Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Craft, Art, Money

Please note: my thoughts continue in this follow up.

Last weekend I listened to the TED Radio Hour program "Giving It Away." It's an NPR show that highlights different TED talks and interviews the participants. As much as I enjoy the TED talks, it's even more enriching listening to them expand upon their ideas and interact with a gifted interviewer like Guy Raz.

This particular program focused on giving, what happens when you give, how that affects people around you, and what you get back in return. Of course everyone has heard "It's better to give than to receive", but that's a difficult thing to do in practice. Even more difficult is asking to receive in exchange for giving.

One of the interviewed TED participants was Amanda Palmer, a singer and artist. I'll be straight up honest -- before the TED talk, I've never heard of AP (for ease of reading) but that doesn't mean anything good or bad. I just wasn't aware. I've listened to a few of her songs with Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra and, well, I'm just far to square to enjoy it but I can definitely appreciate the art and music.

I'm getting off track. Craft, art, money.

Please take the time (less than 15 minutes) and watch AP's TED Talk, The Art of Asking.

I'd love to know what your gut reaction is to this talk. Leave a comment?

How does this relate to me and to knitting patterns?

It's no secret that I am working at being a successful knitting pattern designer. The gut reaction is "I designed this thing; I put a lot of time and effort and energy into this thing; I found an editor and polled unrelated parties for opinions and suggestions. I should be compensated." But now I'm starting to think "You can compensate me if you want."

As I see it, you have three choices (there may be others, but whatever, these are the basic three) when you look at my knitting pattern designs:
  1. Look at my knitting pattern, decide you like it and buy it
  2. Look at my knitting pattern, decide you like it but don't want to (or can't) pay for it and move on
  3. Look at my knitting pattern, decide you don't like or want it and move on
In any event, the first choice is the only one that involves a financial transaction between a knitter and me. It shows faith in my pattern design ability and gratitude for the work I put into the pattern, trying to make it the best it could be. It's also the only choice that means a knitter might work with one of my patterns.

But that goes contrary to what is my main goal: more knitters, more knitting. The other two choices do not get my patterns into the hands and onto the needles of knitters.

And so, an experiment.

As I post patterns for sale, whether on my website or on Ravelry, I may put a price on the pattern. The price on the pattern represents what I think the pattern is "worth" to a knitter. You may disagree and I honor that.

So you know what? If you want to purchase the pattern, great! Thank you!

If you want the pattern but don't want to pay for it, also fine! Just tell me and I'll send you a coupon code so that you can download the pattern for free and I sincerely hope that you'll enjoy the pattern. Well, "free" as in no financial cost. All I ask for first is something from you. Anything: book suggestion, music recommendation, pattern idea, something you found online that is inspiring to you.

And if you decide, after you get the pattern, that you'd like to pay something for it, contact me and we'll work it out.

If you have any questions, leave a comment or tweet at me at @RodeoKnits. To get started, click the link at the top of the page for "Please Give, If You Want."

And also, pass it along. Let's get a conversation started.