…has been an issue for some months now and I am sure you have bumped into some post or another on IG or Twitter, not to mention Ravelry (a great discussion has taken place there).
I admit that my first reaction upon reading these posts and comments was: well, for those of us who live and work in Europe, discrimination has a whole different meaning … or maybe not? It had never crossed my mind that I should have to “take sides” when I started my indie designer journey on the Internet. In fact, I never realised there were “sides” in that huge and diverse knitting community.
I know that if something keeps me interested and going on knitting, one stitch after the other, is this wonderful diversity one can find in knitting craft: stitch patterns, various techniques, colorwork, ethnic traditions, new shapes and forms; I feel one knitter’s life is not enough to experience and assimilate all this diversity. So, no, knitting is not about discrimination, on the contrary. But then, why are all these people complaining about feeling excluded, I wondered.
Well, it IS obvious, isn’t it? Because this is not about “knitting”, it’s about the knitting market, the industry, the yarn dyers, the pattern designers, the publishers: it’s about the business. And, yes. Business is a whole different thing and it may be very hard to handle and very prone to discriminating newcomers and that’s the bitter truth.
Come to think of it, I live and work in a very small country, whose language was not even included in Ravelry until a couple of years ago, so, there’s “exclusion” in my case. I feel priviliged because, although my mother tongue is Greek, I have always been able to write and edit my patterns in English, French and Spanish and this opened new horizons for me. I owe my indie designer’s Rav Store to the fact that I studied languages. If I hadn’t, I couldn’t communicate effectively.
Two years or so ago, I asked for Greek to be included in the Ravelry pattern languages, as I had several patterns already published in Greek. I feel so grateful for the fact that they responded to this petition (I know several other Greek Rav members had also asked for it). Ravelry is definitely the best home a knitter can find in this world. So, yes, exclusion is out there, but so is inclusion, my friend and I am certain that if we do our bit, things WILL change for the better.
As I said, all this had me thinking what I can do about icluding more knitters into this wonderful journey. I came to the conclusion that offering some new patterns of mine for free is something I can definitely do happily, in order to include people who cannot afford to purchase a new pattern; yes, I know there are people who cannot even afford to pay 5$ for a pattern, believe it or not, there are places in this huge world when 5$ is a significant amount of money.Having said that, I am glad to tell you, I have already written and I’m currently editing and about to test knit a new shawl pattern that will be released in May.
Youkali is the first of a series of free patterns that I plan to publish eventually and I will try to offer it in as many languages as possible. I have already a number of testers who are willing to test it, although they know this is going to be a free pattern. The least I can do to compensate them is to offer them another single pattern of mine for free. Would you like to join them in this testing adventure? I will happily welcome more testers, so that I can offer a well-groomed pattern to everyone. If you feel like it, just come and say so, in the test thread on Ravelry, where you can read all details about it.
I leave you with the song that gave its name to the pattern: it is about the wonderful place each and everyone of us desires, the land where we can share our dreams and our love, the place of hope that does not really exist or maybe the one we carry inside our heart and minds. Happy knitting!