Making Things

Alright, here’s the story: there’s a new way to make in town, and it’s causing a bit of a stir in the knitting world. It’s called Making Things, and it’s a web app right now, with plans for a native app in the works. I kind of stumbled on it a few months ago, while it was in its beta stage, and started uploading my patterns, because it seemed like a really cool idea and a new way for makers and designers to interact.

Because that’s what Making Things is: an interactive pattern database, with tutorials and online assistance and loads of fabulous tools to help make making more streamlined. The consumer gets access to a library of patterns that are formatted in a way to allow interactivity to occur (you don’t get a pdf download, just so you know). It’s really interesting and exciting, and I’m happy to be a part of the community, for a few different reasons, the first and most important to me being this: as a knitting designer, I need to diversify my income streams in order for my business to be sustainable. This is a very competitive industry, and it’s really hard to make a decent living out here. I’ve started teaching, which I am LOVING (wasn’t sure I would, to be honest, but I totally am), and have been doing more collaborations with other indies in recent months, but I really love the idea of what Making Things is offering: a smaller pool of patterns presented in a way that makes it easy for the end-user to use them.

The pricing model has gotten a lot of flack around the interwebs, and, as a designer, I for one really appreciate that consumers seem so interested in making sure designers get paid fairly. I’m cautiously optimistic that the Making Things model will be one that works out well for designers, although with anything new, time will definitely tell. I’m interested to see how the subscriber model works for patterns; I’ve used other subscriber models in my life, to varying degrees of love and success (I have had an Audible account, which I loved but no longer use; Netflix and Hulu, which I use loads more than I probably should; and Amazon Unlimited Books, which I unabashedly used for its easier-than-the-library access to all of the Harry Potter books Hazel and I burned through last month). In summary, I am intrigued by the pricing model, and am excited to see how it works out for me and the other designer friends I have who are on the app.

One of the other ways Making Things pays designers is by subscriber share. It’s like an affiliate link type of thing, so if folks sign up through a favorite designer’s Making Things page, that designer gets a part of the subscription fee. So, if Making Things is something you might be interested in, and you sign up through my page, I’ll benefit financially from it (which you will see as a good thing, I hope).

I think it’s hard not to be skeptical when a new thing comes along, but I truly do think Making Things has the potential to be a fantastic addition to our fabulous fibery online world. I’m still releasing all of my patterns on Ravelry, and if I do release a Making Things-only pattern, I’ll be sure to share my reasoning. Ravelry is where my League of Busy B’s lives and is administered through, and, frankly, I just plain love Ravelry and everything it’s given the fiber community. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for other things, and I truly believe in a rising tide lifting all boats philosophy, and in diversifying my place and presence in the knitting community. What do you all think? Have you heard about Making Things? Are you one of the folks who’s already signed up? Are you thinking about it?

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