Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Show Time
Teacher Compensation at Larger Venues

I'm returning to this topic - as I will again in future - because I believe it's at the heart of the strong, sustained growth of knitting as a pastime and, for many of us, a chosen vocation.

It seems that with the larger show budgets and clout, they do a very good job of representing themselves and setting the rules. These rules make it very difficult for someone earning their living as a teacher to pay the mortgage, while the shows continue to do better than that.

If a venue believes in a teacher enough to hire them, they need to provide the basics. I believe those basics to be:
  1. A private room (not shared, not a "half room")
  2. Compensation for reasonable travel (not just a "portion")
  3. Per diem for meals (I only ask for 1 meal a day in my contract)
  4. Ability to teach at other venues in the area*,
    4a. or additional compensation for an 'Exclusive' to cover the loss of income**
I've spoken to more than one teacher at Stitches where the bitterness from the many demands by XRX (requirement to attend banquet & fashions show with no extra compensation, sharing a room, accommodations far from the teaching venue) colors their interactions with others at the show. The teachers are professional enough not to 'take it out' on the students, but the raw feeling of being taken advantage of is absorbed, and HAS to affect their teaching (and their lives.)

The way we allow others to treat us today - personally and professionally - directly correlates to our quality of life tomorrow. I'm finished with allowing venues that enjoy the income from the 30+ student classes I teach dictating what I can do in my outside time - and not compensating me fully into the bargain.

Yes, I'm in a special position. I fill classes and have name recognition. But if someone like me, who happens to be at a good point in my teaching career, doesn't stand up for all of us, well-known and lesser-known teachers alike, then who will?

I will not always be at this place, careers rise and fall. In fact, speaking out like this doesn't exactly help my personal teaching career. But NOW is the time for those of us who teach to make our simple - and reasonable - requirements known.

If this continues, the only teachers at these venues will be
  1. New teachers who accept inadequate conditions because they feel they must
    (they don't, and this acceptance helps keep compensation down for all teachers)
  2. Teachers who feel the visibility of teaching at such a venue is worth the economic loss
    (it's not***)
  3. Teachers who are affiliated with the venue in some way
    (paid staff of the venue)
  4. Teachers who are subsidized by a related company - non-independent teachers
    (and therefore can use the class to promote a yarn, book, etc.)
  5. Teachers who do not realize their worth.
So what happens to the independent, unaffiliated teachers? They either suck up the one sided contract and sign it, or they don't teach at the larger venues. This isn't good for knitting, it's not good for the students, and eventually it's not good for the shows, either. It's a race to the bottom - how little can we pay our teachers and still get ones that will bring in students? - and it won't stop until teachers stand up and say "No."

I do understand that some teachers would be attending a show anyway, and figure, "Hey - at least I get part of my expenses covered!" But this is a false economy. The money saved in "expenses" will be lost when that same venue wants the teacher to travel to a show they don't really want to go to. At that point the teacher has already set the precedent of accepting less than professional compensation, and it's harder to back track and at that point ask for fair compensation.

Teachers are scared to take a stand and habitually accept less than is professionally feasible from the larger shows. But this is our living. Knowing students are in our corner will give us strength to turn down a job or two. Having students request our classes will make the venues think twice about barring teachers who ask for fair compensation or are 'trouble makers.'

I am NOT advocating a boycott of any venue or specific show, but I am asking that those of you who attend these shows think hard about how the teachers are being treated, and ask yourself if there is something you can do to let the organizers of these shows know that treatment of teachers matters to the students. And if there's a teacher you like, let the shows know that you would like to see classes from that teacher.

Believe me, your well being while you're in our classes matters tremendously to us. I know that your teacher's well being matters to you, too.

*if other teaching in the area occurs, the travel, hotel and meal expenses should be divided equitably between all venues.

**If a venue wants an exclusive, they need to be willing to pay for that benefit. It is NOT something we should just give away. Our names and reputation ARE our income, if a venue wants to prevent us from teaching in some geographic radius, they need to pay for the privilege.


***I had a reality check and finally understood that teachers do more to bring students into a show than a show does to further a teacher's career. I was once told by the owner of the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo - after being shorted on my expense check - that "THEY had been responsible for my growing visibility."

