Just another week… some work, some rant…

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Hello dear ones! 

Brainy by Kim's Sticks and Strings

Last week I was finishing Mikey the ninja turtle. He’s all done, and a few days in the mail already–He’s on his way to Ontario, Canada, so he takes a bit of time. Here he is if you hadn’t seen him.

mike the ninja turtle by kim's sticks and strings

I’ve started Zombie Lucille Ball and there will be a Zombie Ricky Ricardo.  I’ve been daydreaming about this order for a few weeks.  Jill is cool enough to give me lots of freedom in making them. She didn’t even tell me what age, or what they should wear… which, I might add, is amazing!  She’s tall, 9″ tall so far without hair and shoes… Did I tell you I’m going to make shoes? Not crochet shoes. she’s Lucille Ball!  I’m going to attempt polymer clay shoes…crazy, yes, I know.  It could go well, they could just fall apart…both have happened in my head already, so I’m prepared for either…

Have had a few new ideas for upcoming spawn. I can’t do anything about them for a couple months. which is probably good. Some of the ideas need some mulling around…  I really need to figure out a way to wake up and be  “ready to work.” I could totally use a few 10-12 hour creating sessions.  That’s not really something that I get too often, but it could be nice.

♥♥♥♥

This part of my blog has strong opinions, some swearing, and a naked zombie at the end. Not safe for work, whiny people who don’t like strong language, or for those Pattern-Please bitches…

So, I know I’ve written about this before, but I’ve seen it happen lately, and it still gets me all crazed.   It’s the Pattern-Please Princesses again… That’s their new name. And Princess isn’t a compliment…she’s a sort of useless, overentitled good-for-nothing.    For you who aren’t hookers, Pattern-Please Princesses are the ones whose comment on a picture of a lovely creation that has been crocheted, or knitted, is “Pattern please,” like that makes their harpy like shrieks better. I’d like to smack them.

You are a hooker, and you have designed something SOOOO wonderful. It’s truly exactly how you envisioned it.  You put up a picture of your creation, a piece of your soul.  And some idiot comes along with “Pattern please.”  Yes, they deserved to be slapped in the face.

I don’t create patterns, I don’t work from patterns (except for socks and gloves, but then they’re patterns where I choose the yarn and needles, make a gauge swatch, and measure the hands or feet–very personal items, made for a specific person).  I realize that’s not really the norm. I don’t like patterns for most things… to me, it’s like using someone else’s words to tell my story, someone else’s skills to create MY vision.  But some hookers, knitters too I imagine, see something lovely, cute, amazing, and then instead of FIRST complimenting the artist on how much work went into it, what a wonderful creation it is, just want the instructions for themselves…ugh, they annoy me so.

Last weekend I was looking at micro-crochet to share in a community I help admin, and I saw some very amazing little creatures.  I found them on flickr, and was looking through the pictures, when I saw them… the Pattern Please Princesses.  On one picture in particular, there were 3 of these shrews, not one of them told the artist anything about how lovely, how much work went into creating them, not one bit about how they were envious of her skill. Just pattern please, and when the artist said she didn’t create patterns, they harassed her. “Why not” “When will it be up?” “Can’t you just write down what you did really quick”  One bitch kept on, asking “Can’t you just go look at it and write down some numbers for me? It can’t be that hard to count.”  She, in particular,  deserves a double slap.  What. The. Hell.

If you are one of these princesses, my opinion of you is amazingly low.  You must not know what it takes to have an idea and create a thing from just your idea.  I’m not talking about the folks who use patterns for most everything they create, I’m talking about the jerks who think everything should be a pattern, given away for free, so that you can create  everything you want.  They kind of remind me of Gollum from Lord of the Rings… I imagine them hording patterns in some filing system, stroking their preciouses.

