Saturday, December 7, 2019

Some Thoughts on Light and Generosity

If you look at many past Decembers' respective posts here on the blog, you'll see a fairly consistent theme: light and gifts (and giving in general). Since this is the time of year for both of those themes, this is not so surprising.

It is also no secret that I have been intricately involved in the Indie Designer Gift-a-long for the last six years - the first and last year as just a participating designer (this year as well), and the middle years as both a participating designer and a group moderator, which does take up quite a bit of time (and to put it in some perspective for you: this year there are over 13,860 members in Ravelry's Indie Designer Gift-a-long group who have, collectively since November 26th at 8:00 pm EST when the GAL began, finished 490 projects - or on average since the end of the day yesterday, approximately 44 gifts per day. I know I personally have 3 ongoing projects in the GAL, two of which are gifts for others with deadlines, so the gift-making onslaught will only intensify over the next few weeks). To say this has become a DIY phenomenon is putting it mildly.

There are a few reasons why it has consistently grown over the last seven years - the general spirit of giving among makers, the ability of makers to interact freely with designers (many of whom also now, as a new tradition, make some number of their own gifts during the Gift-a-long and allow themselves this time to make other designers' designs, which is a real treat), and the ability of indie designers to come together one time during the year and support each other in a spirit of good will and professional camaraderie. In fact, in the words of the GAL's main administrator from just this year,

 " ... I want to reiterate that the spirit of the GAL is about promoting your fellow participating designers and not your own work."

So, given all that, imagine my surprise when I suggested, in a separate Ravelry forum, that for future years our annual pattern sale be extended just one day to incorporate Giving Tuesday, and was promptly bullied by a fellow designer for the suggestion. 
The bullying designer's take: since she did not view her design business as charity, and Giving Tuesday was all about giving to charity, she would greatly appreciate if I did not view her business in that light. My, my, my - a tad touchy, perhaps? While I certainly do not view my design business in a charity light, I do very much view my business in deeply personal terms - personal to me, and personal to all those who choose to purchase my designs and support my efforts. My following is small, but very, very loyal - and I take some satisfaction in the fact that over the last many years, I have gotten to know many of those who make projects from my designs on a personal basis. I really had to shake my head at the source of the criticism, because the designer in question has only published 3 new designs since 2017, while I have published over 30, both independently and via third party publishers of all sorts, despite all kinds of personal challenges. I will leave it to you, dear reader, to determine who is taking their design business more seriously.

When this online chastising occurred, I thought it might be good to do some digging on Giving Tuesday and the impulse behind its creation. Started by New York City's 92nd Street Y in 2012, it is "a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world." Furthermore, the non-profit's site goes on to state:

"In an era of global crisis and disconnection, we need new rituals to connect us. ... Giving Tuesday strives to build a world in which the catalytic power of generosity is at the heart of the society we build together ..."

Honestly, though Giving Tuesday may have morphed into a day which many now give to charities, its initial spirit is (I would argue) exactly in line with the spirit of the GAL. I'd go even farther in suggesting that, given the amazing number of makers and participating designers, the GAL is continuing to create a new ritual that connects the making community via generosity of all sorts, precisely what the Giving Tuesday founders had in mind. 

I am going to continue to do what I have always done: support my fellow indie designers during the GAL through purchases, making, and social media exposure of my completed projects. (I actually bought a record number of patterns this year - 14, and all with sales derived from my own designs, I am happy to report.) I sincerely hope the GAL administrator might see the light of and generous spirit in my request, and include Giving Tuesday in all subsequent GAL kick-off sale weeks.

And, of course, I will still be publishing (and selling for potential profit) my own designs ... no matter what. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

And The 2019 Indie Designer Gift-a-long Begins!

Just two days before U.S. Thanksgiving, yet we have so much to be thankful for right now - the Indie GAL has now officially kicked off for 2019 with the opening week sale!

Yes, my crafty maker friends. the code "giftalong2019" will get you 25% off of almost 290 designers' selected patterns (and 20 of mine are in the mix). 

