Ricefield Collective crafts handmade knitted accessories that keep indigenous people on their ancestral land.
I met Jean Mundiguing at a viewpoint overlooking the Philippine rice terraces in June 2011, which the Ifugao indigenous people have been farming by hand for an estimated two thousand years. Jean pointed to her own terrace in the distance, and over the next few hours, we talked about her and her neighbors' lives. Many people were abandoning their land because they had no steady source of income, and their fields produced barely enough rice to feed their own families. Jean was afraid that she would end up in the same position.
I was knitting while we talked, and I told her I would teach her so that she can maybe make money by selling hats to local tourists. I came back the next summer and spent six weeks teaching her and six other women in her village how to knit, but the numbers grew as they began to teach each other. It became clear that the only way for the project to be sustainable is if we harnessed the power of the Internet to bring their products to a world market. That was how Ricefield Collective grew from a local initiative to a Kickstarter campaign.
As tokens of appreciation for contributing to our campaign, we've prepared limited edition hats, cowls, and sets from our collection. Many of our hats come in several colors, which you will be asked to choose in a survey when the campaign finishes.
Each of our products is made from the softest American wool from Quince & Co. in Portland, Maine. They come with a picture of the woman who made the item along with a tag that's signed and numbered by her. You can wear them knowing that they're not only beautiful and warm but are also made by someone happy.
This uniquely-structured beanie's bold, soaring line will make you stand out in the sea of plain beanies, and shows off the curve of your apex. It's a no brainer. Get it for a pledge of $30.
If there's such a thing as a slouchy overachiever, this slouchy is it! The Spiral melds innovation with a classic elegance in its swirling structure. It's impossible not to get caught up. It's our thanks to you for a $40 pledge.
One of acclaimed indy designer and WestKnits Fun Squad leader Stephen West's signature patterns, the Windschief Hat is available for the first time as a finished item. We chose it with Stephen because its twists and turns go perfectly with our collection. Get it for a pledge of $50.
Red is the major color of the Ifugao people, so what better way for us to celebrate it than to make this Kickstarter Special Edition cowl. Inspired by a local basketweave pattern, the limited edition of 200 for our Kickstarter campagin are the only ones we will ever make of this cowl in red. Get it for a pledge of $65.
ANY TWO HATS
For those of us who can't decide on a color, or want to get a hat for ourselves as well as a friend, then this pledge is the way to go. Get any two hats from our collection for $85.
CLIMBING CABLE SET
Like our women to their land, this pom hat and plush cowl simply belong together. They're united by rising cables that make them both super-warm and comforting. The other Ifugao color is black, but the heathered charcoal gray of this set reminded us so much of the hand-dyed black textiles in Ifugao with their variations in color that we decided to also make this a Kickstarter Special Edition. This version of the set in Charcoal will be the only time that this set will be produced in this color in a limited edition of 100. Get it for $100.
We have other product rewards for larger pledges, such as a set we call LOTS OF PRESENTS because it's one of each piece from our collection, which you can get for $275. We also have the LOTS AND LOTS OF PRESENTS because you get each piece from our collection in all colors for $500. Then we have the SUPER-CUSTOMIZED set, where you get everything from the $500 pledge level plus a custom-accessory made just for you along with a digital video with our members thanking you for your amazing support. You can get this set for a pledge of $1,000.
Our Special Reward:
Spend Time in an Ifugao Village
Enjoy the warmth and industry that first made Meredith fall in love with Ifugao. Jean keeps a room in her house for when her relatives visit to help with planting and harvest. We'll fly you to Manila and book a bus ticket for you to Banaue, where we will take you to the village of Uhaj and let you stay with her. You can join her in making rice she farmed herself, and you can come to the field where she maintains her crops. She'll even take you on a tour of the neighboring village and other rice terraces in the area. If she happens to be busy, another one of our collective members will host you.
Special thanks to the following people who have made this project possible:
Team: Anna Maltz, Design Director • Kris Sugatan, Public Relations • Igor Shteynberg, Technical Director • Stephen West, Design Collaborator • Larilyn Sanche, Video Editor • Alex Cunningham, Cameraman • Rizalyn Nagabe, Administrative Support
Testers and Samplemakers: Dora Lenchuk, Akshata Dhareshwar, Margaret McKinnis, Alli Cornett, and Purlewe RieMill
Knit4Life Photo Supporters: Todd Shalom, Claro de los Reyes, Adam Rompel, Marinus van der Veen, Roderick Kimball, Jess Falcone, Jessica Metzler, Antonia Ruppel, Aze Ong, Dav Clark, Audia Denton, Xine Yao, Shoan Yin Cheung, Cait Randerson, Samantha Taylor, Penny Dewind and Don Kyle, Susan and Noa Kwee, Aida Grøndahl Thalberg, Pien Maltz-Klaar, Saskia Maltz, Cherise Silvestri and Oscar, Adedayo Ajibade, Fanny Boiten, and Dawn Allison
Models: Vic, Drew Nauman, Jillian Marshall, Nikolas Hoepker, Patrick Ayscue
Also Thanks To: Jung Hwa Song, Enongo Kasongo, Aryol, Kaisa, Audia Denton, Tanya Zimbardo, Meredith Johnson, Christina Newhard, Courtney Bolton, Kaisa Kaakinen, Melody Ramsey, and Ori Heffetz
Due to many requests for us to offer rewards to those who can knit their own accessories, we're offering several additional rewards especially for knitters! They are:
SPIRAL SLOUCHY PATTERN
A super-early preview PDF pattern for our Spiral Slouchy by Anna Maltz. You'll get it as soon as the campaign is over! Get it for a pledge of $7. If you've already pledged, just add $7 to your pledge and send us a note.