This is in red, for effect.  If you are a Pattern Please Princess, yes, I do want to slap you, you deserve it.  You CAN change.  IF YOU NEED A PATTERN, and I use need loosely, because well, that’s just a crock of shit, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL YOU FIND HOLY, COMPLIMENT THE ARTIST!!!!!!  Your creation is lovely/amazing/so very cute! I’ve not seen anything I like so much/It’s just the most wonderful _______/ You are so very talented/It must have taken you so much focus to create the great detail/The stitching is so lovely… You get the idea.  Compliment the work you like so much. It doesn’t cost you anything, and obviously you think the creation is wonderful, you want to make one. THEN, after a few sentences of praise, then, you may ask if there might be a pattern.  IF THERE IS NOT, OR WON’T BE, DROP IT. Keeping at it makes people embarassed for you, you look like some jerk who just won’t move on. Really.  I’ve deleted comments because I couldn’t look at the begging anymore.  It’s desperate. And shallow.  If there’s no pattern and there won’t be, say thank you and move along.

I will always wonder about the real lives of Pattern Please Princesses. Are they so very annoying in the real world? How did they get to be that way?  Why didn’t someone just tear into them just once?  How were they never set straight by someone in their lives, a family member, a “friend,” a boss? How did they just not get told “not everything is for you.”  I probably seem a bit sensitive about it, but after coming across about a dozen creations where the Princesses just hounded the artist without properly praising first, I began to just feel so ashamed of those other hookers.  So much so I had to go looking at other art, just to find a picture of something that the comments didn’t say “tell me how you made that exactly.”

I actually don’t belong to many crochet groups, communities, because I can’t stand the Princesses, and they are in every group, looking for patterns, wanting to know why some won’t share.  One Princess told me that in order to join their community I had to share a pattern of my own creation, for free.  My exact words were “Fuck your community.”   A bit harsh, maybe.  But I’m not a Princess, and couldn’t possibly hang out with them. I just wanted her to know I don’t belong with them.  I am so. much. more than that.

So…that’s been my week. Finishing Mikey,  starting Zombie Lucy, being inspired to create some new things, being annoyed by Princesses.  Just another week…  Hopefully I’ll be able to show you  more of Lucy next time, right now she’s just a faceless zombie with underpants.

Zombie Lucy and my grinch by Kim's Sticks and Strings Zombie Lucy's pink undies, by Kim's Sticks and Strings

Have a good week, Keep it creepy!!!

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OH BLOODY HELL I HATE THIEVES!..Or, for Rupaul fans, All T All Shade!

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Hello, my creepies! Hope your week has been wonderfully fantastical… I can try to hope, can’t I?  Oh, and just so you know, this isn’t really ok for the workplace…there’s no nudity, but there’s a bit of the profanity, because, well, I swear in the real world.

For those of you who don’t follow Rupaul, All T All Shade means I’m going to tell the truth, and I don’t really feel sad if someone’s feelings are hurt. It IS Kimland…

I really did mean to post up some cool stuff, I’m compiling a list of some of my favorite indie writers, and some blogs and amazon pages for you to check out. But this isn’t that post.  All the tragedies this week have me a bit down on people.  I know that not everyone is like this, it’s a small percentage. Why does it seem that a small number of terrible folks doing some really crappy things go to the forefront of our minds, when there are so many more doing good things… well, here we go…

A few weeks ago some friends who write crochet patterns and sell them found this site, where folks join, and submit a pattern to share, and then get “credits’ for that, toward a pattern they might want.  I’m sure that the idea  is to submit an originally designed by oneself pattern, but some folks weren’t playing by the rules. There were some folks who  bought patterns FROM SOMEONE ELSE,  and then submitted them as their own, now making it free for all  the other people on that site.  It even had my friend’s picture with her watermark, so folks knew who they were stealing from… AWESOME!  Because of the number of folks who had used the stolen pattern, if you searched for her pattern it came up on many other sites, way before hers.  There were many designers who were stolen from, some paid patterns, some free, but the bottom line is, people were stealing those patterns, representing themselves as the designers. It happens quite a bit, actually. I’ve seen people borrow from more than one pattern, and then write it up and call it their own, when what they should have done is write something like, ” I like Gertrude’s pattern for the body of the item, and Fifi’s pattern for the finishing, and Hortense’s bits for the details.  Instead, it’s written like a pattern of this person’s own design… REALLY?!? IT’S YOURS? BECAUSE IT LOOKS LIKE IT CAME FROM 3 OTHER PEOPLE  Folks are as quick to say something is of their own design, as they are to comment “Pattern Please!” when someone puts up a picture of their work.

