Tuesday, October 08, 2013

An Open Letter/Confession to Any Designer

The latest commotion in the stitching blogosphere was a tongue-in-cheek post written by a blogger I follow, lamenting the discrepancies between the model photos that don't seem to match the listed supplies, the abundance of certain fiddly stitches, and other personal preferences.  I personally thought the post was funny, and it prompted me contemplate my own love/hate relationships.  So here goes.

Dear Designer XYZ-
I love some of your designs.  Really, I do.  They are gorgeous/adorable/inspiring/perfect for my crazy aunt/chose your own flattering descriptor.  But that one design....you know, the one with the stuff I don't like?  Oh, I REALLY don't like that one.  I find it creepy/weird/silly/bizarre/disproportionate/choose your own descriptor that offends you the most.  So I won't buy it.  I definitely won't stitch it.  And just as I can look at a blouse in the store and say, "blech!" I may do the same thing when I come across that pattern while browsing at my LNS.
While I wish I could take your supply list to the store and purchase everything as listed, I have neither the time nor the finances to do that.  So I often use fabric from my stash, and I almost always swap out a floss or 2.  Because really, if I don't have a skein of "Old Blue Jeans" in my stash, I'm certainly not going to pay $2.00 (or more) to do 10 stitches (or less).  Sometimes I leave beads and buttons off.  Sometimes I add beads and buttons where I like.  And I have gone so far as to move design elements around, add things, and completely remove things.  I also know that design photography - or in some cases, color chart renderings that are NOT photographs of the finished stitching - isn't an exact science....but let's face it, in some cases a photograph CAN make the difference in my purchasing decisions.  And if the flosses I pull to stitch the design I loved when I saw the picture don't match, you can bet that I'll be looking for substitute flosses!  (I also understand that floss and fabric dye lots change and/or are discontinued.  While I don't blame you for this, I do sometimes find myself muttering, "sheesh, wouldn't a standard DMC color have worked just as well for this?")
Honestly, I don't get the appeal of design "series" - especially those that require buying multiple patterns to stitch one complete picture (ie, I don't so much mind "monthly" or ornament-style series that can stand alone, but a single piece comprised of several patterns will probably never make my wishlist).  Are they cute?  Yes.  Are they affordable?  When you add up the cost of all the patterns and the inevitable doo-dads - no!  I'm sure there are stitchers that CAN afford them, or are lulled into justifying their purchase, but I don't fall into either of those categories right now.
As you can see from my still-growing Pattern Stash page, I buy what I like.  Which means that I do not have the complete catalog of your designs, or those of any designer, and that shouldn't surprise you.  Besides, if someone loves everything you design.....they'd basically be your clone, wouldn't they?  And we're all unique.  We like different things at different times, and you shouldn't be offended by that.  Heck, be glad that I looked at your designs, bought some, and engaged in the creative process.

A Stitcher


Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

I hear you Erin! Living in the UK it is very difficult to get the exact matches to fabric and threads anyway so I never have the "correct" fabric. I'm doing well if I have the right count, never mind colour too! And as for the price of hand dyeds or variegated! Don't even ask.

As a result nearly all of my pieces vary in some way from the original. I do love to have a bit of a moan and a putter about certain people, Joan Elliott had a good laugh at our moans about French Knots in Kreinik of all things damnable! So substitute a bead and get over it! Joan's unlikely to come repossess my stitching LOL.

I always say "if you can't say anything nice, at least be funny about it" . We need all the smiles we can get these days :-)

Zeb said...

I'd love to read the original blog post that started all this.

To be honest, while I admire designers for taking tangents and doing things "differently" at times I feel they are slaves to the companies they work with... "You MUST use atleast 6 of our obscure thread in your design." Or, they want to sell other products so package things up in such a way that to be able to stitch a design, you've got to get yadda yadda items.

Is it bad? No. It's the designer's choice to do things that way. But they're not thinking about me the end stitcher, and hey, that's fine too. They've got to make money.

BUT, they can't get upset if people do things differently, don't buy their stuff etc.

If it's so hard to get a design (limited editions) or get all the materials for one, why would a stitcher bother? I might think a design is nice, but I usually weigh up my desire to stitch it, with how much it would cost to kit it up. If it's not worth it, I don't buy the design.

And here is the key word. BUY.

I believe in protecting a designers copy rights. If I decide not to buy a chart, I have also made the concious decision to NOT stitch it. A lot of other people would just not buy the chart, but then go download it from a pirate site because they find the chart too expensive.

I can see both points of view. If someone was seriously complaining, then yes, I'd probably laugh at the stitcher because that's just the nature of this craft. Everything is open to interpretation. Not everything is black and white (or that exact colour on the model photo!)

Silverlotus said...

I so agree with this. There are some designers that seem to avoid DMC like the plague, and needless use semi-solid specialty fibres that look almost like a DMC colour but cost four times as much. It annoys me to no end.

I'm also tired of primitive designs that I could stitch from a (bad) picture online that sell for $8 or more. Seriously? And those seires where charts are $6+ for 6 charts to make a whole pictures. So, you want me to spend somewhere around $40 for a design? Nope.

I miss the days of great designers who worked really had to publish outstanding designs, like Teresa Wentzler or the older Mirabila designs. (Passione Ricamo is doing a good job of making great designs right now.) I'm glad I have a big stash full of things I can't wait to stitch.