Tuesday, December 30, 2014

It's Free Not Cheap


Sometimes I'm a little shocked by the things I see online, thoughts shared by peers. I don't get a chance to read up on the latest news or look at other people's blogs very often but this morning I had a little extra coffee time and I was enjoying catching up on the latest until I saw the words that free patterns somehow cheapen the craft of crochet! I was actually a bit floored by that, maybe even a little hurt that my peers harbor such thoughts but then I had another coffee and thought about it some more. It's all good, no harm done to me, I'm letting those words roll right off. After all, it's just an opinion and it doesn't make it true. I have opinions and my opinions aren't always true, right?! I may know lots but I'm not all knowing.

And for what it's worth, here's my opinion on the matter not to combat anyone in particular but in case the view that free patterns cheapen the craft is shared by another in the future. We have to be careful that we don't claim a craft as something to be governed by one or by a group:

It's Free But Definitely Not Cheap

Don't think the price tag somehow adds worth to something because it doesn't. There's room for those who charge for teaching a craft and room for those who don't. First, the key word in there is "craft" it's a craft! I'd like to know when anyone decided they had exclusive rights to this precious craft to decide what's done with this craft or how it's taught? And when did a price tag begin to add worth to a craft?

A price tag added to a pattern does not add worth to that pattern nor does a free pattern  make it cheap. A pattern is a pattern and they are all different. As
designers we all have different styles even if a pattern is similar to another and people will find a designer's style to their liking or not to their liking and choose accordingly.

We're all different and we all have something different to offer. Make your own way and make it the best way you can. I work very hard at what I do, very hard. Yes, I do earn an income now on youtube but that took almost 4 years of endless work and dedication (and not to mention the loss of sleep) with my first love being teaching. That love of teaching drives me to do what I do, if it didn't then I'd be charging for every pattern I publish. But I found a way to do it without charging anyone so if that upsets people that's really them just thinking they have the only rights to a craft that been in use since the 1800's.

I came onto the facebook scene with Amigurumi Freely in 2011 and there was already bunches of pages offering free patterns. All Free Crochet, Red Heart Yarns, Ravelry, Crochet Me and on and on.  I didn't think at the time nor do I think now that those big pages are cheapening the craft of crochet! They are invaluable assets to the community. Where would we be without them really?  I'm a small page in the shadow of these bigger ones and I could care less, I love those pages. I enjoy them and I'm just carving out my own space in the crochet world and I love what I do! I find joy in what I do. There's joy in teaching a new a craft to another human being and the fact I can do that at no charge to any of you feels really awesome. You can't put a price tag on that and that is not cheap.

Why can't we just accept each other and support each other instead of  over thinking everything. If I want to give my patterns out for free and found a way to do it and make a living at the same time then isn't that a good thing? I support all my peers and wish everyone great success whether they charge or choose not to charge.

I'm looking forward to 2015, there's so much more I want to share! I feel so much love and excitement. I'm looking forward to seeing what's in store for us all. I wish all my friends, peers and fellow youtubers great success.. onwards and upwards!

Love and Peace!


https://www.facebook.com/AwesomeAmigurumi http://www.amigurumitogo.com/p/find-your-way-around-my-channel.html https://plus.google.com/u/0/+SharonOjala/posts http://www.sharonojala.com/ http://sojala.deviantart.com/ http://instagram.com/sharon_ojala

38 comments:

  1. My personal opinion....I feel that each designer should be able to do as they wish with their designs. If a designer chooses to publish a free pattern then they should be able to do so without ridicule or offensive words from other designers and vice versa. Many designers offer both paid and free designs, while others never offer a free design, and some offer all their designs free. I personally have no qualms about purchasing a pattern, if it is a pattern that I desire to make then I gladly purchase it. At the same time, I love free patterns also. For me, it is not about wether the design is free or paid; it completely comes down to my own desire to 'recreate' something that is appealing to me. I can honestly say that as far as patterns that I make go its pretty much an equal split...half paid patterns and half free patterns. But more IMPORTANTLY...just because a pattern is a paid pattern DOES NOT make it a better or superior pattern! I have purchased patterns that were not only poorly written, but completely impossible to create by the written instructions. At the same time, I have come across a few free patterns with the same issue. So, based on these experiences I do not feel that offering free patterns in any way cheapens the craft!

