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Ya Get Whatcha Pay For

Monday, January 1, 2011
If you like what I write, become a FOLLOWER!

A few designers have been chatting and we have decided to band together on an educational mission. We want the crocheting, pattern-reading community to know and understand what goes into the creation of a crochet design/pattern.

For those of you not interested in the process of designing, I have summarized so you can skip that part. To see a photo essay of my first week in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico scroll down.
-An innate sense of wonder is essential to translate inspiration to design
-A "day job" helps pay the bills!
-Time and little need for sleep!
-Physical act of making the product
-Writing the pattern instructions
-Layout, graphics illustrations, diagrams
-Photography, digital retouching
-Marketing: social media, blog, newsletters

Submitting an idea to a magazine or book publisher requires TIME.
I must admit that many, many of my design ideas come to me in the shower! Right there I am saving the pattern-buying public money because I am multi-tasking. I don't usually sit down at a drawing board and say to myself, "Okay, now it is time to design such and suc." I could view an object while I am on a walk; I could view a stitch pattern in a "crochet bible"; I could view a skein of yarn. Suddenly an inspiration pops into my head; and I think and think about what I could do with that inspiration.

Many of the designs that I have created have first been done for my own enjoyment, as an experiment or as something I wanted to make and wear. I could have enjoyed wearing it for some time or it could have laid around for months until I found a place where this design would find a home and fit in perfectly.

It is extremely difficult to make a living as a designer!!!! Having a shuga momma or poppa helps a lot! On this plan, the designer is not encumbered with the interruptions of a day job! There is a very elite group of designers who actually are making a living as designers and I even have my doubts about how well their "living" is. One would have to be cranking out AT LEAST one design per day and submitting each design somewhere daily and having each design accepted daily, as well, to keep the paychecks flowing fast enough. Most, I would say, get a huge charge from seeing their name and their design in print. From there, when the going gets tough, they throw in the towel and go back to their real life.

Submitting a design to a magazine or book publisher requires CONFIDENCE.
What makes me think that an editor would be interested in one of my designs? That is the never-ending question. Sometimes the editor is not even sure what she/he wants!! I have submitted an idea eights months in advance of when it would be published and have had an editor come scurrying to me wanting that idea "yesterday." Somehow, the stars were aligned and my idea fit perfectly with whatever she/he is thinking so she needs it NOW.

I have been crocheting for thirty-nine years! That's a lot of practice. Some people have practiced for that long but never ventured very far away from a couple of stitches. Thanks to the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA), the Embroidery Guild of America, and the National Needlearts Association, I have taken countless classes and have been exposed to an infinite wealth of knowlege through the other crocheters, teachers and designers whom I have met. I have spent countless thousands of dollars honing my skills at crochet conference classes, local classes, buying books, magazines, volunteering my time on committees and projects. It is all part of the learning process.

Time builds confidence, as does feeling a sense of belonging that comes from membership in communities such as CGOA, Ravelry and Facebook. Unless I try, submit my ideas and wait, I won't know if an editor likes my designs. Time and experience has also taught me that I must be prepared to *accept* *rejection"!!

Submitting an idea to a magazine or book publisher takes SKILL.
Not only does an idea need to be firmly embedded in the head, but it also must be physically possible to execute. I may need to experiment and try several techniques or stitches to actually get the object to look the way I envisioned it in my mind. This could take hours or days, depending on how intensely I want to persevere with it. Swatching is a practical and quick way to test stitches to determine if the proposed concept drapes beautifully or holds it shape stiffly. From there, math becomes the designer's friend. Gauge is extremely important and must be accurate in order for a finished garment, or even a crocheted piece of jewelry, to fit the intended size of person. Counting and measuring....a perfectly shaped and perfectly fit garment cannot be created without these.

Taking classes, attending conferences, sharing with other designers and on the job training, studying crochet books and teaching are all essential parts that lead the way to obtaining these skills.

Submitting a design to a magazine or book requires Non-Crochet Skills.
Unless we can afford to hire others to do the following tasks, we must somehow learn to do photography, graphics and layout as well as marketing.

I've rambled on long enough and I think you must understand. So, the next time you choose between a free pattern on the internet (which may have been stolen from a legitimate designer and copied for sale) and one you pay for, think of the sincere effort put into the professional pattern and the skills that the designer paid for in blood, sweat and tears. Reward the professional designer with a pattern purchase!
We are no different than lawyers or doctors who have spent years in training and many hours and dollars in education. We have skills that are unique to our profession and we deserve respect!

A photo collage of our first week in Ajijic:
The boardwalk (malecon) along Lake Chapala
New sculpture on the main highway near our house

You don't often see murals or doors like this in the states-maybe in Santa Fe


The plaza in Ajijic, Three Kings Day display, church on the plaza

The bougainvilla couldn't be more brilliant!

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