 (I have a pet peeve about folks who comment “pattern please” when they see something they’d like to make.  If I have made something you’d like to copy, maybe you should possibly compliment my work JUST A BIT MORE before begging/demanding the how-tos.   Hell, even something so easy as, “I really love that, you did a great job.  I would love to make one for my _____. Who is the designer; is it a free pattern? or where did you buy it?”  You don’t have to write that every time, but “pattern , please” is rude, even with the obligatory “please,” which you just add so it doesn’t seem quite so rude.  Luckily for me, I don’t design patterns, so I don’t have to deal with it too often.  Every once in a while someone asks if there’s a pattern, and I usually tell them I’m not a designer, and it’s usually fine. There was a lady who tried to tell me what I do isn’t all that great and she could figure out my work… go  ahead…)

Back to the thieves!!!  It’s not like there’s a prize at the end of your life for the most patterns designed.  It’s ok to say you didn’t design it!  It’s ok to say ” I like your work so much and I want to have that exact thing of my very own.”  It’s not ok to shorten the arms on something, or change the yarn, and maybe change a couple stitches and then call it your own!  Hell, if that’s designing a pattern then every single hat and scarf I’ve ever made would be of my own design. I don’t make a hat from someone’s pattern. I pick a yarn, pick a stitch, make a gauge swatch, and then make the hat. None are like anyone else’s, but I don’t consider it that I designed a hat, I simply made something that was of a certain stitch pattern, and a certain yarn.

Folks like that make me suspicious of others… Lame right?  It’s true though.  Things like this happen, folks “design” things that are “inspired by” (read “stolen from”) others, and I start to become unsure of others asking about how I do things…  I understand that some folks are really innocent about it, I really do, and I feel like I do try to share with  folks quite  a bit.  I will tell folks stuff that I do for shaping, or how I do my hands, or how I make the dolls all top down, but I”m not going to hold someone’s hand and show them step by step, some of it is practicing embroidery, and that’s not something I can help you with.   I’ve had folks come fairly close to asking me step by step how I make certain things… and while I wanted to tell them to kiss my ass,  instead I went out of my way to find out what they do/make, praise it for what it is, and to really get them to realize they didn’t want to make what I make…it’s not THEIR vision. That doesn’t go on forever though.  You can only ask me for specific instructions on my work so many times.  Oh, and if you ask my friends for tips on how I do things, they don’t know, and wouldn’t tell you anyway, BUT, they DO tell me, and now you get nothing else, AND I won’t be nice about it.  I don’t love underhandedness. Do I do anything that others can’t? No, I don’t.  I don’t have  amazing fancy tricks that no one has learnt, but asking for specifics on how someone makes something, if there is no pattern available, is some underhanded shit, even if you liberally add how you like it…*sigh*

Theft doesn’t end there!  My friends who are clay artists tell me of people who buy something from them, then change the color of the clay and call it something different, and it’s “an original” with secret made up “new techniques.”  Folks make dolls and bears that are really just copies of more amazing ones they’ve seen, and suddenly it’s an original design. Some make exactly what others do, but cheapen on the materials, and charge more.   Some folks buy items JUST to figure them out. RUDE!   A guy on Facebook literally stole an artist’s picture; it was a portrait of a guy in sunglasses, and the guy the actual picture is of got on Facebook and told the thief he didn’t have the right to post it as his… He didn’t even draw a copy of the picture, he just copy and pasted the picture and called it his.  WHAT THE FUCK! That’s just blatant theft.  And the problem with all of this is that the folks who were stolen from get told to “stop whining, it wouldn’t matter/happen if your patterns were free.”