This was in the year that I had 3 books come out and taught at at least 5 venues a month. [sarcasm alert] Yeah, they had a LOT to do with my visibility - my hard work, talent, appearances on Knitty Gritty, blog, designs in magazines, my hundreds of appearances at yarn shops in the previous 5 years - they pale in comparison to my appearance at a sewing expo...
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55 Comments:

Blogger Nautical Knitter said...

I find it fascinating that this type of treatment occurs at other national venues in other crafts as well. WE vended at national quilt shows for years, where I also taught and promoted our independently created products for the market. The treatment of teachers, and vendors for that matter, is virtually the same with all the mega craft show promoters.

Your posts on this topic are quite accurate and all too familiar to this designer's ear.

March 26, 2008 10:14 AM  
Anonymous wendy said...

Dear Annie, I am not a teacher, but think you are right on target. You do need to keep this from being a race to the bottom and the only way to do that is for other teachers and all students to stand together. I live in Maryland and wondered if this is why you have never taught at the MD. Sheep and Wool Festival. Does teaching at festivals present the same issues?

March 26, 2008 10:24 AM  
Anonymous Jan said...

Annie,

I agree what you are saying. I do lack understanding of what you WOULD want if the venue wanted your attendance at some (I understand all would not enhance your well-being) of the banquets/fashion shows. If you do attend, should you be paid the same rate as a class? More than that? Or are you simply not interested in attending at all, as those events happen in what should be your down time?

I haven't attended a major venue in years, but never realized it was quite this bad. I hope you are able to realize these initiatives, because I believe it will work out to the benefit of all!

Jan

March 26, 2008 10:31 AM  
Anonymous Jan said...

Oops - I agree WITH what you are saying. I revised, and didn't check enough. Sorry!

March 26, 2008 10:32 AM  
Blogger Clumsy Knitter said...

Many of us already look into the origins of the things we buy to make sure no unfair practices were used (child labor, environmental destruction, etc.), or to find locally-grown products. It can't be that much harder to find out how our visiting instructors are being treated, and I am more than happy to do that in the interests of a better system for all.

March 26, 2008 10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your feelings re fair payment and people settling for less mirror my own "fight" for better pay for freelance editors. And when I am offered less money than the pittance I now command, I say no; employers must learn that they get what they pay for (and I can afford to make the point). (And you wonder why books are filled with errors, typographic and factual?) I think the critical word is "professional"; if we are professional in any field, we deserve to be compensated appropriately. It's that simple. Luise

March 26, 2008 10:44 AM  
Blogger Patricia said...

Gee maybe I will go to MDS&W instead of stitches. The vendors are the same now a days. And treating teachers (who are mainly women) like crap, not exactly empowering. Bet lots of attendees don't know this...

March 26, 2008 10:44 AM  
Blogger Annie said...

Hey Wendy -

I've not taught at MDS&W, but from the fiber festivals I have taught at, my experience has been that they treasure their teachers and treat them very well.

A fiber festival is usually run on a smaller budget, and teachers are aware of these restrictions, but I've always been treated very fairly by the festivals where I have taught!

March 26, 2008 10:51 AM  
Blogger Robyn said...

Amen!

Thank you so much for being so honest. I re-evaluated my desire to teach at Stitches versus their inconsistent rules, and also decided it just is not worth it.

I'm with you all the way!
Robyn

March 26, 2008 10:57 AM  
OpenID mwknitter said...

What irritates me about this whole issue is that some of the venues who treat teachers so poorly are making money hand over fist. They charge platinum fees & pay their teachers tin honoraria. IMHO, that makes them worse than Walmart (I've not set foot in one for over 5 years & won't shopp there until they start treating their employees fairly). Walmart's super low prices should make wonder how they can offer them & the most cursory research would reveal that it's because they treat their employees & vendors like pond scum. But I am sure I am not the only customer who thought that XRX's high fees for their events was because they had so many "name" teachers who were being well compensated. Lord knows they charge enough that they could do so. It's just another instance of a company not being satisfied with reasonble (or even very good) profits but insisting on obscene gains.

March 26, 2008 11:52 AM  
Anonymous Joan McGowan-Michael said...

You're preaching to the choir here, Annie.

This is one of the reasons I don't fall all over myself to teach at some of these larger shows (let me just say, I've not found all of them to be like this but the trend is turning that direction).

