Update 8/5/15: Wooheee! We're funded! But the show's not over yet- scroll down for more info about the stretch goal, a small ready-to-wear collection with the same aesthetic and same cause :-)
Rescue workers across the country tell the same tale- people just don't seem to want the black pets. They're the last to be adopted, and the first to be euthanized. It's so common that they've given it a name- "Black Dog Syndrome." (Though don't be fooled- it affects cats too, possibly even more!)
We're not 100% sure why Black Dog Syndrome exists, but we can make some educated guesses. Some people believe that bad photography is to blame- black pets are harder to photograph well, especially in a dimly lit shelter, so their online listings don't look as nice. They can also blend into the shadows in the shelter, where they fail to grab the attention of potential adopters.
But there are also psychological factors at work. In the US, black cats have long been associated with bad luck and witchcraft. "The Black Dog" is frequently used as a euphemism for depression, and black dogs turn up in folklore as bad omens such as the Grim and Old Shuck, or as hellhounds or monsters. Even when someone is not superstitious, these negative associations can worm their way into their subconscious and affect their decision-making when they go to choose a pet. But in reality, black pets are just pets! They're just as friendly and healthy as any other color - there's actually some evidence that they have tougher immune systems and a resistance to certain cancers. Plus, they'll match any outfit. And they do say black is flattering…
Knit it Black is a collection of chic black or nearly-black knits. While knitting with color is a lot of fun, black is a perennial wardrobe classic, and the pieces in this collection will be stylish and wearable for years to come. (Of course, you could knit them in other colors if you want, we won't tell.) Expect a combination of garments and accessories at a variety of skill (or as I prefer, "intensity") levels.
A portion of every sale of the Knit it Black collection will be donated to animal rescue charities. In addition to black dogs, this project will also support groups that focus on other difficult-to-rehome pets, such as large, elderly, special-needs, or bully-breeds.
The purpose of this Kickstarter is to help offset the production costs of this collection- primarily the photography, styling, and editing. The more costs I can cover upfront, the more I can donate, and the more pets we can help. My hope is that this collection will be striking and wearable enough to stand on it's own, even if the knitter looking at it doesn't care about the cause.
Hi, I'm Alex! I've been designing knitting patterns under the label Dull Roar for about 8 years now, and I've had rescue dogs in my life for just about as long. You might recognize me from a previous knitting-related Kickstarter- Doomsday Knits, now available as a book through Cooperative Press. I can't say enough good things about the donors who helped me make that project happen, and I hope we can pull it off again for this very close-to-my heart collection! Not only am I excited to support a cause I feel very passionately about, but this will be the first knitwear collection that truly reflects my personal aesthetic (you wouldn't know it from the colorful yarns I love to use, but my wardrobe is about 95% black and gray!) I own two rescue pups, one blond and one black- you'll meet her in the video. (Three guesses which one is NOT always shedding long pale hairs onto the aforementioned black wardrobe! One solid benefit to black pet ownership ;-) )
At the very latest, the collection should be complete by fall of 2016. At earliest, it will be much, much earlier than that! The actual knitting is partially complete and we'll be putting a rush on it, so hopefully we can get this collection in your hands in just a few months.
I will be rotating which charity receives a portion of the sales each month, in order to spread the love around, but I've identified several black-pet specific (or at least black-pet-focused) organizations:
Little Black Dog Rescue
Black Dogs and Company Rescue
Black Cat Rescue
Loup Garou Animal Rescue
Chicago Cat Rescue, hosts of the annual "Sexy Black" benefit event
Black Dog Rescues Community
Black Dog Animal Rescue
Black Dog Second Chance
Forgotten Paws: Black Dogs
Black Dog Appreciation Day and Black Dog Walk
ETA: WOO! WE MADE IT! Maybe we really can reach the stretch goal- more on that below!
So where does this money go? Let's break it down:
- Photography: This is the big one. The ever-amazing Vivian Aubrey, who shot Doomsday Knits, will be shooting this project as well and I couldn't be more thrilled to have her! In addition to her fee, your donations will help cover the cost of the set and props that we'll be using for the shoot, and any models (human or canine) that we may use.
- Tech Editing: Gotta make sure these patterns are error-free and ready to rock!
- Supplies: Some of the yarn was donated by generous sponsors, but there are still some supply-related costs.
- Food and Shelter: I'll be devoting pretty much all of my time to this project this fall, which means fewer regular releases and a therefore a serious dip in income. This will help me continue turning food energy into finger movement.
- Prize Fulfillment! Goodies for you lovely people.
- Taxes and fees: Kickstarter and Amazon Processing Fees take about 10% of the total. The rest is taxed like regular income (though of course many of these expenses are deductible.)
**STRETCH GOALS** #1: I would love to put these designs into short-run production (most likely using fair trade knitters from South America.) The finished garments and accessories could then be sold to benefit the same cause. This would require an extra $2000 minimum (for a small run) but would be a great way to bring this cause outside of the crafting scene.
#2: Wowza, we made it to the first stretch goal! All donations after this point will go towards making the small ready-to-wear line bigger and better. A good solid ecommerce website is in order, as is some quality photography and some marketing and promo (gotta get it in front of non-knitter eyes!) And of course, the more I can spend up front, the more products can actually be produced, and making more at once = more efficient = bigger margins = bigger donations :-)
We've got some great goodies for ya! You can of course get a copy of the collection, or one of my other patterns. There are some copies of Doomsday Knits up for grabs. I can paint your pets, or knit you a hat. You can name a design and live forever in infamy. Snag a sweet pet tag for your cutie's collar:
Or a luscious limited-edition skein of Crave Yarn in "Black Dog" for yourself:
And every donor at the $2 level and above will get a copy of my Grandpa Jo-jo's pup-tested, pup-approved homemade dog treat recipe! Grandpa Jo-jo being, of course, my dad (who went by Jo-jo the Dogfaced Boy in his younger years. Don't ask.)
More information about "Black Dog Syndrome" and associated myths
Black Dog Syndrome on TODAY
See Fred Levy's gorgeous Black Dog photo project Emmylou Harris, passionate rescue advocate, performs Big Black Dog about her rescue, Bella
Just a whole bunch of black animal eye candy
To all the photo donors: Amanda Kiesling-Woods, Ayla DeTroyer, @christineomfg, David Haberman, @diamondsparkle, Dianna Walla, Doc Brown the Wobbly Kitty (and his owner), @doodlesinstring, Emily Rice, Emily Williams, Heidi Hackney, Jason Schlotman, Jen Whaley, Jenna Rypka-Hauer, Jess PS, Jessica Reames, Jim Remsik, Kathryn Titus Everett, Laura Lindeman, Lee Meredith, Ryan Stewart, Shannon Okey, Stephany Herman, Tiffany Mertz, @tweekcat, @liketoknit, and Val Willer.
Music by Nunavut Sound. Thanks Andy! "Big Black Dog" originally written and performed by Emmylou Harris.
Risks and challenges
I am pretty darn confident in my ability to pull this off, having done similar projects in the past. Hiccups could occur due to illness or injury, or with the suppliers needed for the fulfillment of some of the prizes, but I have left plenty of wiggle room in the timeline and don't anticipate having a hard time finding any necessary substitutions.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)