You know what grinds my gears? Artificial scarcity. Yes, I mean in the fiber world and in the digital age.
There’s no reason in the world, other than greed, to teach classes on something (whatever it might be) and only offer one class three months ago, that only some people have access to due to various limitations – time zone, access to the platform that has the classes, financial barriers, limit of participants (which is usually tiny, ten or so people).
You can take that online class, record it, upload it somewhere and make it available to people who want to see it later, even years later.
Paid or free, it doesn’t matter, the point is that once you made it, you can still share it, it’s not a finite resource and people who couldn’t get to the live event can still use the resource you worked so hard on.
Now I’m not talking about Knit Stars (no link because you can look them up yourself), although that would be a whole discussion in itself (it is the epitome of artificial scarcity in the knitting community and it’s so expensive and “exclusive”, meaning it excludes most people who don’t have thousands of dollars of disposable income ready to be thrown at random people pretending to teach things within a very limited timeframe).
I’m talking about a technique that is fairly common in a certain crafts sector, taken by a crocheter and adapted to crochet (by using a hook, that’s all, that’s the innovation) and then sold as a two hour class available only once, when it literally takes you 2 minutes to learn and get extremely proficient at if you’ve ever made a chain.
What pissed me off was that there are no other available resources for this technique, as I guess nobody has used it in crochet before or they’ve used it under a different name.
There are no photos of the back of the work (oh no, how can you share photos of things from both sides), no photos of the start and end, no description, just some close-ups of a braid-like structure.
I like to learn and try new things, but I can’t if there is only an elusive “this will be in a two hour class next week” that’s dated two months ago.
So I used a single keyword (not the name that the person gave this “new” way of making chains, but the one they started from) from their class notes and found a tutorial and figured it out myself.
In two minutes, as I said before. It took two minutes to watch the video I found of someone doing this with paracord. It took me 10 seconds to do the same with yarn and hook.
And I also figured out how to use multiple colors of yarn with it to make it as thick as you want.
So I’ll make a tutorial and use another name for it and I’ll make it available to everyone for free because I’m pissed off and don’t like it when people gatekeep basic things and they get lost because nobody can figure them out.
I’d rather every technique be out there, easy to learn, and that innovation come from a creative mixing of techniques and vision, especially when the technique has existed for at least three centuries.
When that tutorial is done I’ll link to it from here. I’ll make a video too, to show you how to make it in single strand, double, even with multiple colors.
I feel better now that I have that off my chest. If I forget to make this tutorial, make sure to reply to one of my newsletter emails and let me know because I’ve got many things to finish, but I really want to make this available to people (how hypocritical of me would it be to bemoan the lack of instructions and then not make them myself either?).
Until next time, if you still want to read my other blog posts about accessibility in a similar tone (always prompted by some problem, it seems), here’s the bunch of them.
See you soon,
2 thoughts on “A rant on accessibility – artificial scarcity is no fun”
Thank you for your rant on this subject Andrea! For a variety of reasons (constant travel, finances, etc.) I’m not usually able to take onlappreciated! When they’re offered, and one of my biggest peeves is when they aren’t offered after the fact. I love learning new techniques in crochet, and not being able to access something that interests me is terribly frustrating. Thank you for offering your digital content to everyone, it’s much appreciated!
Shelly, I think there’s a chunk of your comment missing, but I get the point. I’m glad I’m not the only one with this issue.
Thankfully, we are creative beings and what has been made once can be figured out again.