When it's all sorted out and my time and unpaid expenses are figured in VS. what I've been paid in teaching fees, I'm lucky to make minimum wage, if that.

It makes more financial sense to spend the time manning my own booth at one of the shows or just staying home and working on a new design for my line.

Teaching isn't something we dabble at part time for pin money.
As much as I'd like to teach at some of the larger shows, I've got to pay the bills and the time to $$ ratio needs to reflect that or it makes no sense for me to participate.

Let me second Annie's statement. If you want to see us teaching at some of your local shows, call them and ask for us. Just because you don't see us on the class roster doesn't mean we wouldn't love to come out and teach.

It's all about supply and demand. If students demand us, the shows will want to supply us and our negotiating leverage is that much stronger.

March 26, 2008 11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't attended Stitches in three years but did for the three before that. I definitely heard from teachers about their dissatisfactions, especially when I complained to one about her constant comment, "don't worry about taking notes, it's on my video." (Which, by the way, you'll have to buy if you want the information. There were no handouts.) There were some excellent teachers, too, who obviously gave well beyond or in spite of the compensation.

Gerrie in St Paul

March 26, 2008 12:02 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

This appears to be a problem in many industries. Interestingly enough, often in the industries dominated by women. perhaps we sell ourselves short? I know companies constantly try to talk me down from my rates (I am an independant pharmacist) and when I don't, they suck it up and bring me in anyway. So, stick to your guns! BTW, I would still go to a class with you.

March 26, 2008 1:24 PM  
OpenID adnohr said...

I think this might already be happening, because for the last two years, there haven't really been any interesting classes at either the XRX or TKGA shows, and it's not worth my time as a student to travel just to go to the market.

Especially since the shows have moved to venues that are far from public transit, that really eats into the time and the money.

I'm paying a lot more attention to my LYSes who book interesting teachers once in a while.

March 26, 2008 1:47 PM  
Blogger BERMD said...

Sadly talk is cheap.If you do not feel that you are being adequately compensated then do not teach there.If you know that individuals teaching are not being adequately compensated, and that bothers you, then do not go there. The market will work. At the end of the day most people do not want to pay what the supplier (professional, retailer, government) asks for and a "bargain" means that the price asked for has been worked lower.

Would it make sense to develop a cohesive group of teachers, develop standards, and rate the shows on how they treat their teachers etc? These ratings could be posted on blogs etc. Just a thought, but sadly the shows are not going to care as long as the traffic continues. BER

March 26, 2008 2:39 PM  
Blogger Roz said...

I have to say, as a former teacher in the public schools for over 30 years, these things you are fighting for are very similar to what we did long ago to get our salaries up to par--although being in Oklahoma we are still at the bottom. And the new teachers have no idea what we went through to get things up to where they are now. So I know what you are saying and what you are facing. So...hang in there Annie!! I've taken your classes and loved them and would gladly pay to take more. Roz

March 26, 2008 4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a knitter who goes to only a few festivals I haven't a clue how to find out what teachers are paid. As a director of a national fiber organization with a bi-ennial show, I was shocked at how little my organization paid presenters, whom we also expected to pay their travel and accommodation expenses, the registration fee, and any other fees!! But now, as a simple participant I have no idea how to learn which shows fairly compensate their teachers.

March 26, 2008 6:09 PM  
Anonymous Linda L. said...

I know it may not be the same, but if my employer required me to travel in order to do my job, they would not blink at providing me with a flight/bus/taxi, room, and meals, as well as my regular wage (plus overtime if I worked it). I would not be asked to hitchhike to the city, couch surf at a friend-of-a-friend-of-the-boss's, buy a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter, and do all the work on my time off.

So if I am ever lucky enough to be a student of yours, Annie, or of any other teacher, I will make sure in no uncertain terms that sensible "baseline" requirements like yours are being met. And if not, the organizers at the venue can just do without my hard-earned money, because I'm not paying it so they can buy another Lexus.

Be strong and know there are many who are right behind you on this with our virtual fists in the air!

March 26, 2008 6:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post Annie. Well thought out and expressed.
Gillian

March 26, 2008 8:02 PM  
Anonymous twinsetellen said...

The shows promote you?! Hah! The first thing I look at when even considering an event is who is teaching.

