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Quiet time: Studio Notes 54

My beloved phone is in for repairs and the backup solution of an ancient iPhone is... not ideal. On t
Studio Miranda
Quiet time: Studio Notes 54
By Studio Miranda  • Issue #54 • View online
My beloved phone is in for repairs and the backup solution of an ancient iPhone is… not ideal. On top of that, I’ve just finished up a year of working rather more than I ever wanted or meant to, on jobs that were rather less rewarding than I’d hoped, which all left me very little energy or desire to engage with people. I barely want to talk in real life, let alone put in the effort to maintain my Instagram profile; but that’s a problem if I care about having people notice and knit my patterns. And anyway I really enjoy Instagram – in theory. When I get to do it on my terms, not as a carefully controlled marketing exercise. I can feel things shifting and resettling in my mind, as I try to figure out what is helping me, what not.
And then I read this critique of the new digital minimalism and it touches on so many of my current concerns. The non-trivial role of social media in the gig economy. The exploitation of our increasingly fractured attention. The tendency for some (usually privileged, often white male) people to take a moral, individualistic, frankly judgmental position on what is better viewed as a structural problem – and now I’m not just talking about social media any more. Because this happens all the time. From opposition to universal basic income, or any other form of welfare to arguments that women don’t advance professionally because really they just prefer to spend more time with their kids. And, implicitly or explicitly, it has pervaded recent discussions of knitting pattern pricing.
Don’t know what I’m talking about? I’ve written about that conversation here, with a little follow-up here. So I won’t repeat myself, but I do want to highlight the way this is being framed as an issue individual designers need to tackle – through creatively rethinking pricing models, perhaps (see below) – and not as part of a structural problem with how creative work, and especially women’s work, is undervalued; with poverty and lack of support for people dealing with barriers to employment; with the way in which social media rewards and promotes a very specific, very exclusionary and consumerist model of creativity… There are a lot of problems here. But frankly, they’re not going to be solved by treating them as individual choices.

Simmer Blink jetzt auch auf Deutsch!
Simmer Blink jetzt auch auf Deutsch!
Pay what you can pricing
A number of designers are now adopting tiered pricing – you can read about the reasoning and the how-to here. (Also see this thread, where Casey points out that you don’t need separate promotions for each pattern.) As mentioned in my blog post, I’ve implemented it for my fundraising Mokita shawl, where it’s been pretty successful (only one person has chosen the lowest price; most pay the top price, and I deeply appreciate this enthusiastic support for Mind). However, after extended thought, I have decided not to put more of my patterns on this structure – for now. Although I think it’s a really good idea, and likely to do well for many designers. So why not?
I think adding tiered pricing would cause too much confusion with my ongoing 4-for-3 offer, and obviously it wouldn’t make any sense combined with other promotions, like launch discounts or the annual Gift-along. These offers are all major sales drivers for me. I think that as designers grow in popularity, they are less and less dependent on such promotions, and tiered pricing makes more sense. But for me, it would be a mess. So that’s where I’m at: same pricing as before, same occasional promotions, and this newsletter remains your best way to get the best deals. This strategy may change in future… but not yet.
Enough of all that…
Let’s have some fun. How does a heavy metal knitting world championship sound to you? Yeah, me neither. But I love that it exists. I also love the whole genre of “reasons to feel better about doing things badly”, whether hobbies that you never plan to monetise or even excel at, or the vulnerability of those necessary failures on the way to success.
Useful bits
The internet is full of free charting tools, but these two are particularly nifty. Knitteracy generates colourwork charts for texts (such as a name), and the best part is that it gives a choice of alphabets (all carefully sourced). I particularly like this Potter alphabet. I also just recently discovered Stitch Fiddle, which includes crochet – hallelujah! The library may be a bit limited but until there’s crochet software that’s as good as StitchMastery, this is a really good alternative to painstakingly creating each symbol yourself in Illustrator.
And finally
It doesn’t feel like spring yet, does it? May weather is always a bit dicey, but having to wear winter coats and gloves feels like a real betrayal. Still, all around I see juicy greens and flowers blooming; the sun, when we get it, is deliciously warm. And here’s me enjoying actual leisure for what seems like the first time in a year. I have – of course – a stupidly long list of work and design plans, but I’m so excited about having a chance to actually do these things. I’m also, honestly, really excited about having a chance to do a bit of nothing. I’m putting lazy time in my schedule and you bet I’m following that plan. Wishing you an equally joyous, creative, and lazy spring.
Happy knitting!
Robynn
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Studio Miranda

Inspiration and food for thought for crafters, from yarn twiddler Robynn Weldon.

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