Friday, August 21, 2015

Upcoming Auction - Nov 2015

It is not often I take a public 'political stance' on anything.  That is one sure fired way to annoy or offend someone; and when you are in the people-pleasing-business, it's an area that you tend to tread very lightly into.  However this is a subject that I am extremely passionate about - and one that influences so much of my fiber art.

I am sure by now, everyone has heard of "Cecil the Lion" and the horrible occurrence that happened in Zimbabwe in July.  And no matter what your opinion on hunting in general, I think everyone can agree that this was a tragedy that should not have been allowed to have happened and the outcry of compassion, shock and anger has proven what the human species can accomplish when we work together with a single voice for change.

For anyone who missed it - Cecil was a majestic 13-year-old, Southwest African Lion living in the Hwange National Park in S. Africa.  He was part of an Oxford University/Wildlife Conservation Research Unit research project to help study lion populations (living structures, conservation, etc) in the wild. (Lions have declined in the past 3 decades by more than 50% due to humans.)  The research team had been monitoring Cecil since he was a cub and tracking his pride and territory until 01 July 2015.

That was when a MN (US) Dentist paid 50K USD, for the "privilege" of hunting a lion. 
Cecil's death was not a swift death.  He was first wounded by bow and arrow and suffered for nearly 40 hours, before finally being shot with a rifle and killed. This, after he was lead out of the safety of his Park Sanctuary.  I will not/cannot give the details of his death, as they are barbaric and what was done is NOT what a true hunter does with their kills. Cecil was a Trophy to his killer, not an animal, just an object. - This hunt was purely for sport and pleasure and to top it all off - it was ILLEGAL and the local guide & farmer are currently awaiting trial for their roles in the hunt.

Anyone who has followed my blog for a number of years, may remember when I wanted to help Cause an "UpROAR", so this isn't just an emotional thing to fit in with current sentiments or trends - this has been a nearly 10 year journey thus far.  
I have been a passionate supporter of endangered animals for years - from campaigning to help end "canned hunts" and private ownership of exotic animals, to financial support of 'sanctuaries' that take in "exotic pets" and making contributions to endangered wild life refuges that take in the sick and re-release healthy "endangered", "threatened" and "vulnerable" wildlife.  So when I speak about the future, of the legacy we leave behind us; I speak from the heart with a genuine hope that there are many more people who believe just as passionately as I do.

I BEG YOU, please do NOT turn a blind eye.  

It is not someone else's problem - it won't just go away or correct itself.  
100 people saying "no" is barely a blip on the radar, compared to the billions of people on this planet.
10 Million people screaming "No" will get a little more noticed.... 
but 100 BILLION people screaming "THIS CAN'T BE ALLOWED TO HAPPEN!!" can really bring about change!! 

Once these iconic and majestic animals, that so many just take for granted will always be here/after all, they were here LONG before us; are gone - they are GONE FOR GOOD!  The truth is, we as a human species, have already caused the extinction of many, many magnificent creatures!

Without YOUR intervention and voice, by the time your great granddaughter's daughter is in grade school, the African Lion may be reduced to only a memory in a book...  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has predicted that African Lions face extinction by the year 2050.  And may other animals on the Endangered List, don't even have that long!

So what does this have to do with crochet?  

Everything and Nothing - all together and at the same time.  Because I crochet, I am blessed with people who read my blog - therefore it is my duty to make sure that people know what is going on... at the very least, if I can alert 10 people to what is happening and they choose to act - then I have reached 10 people - who may reach 10 more people and so on... 
a domino effect that could actually become a beneficial and critical step in stopping the current extinction crisis.

"Only one good thing comes out of this – thousands of people have read the story and have also been shocked. Their eyes opened to the dark side of human nature."

Now, think of some of your favorite amigurumi projects that you've made over the years... and I am willing to bet you that several of your favorite animals can also be found on the Endangered Lists!  

From bats, bears, birds and butterflies to sloths, tigers, lions and sharks - there are so many beautiful creatures that we've made with our hands, hooks and fibers that have made the list. From critically endangered to vulnerable of becoming extinct - these are animals that have a very real threat of existing no more...  during OUR TIME.

But ultimately, what this post has to do with "crochet" is that on 01 November 2015 - I will be holding an auction to raise funds, by crocheting a FDbyK4TT original. 

Roland the Lion Cub from the Friends Series, will be modified as a tribute to Cecil the Lion and will be auctioned off via Facebook for you to own a one of a kind fiber tribute! 

Further details will be forthcoming as this auction gets closer, so please continue to watch for updates.

Cecil may no longer be 'trending' on social media - but he is FAR from forgotten!

Don't want to wait until November to do something to help these animals?  Please visit any of the websites linked within this post to learn more or donate directly to : Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WILDCRU)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Oh... Can I Translate that for You?

Believe it or not, this simple - seemingly harmless offer, send chills down many a designer's spine.
It seems like it would be so beneficial to have someone offer to make your patterns available in language(s) that you are not fluent in.  You would be able to branch out into markets previously untapped by you and that means more profit.  And many designers jump at the chance to put more money in their pocket!  After all, the BIG companies do it.  They have their works translated into nearly ever major language on the planet!  It's Win-Win... right?

No - it's really not.  And it's not as simple as just having "John/Jane Doe" substitute one language equivalent for another.  