Knitter's Reward #1 plus a copy of our upcoming Ricefield Collective Fall 2013 E-book, featuring all the patterns from our Kickstarter collection, cowls to go with the Spiral Slouchy and Upward Hat (pictured), and at least two other patterns (we're working on them!). Get it for a pledge of $20. If you've already pledged, just add $20 to your pledge and send us a note.
Knitters please scroll all the way down for additional rewards added especially for you!
Extra Gift and a New Goal to Stay 4 Life
Because we've been so lucky to be funded and then some, we want to give *you* our backers a present: Knit 4 Life Finger Puppets!
These puppets are made from our scrap yarn, and come with instructions and materials for easy-customizing. Anna's modeling the Philippine tarsier, but we're making prototypes for other animals such as a water buffalo and a frog. It's a surprise which one you'll get! We're delighted to give them to everyone who has pledged $20 or more. Now that we've gone from an all-volunteer, single-project effort to the promise of being a permanent cooperative, our new financial goal of $85,000 would allow us to operate full-time by establishing a permanent home base in Ifugao. Thank you so much for your continued support and please invite your friends and family to join us!
New Goal, New Gift, New Knitters!
Our new goal of $85,000 will not only allow us to establish a permanent base in Ifugao, but every $5,000 we raise lets us employ one more woman to make our products. Our members in the Philippines are already busy teaching more women how to knit, as they hope to become part of our group.
To express our enormous thanks, we developed the Knit4Life Wristband / Coffee Cozy! It’s a handmade take on the wristband that transforms symbol into practice by turning something disposable into an elegant item that you'll use for a long time. We will give this item as a gift to everyone who's backed us with a pledge of $20 or greater, once we reach our new goal of $85,000. So please keep sharing our page, to help us Stay 4 Life!
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
We work in a village that is far from the city and subject to typhoons and landslides. Though we do not foresee delays in production because of this, nature is unpredictable, as we ourselves in the United States have learned over the past few years.
We are working extremely hard to prepare the women we work with for the upcoming production cycle. We're confident that our members are sufficiently trained to produce our patterns, but because this is our first collection, we also wish to keep our expectations realistic. It is for this reason that we limit the number of items in the collection, because we want to ensure that we can deliver our products by our fulfillment date.
For our Kickstarter, we wanted to focus on building our collection and training our members to produce it. But keep in touch if you're a knitter, because we'll be working on an e-book after our campaign finishes!
Why do you never talk about fair wages or equitable profit sharing? Are you committed to these principles?
Because Kickstarter is primarily a venue for creative projects, we wanted to make sure that we didn't overemphasize our social mission and risk violating Kickstarter's terms in relationship to "cause funding." But yes, we're absolutely committed to fair wages. We use a combination of external sources (such as the Fair Wage Guide from Good World Solutions: www.fairtradecalculator.com) as well as extensive discussions with our Philippine members to determine wages that are sustainable while not compromising the viability of our project. Kickstarter is our first attempt to raise substantial capital so the issue of profit sharing hasn't come up, because we have so far not turned a profit, but rest assured that when that time hopefully comes, we plan to share any surplus revenue equitably and through a consensus-driven process.
One of the wonderful qualities of wool is that it's stretchable, so the hats are what we would call one-size-fits-almost-all. However, if you do feel like your head size is unusually large, we'd be happy to put a note in your file and send you one that's bigger than our standard size.
I want a combination of items that doesn't fit with your pledge scheme. Is there a way for me to combine those items?
Yes! Just add up the pledge amounts of the different items you want, pledge for one of them but increase your pledge to the amount of the combination of items, and then write us a note. We'll put this in your file and send you the rewards for the combined amount of your pledge.
We'll send you a survey at the end of the campaign where you can specify all of your choices.
