Crisis of Design Faith

July 16, 2014 § 2 Comments

Hello, lovely readers. I’m having a wee bit of a crisis of design faith. Not in my ability to design beautiful things. I like my designs, a lot. That’s actually part of the problem: I have at least 30 designs in various stages that I love and that I really, really want to make. But the work of turning them into patterns is tremendous and time consuming, and it’s also not cheap, and right now I’m not in a position where I can stop doing what I’m doing for a Real Job (nor do I want to — I love my job and it gives me a great deal of personal fulfillment and satisfaction to help other knitters and crocheters!) in order to design full-time.

I have seen very little $$ return from my self-published stuff, which I think is more due to lack of effort to market/sell on my part than anything else, but I’m not sure I really want to put more effort into marketing because that’s not something I enjoy (though I do really need to get this website redone either way, which would be a good first step). Also, designing for patterns (as opposed to designing just so I have the thing I imagined) means I need to use reasonably available yarns, which often means I need to go out and buy yarn instead of using something old and discontinued from my stash. And, if I’m going to continue on and be serious about it — and if I’m not going to be serious about it, why continue on? — I need to put myself on a strict production schedule, which sucks some of the fun out of it.

On the other hand, I really enjoy designing. Not just the “fun” stuff of the initial creation, but the problem solving and grading and charting…all of it. BUT, if I take the time to do all of the grading etc. to every design I will never be able to make all of the things I want to make (and that’s not even including all of the beautiful things by OTHER designers that I’d like to make!). I’ve already pretty much decided to give up magazine design work, mainly because I don’t get to keep the samples and even if I did, they’re not generally in my size and I just don’t have the time to reknit them in my size (someday we’ll talk about how I’m a ridiculously slow knitter). I design things I love and want to wear, so not having one for me just kills me sometimes (Tonks’ Togs, I’m looking at you). So maybe the answer is to publish only accessories — things like cowls that don’t need to be sized out and graded — and to make garments for just for me (or whoever) as one-offs, not to be published.

But now I’m thinking of a couple of garments that I really, really want to design — like, not just make the sample but design and see the finished pattern out there in the wild for others to make. And I’m thinking I want to get into tech editing, too (see above re: grading is fun for me). I honestly don’t know what the answer is going to be. But I need to figure it out and right quick, because this indecisiveness has mired me down and I’m not even getting some of it done.

Wilkommen, bienvenue, welcome, come on in!

June 30, 2014 § Leave a comment

Lookee what the kids and I did this weekend!

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Welcome the the Craftmine! We've got fun and games! In the Craftmine, in the Craaaftmiiine, we're gonna watch you bleed! Wait, no, no bleeding. It'll get on the yarn.

I’m having so much fun setting the Craftmine up and transforming the blank spaces into art!

If you’ve been wondering…

June 19, 2014 § 13 Comments

…why I’m no longer a part of Otherworld, and why you haven’t seen me around some events that you probably expected to see me at, this post should answer that for you. This is not a fun, happy, crafty post. This is a post about a horrible thing that happened to me, that someone who I thought was a friend did to me. It may make some of my other friends, people who are friends with both of us, very uncomfortable. It still makes me very uncomfortable to talk about. But I am going to talk about it, because when it happened, when I was trying to deal with it all, I had posts from women like Genevieve Valentine, Veronica Schanoes, and Delilah S. Dawson, and so many other women in the comments of those posts and in other posts that I could read and feel less alone and ashamed and scared [at the end of this post, I've given a list of links to posts I found helpful]. So if I can do that for just one other woman, it will be worth it. I have decided at this time not to specifically name my predator here on my blog, but I’m not going out of my way to hide who it is, either. If you know me, you probably know who it is (and if you think you know but are not 100% sure and want to confirm, please don’t hesitate to ask). I’m okay with that.

The Backstory: For some years I was a volunteer staff member of a yearly adventure weekend event called Otherworld. At the end of the event weekend, we would all meet up at the local fast food eatery to decompress and laugh and enjoy each others’ company. There’s lots of hugging, especially as we prepare to depart and not see one another for awhile. During the last event one of my character costumes was a very skimpy nurse outfit (which I was fine with, and which no one was an ass about during the event, but which is relevant to the story).

The Awful Thing: After the last event (2012), we were hugging goodbye at the end of the weekend, and one of the male staff members suggested — speaking very quietly, directly into my ear — that I should come to his house and his wife and I could wear our nurse costumes for him. When I tried to de-escalate and laugh it off, he said, “You know I’m serious, right?” and physically held me until I acknowledged he meant what he said (by “physically held” I mean “I was trying to pull away from the hug and he tightened his grip on my waist and wouldn’t let go until I nodded and said that, yes, I knew he was serious”).