I wonder what would happen if everyone started asking shows what they pay their teachers before signing up.

I do think that a big part of being at a show is getting to rub elbows with the teachers, so it is important to me for them to be willing to attend some of the events (out of courtesy to their fans, not as a requirement of the venue). I guess that might not be an issue if they actually got paid enough for the teaching assignment.

March 26, 2008 8:40 PM  
Anonymous roz said...

I'm with Linda L. -- I travel often in my line of work, and the job picks up the tab. I certainly don't do what I do for a living for "pin money" -- even if I did have a Prince Charming around!

Keep fighting the good fight, and I will make sure that if I ever go to a festival, I'll put on my reporter hat and ask, "Who's making the money here?" If they can't tell me, why should they get mine?

March 26, 2008 9:35 PM  
Blogger Amy O'Neill Houck said...

Amen, Annie!! Well put, once again. I appreciate your taking a stand so much! You do it so eloquently, I can't believe how lucky we are to have your voice in the industry right now. Thank you.

Amy

March 26, 2008 10:08 PM  
Blogger anne said...

annie, thank you for your continued stance on this and other subjects that affect the livelihood knitting professionals. because you make your own terms and fees public, and because you talk about this often, it is possible for someone just getting started on the workshop circuit (like me) to have some guide by which to set rates on my own time. when asked by event organizers (i am often approached by first-time organizers), i always point to your website as a good place to read and find out more about pricing and provisions (and i wish more knitting professionals would make the information public; what's the big secret?).

i will soon be adding a page to my shop with my own pricing guidelines and hopefully other teachers will use it too. by having each other to point to this way, teachers can present a front of solidarity in this matter, as well as a highly informative documentation of what the standard will be.

thank you again; i totally respect and support what you are saying here.

March 27, 2008 8:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a student. I just know my knitting stores classes are way to expensive for me to take.
That is why I learn from books, internet and now from DVDs.

March 27, 2008 9:10 AM  
Blogger Carina said...

This is why teachers need to be included in the new designing guild. Many designers teach, and many teachers design, and we often have similar needs.

I've tried to teach at TKGA. I've been a high school English teacher (so I have teaching training and know how to keep on schedule and deal with different learning styles), and I've been a knitting teacher for almost ten years now. That doesn't matter to them--I don't have a book out or yarn company backing me. I apply every year, but because I'm not nationally known, I don't stand a chance.

Indie designers have decent ways to get national recognition now with Ravelry and Etsy, but indie teachers are still a very local commodity. Even still, it would be nice to have a basic contract that we all agreed on and a guild for helping each other learn more about teaching and better our skills.

March 27, 2008 9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, just wondering if you feel what students currently pay at an event at Stitches is fair? Im sure that some of what you are asking for, for fair compensation is going to translate to increased class costs. JanW

March 27, 2008 6:55 PM  
Blogger SIMONA MERCHANT-DEST DESIGNS said...

I agree with you on all the points you made. If a professional in another field would come and teach, they would get all their expenses covered. I see it with my husband who works for a company, when he travels he gets all his meals, hotel and travel (air, cabs, car rentals) reimbursed. If he stays more than 4 days, he can reimburse his laundry!

As you talked some time ago about designers fees for publishers, I was shocked that the fees have not increased in past 20 yrs. How is that possible? I have to say, I've been designing for over couple years and when I add all the hours I spend on pattern writing, swatching, knitting (sometimes frogging and knitting again), I noticed that I make like few dollars per hour, way bellow minimum wage - and I am rather a fast knitter. And when the time comes to pay taxes and self employment fees, and cover my expenses, I have found out that I'd be better off not working at all since I make what it seems pennies an hour.

How do you do that that you can make a living with knitting, I always wonder.

March 27, 2008 8:41 PM  
Blogger dragon knitter said...

i think that this happens in any industry that requires any kind of true creativity. i have a culinary arts degree, but until i got a management degree, would have been hard-pressed to get over $10 an hour, for a job that is, in some instances (hospitals and nursing homes), a vital service. and teaching gigs (other than a school-based situation) are just as bad as they are in the crafting world.

the lack of compensation, crappy hours, and, often, crappy benefits, were a large part of the reason why i got out of the foodservice industry, even though i love the work.

please don't let this garbage drive you out (any of you!). and i'll be talking long and hard to get hubbie to let me drive to KC in may to see you!

