Monthly Archives: October 2012

Help wanted with Ravelry FOs

I’ve been doing a bit of Ravelry admin (Radmin?) the last day or two, and I’ve noticed that most of you purchasing my patterns through Ravelry don’t seem to have much of a presence on there.  Why not? It’s interesting as before I started designing I would photograph every project as a little record to the world of my creations.  It looks like everyone is different.

As a consumer I know that when you search for a pattern, its nice to look through what everyone else has made first before you purchase anything.  And also I love seeing photos of what you’ve made with my patterns!

So I’m looking for people who would like to knit an accessory (or two) in return for creating a project page with photos and (honest) notes on how they find the pattern, the yarn and the finished garment.  Just like the one above. It’s crucial that you’re honest as I don’t want this to sound like I’m trying to buy good reviews or anything like that.

I’m going to run this until November 7th 2012 and then review the response.

Interested? Leave a comment with your Ravelry name and I will send you a coupon code 🙂

Oh, and join my Ravelry group!

My Thoughts on Free Knitting Patterns..

According to my stats, recently it seems that a lot of people are visiting here looking for free knitting patterns.  Ok there are a couple in my pattern library if that is why you are here – feel free to go straight there if you don’t want to read on.

I’m starting to wonder how I feel about these free patterns being on my website, and how it reflects on me as a designer.  Granted, if you are looking to buy a knitting pattern from me, then the free ones will show you what my layout is like, and maybe give you a better idea of what you are going to get.  However the two free patterns I am offering are very basic, hence the reason I decided not to charge for them.

From what I have grown to understand, there are two kinds of knitters.  The ones that won’t pay for a pattern, no matter how small the price, and the ones that are quite happy to support designers and will pay for a knitting pattern.

When I first started knitting I got through a lot of free patterns learning the basics.  But it’s only since I began designing and trying to make a living from it that I realised exactly how much work goes into making a pattern from scratch.  My designs so far are only small, however they will usually take me a good few days to write, knit, frog, tweak and perfect the pattern before I even start to make the first draft.  I take all the photos myself and design all the layouts.  Until I am able to get yarn support from more avenues, I also have to factor in the cost of yarn, and also the expenses involved in having someone else check everything is going to add up.

I haven’t started advertising yet, however it is on the cards for the new year.  It’s only after I realised how much time I would be spending on this business that I was able to put a price on how much a pattern should cost.  It seems that there are a lot of people out there who just want something for free, and it’s only when you try and help them understand why it isn’t that it might start to make sense to them.  Maybe.

It’s not just about knitting.  This isn’t just a hobby that I’m quite happy to do in front of the TV.  I left my full-time job to do this and I wouldn’t have it any other way – I can honestly say I enjoy every single aspect of it! (Except maybe the self promotion face-to-face – it’s far easier on the likes of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc)

There will always be designers out there offering lovely patterns for nothing or at a very little cost, and the problem that I see with this is that it seems to belittle the perceived worth of knitting patterns to some people.  It’s the same with knitted garments – I am often asked how much I would charge for a hat or a cardigan, for example, and people are surprised when I explain that it’s going to cost a lot more than going to Topshop.

For others of you that design – what are your thoughts on providing free patterns? Do you find they help with your traffic or just bring the wrong sort of people to your website?

The Knitting and Stitching Show 2012

So hands up who was at the annual Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace this weekend? Saturday was my first time at the show and it was pretty awesome! Surprisingly I managed to come away spending a rather modest amount of cash, which given the amount of gorgeous yarn inside the Victorian “People’s Palace” was near on impossible.

It turns out that all the photos I’ve taken are of the exhibition pieces, rather than the yarn related goodness. I think once I was in the room full of wool I managed to forget everything else, and just went about squeezing skeins. So if you are here looking for yarn-porn, I apologise!

I was really drawn to this installation by Debbie Smyth, being a lettering geek at heart and loving the pins and thread style that took me back to my childhood. Looking on her website I would love to see some of the more pictorial installations in the flesh.

Another piece that jumped out at me in the same space was Betty Pepper‘s One Shade of Life. Again another artist previously unknown to me, I have learned from her website that she is a textile/jewellery maker exploring different textures, media and techniques.

These next two exhibits were fun and I wanted to include them, the results of a workshop with Alice Wolfe and The Guild of Machine Knitters, and the Knitted Village competition.

It was a long day for us, getting up at 6.30am to jump on a train from Bristol. While my stitch and bitch buddies went about purchasing some of the softest yarns I’ve had the pleasure of stroking of recent, this was more of a networking event for me and I set off on my merry way chatting to lots of lovely ladies about knitting and making new connections.

I met some lovely people – Purl Alpaca Designs (their yarn was scrummy), The Toft Alpaca Shop (there’s a theme going on here isn’t there!) I sort of regret not buying a fluffy pompom from them for shear fun factor 🙂  and Jo Stori was also really sweet, and has some great chunky designs worth checking out too.

The day ended with a meal in Zizzi’s at Paddington and a sleepy train ride home, where a couple of us were still awake enough to knit.  Though only once I’d woven in the ends to my mittens and declared them “finished!” did I notice the mistake right back at the beginning.  Probably best not knit when tired or in a hurry.

Art on the Hill 2012

This last couple of weeks have been pretty manic for me, sorting out bits and bobs for Art on the Hill which took place this weekend.  This was the first arts trail I’ve done and wasn’t sure what to expect.

So me, being me, left a majority of it until the last minute and worked largely on updating pattern formats so they were all nice and consistent, and creating a nice template so all future ones will follow suit.

I also wasn’t sure how many knitters exactly live in South Bristol so was taking a bit of a gamble selling patterns!

To bulk it all out a bit I got sewing again, something I’ve been a little slack on recently. A couple of years ago I made these aprons, which went down really well at arts fairs and in the local pub/cafe where I was selling them in Sussex.

It was nice to get back into the sewing vibe again and make a selection of baby clothes too. Again these are things that I was selling when living in Brighton that were popular with the local Mums and Dads. All the left over pieces are now in my Etsy shop, so if you have your eye on something here then take a look!

All in all the weekend was a success, meeting with other knitters and artists, and just sitting and chatting with people about my patterns was really lovely. Its great when you know a product so well you are confident answering questions about it – I’ve done so much retail work in the past for people and nothing beats selling things you have created yourself.

I even managed to come away with a yarn bowl from my good friends Lucy and Pete!