Saturday, July 12, 2008

Cross Stitch Lacing - & the ethics of charging for a Tutorial.

For now this is just sitting up here for now, while I decide what to do. The recent surge of lampwork artists putting out tutorials got me to thinking.
Now I know that lampworkers aren't the only people that put out tutorials - a quick search on Etsy - showed me over 1539 tutorials ranging from $3.00 upwards. There are tutorials available for everything & I do mean everything.

This particular tutorial I produced about 3 1/2 years ago. I had become tired of trying to explain with words alone, to a group of stichers I was involved with, how to correctly lace a cross stitch or any piece of needlework in a manner suitable for conservation framing. All the time I was being asked 'why do you do this a certain way' - & 'how do you do that bit again'.

There had been a lot of discussion at the time about methods of mounting needlework.
Many had been informed by framers that it is ok to staple, glue, pin permanantly or do whatever to pieces of needlework that people had spent countless hours creating.
It isn't 'OK' & it isn't acceptable, I had waged many a cyber battle trying to make people aware that anything that is framed should be able to be removed from a frame at some time in it's future & still be in the orginal condition it was when handed over to the framer. No trimming, no holes from pins, no rust, no glue, no staples. Having been on the receiving end of the utter feeling of dismay when un-mounting peoples lovely pieces of needle art - I was only to well aware of what went on when the customer was out of sight - by framers assuming that they would never know what had been done to their handwork.

At the time framers were looking for a quicker more cost effective way of mounting needlework, & in my experience within the industry I had learned that, when asked, they often said "yes we hand lace" - but didn't. The extra cost to clients for hand lacing(if done correctly) also adds a substantial amount to the framing cost.

Unfortunately one cane never be sure unless they have laced their piece themselves, or can stand over a framer & watch it be laced, exactly how carefully it has been mounted. So the next question from the people I was discussing this with was 'but how do I lace it myself'. I decided to give them the tools to do so. Given they were spread all around this country there was only one way to do it. So one night after work when I had a customers piece of needlework at home ready to be laced I produced this tutorial.

The group of stitchers I produced it for were most appreciative, saying it was the best guide to lacing they had ever seen, so easy to follow, truly 'step-by-step' & that for the first time they had been able to do this themselves. They also had the benefit of me having shared some of the technical data involved in different types of fabrics & the best threads to use for each, the importance of correctly tensioning & so on.

So this basic - no frills, short but with clear photo & written instructions version has been sitting on my website now for 3 years & on Webshots for 2 years. In that time it has had over 7000 views - so I'm hoping that some at least found it useful & informative.

There are other instructions on the web - but dare I blow my own trumpet loud enough & say they are not as clear & concise? (which is why I was asked for these in the first place)

My question is - since I have been happy to share information 3 years, is it wrong if I now turn this into a PDF tutorial & sell it?


angelinabeadalina said...

That's a tough one, and I can tell you must be seeing both pros and cons yourself. I think since you did the work,and did it better than anyone else has done it, you have every right to sell it. Since so many people have viewed it, there are bound to be some people who use it as a resource and would be more than happy to repay you for your hard work that makes a difficult task easier for them to do. There are probably many more people who haven't seen it yet who would be grateful to be able to buy it, too. I'm guessing that it makes you feel funny because you've offered it for free for three years, and I can understand that feeling, too. My suggestion? Offer it as a tutorial for sale on Etsy, along with a little blurb about how to find the free version online. That way, those who want to repay you for your work can do so, and you'll also know that you are still reaching out to help others by keeping the other version online for now. Does any of that make any practical sense? Hope it at least gives you some ideas :)

rosebud101 said...

I think you should charge for your tutorial. It's an excellent one. I can see why you've had 7000 views!

Lisa said...

Repackage it and put it on Etsy... :)