Paying it Forward – a follow up

posted on: March 12th, 2019

We’ve had a huge response to our offer – from others on the design and yarn side, wondering if they can help, to enthusiastic comments from would-be designers, to actual applications. Some of those responses are common enough to invite their own public response! So here are a few points to note.

For now, this offer is for just one person – and remember, it is specifically intended to boost inclusion of BIPOC designers.

Although we would love to help many more people, we are taking care not to over-commit. (See the bottom of the original post.) We will be selecting one applicant to work with at this point. After seeing them through to their first published pattern, we’ll assess what comes next. But right now, it’s just one.

We know that exclusion can take many forms, and we don’t want to be comparing oppressions, but this is specifically about racism. Bluntly, we are not going to reinforce the status quo by choosing a white applicant over a POC. But! There is plenty of help available for all newbie designers – see point 3.

We are keeping track of offers of help and considering ways to leverage them – but there’s nothing stopping anyone from making their own offer.

It’s great to know there are so many people ready and willing to contribute. Again, after the initial phase, we’ll reassess and maybe find a way to involve more helpers, but it’s far too early to say. In the meantime, note that specific offers (e.g. “I can offer test knitting” or “I can advise on photography”) are the most helpful.

There are SO MANY great resources for people wanting to start on their design journeys. You don’t have to wait for us, or for anyone.

Our top recommendation for any new designer is to join the Budding Designers group on Ravelry. It’s a very friendly, encouraging, supportive space with discussion of a huge range of topics, and we both follow the discussions on there. Chances are excellent that you’ll find a thread on whatever question you have, and if you don’t, you can ask and expect helpful answers. They also maintain a list of Technical Editors that are happy to work with beginner designers.

The separate Designers group is also (in my experience) very helpful and supportive, but more geared towards experienced designers – though that doesn’t necessarily mean wildly successful. I would advise newbies to go to BD first with questions, but to read the Designers archives for very useful perspectives.

Kate Atherley’s Beginners Guide to Writing Knitting Patterns is also excellent. Top designers Shirley Paden and Deborah Newton, among others, have written great books on designing (mostly) garments, but Kate tackles the problem of how to actually write it down – not to mention grading, layout, copyright… basically everything you need to know.

That is barely scratching the surface of all the resources out there, but it’s already enough to get you well on your way.

We are excited to have tapped an apparent need, and are both really, really looking forward to making new friends as we work with future designers. But remember that you don’t need us specifically. There’s already more support out there than you realise!