Friday, November 27, 2015

Friday Thoughts: On Being an Independent Designer

The three most important autumn accessories:
knitting, pie, adult hot cocoa
It's a bit of a weird concept: independent designer. I would think that today, the indie designer is in the majority and should just be called designers while in-house designers should be titled something else. I'm not sure. Just an idea.

Anyone with a little bit of skill can be a designer or writer or crafter or artist or whatever. Someone with a lot of skill can be a successful designer or writer or artist or crafter or whatever. I put myself in the "little bit of skill" category (and no, I'm not looking for reassurances or anything). I currently don't have as much time as I would like to devote to the skill. It's a lot of work. But anything worth doing is worth the work. I'm not complaining. And I may have a lot more time in the coming future. That's another story.

As I see it -- and from here on, this is all my theory and conjecture and, mainly, me just writing it out so that I can get my brain around it and will mainly focus on knitting design -- to be a successful designer these days, it's more than just knowing how to do the "thing." At least now, in these days. There's social media and websites and blogs and publishing and packaging and Instagram and Twitter and email and text messages and Etsy and Ravelry and and and and and. In today's "anyone can be a designer" it's almost a popularity contest.

As I've mentioned a few times, I've been participating in the Independent Design Gift-A-Long on Ravelry (today's the last day for 25% off sale patterns but the GAL continues), both as a designer and a knitter. So far, I've been able to "meet" a few more designers and I find that they're wonderful people. Of course, I don't know much about them personally other than their social media or Ravelry presence. But they're mothers and fathers, spouses, full-time employees and stay-at-home parents. They devote everything to knitting design, or it's a hobby with a bit of payback. They're talented graphic designers and writers and photographers.

And if they're like me, every mention of one of their designs, every notification of a pattern sale, every picture of a finished project gives them a little flutter in their gut. Some "yes, that's a good thing" excitement. If you don't design or knit, you know that feeling when you cook dinner for someone and they ooh-ahh-yummmm all over it? It's that kind of feeling. A warm glow. (I mean, for me there's also a bit of dread like "what if there's an error no one caught and this person will think badly of me for the rest of their lives", but I'm a little nutty sometimes.)

So as you're going about your days, think about your independent designers. Mention them when you finish one of their projects. Show off and share their name and designs with your friends. If you need a pattern, consider buying from an independent designer. Browse their Etsy stores or websites where you may find carefully curated products they're proud to offer. Connect with them on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. And I'm going to say it again: buy their patterns, even the $1 "can this person even knit" patterns. It's hard work and a leap of faith to put it out there for the public to judge.

So come say hello to me on Ravelry, show me your current project on Twitter but most importantly, say thank you to your favorite independent designers!