Thursday, November 30, 2017

An Open, Gifty Letter to Mason-Dixon Knitting

Dear Ann and Kay:

I am a big fan of Mason-Dixon Knitting, and especially of Kay. While I've not yet met Ann, I have met Kay: at the very first VKLive show in New York City, way back when I was an event volunteer and hadn't yet published my first design, or had any inkling that I would, as an independent designer, be involved in the Indie Designer Gift-a-long. In fact, there were only a handful of conversations that entire long, exhausting New York City weekend that I remember, and Kay's was one of them. She and I had an authentic exchange in which she really listened to my answers to her questions. I have gone on to follow Kay on social media, with continued real exchanges, I am happy to report.

So imagine my surprise when up pops on the MDK site a declaration that an event, which has been occurring for the past five years on Ravelry, is now on (at minimum, in Virginia), according to Ann and Kay. My brow continues to be furrowed: they used "giftalong" in big, bold letters at the head of the post. In the comments, when the first commenter noted that such an event has been taking place for the last five years, Ann's quick response of "What's Ravelry?" complete with wink, as well as her further response that "... intimate, tiny giftalongs ..." were more their thing, can only lead to one conclusion: they are well aware of the Indie Designer Giftalong, and instead of joining in (because that takes a little advance planning, and as Ann has intimated in one of her further comment responses, she might be a little light on the pre-planning stuff), they have decided to ride the Indie Designer Giftalong's coattails.

Now, I firmly believe that there's more to it than just merely sliding along. At least that's what I am telling myself, based on the strength of my previous interactions with Kay. The Indie Designer Giftalong was conceived at this particular time of year as a way to celebrate independent knit and crochet designers not only together as a designer group, but also alongside makers who, let's face it, make things at this time of year (no matter if the gift is early, late, or right on time). Heck, I even started my own event during this past summer as a way to counteract all the contraction happening on both sides of the pond, and I specifically held it in summer (along with a completely new name and a distinct hashtag all its very own) as a way to continue to interact with my fellow indie designers (as well as indie dyers) in an atmosphere that wouldn't compete with the already-well-established holiday event. I further note that Kay was kind enough to give the summer event a mention on MDK, so I know that how today's MDK post looks cannot be the whole story. Really. It cannot.

So, as a fellow (albeit northern) pasty white indie designer chic I would, with the utmost respect and in line with this season of miracles, make one simple request: please reframe just the beginning of today's MDK post so that it doesn't appear the way it looks? Do please make gifts with your followers. Absolutely give away prizes (and hey, I can point you both in the right direction if you'd like to donate some of those MDK Field Guides as prizes in the Indie Designer Giftalong, because I know they would be well-received by any maker). Show compassion for makers who decide at the last minute they want to make gifts. Use an Instagram hashtag with "MDK" at the beginning of giftalong (because, of course, the five-year-strong Indie Designer Giftalong event cannot stop you). Just please honor the above simple request and show that organizing and working on gifts at this time of the year is more than mere competitive sport. 

Because, at the end of the day, don't we have enough competitive sport from a certain big, white, house in D.C.? I believe it's about cooperation, and I sincerely hope you both do, too.

Thank you.

P.S. - I write this open letter in my singular capacity as an independent crochet and knit designer, and not on behalf of the Indie Designer Giftalong. I do note that I am a moderator, as well as a participating indie designer, in that event.

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