1. A major yarn company recently instituted a program whereby fledgling designers gain practice, recognition, and some compensation whenever their patterns (always in the corporate yarn, natch) are sold by this company. When the metaphorical Young and Ambitious in our fields are encouraged, we're all for it.
But we have recently been deluged by so many designers sending patterns our way in this company's yarn, and at such a low price point, that we're concerned about being perceived as a house organ for this company. Someone once exclaimed of us: "You're like Switzerland!" in terms of not favouring one yarn's or designer's or publisher's cause over another. (Not taking advertising helps, too.)
So, here's our thinking: since this company makes it possible for designers to earn a couple of bucks or something from every pattern they sell, then the introductory market levels are getting covered. Meanwhile, there are other market segments needing reinforcement, and we'd like to continue to do that.
THEREFORE be it known to all (wo)men, that effective midnight UTC (the old Greenwich Mean Time) at the beginning of 1 February, 2010, our minimum pattern price will go to $3.00 US from $2.00. Those publisher/designers who wish to increase their prices are welcome to do so (across the board, please, not just with us). We hope this doesn't cause any undue inconvenience. This will be the last minimum increase for a while, but almost certainly not the last one forever. Be prepared.
2. We are extremely pleased and proud to release the Haiti-benefiting Sprout Center Detail Tank pattern from Classic Elite Yarns, which greeted most of us first thing this Tuesday morning through CEY's weekly Web Letter.
Classic Elite Yarns is giving 100% of their revenues from this pattern in this medium to Haiti charities. We wanted to make a similar contribution. But we can't donate 100% of our portion, because we always pay the initial PayPal transaction costs for every sale: so the more and better the pattern sold, the quicker we would have gone into a deathly financial spiral, losing more and more money at a faster and faster clip. So we simply bumped the commission rate on this pattern to that of our other charitable patterns (like the Arizona Llama Rescue ones). We don't make any money, but we don't lose any, either. Classic Elite will distribute all the proceeds, their contribution and ours, so there are no extra administration costs. This is in addition to our 2%-of-the-gross-of-December 2009 contribution to the Canadian Red Cross (done last week).
We are so grateful to this pattern's buyers, those smart and generous knitters who love a good pattern and have very kind hearts, too.
On behalf of our customers and publishers, Patternfish is donating 2% of its gross sales (that means 2% of every dollar we took in) from December 2009 to the Canadian Red Cross for Haiti relief.
And since Julia has been falling tragically behind in uploading independent work, Phil has now implemented an "Add New Pattern" feature for publishers so that they can do their own, if so inclined. We hope to have a guide to this process finished quite soon to clarify the steps. Remember you cannot make a visible mistake. Click on "Show" at any time to see how it would look to a customer. Please take advantage of this if it appeals to you, and don't forget to click on "Submit for Sale" at the top when you're done (or have taken it as far as you can). That makes your pattern appear bright green in my list of things to post. I'll look it over, and enable it. This should be way faster.
Lots of people have asked about how to make a 'data page', with the materials and gauge requirements and whatnot from the pattern on it. It's simply a matter of making a jpg out of the relevant PDF page(s). I use GIMP, which is a free download. You drag the PDF on top of its toolbar and drop it and go on from there, uploading that jpg as a photo. Have fun!
Since more and more publishers are writing their own copy (at least parts of it), a 'style' issue has come up more than once, and we want your opinion on it.
Typically if I'm writing, I'll say of Winsome Jenkins: "Jenkins has a certain aggression in her work" or quote her like this: 'Jenkins: "What I was after was to take over the knitting world"' or something similar.
Which sometimes causes kind people to email and say, "Hey, call me Winsome". (Often they're British, but not always.)
Here's my reasoning. When men talk about other men professionally, they usually call one another Robertson, Patel, or Schwartz. "Jeez, Trudeau really dropped the ball on that deal." But amongst women-- and let's face it, most of our designers and publishers are female-- we are much more used to calling one another Fern, Sandy, or Monica: "Debbi really nailed that analysis."
Which is absolutely fine. But it's different. And if one of our stated goals is to eventually create the first download-knitting-pattern-designer millionaire (and it is) then I thought we had to man up, as it were, and talk traditional professional talk, or at least write that way.
But maybe that's not necessary. And if someone objects, and changes it themselves, I leave it alone after that; it's your show, after all, and if you want to be Winsome and not Jenkins, that's your call. But what do you folks think? What should we start with? Does it matter?
Of course all kinds of good things happened at (or as a result of) exhausting TNNA (of which more later), but one of the prime things benefits our designers/publishers the most.
I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Shannon Dunbabin (and the good-looking Robert Dunbabin too!) of Cascade Yarns, and explained that we had a plethora of gorgeous patterns on our site using Cascade Yarns, and wouldn't it be useful for them to put a link from their site to ours highlighting them? Shannon's keen mind saw the possibilities right away. So with the joyous speed of Americans acting on a good idea, a couple of days later this happened:
-- and we are all thrilled. This means that any designer who lists their pattern (using any yarn at all made by Cascade Yarns) for sale with us is automatically included in this link, now and going forward. More exposure and potential sales for our talented independents, and more pattern support for Cascade: win, win, win.
Some other yarn manufacturers are already doing this with us, of course. The first was the perceptive and wonderful Fleece Artist and Handmaiden, and SWTC has blogged about their coverage in their July 20th post, but exactly the same thing is available for every single manufacturer whose yarns are represented-- even once-- on our site. So if yarn manufacturers aren't doing this yet, everyone can gently suggest they do. It costs nothing, takes seconds to implement, and we have yet to think of a downside.
Thursday, 7 January, I'm off to TNNA (www.tnna.org) for our semi-annual trade show. At an obscene hour of the morning (especially when I'm likely facing body cavity searches, trying to get from Canada into the US). Therefore pattern uploading will be a little slower over the next few days. Those who can upload their own patterns will be at a significant advantage-- it's much easier to enable things that people have already worked on. And Phil, sometime in the next few hours, should have made it possible for publishers to generate their own new templates on request. Any problems? Shoot us an email at the support email address.
I'll try to keep you posted of the goings-on, since they're usually engaging (at least to us fanatics).
And Happy New Year, everyone! 2009 was great for us. Hope 2010'll be great for all of you, too.