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  2. I am in awe of anyone capable of designing new crochet patterns. I do not find it more or less enjoyable to use a pattern that was either free or paid for. However, on the rare occasions that I do pay for a pattern, it's frustrating when the instructions are difficult to understand and/or the results do not match the picture. Therefore, I have made it a habit to limit my patters to those that are free.

    As with anything in life, if you enjoy creating and wish to make your patterns free, then do what your heart leads you to do and ignore those who may try to convince you otherwise.



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  3. I feel the the free patterns are priceless. And that is much better than cheap.
    Thank you for sharing yours with those of us who are far less talented than you.

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  4. I love the fact that you, and others, so generously share their patterns. In fact, I was looking at your Little Big Foot Monkey just today -- and bookmarked it. Just because a crochet pattern is free does not make it cheap! In fact, in my opinion, that makes it priceless! Thank you for sharing and thank you also for allowing us to sell items made from your patterns!

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  5. I very much enjoy your patterns and am learning as I follow your blog. There seem to be so many ways to make a bear or bunny but by working thru various patterns, one can learn enough to start making your own critters. Just the idea that a person takes the time to do handmade makes their effort worth more than any mass produced item. It doesn't make the pattern or lack thereof cheap in any way.

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  6. Please let me introduce another component to the discussion. If it weren't for all this remarkable plethora of free patterns that designers (including Sharon) had the courtesy to submit, who, having no previous acquaintance with the craft or not having been taught the very basics, would actually bother to take up crocheting and fiddle with all these messy stitches in the first place? What I'm trying to say, is that free patterns provide a great stimulus for beginners, amateurs and people who take an interest in this craft, therefore their contribution in expanding it, communicating the know-how and, ultimatey, making crochet blogs/online stores popular should be valued as such. It is disturbing to realise that people who are regarded as creative, inspired individuals prove to be so narrow-minded by valueing the joy of offering and sharing this creativity on a strictly commercial basis.

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    1. Helen, I couldn't agree more.
      I am a 62yr old man and we are expecting our first grandchild in April 2016.
      I didn't want to go out and buy it something from a shop, I wanted to do something unique and personal, something that I have made myself.
      I decided that I wanted to make the child a nice crocheted baby blanket.
      (I've made 2, 1 in pink and 1 in blue).
      If it was not for the likes of Sharon and other craftspeople taking the time to share their valuable skills, I would never have got started.
      I still class myself as a beginner but I hope to start making some small soft toys as well.
      Free patterns do NOT cheapen the craft, It is in fact the exact opposite, they are priceless, as they get people like myself into the craft, which in turn keeps the wool industry and indeed the craft alive.
      So thank you to you all who give up your time to teach beginners your craft.

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  7. Well, I for one appreciate your free patterns. I am totally new to crocheting and have only really mastered the single crochet stitch. I attempted the little bear and I am so pleased with the results, as well as proud of myself. You are a great teacher. I am now making two more for my kids and they are so looking forward to me finishing it. Thanks so much for the video and patterns and sharing such talent. I'm looking forward to doing the rest of the animals. =)

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  8. more precious than knowledge is generosity, which is what really we need in the world. I thank you again, because thanks to your dedication as it allowed me to reconnect with a hobby that I had forgotten. Happy New Year and God will allow you to remain so generous with the world. Gina Pulido from Colombia.

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  9. Happy New Year and Thank you very much for your free patterns. If your patterns were not free there are some people like myself who would not be able to get any patterns. For me it would be flipping a coin, yarn or the pattern. With your great patterns I know that I can get both so that I can make some thing. So I am able to enjoy some thing that has always relaxed me. Thank you for the best patterns I have seen and that are very easy to follow. Have a great New Year.

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  10. Hi Sharon!