March 27, 2008 8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You certainly do loom large in your own sad mythology.
Exactly how much do you think all ten or twelve knitters who want to take a class with you are willing to pay for your extra hotel nights because you don't feel like flying just yet, your private rooms, your insistence on hiring a car.....?

March 28, 2008 10:31 AM  
Blogger casajavaknits said...

Well, I agree with you Annie.

March 28, 2008 12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thoroughly agree with fair compensation. We give away too much of ourselves as it is. When I am a student in a class, I want the teacher to be well rested, able to focus on me and not her fatigue or sore feet, and in a good frame of mind. Otherwise the student is also being shorted! If the shows don't catch on they will be the losers.

March 28, 2008 6:52 PM  
Blogger AliceBknitN said...

The teachers should form a union. I am a member of the American Federation of Musicians. And I can tell you that there is a big difference between union orchestras and non-union orchestras not only in pay but also in how you are treated both on and off the clock. All management, whether the organization is making shoes, presenting live musical performances, picking strawberries, or presenting a knitting expo will exploit their workers as much as possible unless the workers unionize and stand united.

March 28, 2008 7:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i can't believe that you are such a whiner...i took a class from you in Burbank which was quite horrible...for god's sake woman 0 we all have stress in our work life...challenges and frustrations and unfairness...suck it up - you, afterall, are making a living by twisting bits of yarn together and suckers like i - buy your stuff and feed your family - that i don't mind..feeding your freaking ego is quite another thing...try being in the REAL workplace...i work with sick and dying children everyday for a pittance of what you earn..i can't redecorate my home or beg for donations when i had cancer last year..you are blessed - stary feeling it...and acting it.

March 28, 2008 8:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leave poor Annie alone. She cannot help her cycles of rally the troops, woe is me, hibernation, husband humiliation, pass Go and collect her $200 . . . not any more than you can help your insightful and literate commentary at least.

March 28, 2008 8:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are so very right my friend...what WAS i thinking??

March 28, 2008 8:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, all of our thinking will be erased soon enough. The preview software must not be working!

March 28, 2008 8:34 PM  
Blogger OfTroy said...

anonymous--you are free to have an opinion, (and Anne is very generous to let you air them on her blog)

you obviously envy her life a bit.. (why i can't imagine!)

but i think she is making a very valid point.

Compensation for the mostly independent (ie, not worker but contractors) in many industries, but especially in woman "work" is, and has been low.

Stephanie, (ie the yarn harlot) compares knitting to sport..

go to a sports convention, and the 'stars' get paid and paid.. (they get paid to autograph anything and everything.

why do we (as a society) value sport more than knitting? because sport is mostly men? Certainly knitting is more practical...

perhaps your industry is have a wage race to the pits, (at which point you expect your job will be outsourced to an other country) its hard to stand up and speak (for yourself, for others)

but why do you drag the conversation down?

March 28, 2008 9:39 PM  
Blogger SusanSW said...

Annie,
You have VERY valid points here and are being very moderate (if it were me, I'd be calling for a boycott!). I remember last year when you were coming to the new Midwest Folk & Fiber Arts Festival & upset that they (like others) were only going to pay 1/2 your room costs. I called and spoke to the woman who ran the festival and told her I thought it outrageous to expect the teachers to either share a room or pay half their own costs and how was it they couldn't come up with another f*ing $37 a night? She explained that, it being their first year, they just didn't have the money in their budget.

So, hey, it was a Monday morning and I'd been saving up for a yarn sale that week (but I already have a pretty sizeable stash anyway) so I took my $300 and told her I was donating it to the festival and she was to use it to pay for your room and the rooms of any other teachers who couldn't afford to pay for their share of their own single rooms. I told her to keep it anonymous and I hadn't planned on ever telling you.

But you brought up this issue and I just wanted to say that YES...it is criminal that the largest venues MAKE money off the teachers (esp. the "name" teachers) the way they do without just and adequate compensation. As a paying student, I want my teacher fully rested, coddled, in a good mood and at her best for teaching.

And when smaller festivals cannot afford to fully pay for name-brand teachers but that is what the public wants to see, then perhaps those of us who can afford to should consider making a donation to help our local festivals bring in those teachers and house and feed them adequately.

