Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Pay to play?

Still plugging away on the shawl and MWP...I could really use a finished object right now.

In an effort to have some sort of FO, I finally had my copilot take some glamor shots of my Infinite Cabled Hat design.

Probably not one of the ones I'm going to use.

I need to do a last once over of the pattern corrections and make sure that 2 + 2 indeed = 4, but it's pretty much ready to go. Before I release the pattern, I wanted to get some feedback/thoughts from you knitters. I put a decent amount of effort into the pattern, followed it myself, had the sizes tested, etc. I'm thinking of putting it for sale for something like a buck or two, not because I have any delusions about making money, but because I'm proud of the pattern and I stand behind it. I feel like when patterns are free, you have no right to expect things like accuracy or clarity. Basically, you get what you pay for, and anything above that is great but not expected. I want to send the message that I stand behind the pattern enough to ask for a pittance, and if a person does find an error or have a problem they feel like they can contact me because after all, they did pay for it.

This is where I need some help. Do you tend to pay for patterns or gravitate towards free ones? Does paying for a pattern totally turn you off, or does it make you more likely to do a pattern? Any other thoughts, if you managed to follow my rant?

Another slightly related tangent is, when do you usually start looking at patterns for the upcoming season? This one happens to be appropriate for fall. Is it to early to be thinking of the fall chill? I'm totally a live in the moment knitter...if it's cold I want to be knitting cold weather items, and vice versa for the summer. I have no knitting foresight. Do you? In essence, is there any point to putting it for sale now?


I learned something very interesting about the chew sticks that I've been buying for Sammy (the beast) recently. Back up to when we first adopted him, he was eating everything he could snatch up off of the ground. Rocks, paper, and he especially loved eating sticks. We weren't sure if this behavior was just because he was young or because he'd spent an unknown amount of time scavenging as a stray on the mean streets of Milwaukee (probably both). I went to the local pet supplies shop in search of something more constructive for him to chew on. They had a half-wall filled with different varieties of rawhide-eque items, so I selected some that looked most like regular sticks, called bully sticks.

He LOVED chewing on these, and it took him a nice long while to work through them. Since then I've bought him a few different varieties of rawhide, but he never cares for them as much as the bully sticks. A few unfortunate times, we bought a stick or two that just smelled rank. "Sammy, why do you smell like farm animal??". After that, I took to rummaging through the bin and sniffing the sticks in order to avoid the stinky ones. Last night, curiosity got the best of me and I decided to find out exactly what bully sticks are made of.

Bull penis
. I crap you not. I read through this with my mouth sort of hanging halfway open. It all became clear why these are more expensive than regular rawhide...kind of a delicacy, eh? The clerks at the pet supply store probably know me by sight now. "Here comes that wang-sniffing chick again..."


  1. You should TOTALLY use that one! :)

    Personally, paying for a pattern doesn't matter to me too much, as long as it's reasonably priced (for what I personally consider reasonable prices, check out Ysolda's prices, though this may vary). If I don't like the pattern enough to pay for it, then I probably don't like it enough to give it my time and effort either.

    That said, I know many new designers start out with free patterns. Check Kate Gagnon Osborn, for example, two of her probably most popular patterns (Selbu Modern and Opus Spicatum) are free. And they are very professionally made. She wrote somewhere once that she probably could've made enough money on Selbu to pay off a big chung of her college debt, but she still didn't regret putting it up for free.

    Phew, I rambled on! Hope you find some of this helpful... :)

  2. I kind of plan ahead; I don't like to pay for patterns where I can't have a looksee if I can actually do the instructions, you know, how complex it all is - how you get round that with a downloadable thingy, I don't know.
    And over here, they're called 'pizzles' - my last dawg never chewed anything, so I never bought one, let alone sniffed one :-D

  3. I know I'm probably a bad person for this but I totally gravitate towards free patterns. I'm probably 10x as likely to knit it if it's free. I'm a full time student though and funds are VERY tight. I just feel like why pay for a pattern when there are so many great ones out there?

    I do promise that one day when I'm making big bucks after college that I'll support the indie artists. I promise. :)

  4. wang sniffer :D teehee. Anyways, love the photo :D I tend to check out the free patterns first and then pay for patterns when I know what I'm gunna get it good (i like to pay for Ysolda's stuff cause I know the quality i'll get) Someone once gifted me a pattern recently and I don't like the way it is written, probably wouldn't be too impressed if i'd bought it myself but as its a gift I feel I have no right to complain or ask questions :)
    Anyways, I knit whatever I wanna knit at whatever time, currently working on hats not because i'm forward thinking, i just have some nice yarn and good patterns :D
    Erm, yeah, can't remember what else I was going to say. Oooh, apart from that I wanna see a pic of full on formal-wear knitting. Wish I had a long dress to wear with my gloves *sigh*

  5. I never realized that bull wang were that long. I am so impressed! far as the pattern goes...

    I would definitely charge for a pattern that is as complicated looking as your cable hat. As far as the free/paid patterns goes, while I do have a good chunk of free patterns in my Ravelry queue, I only purchase patterns that I have an inking will look nice on me. I can see me wearing your hat. :-)

  6. I like free patterns best. But now that you mention it, I only really trust free patterns that come from Knitty and Interweave and the like. If a designer posts a pattern I like, I'm happy to shell out a couple of bucks for it and feel good about supporting micro businesses (in a very micro kind of way).

  7. It doesn't matter to me if a pattern is paid or free. If I like it enough, eventually I'll knit it. Personally, I think that if you've spent a good chunk of time and have had the pattern tested that it is worth a few bucks.

    I don't look at patterns for the upcoming season. I'll knit what I like whenever.

  8. I've been using free patterns on Ravelry but I've also paid for patterns that come in the form of books or magazines.

    I've not paid for downloadable patterns yet but that's because I only started knitting a year ago and I'd like to get me skill level up to a point where it'd be worth it to pay for a pattern that gets me a good result.

    Oh, and I prefer to knit woolly rather than cotton so, not really seasonal, I guess.

    With regards to selling patterns according to season, a designer would have customers on both the northern and southern hemispheres, and the seasons switch between them.