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?