not that I fancy myself a designer. I write patterns sometimes. I'm not a designer, at least not yet.

From a former LYS worker/manager/whatever stance my viewpoint shifts a little. My experience at the yarn shop is that there is a HUGE contingent of knitters who are not online. I have, many many times, given a customer the URL for a free pattern (my own, from Knitty, on Ravlery) and have them, in turn, ask if they could just buy a printed version. There is a significant number of customers who, when told that the LYS couldn't print the pattern (copyright/license issues) stated that they would rather buy a printed copy than go online and print their own for free. Not just a few people. A LOT of people. These are the same people who look blankly when I say 'ravelry', 'knitty' and sometimes even 'blog'. It still makes me feel funny, though.

I hear so much wank on the copyright issue, I hear so many times that someones pattern is being distributed without authorization or permission. It happens so often and so frequently that when a knitting teacher or LYS approaches me and asks if they can use my "free" pattern, I am extra super duper happy. This isn't normal and it SHOULD BE, especially if the yarn store doesn't already sell my yarn (Ahem, small digression, I'm accepting small wholesale accounts now). A teacher recently inquired about using one of my patterns. She may not end up going with it, but it made me so happy that she asked that I went ahead and drafted fingerless mitt pattern plus instructions on knitting with roving to add value to the pattern. I don't have all the details finalized, but once it is finished I envision it being appropriate for yarn shops to use for a class or for non-spinning knitters who may fall in love with a particular roving but not know what to do with it.
[End rambly soapbox]

Sometimes I get a head full of steam and have to write or talk out my thoughts before I get to the point. Other times I sit mutely in the corner desperately wishing for something to say. You may have noticed. The point--I'm writing a new pattern. Precursor to the point--6 paragraphs. I think it might be herditary. Hi mom.