Are there fiber arts designers who don’t get the spotlight you think they deserve? Make one of their patterns and show it off! The Uplift Make Along is a online event created to celebrate and show off the work of independent knitting and crochet pattern designers. (<–YouTube Link to Barbara Benson’s video helping to define “Indie Designer”)
This event is not an anti “big-name designers,” event, but it does focus on showcasing the work of up and coming, or less well known designers. These are designers that are working hard to create and sell professional quality patterns on a regular basis, but feel that they struggle to gain traction or could use a boost. The goal of this event is to uplift and support each other, not to complain about or put down those whose successful businesses have them in the current community spotlight.
The Uplift Make Along will be hosted on a Mighty Network I’ve created (a link will be added once the network is made public) and Instagram. On Instagram use the hashtag #UpliftMakeAlong
Crafts Included: Knitting, Crochet, Tunisian Crochet
– Official Project Start: April 1, 2021 (whatever time zone you’re in, if it’s April 1, you can start!)
– Event Ends: June 30, 2021 (end of the day wherever you are)
How does this event define whether a designer is well-known or not?
This event is not designed as a launchpad for brand new designers, nor is it a marketing course. The Uplift Make Along it is intended to create a space where makers can discover and showcase the work of designers who are publishing professional quality patterns with the intent of creating a profitable business.
With that goal in mind, I’ve decided that i’m not going to give you a specific list of requirements, but rather some things to think about:
Perceptions on social media and the reality of running a small business can be very different from each other. Perceptions =/= reality.
With that said, here’s some questions to ask yourself when choosing a pattern or designer to show off in this event.
- Can you refer to the designer by their first name or business name only and others will immediately know who you mean? Consider choosing someone who’s less well-known.
- Are you thinking of making that popular pattern you’ve seen a whole bunch of people making all over social media? Consider choosing one you think no one has seen before, or that is amazing and more people should see it!
- Does this designer have 15k+ followers on social media? Consider choosing someone who has fewer so you can help boost their visibility.
- The past year has seen lots of designers retire from selling their patterns. Are the designer’s patterns currently available for sale? If not, please choose someone whose are so you can help spotlight their work.
TL;DR: you can make any pattern by any designer. I trust that you will be keeping the “less known” part of designer spotlighting in mind when you choose. I will not be refereeing of whose patterns can be made or not made, or whether a designer is “too well known” to participate. We don’t know what is happening behind the scenes in anyone’s life or business.
Are WIPs allowed? Yes, but if you’re working off a project started before April 1, 2021, the finished item won’t be entered into prize drawings.
Are there prizes? Yes, some. The goal of this event is to uplift designers, connect designers with makers, and uplift each other. But, sometimes a little yarn or pattern prize doesn’t hurt too, right? I’m thankful that some very generous makers have offered to donate prizes so we can thank you for participating and supporting independent designers. A separate sponsor post will be created that will detail the prizes and how they’ll be given out.
Do I have to use a “paid for” pattern? Please use a pattern from a designer who is primarily creating self-published, paid-for patterns (If you’re not sure what that means, scroll up and watch the video in which Barbara Benson helps to define an Indie Designer). You can use a pattern you already own, you could use one that was gifted to you, or you could explore the designer intros and find a new pattern.
What is Mighty Networks?
Mighty Networks is just what it sounds like – a platform that allows for the creation of public or private networks. Think of it like the “create a post” feature of Facebook + the privacy of Slack, and more!
In this case, i’ve created a network specifically for the Uplift Make Along. Here’s a few features I’m really excited about:
1. Designers and makers will be able to label themselves by their specialties! This means if you’re a knitting designer, you can label yourself that way. Tunisian crocheter only? You can add that if you’d like! This will help makers find designers who create their desired type of patterns and let other makers know about your favorite skill!
2. The ability to add geographic location (optional)
I don’t know about you, but sometimes it feels like being a fiber arts designer or maker is pretty lonely. Sometimes just knowing that others are near you and doing the same thing can help! This isn’t intended to be evasive or specific (I actually ask that you please NOT be specific about your exact location), but more of maybe a town/state/province/country type of thing. OR you can choose not to add this at all – it’s completely up to what you feel comfortable with.
3. Topic Tags!
Have you ever come upon a make along and wished you could find ONLY the knitting posts or ONLY the crochet posts, or ONLY the finished objects? Topic tags will allow you to do that! Designer introductions will also get a special topic tag so you can scroll through just designer intros and learn about a bunch of new designers!
How can I join in as a designer?
– Head over to the Mighty Network (Link) Once there, you will find instructions to create your introductory post. Designer intros will have a special tag on them that allows makers to click directly to them and scroll through only intro posts; It’ll be a gallery of designers to explore!
– Join in the Instagram challenge and/or interact with makers on the Network. This is an important one. Knitters and crocheters will be making your pattern with the goal of showing it off to help your business. Let’s show them our appreciation by helping to make this an amazing event and by joining right in with them.
– Join in as a maker. Make a design by another designer that you want to uplift!
Can you make your own pattern? Yes, but it’s not in the spirit of the event. As designers, we self-promote all the time (and there will be a self-promo portion of the event), but this event is focused on showing off someone else’s work and trusting that others will show off yours.
– Promote the Make Along to your audience. Use your social media, newsletter, podcast, or whatever way you prefer to talk to your people to reach out and let them know the Make Along is happening. Encourage them to check out the hashtags, chat, and take advantage of the Mighty Network to discover new designers that they love and connect with fellow makers!
– Post once per week in the self promo group. This will be the place for you to highlight a pattern that needs some love, a new pattern release that has just been published, etc. More details about this will be given in the network.
How can I join in as a maker?
Come on over to the Mighty Network, or join on Instagram by using the hashtag #UpliftMakeAlong
– Choose a knitting, crochet, or Tunisian crochet pattern by a designer you think needs more visibility and to have their work shown off. It can be one of the designers who has created an intro post, or one you know of that you’d like to uplift! Make their pattern, then post about it on the Mighty Network site or Instagram and let people know who the designer is and why you love this project so much!
– Join in the Instagram challenge! I’ll be posting weekly prompts to help you share designers you love, discover new favorites, and show off your work.
This post will be updated when the network goes public and if/when event updates are made. This is a new event, so tweaks and changes are bound to happen.