The original post complained vehemently that designers should be considerate enough to post 'yardage' requirements for their designs instead of generalized ounces. Others chimed in with similar complaints: why not use the number of skeins- instead of ounces; why do designers use the most expensive yarns for their cutest designs; why use yarns that aren't 'excessively' available and affordable.... yada yada yada... we've all heard these complaints a million times.
Rather than create more tension at CP, I'm posting my thoughts here....
A. Don't blame the Designer; their hands are chained. (okay so I couldn't resist that pun. ;-)
- You can trust me on this one: all Crochet Designers would much rather use yardage requirements than ounces-simply because that is more accurate, but if a yarn is sold in ounces, then that is how we must 'measure' the usage.
- The common crocheter will not understand how to compute yardage into ounces, and ounces into yardage.
- I've worked with Jan Q. Public, and you can never underestimate the stupidity of Jan Q. Public. When selling merchandise to the public, you must cater to the least intelligent, because they can't do it for themselves.
- (just ask the lawn mower company who had to pay millions in damages to a family who tried to trim their bushes by turning the lawn mower on its side. Now the lawn mower company must include instructions that 'the lawn mower' cannot be turned on its side to trim hedges and bushes.)
- Trying to use a formula that computes ounces into yardage, is not the best, either. If a yarn is measured in ounces, a skein can be off by a few grams, and still be within accepted weights, but the yardage is way short. I cannot tell you how many times I've run out of yarn on a project, because not all skeins have the same yardage-when they are measured by the ounce.
- Designers can't use the 'skein count' for patterns, because the yarn manufacturers are changing the size of skeins so often. You look at older patterns that use a skein count, and if you are lucky, they will tell you how much the skein weighs. 5 skeins of yarn, can have a radically different amount of yarn from just a few years ago, and in a few more years.
- Since most designs are- in some way or another- supported by a yarn company, then designers must use the types of yarns that yarn companies want to promote.
- If you are designer trying to make a living, you must design what a publisher will buy.
- If you are a publisher, you must publish designs that will cater to your largest advertisers: yarn companies.
- Designers don't always get a choice in what yarn is used in their designs after they sell it to a publisher- whether that is a periodical publication that must depend on yarn company ads to survive, or a yarn company using the design for a marketing tool.
- Make no mistake, most patterns are designed to sell yarn, not the other way around.
B. There are numerous reasons why the industry -as a whole- treats Crocheters like Foster Kids; and folks, the problem is largely based on how we shop. We have no one, but ourselves to blame.
- More and more, I'm seeing crochet designs using minimal instructions, much like Knitting instructions or some publishers are using more graphs.
- This is much easier for the designer to write; the publisher to print; and greatly reduces the final cost of a design because less labor and supply costs went into that pattern.
- This would make Crocheters appear to be 'lazy,' since most crocheters want pattern instructions that explain stitch by stitch, row by row, what to do... like spoon feeding information to school children.
- Knitters don't use row by row, stitch by stitch instructions... the designer and publisher expect the knitter to be (dare I say this...) smart enough to be able to figure out what to do on their own.
- We just finished a conversation at Crochet Partners about who does and doesn't like 'symbol' crochet notations... and from my imperfect memory, it seemed like most folks don't like symbol notations.
- Crocheters want pattern notations that are more expensive to produce, but then they purchase the least expensive thing they can find.
I did a survey two years ago, asking Crocheters various questions on their spending habits and what they prefer to crochet. The results validated most of what I suspected:
- The Majority of Crocheters prefer to use inexpensive yarns, simple classic designs-if they crochet clothing- and stitch utilitarian projects more than anything else.
- They don't keep their finished projects, they give them as gifts to family and friends or to charity groups.
- They crochet more items in a year than knitters, and because crochet uses much more yarn than knitting, crocheters feel they must use inexpensive yarns/threads.
You probably won't believe, this, but my sister and I had this conversation this morning: If Crochet uses more yarn than knitting, and crocheters finish more projects than knitters, then why won't yarn companies cater to us Crocheters? Why won't they supply what we want? My sister doesn't crochet, and she had the answer:
Because Knitters spend more money than we crocheters do.
I offer my humblest apologies to those who don't fit into this next statement:
If you don't like the way things are, whining about it won't help. You must actually DO something, to make a difference.
If you prefer yardage measurements, then buy only those yarns that provide that information on the label; and yes, you will need to pay more for that yarn.
If you want top quality patterns that use yardage measurements, instead of generalized ounces, then you will need to pay more for them.
If you are angry that this cute design uses a yarn that you can't afford, and why don't they make that cute design in a cheap yarn... then you will need to learn how to design your own things, or how to translate other patterns with your yarn of choice.
If you want someone to tell you stitch by stitch how to create this cute/hip/trendy design, then you will need to pay more for it.
As a whole, we crocheters need to stop relying on designers to spoon feed us stitch by stitch instructions, and learn how to 'figure some things out on our own.'
Understand, folks, that I am one of you. I buy Red Heart, because it was cheap and with my allergies I couldn't work with animal fibers. I buy yarn at thrift stores, and yes, two days ago I bought an 8 oz skein of unmarked yarn-probably Red Heart- for 50 cents. I learned this from my grandmother, who never bought 'new' yarn- she crocheted the scraps that friends would give her or what she could find at garage sales.
I rarely buy new patterns, because they are the same pattern on the clearance table as they are hot off the press. The single most important reason I don't buy new patterns is because most patterns don't fit a woman who is 6'1" and a plus size. For me, I will spend more on Red Heart to crochet a sweater than what I could purchase a completed sweater at Wal Mart... yes, even I have said those dreaded words.
I am finally learning that Crochet is an Art and my work deserves better quality supplies.
Until we all believe that we are Artists who deserve top quality supplies and be willing to pay top dollar for those supplies, we must accept our place as Foster Kids in the needlework industry.
The simple truth is:
- if we want the industry to treat Crochet and Crocheters with the same level of respect as they do Knitters;
- if we want the industry to invest in our hobby as much as they do knitting,
- then we will need to spend more money.
Money talks, and if you don't like the status quo, buy the things that knitters buy... or learn to design your self with the yarns you can afford.
Oh, the article I wrote from that survey can be found here:http://chezcrochet.com/page87.html it is a lengthy article... 4pages long.
Sorry, folks, I offer my humblest apologies, but I fought a migraine all day, and I really got cranky at all the whining. Get real. You cannot expect Champagne Quality for the price of tap water. I've been one of the cheapest crocheters on the planet, but I accepted that fact and learned how to cope. Now, I'm learning how to cope in a different way: if you are going to put that much work into something, then it is worth quality supplies.
© Angela ‘ARNie’ Grabowski 2008. All rights reserved. For more crochet fun, visit ChezCrochet.com
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