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October 05, 2012



Thanks for putting the word out! To be honest, I don't often pay for patterns, but that is mainly due to the constraints on my college budget. I've just started putting my own designs out there, though, and I'm having to make some decisions about how to price them. Personally, I feel like, if I'm going to put a certain amount of work into the pattern (such as sizing, knitting several samples, etc.), then I'm going to charge enough to compensate me just a little! But if I'm going to pay several dollars for the pattern, then I expect the designer to have put in that same amount of effort.


I cannot design patterns and I freely admit this. I'm not adverse to paying someone else for having done the work I cannot. I meet many people who will not pay for a pattern and have asked me to give them a copy of the patterns I purchase. I'm always shocked by that! I absolutely would not copy a pattern for someone else and figure if I can buy it, so can they.

Although I like the feel of a real book in my hands, these days, I much prefer my patterns in digital format. This way I can download them to my Goodreader app and mark them up to my heart's content with notes that are pertinent to me. Since those notes are all in one place, I don't have to worry about losing or storing them.

And now, though I absolutely don't have use for it, I'm off to check out that Sea of Tulips stole. I'm seeing it in yellow.


I didn't buy patterns for a long time, but it was because I wasn't confident in my skills to think it worthwhile. As I improved, it wasn't a concern anymore. Now I think I buy the majority of patterns - whether in books, single patterns, or magazine subscriptions. I'm a big supporter of indie businesses, so I really like when I can get patterns right from the designer.

I'm excited to learn more about Cooperative Press now! Their business model sounds great.


Great post, I usually won't buy a book or magazine unless it has at least 2 patterns that I will make. I feel that if a person is talented enough and takes the time to create a pattern and work out all the kinks for me then they deserve to be paid and paid well. Why do some people think that they deserve things for free? I say pay people for their service if it's worth anything to you.


This is such an interesting and informative look into what designers experience. I'm glad you shared the story. I, of course, love free patterns but I am more than willing to pay for patterns, too. I so appreciate the work designers like you do so that I can have something fun and interesting to knit.

Knitting Needle Sizes

Hi there! The features of this books on shawls, men, scarves and sweaters are very much fashionable and elegant.Designing a knit pattern, knitting samples, is not easy. You really need to have resources if you wanted to have perfect of your own.


Before I started designing, I was definitely in the camp of those who sought out free patterns. I wasn't opposed to paying for a pattern, but there were lots of great free patterns out there (I'm thinking of Knitty and other online mags). I even gave away a couple of patterns for free on my blog. Now, though, as I'm selling my own patterns and know what goes into getting a pattern ready for publication, I'm much more likely to use a paid pattern than a free one -- and to have a much greater appreciation for the patterns that are available for free.


I am more than happy to pay for a pattern, simply because I've seen the difference between a well-designed, test-knit, edited pattern and one of the free patterns. When I first started knitting, I only used free patterns because I didn't figure I was good enough for the fancy patterns yet (but I learned quickly).

A friend I taught to knit has asked me for copies of paid patterns I own before, and I have had to repeatedly explain that she's supporting an individual designer for most of these patterns and that if we expect them to continue to put out new patterns, we probably need to continue buying their product. Alas, she didn't get it, so I had to tell her to go buy her own patterns and leave me alone already.


why wouldn't I pay for a pattern? The designer took the time to take it from their head to paper, and into language I can understand. It's worth the cost to me! I've used a few free patterns in my time, if they are available, why not... but if I am investing in expensive yarn to make something like a sweater, it makes sense to buy the pattern I want to make. (The cool patterns aren't always free!)


I would much rather buy a single pattern than a whole book where I only like one thing. I also read everything on ravelry about a pattern if I am considering buying it. There's a lot of poorly written patterns out there.

I will admit though, I feel guilty modifying a paid pattern. A free one? I'll change almost everything. What's that all about.

Meredith MC

This is an important post to make people think about where all the designs come from and the work that goes into them. Personally, I buy the work of designers I like even when I don't necessarily plan to knit them- because they have a unique point of view or offer instruction like in your Custom Knits book. Thanks again for doing what you do!

The Martini Knitter

I owe 2 of your books, Custom Knits and Custom Knits 2 that I have purchased through Amazon. I have no problem with buying patterns. You keep designing and I will keep buying. I love the post very enlightening.