This was not the first time he said something wildly inappropriate to me, but this was the first time there was a physical component. That escalation made it cross the line from “ew but whatever” to frightening. I want to make sure that this is very clear: the words that were said are not the big problem here (though they are a problem, and I wish I’d said something sooner about the other creepy stuff that he’s said to me over the years). The way they were delivered — quietly, personally, directly, rather than as (for instance) a loud public joke — made them very uncomfortable and a little frightening. The addition of the physical restraint when I tried to treat it as a joke made the entire situation terrifying, more so because I couldn’t get away without causing a very ugly scene in the middle of Wendy‘s, in the middle of a group of mutual friends, most of who have known him a good deal longer than they’ve known me.

Let’s be perfectly clear about something else: what my (former? supposed? alleged?) friend did to me when he grabbed me and said gross things and wouldn’t let go was an assault. I have spent months avoiding using that word, assault, because I have been more “traditionally” sexually assaulted in the past, in ways that directly involved my primary and/or secondary sex organs. But this was no less an assault for the physical component not involving a sex organ. What he did to me is far from the worst thing that’s ever been done to me, and certainly other women have suffered far worse as well.

That does not make what he did okay, or excusable, or less awful.

People have asked why I didn’t just say something at the time, because surely it was all just a misunderstanding. (I’m not sure if they think I’ve misunderstood the propositioning or the restraining, but I think both were pretty clear.) To suggest that someone who is in a situation like that just needs to speak up is, frankly, egregious.  I didn’t say anything at the time because I was scared. Scared no one would believe me, scared no one would take me seriously, scared I would be kicked out of the group, scared people would say and think it was my fault, scared that if I said something and didn’t get kicked out of the group next time would be worse…see, I’ve been here before. It rarely goes well for the accuser, especially if the accused is a beloved member of the group.

Even worse, I have been so conditioned that behavior like this is ‘boys being boys’, or social awkwardness, or some crazy misunderstanding on my part that now I believe it. It wasn’t until I’d told the story to three or four people who are not part of Otherworld and been met with immediate outrage that this had happened to me that I really was able to believe that yes, I was correct to feel violated and grossed out and angry.

The Fallout: Otherworld was truly magical for me. It is the first group of people I have ever felt wholly comfortable with, that I’ve been able to fully relax with, that I’ve consistently been excited to be a part of, that I have trusted.

I did eventually come forward and report what happened to the person in charge. The result of that is I am no longer part of the organization (he still is) — I quit because I am not willing to put myself in danger, and there is no way to guarantee my safety from him at an event where we all wander around in a large wooded area. I avoid events that I know he is going to be at, because I know he is going to be there and the thought of being in the same space as him makes me feel cold and shaky and like I’m going to vomit.One of the reasons I’m putting this out there is because I am angry, livid, enraged: that this happened and hasn’t been made public to all the members of Otherworld (despite my reporting it); that, from what friends still affiliated with Otherworld have told me, there continues to be no specific sexual harassment policy in place; that he is still there, still a predator, and still able to choose who’s going to be next. Because someone will be. I am not asking anyone to choose between me and him.

I have told some people what happened, and I understand that some other staff — but not everyone — have heard as well. I know people have history, good history, with him. That’s okay. But if that’s you, I do want you to know this about your friend. I wish I had known it, so I would have known to be on my guard. If this is uncomfortable for you, if this rocks your boat, perhaps you should let your friend know that he needs to keep his hands and his disgusting propositions to himself and not prey on your other friends, or anyone else. Perhaps you can even encourage him to get some help.

“It doesn’t matter whether the person sexually harassing someone else [...] is well-liked or is otherwise a decent human being or feels really bad about it in retrospect.” – John Scalzi

It has been suggested to me that he didn’t know what he was doing, that he’s just “socially awkward”. No, I’m sorry, that’s not being socially awkward. That’s harassment and assault.

Some people have told me what a wreck he is. Good. I am glad he’s a wreck. Otherworld was one of the few places I have ever felt safe being casually touched by people (a hand on the arm, a hug, a pat on the back..), and thanks to Otherworld I was becoming more comfortable with those kinds of casual touches in the “real” world. Now, I’m back to needing a very large radius of personal space to feel safe. I gained about 15 pounds and went back to wearing baggy, oversized clothes, so people — men — won’t look at me (NB: this doesn’t actually work — predators gonna predate). I have panic attacks and borderline panic attacks, pretty frequently, especially if someone brushes against me or god forbid puts a hand on my shoulder. I’m getting past it and getting better and back to where I was, slowly. But I think you can understand why hearing that the person who did this to me is a wreck is maybe not as impactful as you might think, especially since I pretty strongly suspect that he’s a wreck because he finally got caught and not because he’s finally realized that he’s a revolting predator who needs to stop and get some help.

