Ruth, aka Woolly Wormhead, wrote a very thoughtful post on KnitPicks’ Independent Designer Program. I was just reading over my entire book manuscript yesterday, which features a short section on the IDP and how it compares to other sales options as a designer. She’s got it right: almost no designer earns nearly enough on their design work to make it a feasible full-time job. (This lovely article about Ysolda Teague shows she is one of the rare exceptions, and I salute her for it!)
One of the little jokes I played when I spoke to the Common Cod guild in Boston last year on this very topic was to write a giant “NO” on one of the multi-level blackboards in the presentation space, then pull it down after going into a long spiel about how I’d spent all afternoon making a flowchart about whether it was possible to earn a living as a designer. Cue the laugh track, even if it’s not very funny.
I sometimes get emails asking when, say, Stella Maris or Metis will be available for sale (since I have a tendency of posting the initial photos on Ravelry long before the actual pattern is ready), and the inconvenient truth is this: I frequently have to put aside finishing work on a pattern to prioritize a job or writing assignment that will earn me more (or better still, guaranteed) money. That’s life in the big city, friends.
And now, on a more positive and related note: it’s looking as if the Knitgrrl Guide To Professional Knitwear Design may be ready for pre-order even sooner than I thought, so watch this space! I’ll post a photo of the great big marked up paper copy of the manuscript later for your amusement.