    I recently found your blog and a couple others through Ravelry.com and began following them. Most of the blogs I'm following were created by users offering free patterns, but not all. If I see a pattern I really like and a fee is charged, I make the decision based on exactly the same criteria which I have always used when making any purchase; is the price reasonable and do I like this pattern well enough to spend that amount of money on it. If the answer to both is yes, I buy. If not, I don't buy.

    What I find here on your blog is worth far, far more than the free patterns you offer (though they are wonderful!). After 50 years of needle work (primarily crochet), you've given me new tips, new techniques, new pleasure and new fun with a much loved old friend which had grown a bit dull.

    You videos, teaching technique, creativity and a obvious enjoyment offer value which commerce can only wish that it could ever hope to match!

    Thanks to your help in mastering the magic ring and the giggles I've enjoyed as I crochet along with you, at least few amigurumi designers will receive payment from me. They really should be thanking you, not taking pot shots!!

    Thank you so very much for the gifts you've given me!

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  11. Yo le doy las gracias por su generosidad, con usted aprendo mucho. Un saludo desde España

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  12. FELICIDADES GRACIAS X TODO LO QUE NOS DAS Y MUY BUEN YEAR 2015

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  13. i see you have not publish my comment perhapts it was in french i whis you a happy new year and i enjoy your videos and patterns i learn with you what i would say in my poor english is sometimes people want to make money whith their knowledge you are not like this i will learn good crochet and in a few month i think to buy one of your books , thaks for your generosity

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  14. Thanks for selflessly sharing your talent with us. Your generosity will be repaid by the many friends you make through this. Coupled with the pleasure which our practising your craft will give to our friends and family, I think you will come out ahead of those who craft and sell their patterns for commercial gain only. To you and your family, I wish for only the very best in 2015. From a fan in South Africa.

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  15. I volunteered with Red Cross and on the wall was "Our volunteers aren't paid because they are worthless, its because they are priceless"

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  16. Thank you for sharing these patterns, I'm looking forward to making a lot of them for my granddaughters and nieces - the pleasure will be shared.

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  17. As always, you make a great point!
    Judging the pattern by the price is crazy and yet we know how many people are still doing it.
    I got so many mails from people asking me to help them with the patterns they bought and were poorly explained, not to mention those that were completely wrong and misleading to pattern different from one on the photo.
    And I am always worried and sad when making flaws or badly explain something in my pattern that I happily share for free :D
    All I can say is that I really feel happy I can share what I come up with for free. No money can substitute the happiness I feel when I see the photo of finished doll or toy someone has done following my pattern, on the other side of this planet and made one child happy! I know you feel the same.
    Maybe we are crazy, but if so, then I love to be crazy.
    Thank you Sharon for all you do. All your hard work, patterns, videos....that really is priceless.
    hugs,
    Vanja

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  18. What's the line my husband uses, " you can ask whatever price you want. that doesn't mean that's what it is worth or what they will get for it."

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  19. If not for your free patterns and videos I would have never picked up my crochet hooks again! My mom tried to teach me years ago, and seeing your videos on youtube got me back into it and taught me how to make stuffed animals. Now I make my own patterns thanks to your teachings. Don't let anyone ever make you feel your patterns are worthless, for I think when you give something as wonderful as this away for free it just makes it that much more special!

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  20. Hear, hear!
    Publishing patterns for free is wholly the pattern designers right. Your free patterns are even better than some of the paid ones I've seen. The people who think that giving away patterns "cheapens the craft" clearly are threatened by your talent. Ignore them and keep on doing what you do as long as it makes you happy :)

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  21. I love it when I can find free patterns. I have been a crocheter for 30+ yrs and have over 4000 patterns I have collected over the years. Most I have bought, but over the past 2 years I have found free patterns such as yours to add to my collection. I find them to be just as nice as the ones I have bought. These patterns mean just as much to me as the patterns I make myself. Free or priced the worth of a pattern is the designers choice. To be able to make something and share with others is passing on a craft that has been around for centuries. That is why I give my patterns away. Opinions are like patterns...worth what the receiver thinks it is worth! Happy Crocheting

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  22. I think its ridiculous for someone to say that free equals cheap. Ridiculous. Just look at you marvelous patterns! Hello! What is cheap about it? Ugh ridiculous and ignorant. Thats my opinion.