Some of you have wondered why I won’t let him apologize to me, why I won’t let him try to make it right. The answer is simple: There is nothing he can say or do to make it right. Apologizing might make him feel better, but allowing him to tell me he’s sorry will do nothing for me but put me back into direct contact with someone who physically assaulted me, and abused our friendship, and preyed on me. I think I’ll pass, thanks. It is not my responsibility to make him feel better. My only responsibility is to keep myself safe and find ways to heal.

Special note to friends: If I was not able to tell you about this in person, I apologize. Please know that it was due only to either not being in the same place as you, or being in a place where I didn’t want to be the focus of the occasion/bring the room down. If you are one of the people I was able to talk to about it in person, thank you so much for your support. It helps tremendously.

Update 6/23: Kit’s Thoughts

Links: These are some, but by no means all, of the posts that have helped me work through this (it happened a year and a half ago…some of the other links I’ve just plain lost track of, unfortunately — if I come across them or any others, I’ll happily add them to the list). Update 7/14: I’m also adding newer posts that I find helpful.

Comments are on for now, but will be heavily moderated. 

Hiatus

May 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

Well, I mean, obviously. In a nutshell, about halfway through February, my new studio got finished and ready for me to move in. So, I’ve been concentrating on getting everything set up in there and getting it functional to use as studio/crafting space/office/etc. I’m hoping to be completely set up by June. There will be pictures, eventually.

How that affects this space:
Clearly, I’m not blogging regularly at all. There might be some sporadic posts here and there going forward – especially since I have a few drafts that just never got posted – but I’m not promising anything. Once I get all set up, I’m mostly going to be concentrating on getting my designing back on track (since that’s also been pretty much shut down by not having a place to really spread out and work out of), but I’m also going to start working on a fancy new redesign for this space. More color, more features, more info. The plan is to do a big relaunch in the fall, which works perfectly since that coincides with knitting and baking season.

Make’n’Tell Day 16: Dough I Know You?

February 17, 2014 § Leave a comment

Yesterday I did something I haven’t done in a very long time: I baked bread. I used the baguette recipe I posted about a while back, but I’ve made some slight modifications in process since then. See, it turns out that most bread recipes are written with instructions to maximize crustiness. I guess most people like a really crunchy crust? Not me (or my kids): I want my bread moist and chewy and not ripping up the roof of my mouth. I can eat me some Cap’n Crunch if I want that.

Makes me hungry just looking at it.

So. I went back to those recipes and books and I paid special attention to the bits that were emphasized for crustiness: baking on a stone, steaming (with a pan of water in the oven), and painting the dough with a coat of water just before baking. Then I stopped doing all of those things, and now I have bread with perfect — for us — crust. It’s chewy and delicious, but not at all crunchy. I don’t use any water, either applied to the dough or to steam, and instead of baking on a stone I bake on parchment paper on an airbake cookie sheet (or in a loaf pan).

Make’n’Tell Day 15: More Of the Same

February 17, 2014 § Leave a comment

More knitting yesterday: All Seasons Cowl, Thing Which Cannot Be Shown, and an entrelac cowl I’d been working on before the holidays then forgotten about.

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Make’n’Tell Days 11-14: No Work and All Nyquil Make Laura Something Something

February 15, 2014 § Leave a comment

Completely forget about MnT posts? DON’T MIND IF I DO!!!

Sorry about that…I did do some making every day, both on the sunset scarf and the Projects That Must Not Be Named. I’m actually a little disappointed in the scarf…I had planned/hoped for it to be a wrap, but underestimated the width I needed. So now it’s a scarf, which will probably be joined into a cowl. So we’ll see how that goes.

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Oh! Speaking of cowls, as you can see in the picture I also started another All Seasons Cowl (will add link later, I promise). I can only do a few rows at a time because of the giant (size 50!) needles. But the stitches are so big it should still be a pretty fast project. I’m using this great Fettuccini that’s hot pink and kind of shaggy, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to make me feel like a rock star when I wear it.

I think the lack of variety in my projects is making this MnT less exciting for me than I’d hoped, so I’m going to mix it up a bit and impose an additional rule: at least three posts per week must be non-knitting OR brand new knitting projects. On that note, I’m off to the Pinterest boards!

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