Every once in a while I get a string of comments in quick succession, and the cumulative effect of them leaves me feeling a bit cranky. I’m sure this makes me a big meany pants. But I am a big meany pants with my very own handy dandy website, so I can actually take a moment and write about two of these kinds of comments all at once and then point people here if they come up again. So without further ado, two things I will not do for you (even if you call me names).
Put the pattern out before I’m ready: If I post a picture of something I’m working on, and you like it, that’s fantastic. I totally want you to like what I make and be excited to make it for yourself. That is absolutely lovely, and I very much appreciate it.
I do not feel quite so thrilled when someone sends me some variation of “you posted a picture a week ago, where is the pattern? How dare you take so long? Don’t you realize you have an obligation to put it out? Hurry up you jerk!” Slightly more subtle but no less disenchanting are the messages that read something like “I’d really like to make this for Christmas/my niece’s birthday/my ailing mother. Can’t you write up a quick version of the pattern just for me and send it now? I’m sure it won’t be any trouble!”
The truth is I have my releases planned out about a year in advance. In order to keep up the pace I’ve set, I have to have a schedule. That means the thing I’m knitting now generally won’t be out for quite some time (and there’s a heck of a lot of behind-the-scenes work that has to happen between ‘knitted thing’ and ‘finished pattern,’ the knitting is only about 10% of the process).
So absolutely tell me you like what I’m making. Tell me you’re looking forward to knitting it yourself. I love that, and it’s fantastic to know you’re excited. But please don’t tell me that if I don’t have it out next week I’m ruining your life and am some sort of monster. That won’t make it come out any faster, and it makes me feel lousy.
Keep everything the same forever and ever and ever: You know how sometimes your favorite shampoo or jeans or ice cream topping disappears from the shelf? Or that book you’ve been meaning to buy goes out of print? Or that show you like goes off netflix? I know it’s no fun, but it happens. And sometimes it happens to knitting books and patterns.
Several of my books are out of print, and a few years ago, I took all my earliest patterns down. With the paper books, when they’re gone, they’re gone. With the early patterns, I took them down because I didn’t think they were as polished as what I’m doing now, and I didn’t want folks buying something that wasn’t representative of my current work. Many have come back out, and more are on the calendar, but there are some you just can’t get right now.
Most people are great about this. They are excited to see the old patterns in their shiny new versions, and they know they can always track down a used copy of the books if they really want to. But occasionally, someone says “I saw a copy of the book on your shelf, you have to sell me that one, and you have to sell it cheap because it’s used.” And it’s true, I do have a copy or two of my books in my office (both for reference and because I want to have a record of what I’ve made), but I’m really not going to sell them to you. I get to keep a copy of my own books. And every now and then, someone sends me a blog post from five years ago in which I announced a new pattern and tells me that I simply must let them buy it now because it was available at some point in the past (sometimes they even suggest it’s illegal of me not to and threaten to sue if I don’t, which is always fun). That’s not how it works.
So yes, sometimes things become unavailable (or change format, or change price). Sometimes things come back better than ever, and sometimes they’re gone forever. If you think you’ll kick yourself in a year if you don’t have something, the safest bet is to get it when you see it. But pretty please don’t demand that things stay the same forever or suggest I’m breaking the law if I change how I offer my work. That’s no fun for anyone.
So that’s it, that’s the end of my rant. You totally deserve a cookie if you made it this far!
And again, I want to emphasize that it is absolutely marvelous if you see something I’ve dreamt up and want to make it for yourself. I love that. I don’t get to do this job if you don’t want to make what I come up with!
And I try tremendously hard to hear requests to put something out soon or to bring an old pattern back out in that light. I pretty much always think of them as folks being excited and enthusiastic about my work, which is grand. But there’s a line between being enthusiastic and being unreasonable. Name calling or threatening to sue are firmly on the unreasonable side, and I promise they won’t have the desired effect. Let’s stick to enthusiasm and we’ll all have a much better time!