Welcome to Erssie Knits

To see my new website, and find patterns to download and more go here to the Erssie Knits website
Just downloaded a couple of socks patterns. I will enjoy knitting a pattern I don't have to think about, in that someone else has done the working out and I hope it doesn't inspire me to come up with my own designs as that would not be the point! I like these knee highs, called Lissajous by Cookie A in the Twist Collective

I am looking forward to the end of August when all my current deadlines are finished and no-one will be working for me still. I have two good knitters at the moment, but each of those is a designer in their own right and one of them is an editor of a knitting mag so neither is permanent. I am planning to spend more time, just knitting for me after August and although I have a sock book planned, I want to try out other people's patterns first before refining my own. A bit of solitary knitting and research will help me, and I will have to try hard to stem the flow of ideas I want to start straight away!
I also love these Empoisonnee socks by Yarnissima mainly because they are Toe up with an interesting gusset and the toe is not the normal short row one I have been using.

There has been an ongoing discussion about whether there should be feedback on Ravelry as to 'naming and shaming' designers who don't pay up. As a designer who has had the awful job of rejecting work and not being able to pay those who knitted items that cannot be used (if they are the wrong size, gauge or just plain wrong) I think that giving designers the right to point out bad knitters is just totally totally unprofessional and nasty.

I think it reflects badly on people both ways if they start naming and shaming, and I would not want to be a part of it. I put my views up as clearly as I can (with a disability that affects the words and language I use that was not easy by any means) and one person suggested that perhaps I was worried about negative feedback for myself when maybe I was being too harsh on my workers. Another said that perhaps I should be testing the pattern before the sample knitter makes it, in order to make sure it is a working pattern with no mistakes so the sample knitter doesn't have to find mistakes.

I don't feel I have been harsh, and in the main, I have paid fees in a lot of cases where the work could not be used, only in a few where there were multiple faults and it was of the wrong size completely did I withhold payment. I also withheld payment where the workers response to criticism had been over the top, and to pay any part of the fee would have caused a legal problem in that it would have been deemed that I found the piece acceptable.

There was an argument, that perhaps because ebay has feedback in that manner so should Ravelry when it came to 'test knitters'. However, my argument would be that Ebay's whole existence centres around the buying and selling transactions that take place on that site, so it is appropriate for it to police its own activities in that way. Ravelry on the other hand, is set up as a website to share information and serve the hobby knitter, and the transactions that take place between designer and knitter are away from Ravelry, and not what the site itself is centred upon, so I would not take part in a scheme which is suggested by hobby knitters to police the knitting industry's own activities.

. There are legal consqeuences as well, because me trying to explain why I did not pay a knitter could draw me into having to give a way certain details about the projects in order to justify myself, and then I am breaching any confidentiality I have with the publisher.

Also, no-one seemed to take into account that it is not my standards that cause work to be rejected, but the standards of my client, so whether or not I am being harsh does not come into it. If it is not good enough for photography for my clients, then they will not use it, regardless of my private opinion. Some knitters who have worked for me, did work for publishers and designers that I was not involved in other than being a project manager and putting my neck on the line with publishers by saying that any work not good enough by them, will be redone by me. And I have done that too!

In the end, it all became a bit confusing on Ravelry, and I think people started to think I was advocating pointing the finger at bad employees publicly, when in fact, all of what I was saying was to support WHY it was so bad to do it, and I don't want a part of it.

I wish some other more experienced designers had been able to support me on line, but a lot of them quite wisely lurked around these discussions without jumping in. However, I felt that I was speaking for them, and had similar views to some of them, but people reading the posts would not have understood that and there are still 'indie' designers who work for themselves who do not understand the contractual obligations and duties to a third party, i.e. the publisher employing me. If anything is too difficult, has too short a deadline, too low a fee and has complicated and varied duties, then don't blame me, the publishers demand that.

There are still a lot of people as well, that think test knitting is this. You send a finished but near perfect copy of a pattern to a test knitter and they knit up something for themselves in their own yarn and own time and tell you if they found an error. Yes that is one form of test knitting, but there are so many other things a knitter can be asked to do from pattern checking, copy editing, tech editing, knitting up a design from a concept only and no pattern, and knitting near perfect samples for photographs and models. To name a few.

It is difficult to find good workers, and I don't expect the earth, I just want to be able to supply the framework of a pattern to a good knitter who does not need a pattern, and for them to knit a sample good enough to photograph. I am fair, I reject work if it is fundamentally wrong and if it is completely the wrong size or cannot be used for photography.

One person thought I was rejecting work to save myself money. However, I lose out more than the knitter. They lose only their time but often I have to replace materials and pay another knitter overtime to complete it in such a short space of time. I cannot let my standards slip as I know my standards are fairly average and not that high and to drop them would make the work too substandard to be used in the commercial world.

However, I would not ever breach confidentiality and name knitters on line or anywhere else, after all, they can have a bad experience the first job or two and then learn from their mistakes.


noblinknits said...

Looks like I missed out on an interesting discussion!

Kate said...

I love those socks. :-) I think it's hard not to be inspired by other people's patterns. But that's a good thing, as far as I'm concerned as it gets the creative juices flowing. ;-)

I didn't see the thread on Ravelry you mentioned. Having never hired sample knitters, I can't really comment from personal experience, but clearly it's vital for designers to be clear about the task they need undertaken and for the test knitters to be upfront about what they expect to be doing. If everyone just communicated, then it would probably solve a lot of problems and potential ill-feeling. Perhaps I'm over-simplifying. :-)

I'm very much anti-naming and shaming, though. It causes far too much ill feeling and damage than the "good" it's claimed to be for.