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  23. I want to say thank you so much for everything that you do!! I recently discovered your youtube videos and have started looking at your blog and you are truly amazing! I never thought I would be able to make anything more than scarves, but I saw your teddy bears and I cannot wait to try and make them for my new little niece to enjoy. You make it seem so easy and I greatly appreciate your follow along tutorials. Please don't let the naysayers get to you! If it wasn't for kind people like you, I would have never gotten back into crochet. My grandmother taught me granny squares years ago and it wasn't until I saw a few videos on youtube that I wanted to learn more. And it's because of your selfless work I am able to learn more and be inspired.

    Thank you so much for all that you do!

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  24. Well said! I think you and the others that offer free patterns are very generous and selfless and it's allowed me to learn to crochet Amigurumis. It's obvious you do it for the love of the craft and not just money and I would like to thank you for sharing!

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  25. What I love most about this post is your ability to see The Bigger Picture. As a children's book creator, I encounter this exact same issue a lot--as most creatives do. Above all, craft--creativity--is all about sharing. It's about community. There is enough room for everyone. Those who think in terms of 'lack'--well, that's what they'll attract. By being clever, generous and far-sighted, you have not only attracted good will and community, you've attracted more far exposure (and ergo: career opportunity) than you ever could hocking off patterns for $2.99 on Etsy. You've got it right. Don't change. :)

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    1. Wow!
      Every word so perfectly said and so greatly appreciated. Thank you!

      Although it's a bit of a downer to know it's an issue felt by other creatives, it does offer comfort at the same time in the feeling of kinship. I hope anyone else facing the same will read what you said right there. It's healing!

      There truly is a much larger picture for those with eyes to see it :)

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  26. I just want to say it dont matter if the pattern is free or if its for sell. It all depends on how much I like it and if I feel I can make it. If I really like it, I will either get the free pattern or buy the pattern. I will also search for same object or similar, to see which one I like the most and I will purchase or get the free pattern of my choice. At times I like something more about one than I do on the other, so then I will get both different patterns of the same or similar object and fit the things I like most of the two patterns, together in one. So therefore what I crochet may come from patterns of 2-3 different designers and their patterns. I love all the crochet patterns out there rather they are free or not. If I really like it, I will get it rather if its free or not. I'm thankful for all you designers out there if it wasn't for you designers , We wouldn't have patterns out there to get for free or to purchase. As for me I wish I could design something and share my pattern, But my brain just cant figure out how you designers out there do it LOL. I want to thank you Sharon and others that do offer free patterns out of the kindness of your heart, I do realize that it is a lot of work and time to do. I appreciate you and thank you tonz for all that you share for free, out of the kindness of your hearts. At times life gets rough and at times around holidays and as a single mom its hard to give your children a fun Christmas or birthday or easter and etc. I appreciate people like you that offer free pattern so a person like me, can go choose a few free patterns and get in my yarn stash and be able to make something for my kids for these occasions . Thank you : )

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  27. What you just said, Mrs. Ojala is so true.

    If only everyone had your insight

    Thx again,A happy 9yr old girl

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  28. Sharon, you are a great teacher and what you share with everyone through this blog is priceless! I agree with what others have said, to each to his/her own when it comes to sharing designs but free is definitely not cheap. Most things that matter - love, kindness,smiles, air...do not come with a price tag.
    I personally do not mind paying for a pattern but your designs are lovely and the instructions are so easy to follow that all I have is appreciation for what you do.
    Thanks a lot for your generosity~it is a spiritual practice for all I know.

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    1. thank you very much!
      I enjoyed the way you worded your message with love, kindness, smiles, air not coming with a price tag. That made me smile BIG. Thanks for that! And thank you for your thoughts, I appreciate you taking the time to comment and also your very kind words.