More importantly, this is year seven of this gift-making-palooza, and so many participants look forward to these five weeks of making. There is such a sense of camaraderie, it truly is a wonderfully joyous event.

I hope everyone will consider shopping the sale (and just head over to and sign in - you cannot get out of the way of all the GAL activity) - not only will you be supporting independent designers and design, you'll also be doing good for the planet. Instant downloads = virtually no carbon footprint, no boxes or bags to think about disposing. This is one online alternative you can feel good about, and then make a gift for someone else and make them feel good.

'Tis the season to celebrate all the fa la la.

Finally, to provide everyone with a little visual appetite-whetting, I have once again curated a Pinterest board of almost all 280-some-odd designers' patterns on sale for the next week. While all of mine are sprinkled throughout the board, there are over 400 pins, so there should be something for everyone on your gift-making-worthy list. For all my designing friends - if you, by some small chance, do not see any of your designs on the board, it is because as of last night, you still had not revealed your sale bundle. There were only a few in that boat, so I am confident I still caught some of the best of this year's new GAL-eligible designs. Again, wait until you see the board - it is quite astonishingly lovely. 

So much talent - enjoy all the gift-making!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Time to Make Some (or All!) of The Things

Oh, my maker friends, it is that time of the year - November! Time for all the best food, best drink, and - most importantly - best making. It is a time we get ready for the annual gift-making-palooza known as the Indie GAL (and I am all ready to sign up once again as a participating designer), as well as perhaps make a thing or two or five for our very selves.

In the spirit of the last suggestion, I am hosting a fun CAL on my Instagram account for my latest design, featured in the December issue of Crochet Magazine - the Frosted Berries Shawl. Since this shawl was a collaboration between myself (the design) and Crochet Magazine's editor, Jackie Daugherty (the hand-dyed yarn), we are teaming up for this Instagram CAL. 

I will be, starting today, November 13th, posting weekly Wednesday updates, tips, and answering any questions makers have about the design. Crochet Magazine will be providing some prizes, the first of which will be given away right off the bat - an electronic copy of the magazine to one lucky winner. See the deets below and link to the post:

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Attention all my crafty maker friends! I am so thrilled to announce a festive maker a-long right here in my Instagram space. We will be working up my design, the Frosted Berries Shawl, made with hand-dyed yarn - thanks Jackie Daugherty, editor of @crochetworldmag - and featured in its current December issue. This shawl is so warm and cozy compliments of @berrocoyarn's Ultra Alpaca - it is the perfect project to work up during these upcoming cold winter evenings (and yes, the snow has already started to fall in some places!). * * To kick things off, I will be giving away a digital copy of the December issue of Crochet World Magazine to a lucky winner who wants to (hopefully) join us in our merry maker event. To be eligible, simply leave a comment on this post with potential color combinations you would use in your own Frosted Berries shawl between now and next Tuesday, November 19th, and do make certain you follow this account. I will pick and announce a winmer next Wednesday, November 20th, from all of the unique original comments received. (and this giveaway is not affiliated in any way with Instagram) * * Each Wednesday between now and December 18th, I will be here posting my own progress, as well as answer any questions makers might have. This shawl is a fun make, and the edging is technique-rich to keep everyone's interest. At the end of the a-long, I will be giving away two prize packages from all of the finished shawls. I will have more to say on the prizes a little later in the a+long. * * My goal between now and next Wednesday: get my own yarn and dye materials so I can attempt to dye my own yarn! #voiedevie #crochetinspiration #crochetersaroundtheworld #tunisiancrochet #indiedesigner
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I'll be picking a winner from all unique comments received between now and next Tuesday, November 19th, and I'll make a winning announcement with next Wednesday's Instagram post.

I hope to see some wonderful color combinations from makers out there, so start plotting your color choices. While Jackie dyed the jasmine rice colorway of squishy Berroco Ultra Alpaca, I am going to try my hand at a little home dying with a different base. Stay tuned for details next week ... as well as how I fare in this, my initial home dyeing foray.