Monday, May 20, 2019

We’re better than this

We had ANOTHER school shooting. See up there? In the header? Where it says “teacher?” I’m a teacher in a public school, just like STEM in Littleton. This shit breaks my heart and exhausts me. And, let me just stop you if you’re about to bring up teachers carrying side arms. That’s a HARD NO. I’m there to TEACH. Already we aren’t paid for all the hours we spend or reimbursed for our own financial contributions. My sole job is to nurture, care, educate, and guide our next generation. A better solution, if you’re thinking countermeasures might work (which they wouldn’t), would be to increase our security in schools similar to that in courthouses and hire security professionals whose job it is to protect all of us, students and teachers. But, it wouldn’t work. It would just create a police state because the underlying problem in school shootings is how we treat our children and each other.

Instead of preparing for the end of the end of the school year and celebrating student achievement, we're mourning Kendrick Castillo, a real hero, and hoping for recovery for all those affected by the shooting on May 7, 2019.

This weekend Muhlaysia Booker was found murdered. She had suffered a mob attack April 12th. That attack was recorded while bystanders watched until a group of women dragged her to safety. There has been an arrest in the beating as a hate crime and charges are being considered for those who watched and did nothing. Her death is being investigated as homicide.

Until we can treat people... well, like PEOPLE, we will have those who are pushed beyond their limits and people who are too quick to judge when they have no business judging anyone else.

Monday, May 06, 2019

60 Second Update on...

maker news.

Progress photos

Dye pot goodness

Super bright sunshine

LED light on black background

What a difference background and lighting make to appearance!


Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Sliding Scales...

Another hot topic in my circle of friends.

There are many who generously offer sliding scales for their services and products. 

I'm seeing two types of sliding scales. One where the scale is truly based on income and need. This is an altruistic and extraordinarily community minded practice. Aja Barbour is one of those people. She offers fashion consulting, among other things. I support her Patreon page at a price point I can afford  and encourage forward thinking people to do the same. The really cool thing is she's not the only one. There are many people working to make things BETTER. Patreon does something very important in supporting people. I wish I could afford to support folks as much as I'd like but I like how Patreon allows varying prices at varying value. Each level offers more return on your investment which seems very fair to me.

I'm also seeing some folks who are selling goods and offering several price points. This seems a lot like Patreon offerings. It seems great, at first, except there's no variance in return for investment at varying levels. I stewed for a bit on it, though, did one of my "sit-n-spin" exercises, as I'm prone to do. I truly believe these folks want to do something good; that's clear. I'm not sure this is very helpful in the long run, though. As a maker/designer, I know I have about 40 years experience, extensive education in fiber arts but not a degree, increasing involvement in production working with textile professionals, and some designs but I'm far from prolific. I price my patterns and work accordingly. I'm middlin on the design scale and am an absolute perfectionist production professional. My patterns are already priced at the lowest rate, considering the time and expertise involved. So, those who offer differing prices for their goods are doing one of two things:
  • They are undercutting the value of textile arts. This happens all over the place especially at community craft fairs, online where selfish folks demand hard work and talent for free, and in private commissions. It devalues our work. It abhorrent. It shouldn't happen.
  • The lowest price is the true value of the artist's time and experience. The higher prices are somewhat inflated. We see this in retail all the time. There's cushion in the profit margin so sellers can utilize sales and discounts to inspire urgency. While this is a common business practice and it's not necessarily dishonest at all, it assumes the "regular" price is more than it needs to be in order to be fair.
So, the question remains: How do we make our goods available to all? I think we do because, like most designers, I offer free patterns. There are also resources to teach makers how to design their own garments. The people like Ann Budd, Cat Bordhi, Tin Can Knits, Ravelry, Ysolda Teague, Shannon Okey, and Amy Herzog, to name just a few who have shared their brilliance in knits construction. Most designers who publish offer free patterns and Ravelry allows you to select a "Free" filter. That's so easy and the range available is astounding. If you can't find what you want and don't have the extra cash to purchase a fairly priced pattern by one of these expert designers who have spent years in education and training, then there's the option of investing in a minimally priced resource to teach yourself or take a class to do it yourself. That takes work and time. And, that brings me back to previous posts of white privilege, white supremacy, entitlement, and plain old being lazy. *

So there you have it. I'm not in favor of offering varying price points for a product when alternatives are available. I also applaud those who offer a service and are making enough to offer their time on sliding scales based on true need and not greed.

*Edited to add: I'm a design dabbler, at this point, and only have a few designs. Regardless, I spent many hours calculating, testing them myself, writing them up, charting them up, discussing them with clients once published, and revisiting them when it's time to update with new technology. I've had people tell me if I give them a pattern for free for themselves and their friends, it's "marketing." I've also had someone complain about instructions who never purchased a complex kilt hose pattern and sock pattern. That person had the balls to complain about a chart symbol, that was the developer's choice not mine, when all I had to do was look at my sales records in Ravelry to see she clearly stole the pattern from someone else, whom I also could determine based on location. I still answered her questions and tried to help her. In this environment of providing space to BIPoC and acknowledging White Privilege, these women were white and demanding. There have been far more people who appreciated that I try to keep my prices low and offer free patterns...of all shapes, shades, and origination. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

A Few of My Favorite Things...

I've been thinking about how to put my purchasing dollars towards supporting those companies who share my values. Here are a few of my favorite sustainable, community minded regulars:

Today I'm dealing with cracked hands and feet, so I'm forever grateful for these products.
Goodies Unlimited

Yarny Goodness and only a fraction of the list.
Purl Soho
A Verb for Keeping Warm
Darn Good Yarn
Harrisville Yarns
Green Mountain Spinnery
Neighborhood Fiber Company
Abstract Fibers
Dragonfly Fibers

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Lookin good!

After a few experiments, I’m pleased with this result.

I’ve seen examples of jumbo knitting which had perfectly uniform color and stitch. If I’m going to make my own, it’ll be truly mine with creative variation and a unique quality.