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
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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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