I’ve even stopped following the pages who won’t credit the artist.  There are facebook  administrators who won’t bother to find the artist, saying “it takes too long to look,” and if you tell them, they don’t even edit the post to add the artist, you CAN do that, and it doesn’t take that long… if looking for a few minutes takes too long, and you can’t properly credit the creator once that info has come to light, I can’t possibly follow that happily.  There are some pages who say they can’t find the creator, and ask for help. Cheers to them!  They’re usually happy to find out who it is, and give credit.  BONUS, the artist is happy too.

The bottom line is that STEALING SUCKS.  You don’t have to be a designer, no one says that you have to be the original creator of the design.  But give proper credit, tell folks the name of the artist whose work is so great you must make that thing, even if you change things a bit.

 Image1234    This bag isn’t my design, the original designer of this bag is BuddyRumi.  I didn’t buy the pattern, and mine is obviously different than the original, the face on mine is knitted, and everything is different, though my bag is based on her design.  I’m not going to write up a pattern so someone could make mine instead, that would really just be wrong.  I may make a couple more, and they’ll all be a bit different, I prefer it that way, and eventually they may evolve into something else, but again, won’t write a pattern and call it “mine.”

I would love to believe that a blog of mine would change things, but sadly I’m sure, folks will still steal designs, or create “their own” design from a few patterns that already exist, that they’ll claim art that’s not their own, and ask folks if they can share the secrets of others.  What I will tell you, them and everyone else, I’m not afraid to write about your pitiful practices, and I’m also not above outing thieves to EVERYONE!   Just one of the many little perks you get when you steal from others so very overtly. I label you for the thieving bag of manure you are.  

It doesn’t take much to say, “this isn’t my design, but I just love it,” or “I wish I came up with this, but the creator is_____.”  And I appreciate those people much more.

Just so you know all isn’t bad in Kimland, here’s a sugar skull I made, the pattern is not mine, but I like it. The jaw moves up and down a bit, and it will probably get just a bit more sugar skull detail, but then done!

Image1300

Keep it creepy folks!

Don’t Try To Bully People Into Liking Your Page, It Makes You a Dick…

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Hi folks!  I’m trying something, a twice a week thing… I meant for this post to be more about other parts of my life, but this really got me, so here goes…

This may offend some folks,  this is something done a lot by folks, and some may feel just fine with it… as usual, there is always a bit of profanity…

Having Facebook as the platform for my business currently, I have tried many things to “get the word out.” I visited so many zombie pages, horror pages, monster pages with pictures of my creations and a link.   There are also a great many communities, groups, and pages, where one can go and post links to a page.  Sometimes one goes on a “cruise,” where the page posts a thread, and all the folks who want in put  a “tag” (your business in blue) or a  link in the comment section.  The idea is that the page, and everyone else on the list visits your page, likes it, and then you have more fans.  There are “silent tagging circles” started by friends, with pretty much the same idea. There are times when folks ask for a certain themed item, and everyone rushes to get something listed within that category.  There are sites like LinkedIn, where you can go and connect with other small businesses and groups of handmade items.  Sometimes there are threads where they ask “Do you have a facebook page for your business? If so, place a link in the comment section and  other business owners will visit your page and like it… Thinking that LinkedIn folks maybe had a bit of class, a modicum of decorum, maybe I’d try this link, and see what pans out.   Same old mistake, different forum.

