I’ve been following the (Argyle Sheep, Black Sheep, New Stitch A Day) emails with their video links to their highly anticipated new project launch. In their videos they talk a lot about being connected with their clothing, the emotional suffering that us first worlder’s experience when coming to the realization that yes a lot of our clothes come out of SE Asia sweatshops. But the funny thing is that this is just another yarn club, but with a twist. The twist is that they are using materials made in America as well as providing a forum for discussion and high quality instructional videos for the patterns exclusive to the club.
Now on one hand I find that this is an incredibly awesome thing. New Stitch a Day is an excellent tutorial website with clear filmography and curated so these guys know what they’re doing with providing classes and such. I absolutely love this website. Not everyone has the advantage that I have living in the DIY community that Portland is.
On the other hand, I was really…and I mean really…disappointed.
All that hype about having those staple items in your wardrobe, knowing where and how and when your clothes are designed, produced, and manufactured; and not to mention the plethora of already existing yarn clubs, independent dyers all across the country, and online resources. I was really hoping that they were going to open a shopping mall, similar to Etsy, specifically for hand manufacturers for knitting, crochet, and sewing. Instead we’re presented with another seeming pyramid scheme of the middle man banking off of mid-size American yarn producers and knitwear/sewing designers. I was hoping it would be an awesome Wool & The Gang type thing with a modern and modest every-day style. Something I’d be proud to show off to my friends, but also derp around at the grocery store in. Talk about a major let-down. =(
Granted there’s a lot of exposure already that goes with being a part of a knitwear community. And it’s awesome that they’re providing another venue for independent producers of patterns and knitwear designers. But its not for me. I consider myself to be a intermediate/advanced knitter and the prospect of spending over $100 for a measly 3 projects without even the material to make the project is just ludicrous.
I’d have to blow another $100 just to get the exclusive membership project bag. What?!
Ok lets do the math:
Standard Membership is $147:
6 patterns: Up against Ravelry’s library and averaged $6 per pattern that comes to $36 ($111)
6 HD video classes: Up against the INTERNET that comes to $0
Live Designer Q&A: Up against a book signing at Powell’s that comes to $0
Community Forum: Up against Ravelry’s free forums and groups that comes to $0
Lifetime Access: Up against Ravelry’s free membership that comes to $0
For someone who needs the instructional classes, this would be a steal! Averaging $25-$60 a class at a community college or a LYS you’d come out on top. So for me this would be a complete waste of $111.
Gold Fleece Club membership: $377
36 patterns: $216
etc etc etc.
This might be worth my time, unfortunately it’s still $377 and without the option to choose yarn colors, skip a month, and it’s an extra $300 for the bonus project. O Hell NO.
What about people who are larger sizes? What about people who can’t wear animal fibers? There’s not enough information on these pages to really sell me. This is a blind $400 purchase for it to even be somewhat worth while. =/
And I must point out that there is a large price discrepancy between knitted and crochet projects. They are priced differently, but why? Are the crochet designers also getting paid less? This is incredibly infuriating. Argyle Sheep is maintaining the status quo of crochet being the lesser craft, the craft for people who lack any sense of style or sophistication, the craft for the stupid. This is the first time I’ve seen it presented so obviously by a relatively mainstream platform. Crochet is an afterthought, even in their videos. Why is there such a negative appreciation for those who crochet? Elitist.
The last video where they are finally opening Black Sheep memberships they also includes a small plug for their own YARN LINE. Which is one of the yarns they are offering in the knitted and crochet projects. Are you kidding me? You want me to spend $150 for an untested and untried yarn of your own design? Aside from the usual what if I don’t like the color or what if I don’t like how it’s plied, or what if the colors bleed, what about where did you get the fiber from? You see that “100% American Wool”? America is the ENTIRE WESTERN HEMISPHERE. I don’t see anywhere on their YarnFund website mention a state in this country that is producing or milling their Zephyr yarns. W.T.F.
Be careful guys. Seriously. Black Argyle Sheep. HUGE LETDOWN. I just hope those that have bought into it can assuage my cynicism. I really don’t want the New Stitch A Day people to fail, but I wish it was something else.