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Pledge $1 or moreYou selected
Every bit helps! We'll show our appreciation with a virtual postcard, a virtual hug, and a toothy smile!Estimated delivery:
Pledge $7 or moreYou selected
KNITTER'S REWARD #1 - A super-early preview PDF pattern for our Spiral Slouchy by Anna Maltz. You'll get it as soon as the campaign is over! If you've already pledged, just add $7 to your pledge and send us a note.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $10 or moreYou selected
A paper postcard of our team blowing you a kiss for doing what you can! Sent from the Ifugao post office!Estimated delivery:
Pledge $20 or moreYou selected
KNITTER'S REWARD #2 - Pre-order our upcoming Ricefield Collective Fall 2013 E-book, featuring all the patterns from our Kickstarter collection, cowls to go with the Upward Hat and Spiral Slouchy, and at least two other patterns (we're working on them!). If you've already pledged, just add $20 to your pledge and send us a note. Includes Knitter's Reward #1.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $25 or moreYou selected
50 backers All gone!
BFF SPECIAL - Be our First Fifty at this pledge and you get our sleek-lined UPWARD BEANIE signed and numbered by the Ifugao woman who made it, along with a picture of her. Best deal!Estimated delivery:Add $5 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $30 or moreYou selected
154 backers Limited (296 left of 450)
UPWARD BEANIE signed and numbered by the Ifugao woman who made it, along with a picture of her. Help us reach our goal!Estimated delivery:Add $5 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $40 or moreYou selected
300 backers All gone!
SPIRAL SLOUCHY signed and numbered by the Ifugao woman who made it, along with a picture of her. Add this innovative yet classic piece to your wardrobe and help its maker stay on her land.Estimated delivery:Add $5 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $45 or moreYou selected
50 backers All gone!
The BFF Special of the quirky yet elegant WINDSCHIEF HAT. Be our First Fifty to pledge this amount and you'll not only help our women rise above poverty, but also be noticed in this uniquely designed, fit-for-all-seasons beanie.Estimated delivery:Add $5 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $50 or moreYou selected
73 backers Limited (177 left of 250)
WINDSCHIEF HAT. Like all the products in our Kickstarter collection, this one is signed and numbered by the woman who made it and comes with a picture of her. See the beautiful face of the woman who made your lovely hat!Estimated delivery:Add $5 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $65 or moreYou selected
95 backers Limited (105 left of 200)
The TERRACE COWL is not only our most versatile garment; but it's also directly inspired by an Ifugao basketweave pattern. This Kickstarter Special Edition item comes in a bright red that is the classic Ifugao color. To honor our campaign, this is the only edition we will make of this item in this color.Estimated delivery:Add $5 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $85 or moreYou selected
94 backers Limited (56 left of 150)
ANY TWO HATS, whether the same or different, for you and someone else or just for yourself. Still numbered and signed with two pictures of the women who made them! Isn't two always better than one?Estimated delivery:Add $5 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $100 or moreYou selected
77 backers Limited (23 left of 100)
The CLIMBING CABLE SET is another Kickstarter Special Edition item. Its charcoal gray color recalls the hand-dyed textiles of Ifugao. To honor our campaign, this is the only edition we will make of this item in this color.Estimated delivery:Add $5 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $105 or moreYou selected
2 backers Limited (13 left of 15)
KNITTER'S REWARD #3 - Knitter's Reward #1 and 2 *plus* an online Google Hangout Stitch n' Bitch with the Ricefield Collective Designers, on April 1, April 8, and April 15 from 6:00 - 7:30 PM Eastern Standard Time. Meredith and Anna will be there for all three and Stephen will be there on April 1. Signup order determines priority for picking dates (we'll message you with details), and it's a maximum of 7 people per session. Let's talk about life and do a bit of knitting at the same time, you know, like a Stitch n' Bitch! Includes Knitters Rewards #1 and #2.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $275 or moreYou selected
10 backers Limited (15 left of 25)
LOTS OF PRESENTS! - At this pledge, you will get ONE OF EACH PIECE from our collection, four hats and two cowls in all, along with the individual pictures of the women who made them!Estimated delivery:Add $5 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $500 or moreYou selected
5 backers Limited (5 left of 10)
LOTS AND LOTS OF PRESENTS! Who needs to shop for the holidays when you can get one of each piece *in all available colors* from our collection, twelve pieces in all. Many knits, many lovely pictures of the women who made the knits!Estimated delivery:Add $5 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $1,000 or moreYou selected
1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)
SUPER-CUSTOMIZED! You'll get the entire collection in all available colors *and* a surprise accessory made especially for you! Give us your favorite colors and other inspirations and we'll come up with something awesome! You'll also get a personal thank you video from one of our women, and a thousand whispered salamats--that's thank you in Filipino!Estimated delivery:Add $5 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $2,000 or moreYou selected
1 backer All gone!
+ 1 for A WEEK WITH JEAN - Pledge if you'd like to bring a companion to stay with Jean for a week.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $6,000 or moreYou selected
1 backer All gone!
A WEEK WITH JEAN! - The super-customized set plus we'll fly you to Ifugao and Jean will take you to her village so you can stay with her for a *whole week* and experience what it's like to live in a house overlooking the terraces. Airfare included. Available between Aug. 2013 and Aug. 2015.Estimated delivery:
- (31 days)