Just one more thing we can do. In the meantime I'll be thinking of ways to write XRX...and TKGA/CGOA (whose management co. has the same few teachers teaching so many classes at the shows that it pretty much amounts to slave labor conditions; but it sure saves on room & board!).

SusanSW

March 28, 2008 10:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Others have made the point that you are not unique in having to deal with a stressful situation.
Life's hard - we just do the best we can. You are, unfortunately, beginning to alienate the very people whose support you need, from the knitters who take your classes and buy your books, to those who provide you the necessary venues. Ranting isn't useful, and you do rather protest your talents and abilities a little too much. Roger Cohen, writing in the New York Times this week about an awful tragedy, observed that "The stoical are discreet."

March 29, 2008 2:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In total agreement with the idea that the famous, sought-after designer is alienating folks who might otherwise support her.
Not only because it occurs to me that one could comment, "Oh poor poor Annie" on every single post and it would be entirely apt every time.

March 29, 2008 8:25 AM  
Blogger Steph said...

Why do some of you consider it ranting or whining when someone presents a succinct summary of an issue that identifies a problem? She's not just speaking for herself, but for other teachers in the industry as well.

And have the courage to post contact info if you're going to leave a comment, as opposed to posting anonymously.

March 29, 2008 9:24 AM  
Anonymous Kristi said...

Wow! Some of these comments perfectly illustrate cowardice. The rule ought to be that unless you'd walk into someone's living room and say it to their face, in their home, you shouldn't put it under 'anonymous' and think it any less mean-spirited.

Everyone has an opinion, and until you don someone else's moccasins you ought to have the good manners and good sense to be polite if you disagree.

There's really no need for anonymous bullying in this great big world.

Maybe I'm being a bit elitist, but I expect better of women. The world is hard enough as it is without piling on...

March 29, 2008 9:33 AM  
Blogger Knits4Bears said...

Well put Annie!
I appreciate and support your position and hope this is the turning point for fair compensation for the services of professional teachers. It's not a new trend. Professional artists or craftspersons are rarely paid what they truly deserve for their work and time. Usually the times you do get paid what you are warranted, there is a person writing the check who has been there and knows what work, time and effort has gone into the work itself.
Doug

March 29, 2008 11:35 AM  
Blogger evie said...

Annie, I'm glad you are turning off the anonymous posting. It's the one thing about the internet that I feel allows people to spew nasty venom without bearing any responsibility for one's words.

To the anonymous posters who love to criticize Annie but don't have the guts to identify themselves, I'm glad you believe we should all just suck it up and slog through the day when things are tough. Yes, I wish more people had the fortitude to face tough situations, but I always thought we should be open to asking for help, accepting it when it comes our way and willing to offer what help we can when someone else needs it.

Rather than getting angry at Annie's outspokenness, perhaps you should ask yourself, did someone before me make it easier for me to do my specific job? Did someone speak out about injustices and encourage or force those who manage my industry to make changes to treat workers like me more fairly? Does my industry have a union? Do I receive health and other benefits from my employer? Do I get periodic reviews and raises? Do I have a 40-hour work week? Does my industry have to follow safe working procedures?

All of these exist because people stood up to greedy bosses whether they were big corporations or smaller companies who took advantage of powerless workers who were desperate to put food on their tables and a roof over their families heads.

Just look back a few over that last hundred years and see how many industries have changed because a few brave souls stood up and spoke out against bad treatment.

Annie may be promoting something that she will benefit from, but so will thousands of others who will follow and teach. I salute her efforts and thank her for opening my eyes to what has been going on in the knitting class/convention industry.

To slam someone for teaching knitting as compared to working with dying children is petty. As the result of many people teaching me knitting skills, I can now craft items that cloth people, keep them warm and sometimes bring comfort to people struggling against illness and death. Is there something wrong with that?

We as women have an opportunity to make life better for us, our families and generations who follow us. It's too bad some of us are so angry at the world we live in that we fling stones at people who are trying to make the world a better place.

March 29, 2008 12:50 PM  
Blogger Nita said...

It's your blog and you can say whatever you want. I'm amazed at people who attack and spew hostility. I can imagine the misery they create for themselves, inside their own minds.

And we don't need it leaking out here, thank you.

