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
– Early designer access to post introductions: March 25, 2021
– Early participant access to check out designers before you start your project: March 30, 2021
– 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 is an “Up and Coming” or “Less Known” designer defined?
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 have been consistently 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:
– Social media following numbers do not always equal the functionality of a business. Designers may have sales and follower numbers that are disproportionate to each other. If you need a ballpark number, consider starting by looking at designers with under 15,000 followers.
– Are you considering making a popular pattern that lots of other people have made? That’s likely not a “less known” designer. Try to find one that doesn’t have many projects.
– Is the designer in question actively publishing designs on a regular basis? If not, consider choosing a designer who is trying to make this work as a business.
Use your good judgement and do your best to interact in the spirit in which the event is intended. I will not be answering whether a specific designer’s pattern can be made. I trust you to proceed with good intentions and honesty!
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?
– Sign up now to be notified when early designer access opens up! (<– use that link) On March 25, 2021 (one week before the event start date) designers will have the option to get early access to the mighty network. If you are on the email list, you’ll receive an email with an invitation link to join the network. From March 25-31, you’ll have to email me (Ruth) for an invite.
– Create an Intro: Once you’ve joined the network, you’ll be able to create an introductory post with a photo that represents your brand, links your selling platform, and tell potential makers what types of patterns you offer. 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?
Before the Event
– Share the event announcement (or this post) with designers you’d like to see joining in. If you want to see a particular designer join, let them know! Tell them you love their work, that you plan to make one of their patterns for the event, and you’d love it if they come introduce themselves.
– Share the event announcement graphic or countdown to let other makers know it’s happening (both can be found over on my Instagram, click on one of the IG images to the right to head over there).
During the Event
– 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.
– Share your new designer and pattern finds on Instagram and in the Mighty Network.
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.