Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sour note.

I wasn't sure if I should just wait until people found out, or if I just voice it in this post before the onslaught of emails. Today I made a bold decision: I deleted 16 of the 24 free patterns offered at my blog & Ravelry shop. Although it seems rash, it's been a long dwelled upon choice that was initiated upon reading the last few emails. It was the straw that broke the camel's back.

The most clear-headed reason was that some of them were less popular than others; they are older, probably have a few errors in them, and being from 2007, I have a harder time remembering exactly what I did if an occasional question does pop up. Hey, I can barely remember what I ate yesterday (God, what does having kids do to you!). The writing is not as clear as I write today because they were the first patterns I published as a college-knitting-novice myself.

The stronger of the reasons are emotional. The heart can withstand so much. Let's face it... Knitting takes time. Much longer if you plan on turning it into a public pattern, thus having to write down every step along the way. Writing patterns, especially clear, concise and as error-free as possible takes hours. Many hours. Unless you've tried it, you might be surprised as to how much longer the whole process takes than just knitting it for one's own pleasure. I offer "customer service" on all of my patterns for all questions running through the blog comment page, Ravelry page and my own personal email address, and I really do my best at answering them as fast as I can as stay-at-home mom of twins & piano teacher. For the past 2-3 years now (probably more so this year because my free patterns are on Ravelry and other websites), I have gotten dozens and dozens of hurtful emails that have completely thrown me through a loop. Sometimes, I can't even believe my eyes when I read them. My pulse rushes and my blood almost boils at the boldly rude comments. I have written blog posts with the intention of venting in hopes that it would happen less in the future, but deleted them before publishing because I didn't want to seems as "petty." but I guess now's the time, because people are going to wonder why they no longer have access to 2/3 of the patterns.

I get dozens of downloads A DAY through just Ravelry alone, an I've only recalled several emails just to say "thanks" (And I let it known how much it means to me that they like it, and are thankful, and it made my day because I hardly ever hear it).

I've long forgotten most of the emails beyond 2011-2012, but in a nutshell here's a jist of the emails comments/questions (from only the freebies) that I receive ALL of the time, and why I can no longer offer them freely for my own sanity's sake:

-"Why didn't you answer my question fast enough, I would have thought that you would want to maintain some sort of professionalism in your blog!?!?" [My thoughts: I've been extremely busy lately and hey, this is not a business, this is a blog done on my spare time.]
-"It's your DUTY to us to answer in a timely fashion on any of your patterns."
-"Why aren't ALL of your free patterns PDF'e'd???? I feel like I am wasting all of my computer ink trying to print off your patterns." [My Answer: Copy & paste?]
-"I like your Beach Bum Skirt, but make the belt longer."
-"I don't crochet. Make the Dummy Clap crochet-free."
-[and when I do...] "I liked the crochet. Add it back to the pattern for us crocheters."
-"Your blog font is too designer-y.  Consider changing it so I can read your pattern."
-You don't list the size that I am. Please modify them to suite larger persons out there!!
-[In a size not listed in the pattern] "Give me the yarn & needle details on a size such as this"
-"I'm using this (not recommended sized) yarn and this (not recommended sized) needle and want this item half the size. Tell me how to do this."
-"What is this abbreviation???????????????????????????????????????????????"
-"I don't get this portion of the pattern. Please rewrite the entire pattern so I can understand it."

Gosh, there were more.. but my memory is so bad. A lot of them are about the "Dummy Clap Shawl" because it is linked to so many sites now, and I really wished I never posted that stupid thing because at one point I was getting a relentless onslaught of questions about the same exact thing when it got to the crochet edge. Multiple a day. When I retyped the entire thing, fixed it to be crochet free and made a tutorial video, I was getting the reverse comments that they didn't like the change...and I realized after the fact that in the newer version, I clipped off part of the instructions,...and we all know about my hard-drive crashing (it's still a sour subject), I'm unable to fix it easily and so I get comments looking for the errata that's posted on my blog and on Ravelry. [Just forget that was a run-on.]

Oh the venting. I know. There's just been too much time of this sitting in my veins and not doing anything about it. It's just that I can't even fathom why someone offering 2 dozen freebies should get soo much beef and treated so poorly as if the people using the patterns were charged. Where is the gratitude? I have to blink twice when I read some of them. I really took the time to write them up hoping someone would be like, "hey, that's useful...or hey, I really like to make that...and it's FREE. Neat!" Is it just me that feels this way??