Large companies offer their products/instructions in different languages because they have hundreds, or even thousands of employees; often, in various satellite offices in the areas they are marketing to.  People who speak a 2nd or even 3rd language as fluently as they speak their common language.  
For example, DRG Publishing, who is well known in the paper and fabric crafts (Annie's Attic, Molly Makes, etc), has hundreds of employees, sales & advertising associates as well as paid translators - that all fall under the broad umbrella of DRG Publishing.  That means it is in the translator's best interest to translate the instructions with the true intent of the designer; not 'interpret the designer's intention' or use variations in dialect or slang.  
If a pattern or design is not translated correctly and is then put into distribution to it's language destination - the complaints are going to DRG and someone is going to get reprimanded or even fired.
Using someone from a country offering to do you a 'favor' for the paycheck of a few free patterns... obviously, THEY can read your language well enough to offer to translate - but what is the incentive that they will translate your instructions correctly?  They've already gotten their "payment".  There is no contract between you and them saying what will/can happen if J.Doe misrepresents your work.  Ultimately, mistakes do not fall on the translator, the mistakes and ill feelings fall on your small business and on YOU as the designer.

There is also to consider - and this is specifically why I do NOT allow my patterns to be translated.  How are you going to help someone if you don't understand their native language?  Are you going to try to use an online translator and hope/pray that it get's it accurate?  (Don't you think that the person asking you the questions has already tried that?)

I have online friends from Brazil (Portuguese), the Netherlands (Dutch), Canada & France (French), Mexico (Spanish) as well as Cape Verde and Jamaica; and in the real world I have friends who speak Portuguese, Spanish, French and Italian - heck, my X-sister inlaw taught high school French - but they know next to nothing about crocheting.  
Sure, I could get into a healthy conversation regarding food, home life or religion with any of them because we would be speaking in commonly used terms - actually we would be speaking primarily in English, with a few 'foreign' words tossed in here or there - but it is not about a specific craft with specific and not commonly used 'foreign words' (outside the craft). It's also with people who know and trust/understand you.

I have fellow designers who have also offered to translate my own works into other languages - languages which they offer their own works in their shops.  So I KNOW they are proficient in the regular language of the translations as well as the "crafting language"; and could translate the work accurately.
BUT.. are they going to take away from their crafting time or time away from assisting their own customers - to assist my client if there is an issue or someone has a question? 

Someone who has paid money for instructions in their own language doesn't "know you".  They are your customer.  They are expecting YOU to help them complete their project - and they are already probably a bit frustrated because something they paid money for isn't working for them.  In order for you to able to assist them, you need to be able to understand what they are having an issue with and explain to them how to fix it - in a way that they will be able to understand - IN THEIR LANGUAGE!   

And finally.. ... while no one likes to admit it - IT IS a very sad fact.  There are dishonest people out there!  In fact, there are a lot of dishonest people out there.  Maybe YOU don't know about it - because YOU are an honest person.  
You don't buy a pattern and turn around and put it on an illegal download site.. or translate it and sell it on a "specific language" site.  But there are MANY who do.. unscrupulous people looking to make a quick buck without actually working for it.  
I know of several artists, including myself, who have had their work fraudulently misrepresented and stolen by others; to be sold in online stores and even PUBLISHED in foreign MAGAZINES!  And how did they get their hands on the original?  At least one that I have personal knowledge of, offered to "translate" for a designer.   She translated nothing for the designer, but instead, translated the works for a local magazine and sold it to them.

For those looking to 'translate' - the honest people, who just love the craft and want to 'help' - I know there are MANY of you out there too.  The "cold sell" (that is sending an eMail or private message to someone saying "hey I translate for others, I can translate for you") is not the best way to go.
I recommend that you build up a rapport with a designer or designers that you enjoy.  Support their craft by purchasing their patterns.  Show them photos of your finished works.  Talk to them and get to know them before making an offer to "help" by translating.  Once trust is established, and a friendship is developed - that is when the 'partnership' is mutually beneficial to everyone involved.   

I cannot say that FDbyK4TT will never offer patterns in a language other than English, but IF/when this ever happens.  It won't be "as a favor".  The translator is instrumental in making those foreign sales and they deserve compensation also (beyond a free pattern ).  
Translators, do not sell yourself short either - you are doing something for the designer that the designer cannot do for themselves.  Each foreign copy sold would not be possible without YOUR assistance in translating the instructions.  Whether you establish a "set fee" for your time or a % of each sale; you have added your name to that designer's team and you should be compensated for that.

While the gesture is kind and in MANY cases, very sincere and heart-felt.  Before you decide to just allow 'anyone' to translate your work, you must remember that YOUR NAME - YOUR REPUTATION is the one that is on the line, not theirs.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Summer Is Drawing to a Close

Wow!  Here we are in the middle of August... where did the Summer go??
Is it just me or does the Summer Vacation time seem to slip by quicker and quicker each year?
Pretty soon, it will be back to school for many of our children and grandchildren - back to homework on the week nights, reports that take up the weekends and parent teacher conferences/report cards.

Make a great first impression on your child's new teacher with one the FiberDoodles by K4TT whimsical school themed crochet patterns! 

Adam the Apple is a sweet plushie twist on the classic 'teacher's gift'.   Apples and Teachers, seem to be as closely related to each other as the movies and popcorn!

 or, perhaps you may be thinking towards Long Term Goals of Graduation!  Greg the Graduation Cap can happily inspire your child's class throughout the school year!

Maybe you are just looking for a helpful reminder of where to "Check In" or "Sign Up", then Peter the Pencil is ready to help guide the class in the right direction!

Of course, if you are looking for that special gift that is a bit more mature, for those higher grades...  FiberDoodles by K4TT offers more for the sophisticated palate.. 

Bao the Bookworm is all about encouraging Reading
A Tranquil Topiary is serene enough to create zen on any teacher's desk, without needing watering! 
American based School Teachers always take pride in our Country's National Treasures.  Palmer the Bald Eagle is ready to stand proud for your child's new teacher.
Olie the Amigurumi Owlet is the classic and symbolic animal that represents intelligence and education.  Besides, what teacher doesn't love owls?!