I think it's completely reasonable to pay for patterns, although I understand that people on tight budgets may not be able to pay. I try not to judge how other people manage their money, but I have a hard time being sympathetic to people who seem capable of paying and are simply cheap or rude about insisting, "Oh, you'll just copy that pattern for me, won't you!"

I heard of Cooperative Press through Hunter Hammersen and her sock books. Becoming a fan of the publisher happened when she was able to contact the company and get me both a PDF and a print copy of the book, even though that wasn't originally an option. Designers and authors should get more of the royalties and rewards; they are the ones who came up with the work, not the publishing house.


Hahahaha I can only imagine what I might look like if I were to swagger to burn more calories!!!! And to not pay for patterns??? I cannot imagine ... there is so much out there that people are missing ... and if cost is a factor, well doing the math for buying a compilation of patterns in book form or whatnot is oh so cost effective. And THANK YOU so much for sharing about Cooperative Press ... in my addiction, I have just made a purchase and plan to make more!!!! And more so - THANK YOU for you and your books that line my shelves!!!!

Maureen J

My sister will not use free patterns because she says she's been burned too much by poorly written patterns with mistakes. I will use free patterns, mostly for babies, if my investigation on Ravelry shows that the pattern is 4 or 5 starred and there aren't a lot of adverse comments. For myself (sorry, I'm selfish that way), or DH's clothes, I buy individual patterns or books or magazines. A well conceived and produced pattern is worth the small percentage of the project that $5 to $10 reflects.

I've always felt that a cookbook is worth the money if I even get only one or two recipes that become a part of my repetoire, and I think pattern books are about the same, though with many knitting books, the skills and tips taught are alone worth the price.

I think that the internet is responsible for the attitude that many people have, that any intellectual property shown on the internet ought to be free, and that hacking or widely distributing such properties without compensating the author/designer isn't a crime. Nonsense. See how many good designs are available if designers don't earn money. I'm glad to see that the internet is helping to increase their share of the profits on their work with Cooperative Press and Twist Collective.


All those people that refuse to pay for patterns need to try designing their own sweater. I designed and knit up a sweater using a lace pattern I found online. (Why I chose lace for my first? Because I couldn't find a pattern I liked--and because I'm insane). WHEW! That was an eye-opener!!!! It turned out great but I did a lot of math, a lot of riiiiipping. I'm durned proud of the result, but it opened my eyes to how much work goes into writing a pattern. And I can't imagine having to write it out for different sizes. Blech.

Knitting Needle Sizes

Absolutely stunning !! Adore the color!

Beautiful! I suspect this is beyond my knitting capabilities, but it’s something to strive for, especially in that lovely yarn. Have been enjoying your blog for a while now…I’m happy to have this chance to tell you so. Well done.


I have no problem paying for a pattern because I know how much goes into it, but what do I say when a friend asks if she can borrow the pattern? I feel guilty telling her to buy it herself, but I feel like I'm cheating the designer if I let her borrow it. Any suggestions?

donna lee

I love to knit. I am hopeless at designing. I am so very grateful that there are people like you (Custom Knits is my favorite book) who are clever and creative so I can make all the lovely things. If it weren't for designers? My world would be filled with a lot of scarves and maybe some big square afghans.
I will (and do) gladly pay for your expertise and creativity.


I occasionally buy patterns, especially when I know the designer and trust their patterns. The most expensive were lace shawls from Fiddlesticks - worth every penny. I do have a lot of books and magazines, which are full of patterns and were not free! I can also "wing it" and make an item on the fly, but it's much harder than relying on the efforts of another knitter. I don't grudge them their money at all.


I'll never live long enough to knit all the patterns I've purchased. Many times I purchase a hard cover book for just one pattern. I knit a "free" pattern from my LYS once - NEVER again! It cost me so much in time and yarn that was ripped out a million times due to errors in the pattern. Like everything in life, you get what you pay for - and I'll GLADLY commensate you and other designers for your time and talent! Please don't get discouraged - you are due FAR more than you're receiving...please don't ever sell yourself short!


Linda, it is perfectly fine for you to allow your friends to borrow your patterns or your books. It's a problem, however, to make copies and give them away. So, don't feel bad if you let your friends borrow a book (but you know how that goes. . . You run the risk of never getting it back!)

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