Without planning for it, my blog has turned into quite an honest, vulnerable place for me this year. Even though I still share all my yarn and crochet pursuits I am also sharing my feelings, fears and struggles around designing and creating, and I now consider it as a big part of my path towards becoming a braver and more authentic person. For this reason I couldn’t not write this post, no matter how hard it has turned out to explain my reasons.
The free vs paid pattern debate has been something that has always been in the background of the designer world, always lurking. Some people believe that more free patterns should be available, some people believe it makes professional designers’ work more difficult and some people believe there is a place for both. I personally consider myself in the latter category: I think free and paid patterns have a different purpose and people are more and more aware of the value of a paid pattern that has been professionally designed and tested versus a free pattern that probably has not. However I must recognise that it has been a long road for designers to get to this point where their work is valued enough for people to be willing to pay a few pounds for it (which is still clearly not enough), so I understand their frustration.
If you follow my blog you will know that so far I have offered all my patterns for free. The main reason for this was time: I did not have the time to get my patterns to a place and quality where I would feel comfortable to sell them. I work a full time job, which means that I can support myself without having to be paid for my “hobby” and therefore I didn’t see the point in investing the time to sell patterns since I really didn’t need the money.
Well, here I am, a few months later, with a new design coming up and setting everything up to make it my first paid pattern. It turns out, that investing the time was not only possible, but necessary for me to start getting used to the idea that I may not be who I always thought I was. That I may be more than the girl that always had top grades at every single subject in school but always performed less than average in any art class.
The thing is, it has never and it may never be about needing the money for me. I am not saying I am rich and money will never be an issue, I am saying that the value of selling patterns for me is a lot more than the income that comes from them, which let’s face it: it will be very small. It will however, always be about taking myself and my craft (not hobby) seriously. It will always be about challenging and proving to myself that I can do this. That this is not a pastime, a hobby, something on the side that I happen to do, but instead that creating through my designs is a part of me, part of who I am, and my stubborn engineer-you-must-always-be-efficient brain should finally embrace it.
We all grow up with an idea of who we should be, who people around us expect us to be. This craft and the path that is taking me is my way to come to terms with who I am and who I want to be, and learning that it is enough. Learning that it is OK to do something even though it makes you lose money, it is OK to be “arty” as well as logical and brainy, it is OK to be myself. It is about one day finally thinking of myself as creative without choking up.
So here I go. Stay tuned for my upcoming pattern “Ocaso”, a tunisian crochet shawl. It has taken months and months to get to this point, but I couldn’t be more proud to have gotten here.