When you purchase a knitting pattern from an independent designer you are helping to support several small (mostly women-owned) businesses. This is one of the many awesome things that makes me so proud to be an independent knitwear designer. Here are some of the people you help support when you purchase a pattern:
Yarn dyers and yarn producers
I pay roughly $40 (including shipping) for enough yarn to make one sample of a new design. I often receive yarn support from yarn companies and dyers, but I’m moving away from yarn support because it’s important to me that everyone in the knit design process is paid fairly for their work. I wouldn’t ask anyone else to work for free or for ‘exposure’ so I won’t be accepting free yarn support anymore.
All of my patterns are tech edited. A few of my patterns have been tech edited twice by two different editors. Most tech editors typically charge $20-$30 per hour and it takes 1-2 hours to tech edit a pair of socks (depending on the pattern - charted patterns with colourwork and graded for multiple sizes take longer than simple designs with no charts, for example).
This is the person who proofreads the non-technical portion of my patterns and makes sure they’re grammatically correct and make sense. My content editor has also proofread (and probably corrected) this blog post.
This is the person who edits my video tutorials, cuts out all of the unnecessary bits, makes them short and concise, then uploads them to YouTube.
I try to knit most of my samples myself, but in order to consistently release patterns I use sample knitters several times per year. I have some of the best sample knitters ever and I’m proud to be able to help support them in doing something they love and providing for their own families. Fun fact: Every pattern in my upcoming book will have the sample knitted by a sample knitter.
I usually photograph my own socks, but have had to hire photographers occasionally. I pay for foot mannequins and if a foot mannequin is not the right size, or is wrong for the pattern I pay models to model socks for me at a cost of $20-30 for a photo shoot. I’ve also purchased a DSLR to ensure quality pattern photos for my patterns.
All of my patterns are test knit. Pattern testers are the heroes of the indie design world, they donate their time and resources to knit up a design on a deadline while also providing feedback to improve the clarity of the pattern and point out any small errors that may have been missed. While testers are not paid, I always gift them free patterns, and sometimes send them stitch markers and other small tokens of thanks to these awesome knitters.
The Amazing People Who Run Ravelry
A portion of my sales go to Ravelry. I look forward to paying my Ravelry invoice every month; it’s a pleasure to support such an amazing community. I also support Ravelry by paying for advertising space on the site. Thanks to Ravelry I have a job and have met such an amazing community of fellow knitters.
Your Local Yarn Store (LYS)
When you purchase a pattern from your local yarn store via the in-store sales program on Ravelry, you are supporting your LYS, Ravelry, and the design team behind the pattern you are purchasing.
Knitting Software Companies
The software I use for knitting charts is created and distributed by a knitter. It’s amazing software and has become the industry standard for most knitting magazines and books.
In addition to small yarn-related businesses a portion of the cost of a knitting pattern also goes to the the recurring fixed costs of running a business. These ongoing fixed costs include:
Online collaboration software (helps to communicate with my team members and organize all of my various design projects)
Social media management software (so I can keep you up to date with social media posts and links to what I’m working on)
Web hosting services for the website you’re reading this article on, my website name, and business email
Creative Cloud which I use to layout patterns, edit photos, create schematics, and create graphics
Business cards, branded stitch markers and other goodies that I give away
The computer I’m currently using to write this post and all of my patterns as well as provide pattern support
Independent knitwear design is not a lucrative gig; there are only a handful of designers who are able to quit their day job and pursue knitwear design full time. Most of us do it because we love it and need to charge for patterns to offset the costs of creating high quality patterns and earn a living wage to support our families.
When you purchase a pattern, you are supporting an entire industry of small businesses, mostly run by women who share your love of knitting and yarn. While purchasing patterns is always appreciated, I understand that pattern purchases aren’t in every knitter’s budget, and if that’s the case you can still support independent design and the fibre community by sharing patterns, and yarns, and notions that you love on social media.