Call me sensitive (and I do admit that I am, I can't help it), but it almost drove me to the point were I almost deleted this entire blog to be free of this several months ago.  I may tweak the deleted ones & their look later on in the year and just offer them up as stinking cheap deals ($1.99). My husband calls this sort of thing "bullshit tax." Horrible to say, but it was funny enough to make me laugh. God, I'm gonna pay for that one.

I am very grateful for the very nice people out there in blog-land who come to my knitting blog, read some of the posts, comment occasionally, use my patterns, and send me a quick text saying that they enjoyed it/them. It really does make my day. After a long day of telling my relentless 2 year old toddlers to not climb on the stove-top, or play with the oven buttons, open the dish-washer despite the safety lock and run around with steak knives or stand on the counter and fish through the glass cabinets, or just having them throw tantrums about next-to-nothing...it puts a smile on my face to read such kind words.

Thanks for letting me vent. You're the best. I should go get myself a glass of wine because I know I'm gonna regret this.

Sincerely,
Your (should be) Knitting Up a Storm lady.

21 comments:

Wanderingcatstudio said...

I'm sorry you've had this experience. I've had a few myself that just leave you shaking your head (though none quite so bad as yours). It makes you wonder if people ever learned manners

KristieB said...

Anna,

The more I read down the list of comments from these rude people the more I was incensed. When I took up knitting, you were every supportive of my efforts. And watched my knitting skills excel as I worked my way through increasingly difficult patterns. All through books from the library and free videos, that are out there on the web for ANYONE to access I might add. And for knitters to be demanding and abusive of a person who through the kindness of her self dreamed up, wrote down, test knitted and offered to whomever wanted them, FREE patterns is just appalling to me.

I think you did the right thing by taking them down, and taking that source of much aggrivation out of the equasion that is your very busy life. The fact that you still have time to knit and write in your blog amazes me, as I know the particulars of the time constraints of raising your twins.

Thank you for being so generous with both your time and your knitting patterns. I look forward to trying several once my Christmas list is knitted down some.

Hugs,
Kristie B

Anna Maliszewski said...

<3 THANK YOU, LADIES! <3

Goodenough said...

I'm sorry Anna for all those rude,unthinking messages you got. I haven't seen any of your designs yet, just read your appropriate rant. Thanks for venting, it will remind me to be extra thoughtful when I find a free pattern to use and send a thank you.
June

Awesome Mom said...

((hugs)) Haters will hate. I hope you don't ditch the blog because I like looking at the things you knit and at pictures of your uber cute little boys.

Miss Ebz said...

I think you are the bravest blogger! Best choice made to keep you sane.
Blessings, Esther

Anonymous said...

I have only one free pattern out, and although I never got a really rude comment directly sent to me, I did see someone be a tad off-hand in her project notes, where she mentioned that she had misinterpreted a section of my instructions.
That experience, the moment of wonder when I stared at her very passive-aggressive comment, haunted me for days.
I can only imagine how much more the tons of emails you got must have weighted on you, and congrats to a good decision! If it hurts you, remove it from your life.
Thank you for sharing them in the first place, and I really hope more people will tell you in the future - sharing your wonderful creations is a gift to us all.

twistedsistah said...

It never ceases to amaze me how many rude, insensitive people feel free to post comments on the net that they would NEVER have the courage to spout in person.

I am greatful to bloggers like yourself...I taught myself to knit from books and websites like yours. I'm not at a stage to design anything myself, so it's great to find free patterns that people like yourself took the time to design and write out. I have, from time to time, emailed a designer to ask a question...and was grateful when they took the time to answer me.

I think the anonymity of the net has removed all courtesy and kindness from a lot of people.

I don't blame you for removing your patterns. I would have done the same.

Hang in there,

Pam

Anna Maliszewski said...

Thank you very much for your support! It really means the world to me! I didn't want to come across as a bitchzilla, but I really needed to get this stuff off my chest.

I admit, it's hard to learn that you've made a mistake in the pattern (they are usually silly typos, or I didn't include enough finished measurement info in the beginning). It's hard to take criticism. However, I draw the line on being nicey-nice when I know that the person emailing me worded it in such a way as it seems that they derived pleasure out of it when they sent it to me. It hurts.

Things are just easier to swallow when they are worded nicely. I can take constructive criticism. I have room to improve. Just don't bark orders and act like I've charged you 10 dollars for this pattern that was never intended to be in 5 sizes and in the most professional layout.

Erin_in_Boston said...