These groups and pages and communities, and the group in LinkedIn I belonged to, have one flaw that presents itself to me quite readily.  Most of the people who frequent them have different products than mine, a lot less creepy.   Most are filled with beauty items, inexpensive  jewelry, candles, different items of clothing for babies, kids and new moms, and some fiberwork, hats, clothes, and dolls mostly.  I don’t fit into that genre.  And while one might think I had some sort of monopoly, I also found that MY personal page got phlegmed up with pages of stuff I didn’t really want to see, AND  my page wasn’t liked as often as the others… they wanted me to like their page , but they didn’t like mine… hmmm.

The LinkedIn thread I posted on sent a few folks my way, and there’s the standard post people make, I’d made my share back in the day, but no more.  “Hi, I popped by from My Business Page  to like your page. You have really interesting stuff!  Please come by and visit.”  If you’re not familiar, this is the Nice Way to say “I went out of my way to come to your page and like it from my personal page, thereby increasing your fan count. You’re supposed to reciprocate.  Some people go ahead and de-humanize a bit further and say “Please go to my page and return the like.”  Did you just tell me to go like your page?  

This practice really digs in my craw.  I was part of a giveaway contest, and as part of the contest to win the entire package, folks had to like a bunch of different pages, including mine.  I got probably a good 100 likes from that contest. And then promptly lost about 40 folks after the contest was over.  They didn’t really like my work, I was a stepping stone.  Screw that! I really only want folks who actually like my work to like the page. 

…SO…The other day, I saw a post go out from someone. It was one of those LinkedIn ones, where the shop owner said something like (and I’m not quoting verbatim, it was too far ago to look for, and maybe the person has wised up…) “Hi, I found you through LinkedIn, and liked your page. Please visit My Page from your personal profile.”   The shop commented something about “Thank you very much for visiting my shop, I appreciate it!”  Now this is the part that makes me so mad, it’s probably a good thing this was on the internet and not someone I heard in a store.  The post-er then commented, “You’re supposed to go and like my page with your personal file. We reciprocate a like for a like, that’s how this works.”………I was…ashamed for that person.  What the hell!?! I mean really!  What if this person doesn’t like or can’t use your product? Why does (s)he have to like your service? Wouldn’t you rather have folks like the page who REALLY LIKE the page?

If all you make is ribbons for babies, I probably won’t like your page.  I don’t have babies, won’t have babies, don’t want babies. So, consequently, I won’t care about, shop for, or want to see pictures of, ribbons for babies.     Why would I want to see that in my newsfeed… “Oh well you can hide it from your newsfeed.”  Why do that? I don’t like/want the product, why like the page in the first place?

I’ve read it before, and then said it before:  I wouldn’t walk into a store that makes stuff similar to mine, or completely not in the same genre doesn’t really fit with mine,  and ask for them to support and promote my stuff, unless that’s their kind of business, or it’s been offered.   But I also admit I could promote my work more.  There is a  level to which I can’t sink though.  Demanding someone return a like for business on Facebook is absolutely beneath the level I’d sink to.  *shiver* The thought of that conversation being said aloud puts a bad taste in my mouth.

A lot of pages put up a post on my timeline similar to the nicer version. And I do visit them.  Now,  I do not feel obligated to “return a like.”  I go to the page, and scroll through the posts for a minute, try to get a feel for the person. And I go through the pictures…  I don’t have a set number of things I have to like in order to qualify it as a page I like… it’s about the work, the subject matter, the person… You’ll know if I really like your page,  I go through and like a bunch of pictures, and will often share a post or picture!  Then I post on the page, or find the post on my page.  I make my presence known. You will know if I like your product.  If you really must post on someone’s timeline that you liked their page, could they return the favor, make it known you actually like the page.  If you say, “Wow I stopped by from MyBusiness  to say hi and like your page. Your stuff is really scary!” and you don’t like any picture or post, then you’re just using me to get a like… JOG ON!!!  I really only want my page frequented by folks who like my work. Yes, I do want new folks to show up, and I do feel lucky that I do have a pretty good amount of folks who ramble into my page somehow, and bring some friends, and I love that so much.  I don’t need random posts telling me my stuff is “scary” or “interesting” or “not what I expected, I guess I’m just used to more typical work, but please go like my page;” it’s like having someone like Graham who hates my bollocks, but also wants me to promote his business…

 Oh no, you have  mistaken me for someone who succumbs to the social convention of “returning the like…You can bite me!

