A Design Call With A Difference

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Over the last few months there’s been (and continues to be) a much needed discussion about diversity and inclusion in the knitting industry.

One fact that’s come up again and again is how much more difficult it is for people from certain groups to get their work seen. Social media algorithms tend to show you more of the things you already like and follow, and that doesn’t help designers reach a new audience.

It’s something we’ve thought about a lot, and considered what we could do to help. We already offer yarn support to designers, and we’re especially happy to consider requests from individuals who aren’t well represented in this industry. That won’t change.

Recently Robynn Weldon and Emily Williams launched Designers Paying It Forward with the aim of offering support to someone who wants to get their first pattern published. It’s a great idea and there’s lots of helpful information on both blogs.

Reading the comments on the Instagram posts about this, the thing that struck me most was how difficult it was for people to get their work seen. The Knitting Goddess exhibits at a couple of big yarn shows each year, and that puts our work in front of many thousands of people. Primarily we exhibit as dyers. Over the last few years I’ve developed simple designs which showcase our yarns, and the design side of our business has grown.

So Bobbie and I thought we’d like to offer a designer the chance to have their work on display at the next big show we’re doing. That’s Yarndale which takes place on 28th and 29th September 2019. Last year the organisers expected around 8000 visitors over the two days, so there’s a lot of potential to get your work seen.

What we can offer

Yarn support – your design needs to be made from The Knitting Goddess yarn. We’re looking for projects which use a maximum of three skeins of 4ply (fingering) yarn – or a set of mini skeins and a skein of contrast colour. Your design can be knitted or crocheted. What we’re looking for is an accessory (so scarf, shawl, hat, mitts, socks and so on) which will stand out.

Support for tech editing and pattern layout. If you have a tech editor you already work with that’s great, otherwise we know several lovely people we can put you in touch with to get your design tech edited. We’re able to offer to pay up to £100 towards tech editing and layout costs.

We’ll pay to get flyers printed with the details of where to buy your pattern (so all sales come straight to you, and full rights remain with you). The flyers will also let people know what yarn was used and where they can buy it.

Your design will be displayed at Yarndale for the full 2 days of the show, along with flyers directing people to your pattern.

What we need

An original design using up to three skeins of yarn, or a set of mini skeins and a contrast skein. There’s a real mix of skill levels at shows so your design doesn’t need to be complex, and we’re very happy to look at single skein projects.

We’ll need your original item to display at the show. If there’s enough time we’ll knit or crochet a second sample in another colourway (I’m likely to be the person doing the knitting or crocheting, and I’m not the fastest out there). We’ll post your item back to you after the show.

We’ll need images for your flyers, and a link to where customers can buy the pattern.

Who can submit a design?

This opportunity is for someone who hasn’t had their design work displayed at a yarn show before.

We’re not setting hard and fast rules here – we’d this to be an opportunity for someone who feels marginalised by the knitting industry. Exclusion happens for many reasons including colour, race, gender, sexuality, religion, age, ability, size and financial situation. This is an chance to tip that balance a little.

We’re based in the UK, but you don’t have to be.

How do I apply?

The first thing you need to do is submit a design proposal to us. This should tell us:

  • what your design idea is
  • what yarn your design will use?
  • a rough sketch. Really rough is fine, but it’s likely that we’ll get a better idea of your idea from a sketch than from a description.

We also need to know where we can find you on social media, and if you’ve already published designs then give us a link to those too.

Send that information to us by emailing helloATtheknittinggoddessDOTcoDOTuk

We’ll acknowledge receipt of all submissions withing 48 hours, so you’ll know your email reached us safely.

We need your proposal no later than 1800 UK time on 30th April 2019, and we’ll choose the design that we want to go forward with and contact the designer no later than 2nd May.

Anything else?

We’re conscious that time is tight for this, and if deadlines are difficult or stressful for you then please bear that in mind before applying. We can’t move the date of Yarndale, so if your design isn’t ready then it can’t be displayed at the show. We’re very aware that the timescales make this less easy for some people. What we can do is say that if this works well we’ll look to run something similar again and we’ll have a longer lead time.

And finally

If you have any questions or comments you can either email us or leave a comment on the blog. Blog comments are moderated so it might be a few hours before they show up.

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