Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Somebody call 911

Eeesh. The paperwork on our current patterns requests took forever, so the great packing project didn't get started until Monday. Which means the pattern packages don't go out until Tuesday, and it'll probably be Wednesday before all the emails get done. Ah well. Only newcomers will be surprised that we're behind schedule :-)

The mailman dropped by with two more packages of pattern donations while we were packing. I dropped them on the rocking chair -- the only place I could find that wasn't already covered with patterns, packing materials, or teddy bears. That was 15 hours ago, and they're still unopened.

Yes, you read that right. Two nice-sized boxes of patterns -- could be anything -- and not one of us took a peek. I was tempted, but it was far too easy to resist. (My cohorts deny even being tempted.) What's the matter with us? Have we succumbed to self-discipline? Is it permanent? Or.... have we reached pattern overload?

Nah. A few hours sleep changes everything. Now I'm just waiting for Mary to wake up so I can get over there and rip into them take a quick glance to let the donors know their pattern points estimate. (Besides, Mary might forget to log them in, and then they might get lost, and then where would we be?)

I guess we can cancel the 911 call -- it must have been fatigue. Happily, my curiosity is back to normal levels this morning and I doubt there's been any permanent damage. And how much would you like to bet (assuming I give Mary time to have a cup of coffee after the lights go on) that she'll have them open before I get there?

Gotta run. Mary just opened the curtains. Patterns to pack :-)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Flock, Focus, and Folkwear

I think I need to get our more...

Several of the members who volunteered as beta-testers listed "Flock" as one of the web browsers they use. Despite the piles of CSS references books around here, I had to visit Google to find out what on earth Flock was. Oh well. Maybe if I ever got out to places like Facebook and Twitter, I'd know these things :-)

Actually, I probably need to get out less and focus more. As much as I love hunting down patterns and the info needed to process donations, one pattern-related site always lead to another. And another. Before you can say "not getting much done, are you?" it's taken a half hour to look up something that should have taken two minutes. Haven't checked, but it's probably not one of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

So I hope you don't mind if I pester you all from time to time for answers that I could look up myself. Tonight's question is about Folkwear Patterns. The two listed in the Trade area the other night drew an incredible number of requests. And since we just got in a whole stack of them from someone else, I want to be sure we're not shortchanging anyone on pattern points.

As I understand it, Folkwear Patterns has gone through a number of ownership changes but most or many of the original 1970s designs are still in print -- with prices in the $15 to $20 range. The envelopes and cover graphics are the same, but the paper used for the patterns is different?

Is there something particularly desirable about the older patterns? Or just certain designs that are especially desirable? How do I tell which is which? What am I missing here? Can you fill me in -- and keep me from getting sidetracked yet again?

BTW (do people still say BTW?) we do still need a few more beta-testers, especially if you use an older version of Internet Explorer or Opera. There's more information and a sign-up form on our Support page.

Thanks!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Unintended Consequences

Whew! Short and sweet tonight.

We had a bit of a tempest today about letting folks with fewer pattern points get first shot at the latest listing of Recycle patterns. Some of members are upset and I truly feel bad about it. On the other hand, we made that call to help solve a problem, and announced it advance to total silence.

Enter the law of unintended consequences: solve one problem; create another. My worst fear about the pattern auction idea (see yesterday's post) is that we'll end up with complaints that we're selling donated patterns -- for whatever reason -- will hit people the wrong way.

We've got over 1200 members. Two people have commented. Kind of hard to extrapolate from that :-)

What you think really does matter. If you don't want to comment in a public forum, you know where to reach us by email. We have to make the final call (and deal with the unintended consequences) but it helps to have as much input as possible.

Thanks for helping us out!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Pattern Rescue Blog, Take Two :-)

I've cleaned out the old posts and we're off to a fresh start! If you haven't already heard, I'm hoping some of you will jump in as guest bloggers so there will be something of interest here even on the days I can't get to it. There's certainly plenty to talk about, but some days the words don't flow....

So much new going on at Pattern Rescue, and please keep in mind that we ALWAYS value your input. Today's topic is about pattern sales -- which needs more explanation and discussion than appropriate for the newsletter.

Buried in the fine print of the site is an assurance that we'll be in touch if your box of donated patterns includes a hidden treasure (generally, a pattern worth $35 or more). And, of course, non-members can ask us to reimburse them for the postage -- and about a third of them do.

This issue has come to the top now for 2 reasons. First, we've got a couple of hidden treasures that came in recently and we need to deal with them. Second, we've seen a steady increase in the number of pattern donations coming from non-members, and the pin money fund can't even begin to cover the postage.

Hidden treasures are not that common. Many of you are clearly experienced collectors and/or pattern sellers and we expect you have a good idea what you're sending -- as when Nicole offered to send us the 1940s and 1950s patterns she didn't want from a recent estate purchase. We weren't expecting to find an uncut McCall 1399 Mexican jacket pattern (approximate retail value $50) tucked in among the shirt-dresses and suits!

Nicole had no idea what it was worth and doesn't know how to go about selling it. Sure -- we could just send it back to her (doesn't seem neighborly, but...) or put a note in the newsletter for anyone interested to get in touch with her. We're inclined to consider selling it for her because we have issue number two: postage requests.

Large estate donations are getting to be very common (outnumbering member donations so far this year) and usually have 100 or more patterns. One that came in a couple of months ago cost the sender nearly $100 to ship -- and included a stack of 1940s apron patterns among other joys. But she's still waiting because there isn't enough extra in the pin money fund.

So... we're leaning towards a small pattern auction once every month or two. Hidden treasures would be listed with a minimum price of 1/2 the appraised value. For non-member donations, we'd pull out a few patterns and post the amount we need to raise altogether to cover the postage. Bidding would be a silent auction style with a specific end date, and bids would be restricted to Pattern Rescue members.

I don't have a problem with doing this, and I think it would be fun for everyone involved. The only thing that really concerns me is keeping the message from getting muddy. With very few patterns ever being for sale, and with the sale proceeds going to the original pattern owners, I think we can keep the auctions clearly identified as exceptions.

On the other hand, I may be missing something obvious. So here's where you guys jump in. Reactions? Suggestions? Weigh in and let me know!