I “like” all manner of pages…lots of the yarny pages of my friends, jewelry, art, horror art,author pages, creepy weird stuff most of you would shudder at: I’ve got a wide variety of pages that hang out on my newsfeed. But if you ever try to post some kind of  “you have to go like my page because I liked yours” BULLSHIT, I will out you on my personal page, maybe a blogpost, maybe the business one too…of course I share my blog on reddit.com and google+. so you’ll be famous, at being a huge  BITCHY McBITCHERTON.

Just so you know it’s not all badness in Kimland, I have met a few LOVELY folks through LinkedIn, folks who make their presence known, liking, and commenting, reading my blog…You guys are great!!!  And like I said, If someone posts on my timeline that they’ve liked my page, could I visit their page, I absolutely will visit. I’ll read posts, and go through pictures, but there is no guarantee that I will “like” your page.  And if you didn’t really like mine in the first place, then you’ll probably come by and “unlike” my page… no worries, you didn’t really belong anyway.

If you do this regularly, find creative ways to get folks to visit your page. My friend Lee  finds art pages that have a few likes only, or a page that he really likes, and tells them that he likes to Share the Love on his business page , QuiET RoOM BeARs- by Lee Howard, http://www.facebook.com/quietroombears?ref=ts&fref=ts   in case you’re interested –VERY CREEPY BEARS!   And he puts up  a link on his personal and business pages of this other page, and pretty often they like his page back and folks get new likes… It’s a lovely thing, a nice way to make it known you support a page, and would like them to know where YOU come from.  I happen to belong to Horror Artists group on Facebook, partly because that’s the kind of art that inspires me, gets my brain working for my own work, and partly because my work, for the most part, is of the horror genre, so it’s kind of where my work belongs. We share works in progress, finished pics, when someone has something for sale or auction, or is going to a convention.   In spite of the fact that I crochet dolls with yarn they have welcomed me and are happy when I post pictures or comments.  So,  find somewhere you fit in!  If you make things for babies, find groups that cater to new mommies. If you write, find readers.  But be nice.  Folks will really not like your page if you’re a dick about them doing so… They definitely don’t want to do business with you!

Do I want people to buy my creations? like my work? like my page? Of course! We all want that!  But there’s no reason to be shitty about it…I may like your work, but you’re an asshole, suddenly your work maybe isn’t as cool as someone who won’t demand reciprocation for a facebook like…yea, say it out loud, it’s absolutely absurd!

Do I have all the answers? No, obviously not.  I still have lots to learn,  I could promote myself more, I’d so love to do this full time and not have to have a part time job. So yes, I need to learn to promote. And yes, I do on occasion want to connect with a business/art page, and do offer up my page, however, I usually make sure I really dig this person, and like a butt-ton of their pictures and posts and comment. I make it known I do like their work.  I never demand them like my page. I usually thank them in advance, and even talk about what I like about their work.  It’s about making them curious about what you do, or at least they find you to be a pleasant person and wouldn’t mind popping in for a look.  People who are bullied won’t like what you have, even if they need it.  If your creations are like mine, they aren’t really necessary for existing, so being a  dick gets to quickly to NowheresVille.

What do you do to promote yourself? Do you have some great tip? I’d love to know!  I don’t do a lot, but will be looking into it and probably posting, asking for help with ideas  later on sometime.  Do you reciprocate like for like? All the time?  I just want to know… I’m interested in whether my way is the bitchy way, or do you secretly hate liking pages just so they’ll like you back?  If I’m going to put a page in a list of pages I never visit but just liked “because,” why keep it? If I don’t want the product, it’s better not to pretend, I think.  I want the number of likes on my page to really show how many folks really like it…don’t you?..