      Sharon Ojala

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  29. I don't respond to posts often. (at all really) After reading this I had to say something. I stumbled across your website a little over a year ago. Even though I have yet to finish one project ( Hahaha working on that today) I love working with your patterns, both written and video.
    I wanted to say however, that because of you, yes you, I have had hours of therapeutic calm when my life has been anything but. So I guess I owe you for all the therapy :) but I wanted to say thank you for your teachings and your posts and videos because they have not only given me a hobby that I now love but they also gave me an excellent outlet to just block out the world and craft on. I hope one day I can contribute to your site so that you can continue to do for others what you did for me! By the way you are an amazing teacher, calm voice, patient demeanor and excellent instructions. Keep doing what you do!

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    1. I'm so touched by your message Shamise, thank you! I'm very glad to know that you have found the patterns to be so helpful to you, that means the world to me. Looking around the world today at all the troubles and sorrow I am so very thankful to be able to spread a little joy through yarn!

      Wow, I can not tell you how awesome this was for me today. Thank you, thank you!

      All the best to you,
      Sharon Ojala

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    2. Ringing in the new year with some crochet (and, of course, the website that taught me the craft in the first place - I owe my newfound skill set to you Sharon) and I stumbled upon this response. I have to say, the most incredible thing about crochet (for me) is finding a technique that I can use to for "mindfulness". My therapist and I have been trying to find things that I can do to bring myself down from anxiety spikes related to my PTSD. Nothing was working. Meditation, finding items in a space to match each of my five sentences (find something that appeals to your eyes, now find something that soothes your ears, etc.), holding a breath for a specific count and then breathing out on count - everything just felt hokey to me and I couldn't get myself out of my head (which would just make me more anxious).

      Shamise is completely right; for some of us, learning to crochet is so much more than picking up a new skill. It's therapeutic and life changing. Knitting never got me out of my head, but crochet sure can. Your free patterns and videos are what enabled me to gain this life-saving skill, Sharon. Thank you for doing what you do and... Happy New Years! =)

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  30. I found this kinda interesting b/c - while yes, opinions are just that - I've always kinda thought the opposite lol. That *paid* patterns kinda cheapen the craft.

    It's been around so long... I don't think people today really register how it started so long ago and branched out - with people sharing patterns with family, friends, and so on; people publishing them in newspapers or magazines, etc. Back then the idea of "ownership" wasn't the same - most of the copyright laws that even allow people to truly "own" their patterns in ways that lets them "control" how they're priced and used didn't exist back then. Back then, crafts were genuinely that - things people did first out of necessity (creating clothing, blankets, etc.), then out of leisure and shared to enrich their communities (or even as social functions lol), but always something passed on to others yet still excelled in as an *art* by only a few - based not on their ability to *pay* for that right, but by their own talent and craftsmanship.

    Nowadays people strive for that status, but it seems to me like they take "shortcuts" in a way by making others pay so much to learn from them. Some only share patterns specifically TO make a profit - another product to sell - and some are so driven by that desire for control and ownership that their ego is so offputting it makes everything they do unappealing, imo.

    THAT is what feels cheapened to me, personally. Not everyone who sells patterns is bad, but I don't usually buy patterns - in part b/c it just gets too expensive to afford for me, but it also kinda grates to me b/c of that "cheapened" vibe I get from it (especially with patterns that have that "you can't do this, that, this, and basically anything with what you yourself make from it" addendum at the end of a lot of them). In my opinion this - making a living, but still blogging, sharing ideas, building and participating in a community.. I've always thought those are "truer to the form" because then the people who excel in it TRULY excel based on their own talent and not how much they paid to earn the right to develop it.

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    1. Thoughtful words and so well expressed, thank you! I enjoyed that so much I read it twice, lol

      You gave such interesting thoughts, I hope others will read them with an open mind. Words like this definitely helps bring peace while broadening the conversation!

      Thank you for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it very much.

      Sharon Ojala



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  31. Hello Sharon. I adore your creations in the hook. They please so a lot in my circle of acquaintances. That is why, I would like to know if you authorize me to sell it when it is asked me.
    Thank you very much
    Virginie.
    sorry, I did not know where to leave my message

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    1. yes, you can sell finished products :)

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