Sunday, November 22, 2020

'Tis the Very Best Season

It is, almost (finally), gift-making season! It's been every *other* season, for ... like ... ever, and none of them good. To have survived and made it to actually be able to make gifts - well, that alone feels like a supreme feat.

Yet, this is 2020, so things will not be quite the same this year as in previous years. I have, for the last seven years, been a participating designer in the Ravelry-based Indie Designer Gift-a-long, and this year will be the same, I am happy to announce. 

However, because Ravelry instituted its most bungled site update in June, virtually eliminating accessibility for a critical amount of its users, I will *also* be a participating designer in a brand new event - the Fasten Off Yarn-a-long (Fasten Off YAL 2020), created by a few Ravelry users that either cannot - or won't, in solidarity - have the ability to access Ravelry for this year's GAL. It will be a smaller event, to be certain, but will incorporate most of the same features as the GAL - a community of makers celebrating indie designs and making things for others, with the possibility of winning prizes and generally creating community.

I must admit, I am sorely bummed that Ravelry has put the maker community in this position. Its insufficient (and many would argue non-existent) response to the site upgrade, since June (!), has left a whole subsection of its former users feeling unappreciated, not listened to, and all but ignored. 

It, however, has exacerbated the position in which we now find ourselves. Because the Indie GAL is so entrenched (going on eight years), it feels that it needs to now differentiate itself from the new kid on the block. While not completely dissing the Fasten Off YAL, it's been made clear that all of us who actively promote the GAL must only use GAL hashtags in social media posts, and relegate the use of Fasten Off's hashtags in *separate* posts on social media. Oh, just le sigh. Haven't we learned anything from this separate but equal treatment? I hope that the need for a separate gift-making event might eventually go away (pie-in-the-sky hope that might be), but in the meantime, both events are virtually identical, just the forum that hosts discussion is different (Ravelry vs. Discord). Why not join forces, or at least allow both events' respective hashtags in the same social media post? 

I'm old enough to remember another GAL kerfuffle, which I posted about here in 2017. I am still advocating for cooperation over competition, and given the reasons behind the need for an alternate gift-making event, cooperation is far more in order than back in 2017. Hasn't the hand-knit and crochet industry's contraction and almost complete transformation in the last two years shown us that we compete at our peril? Hasn't the last nine months of extreme pandemic life, coupled with the current rampant spike in the virus, also shown us that we are all so incredibly interconnected? How come I feel like I keep banging my head against the same damn brick wall?

I am leaving you, my dear readers, with the look book from the current capsule collection I just released. A few of the designs, I am happy to report, highlight my new line of hand-painted and dyed yarns. I have a lot to be thankful for this year - my good health for the last nine months at the top of the list, along with the interactions I have had with my fellow indie designers via the GAL as well as the happiness make-a-longs during the past four summers. We are going to see the other side of all of this. Let's bring some color, light, and good spirit into the end of this year, ok?

2020 Capsule Collection look-book linky