Thank you soooo much for your honesty in this post! I am truly sorry that people can be so hurtful, thoughtless and rude! Imagine? I thought knitters were nice??? Sending warm hugs your way....
Also, my gratitude for planting the seed of sending a thank you to designers, especially ones who share their work for free. Dolt that I am, the thought never crossed my mind until you wrote it. I hang my head in shame, and promise to change!
Please reconsider the threat of deleting your blog. Please, don't let the rude ones ruin it for the rest of us!

Katie said...

Anna- I've been a longtime reader of your blog but never commented- and I admit though I'm on Ravelry I haven't used any of your patterns yet- but I felt that the rude actions of others warranted at least a gesture of support, both for you blog and your generosity as a designer! It's amazing how the anonymity of the internet (or at least the lack of looking a person in the eye when talking) has essentially "made it okay" to be rude, uncouth, and self-centered. You are the opposite of this, and it's utterly in your right to take those patterns off.
Way to take a stand. And I agree with the above comment- please don't delete! :)

Stracey said...

Anna, your designs are wonderful, and it's too bad so many people are so demanding rather than thankful for your beautiful patterns. I for one learned something here, as I've often used designers patterns - that is to say thank you. Thank you for your patterns, and thank you for opening my eyes to how much work goes into patterns - free or not.

Sharon

Jamie Wolfer Saphow said...

It's disappointing, that even in a community of really great people, that one still finds people who are just ungrateful. I, for one, greatly appreciate your blog and patterns and I think it's a great idea for you to take your patterns down to "repackage" and then sell. You deserve to get paid for your hard work and time...keep on keeping on lady!

Allison said...

I'm a longtime reader of your blog (though I'm not sure if I've ever commented) and I think your patterns are great. I mostly come here to see what you're knitting and how your boys have grown, so I don't think I've ever gotten around to knitting any of your patterns yet (though I do have several queued). I'm totally annoyed on your behalf about the stupid people who feel the need to harass you after you've given them a free service. I've had the same issue, though indirectly (a bunch of people commenting on Ravelry that a pattern didn't fit when they clearly didn't bother to check their gauge). Just know that even though every barrel has a couple of bad apples, I definitely enjoy your work and there are definitely others out there who do as well, even if you don't hear from us :)

megan said...

I'm completely appalled at these comments! I'm so sorry you've been enduring this cruelty for years. I only have one free pattern listed on Rav so I haven't experienced this to the degree that you have, but unfortunately I have encountered it as well. It makes me so sad how insensitive people can be... I'm glad you've taken action to end these rude comments though. :) Keep your chin up girl!

TACIStudio said...

I love your blog and personally I do not care to much when I get a ridiculous comment telling me what to do... After all this is YOUR blog and we are all so grateful for the things you take the time to share with us ... The rest ... Is just the rest and should be treated like such ...
I would personally not delete the things you took the time to make and post ... Enjoy and rejoice on the good comments and positive interactions and just "flush" the others just exactly how you do with the " waits" when you go in the bathroom... After all that is all they are ... "waist" ( you know what I mean :))

I really enjoy your blog ..." artistic font " and all and would be very sad if we " lost " you... :)

Shilo said...

I can't believe people would be so rude and inconsiderate. Well, not really - I can believe it, but it irritates me to no end! I wouldn't even think of being that rude to someone when I spent money on their pattern! It's easy for us to tell you to not let it get to you, but we're all human. Negativity (especially when it's constant) gets to us. Not all of your readers are Ms. McJerkyPants though. I'm glad you didn't delete your blog. :)

Valerie Bain said...

Anna, I'm so sorry people are so rude! I cannot imagine even thinking half those things, let alone sending them to someone!

Just so you know, I'm about halfway through my 'Paris' sweater and I love it! Also, I love that its really customizable (?) for your individual body shape.

Don't lose hope, there are lots of people who love your patterns, hopefully they will be more vocal in the future. <3

Anna Maliszewski said...

Thank you, ladies! I'm very grateful for your support and thanks!!

Neicee said...

I missed this post... I totally understand where you are coming from. I am so glad you will continue to blog. I am amazed on how people behave when things are free! I was literally stalked by a woman who could not find a pattern I had posted that was not mine on my blog. I was getting a few emails a day. I almost closed down my blog. I was getting very upset. So I cannot imagine how you felt with all of those crazy comments and requests. Your so talented and glad you are going to be around. I believe designers should charge at least a minimal price for their designs!. Hugs my friend and I love your family pictures your kids are just adorable!

Natasha Williams said...

hi! this is the first post i've read in your blog.
i really like your style - i'm sorry it was about rude people...but it reads positive.

happy knitting