March 29, 2008 1:41 PM  
Blogger Poohknits said...

You are right on every single point, Annie! I am disabled and don't have a ton of money to spend on my knitting. But that doesn't mean that I can't save up for the classes I want to take. And as much as the venues bring in in entrance fees they shouldn't have to up the cost of the classes to the people. But, if they do I would still pay them to see a teacher such as yourself. I don't want to support business who treat their employees, teachers, etc poorly. This world would not be where it is if some people didn't have the balls to stand up and say this isn't right. We would all still be working like slaves and not having health insurance and so on. And to those poor pitiful people who just want to spew crap, it is a real job, she probably puts in more time than you do at your job (and you would never be paid so little), there is certainly a demand for what she does, if you don't like the subject being written about there are millions of other web sites to go to, you must be very unhappy people to think that you have to say things to hurt and undermine others feelings that way, and if you are going to spew crap at least have the balls to say who you are so people can respond to your BS!
Keep up your beautiful work Annie, and know that most of us are behind what you and others are trying to do for the industrie!

March 29, 2008 1:46 PM  
Anonymous Amie said...

Am I the only one wondering if the same, one person who is posting anon is the very same person who gave Annie a hard time last year, to which she returned some money to?

Why don't people get a life?

March 29, 2008 3:22 PM  
Blogger HeadKnitwit said...

I went to TKGA in Oakland last fall. The classes I wanted were full. The rest were the same old thing and I could not justify taking one for the heck of it. JMM was there and I had a nice visit with her and bought just what I wanted from the floor. I wished Annie were there. I will not return. I love fiber festivals and fortunately belong to a guild that brings in fine teachers, including Annie. LYS need to band together and share costs and days to bring us the teachers we want. Keep blogging. Trolls be damned. xo

March 29, 2008 7:58 PM  
Blogger Isabel said...

I've always wondered if trolls know that they are trolls. I guess know I know.

Thanks for turning off anon. comments. I get worried that the trolls will get everybody down.

March 29, 2008 9:50 PM  
Anonymous Tina Rose said...

I agree, the sniper hiding behind the hedge of ananimity is the same person.

Tina Rose

I too can't remember my blooger password, but fortunatly my name will allow me to post. nd I'm not afraid to state my name

March 30, 2008 12:26 AM  
Anonymous Sheri said...

My daughter is an elementary school teacher. Currently she teaches reading to gifted children. She does OK, has good benefits, but she is certainly not getting ahead. It pains me that we pay and worship less educated men who can throw some kind of ball so well, yet we have such a lack of respect for those who teach.

March 30, 2008 9:13 AM  
Anonymous twinsetjan said...

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
Edmund Burke (1729 - 1797)

Okay, so maybe we're not dealing with evil of the highest order, but there is certainly an element of corporate greed at the expense of designers and teachers that is at play here. I'm very proud of Annie in taking up this cause, but feel we need to help.

We need to make it known that we expect fair treatment for designers and teachers -- new and established. Perhaps a letter writing campaign or a statement of principles? I'm going to give this some more thought.

Annie, you keep at it...we've got your back.

March 30, 2008 9:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

those who think Annie should get a real life...stand up and shout HOORAH!!

March 30, 2008 10:06 AM  
Blogger ...e... said...

who is this annonymous fool anyway, and why can't s/he even use the language correctly? gah. it does tend to water down one's dubious credibility when one's vitriol is so badly written.

March 30, 2008 5:54 PM  
Blogger Carina said...

Well, I think Annie's doing a good thing. I'm a knitting teacher, and I know how badly we're paid for hours and hours of work. The going rate in my area is $5/instructional hour. That is supposed to cover my materials, gas, prep time, everything, and it doesn't. Not even close. I keep teaching because I love it and love my students, but there's no way I could live on this or even use it to pay for my craft.

I have also taken classes from Annie and read her books. I was really impressed with her professional manner and incredibly helpful techniques taught in a very accessible way. She repeats things but not so that anyone feels silly for asking again or so that anyone who got it the first time is bored. Her teaching style is engaging, interesting, and fun, and I think that's worth real pay.

If you don't like her teaching style, don't take her classes, but don't denigrate her or any of us who do like her blog, her classes, her books, and her as a person.

April 01, 2008 7:21 AM  

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