Without planning for it, my blog has turned into quite an honest, vulnerable place for me this year. Even though I still share all my yarn and crochet pursuits I am also sharing my feelings, fears and struggles around designing and creating, and I now consider it as a big part of my path towards becoming a braver and more authentic person. For this reason I couldn’t not write this post, no matter how hard it has turned out to explain my reasons.
The free vs paid pattern debate has been something that has always been in the background of the designer world, always lurking. Some people believe that more free patterns should be available, some people believe it makes professional designers’ work more difficult and some people believe there is a place for both. I personally consider myself in the latter category: I think free and paid patterns have a different purpose and people are more and more aware of the value of a paid pattern that has been professionally designed and tested versus a free pattern that probably has not. However I must recognise that it has been a long road for designers to get to this point where their work is valued enough for people to be willing to pay a few pounds for it (which is still clearly not enough), so I understand their frustration.
If you follow my blog you will know that so far I have offered all my patterns for free. The main reason for this was time: I did not have the time to get my patterns to a place and quality where I would feel comfortable to sell them. I work a full time job, which means that I can support myself without having to be paid for my “hobby” and therefore I didn’t see the point in investing the time to sell patterns since I really didn’t need the money.
Well, here I am, a few months later, with a new design coming up and setting everything up to make it my first paid pattern. It turns out, that investing the time was not only possible, but necessary for me to start getting used to the idea that I may not be who I always thought I was. That I may be more than the girl that always had top grades at every single subject in school but always performed less than average in any art class.
The thing is, it has never and it may never be about needing the money for me. I am not saying I am rich and money will never be an issue, I am saying that the value of selling patterns for me is a lot more than the income that comes from them, which let’s face it: it will be very small. It will however, always be about taking myself and my craft (not hobby) seriously. It will always be about challenging and proving to myself that I can do this. That this is not a pastime, a hobby, something on the side that I happen to do, but instead that creating through my designs is a part of me, part of who I am, and my stubborn engineer-you-must-always-be-efficient brain should finally embrace it.
We all grow up with an idea of who we should be, who people around us expect us to be. This craft and the path that is taking me is my way to come to terms with who I am and who I want to be, and learning that it is enough. Learning that it is OK to do something even though it makes you lose money, it is OK to be “arty” as well as logical and brainy, it is OK to be myself. It is about one day finally thinking of myself as creative without choking up.
So here I go. Stay tuned for my upcoming pattern “Ocaso”, a tunisian crochet shawl. It has taken months and months to get to this point, but I couldn’t be more proud to have gotten here.
20 thoughts on “Why I am moving from free to paid patterns”
I think every pattern has it’s place, and I agree with you on many levels. I have two free patterns on Ravelry because I, too, work full time and didn’t get them up to “selling” standards.
That said, I am working on a pattern I hope to make paid. My goal isn’t about the money. I would love to say, “Look! My pattern was featured in …,” and so on.
Have a great week!
Thanks for your comment, it is difficult to put the efforts when you have a full time job, isn’t? Wish you the best with your new pattern!! We can do this 🙂
Well said, Sol! There is a time and a place for each and you have rightly reached the place to put a price on your patterns! Love the sneak peek…move the colours! Carry on, you’re doing fab!!
Thanks Cyndy, so encouraging! Really appreciate it coming from a crochet lover like you!
Sounds like a great decision! Good for you!
I totally agree with you Sol. Personally at my blog I host free as well as purchased patterns from my etsy shop. I enjoy publishing for free basket patterns and craft photo tutorials. People appreciate them. Also I never forget how much I needed free instructions and patterns at the beginning of my crochet journey. On the other hand a unique tapestry bag pattern is an other issue. Some times I dedicate weeks of work to make just one pattern. Behind a well written patterns so much work is hidden. Design it, test it,correct it, photograph it properly, write it properly, etc. Also, sometimes a get really frustrated seeing others selling a simple granny square pattern or even a double crochet photo tutorial. Wish you best for your first purchase pattern!
It takes so long from idea to published pattern, I started this one before Christmas last year! Like you I really enjoy creating patterns and content for my blog such as tutorials but I do worry that people can take them for granted.
I know for sure that this pattern won’t match my older ones in popularity which are all free, but I think it is time to step up the game 🙂
Thanks for stopping by!
I am pretty new here…and I agree with what you are doing and how you are presenting it.
I consider myself an advanced beginner and if I see a pattern for sale or free it doesn’t matter as long as I love what I am making..because in the end it’s all a matter of pride and satisfaction…the big thig for me is being able to ask a question if I get stuck..looking forward to more of your patterns!
Thanks Tina! I really think that is the mindset that people are moving towards so hope it continues that way 🙂
Good for you! I don’t mind paying for a pattern. It boggles my mind how you designers/creators are able to do it and I appreciate it.
🙂 Thank you, it may come easy to some people but I must admit it has been hard work! Worth it though!
I think you should be charging for your patterns, they are exquisite and beautiful creations. I have long since thought you have been under valuing your skill and talent by giving your patterns away freely, although much appreciated.
Thanks for the encouragement!! xxxxxxxxx
you go, girl! 🙂
Wow, very inspiring. I look forward to seeing your finished design 🙂
You shouldn’t have to explain “why” nor should you have to justify it. Creative work is worth money and you shouldn’t have to answer about that either or talk about whether you need the money. Most people who make a living as creatives have multiple income streams. Some bloggers do seem to offer free patterns in return for traffic and have a lot of ads on their blogs, which is OK, but sometimes they overwhelm their blogs with ads and they become unreadable. But bottom line any way a person chooses to get paid for their creative work is not something you need to apologize for.
It’s definitely good to have a mindset that you should test the pattern and make sure it’s good before selling it! I feel the same about free patterns too! There are just so many repetitive free patterns on Ravelry and it seems like every time there is a trend, suddenly you see 20 free patterns pop up within days, when there was already a paid pattern that someone took time to work on.
Anyway I am happy to pay a few bucks for a well written, easy to read, unique pattern with a good outcome and having online support in the form of tutorials is just icing on the cake.
How has it been going with your decision to switch from publishing free to paid patterns? I just published my first 2 this year, and am in the middle of pattern testing for my 3rd. But I realized the pattern designing, writing and testing is only the beginning. What works to draw attention to your pattern, and make people willing to pay to download it, while it is competing with so many free patterns? Do you find people really are willing to pay for a well designed, tested pattern?
just curious how this all planned out. I’m reading this in 2022, trying to decide between paid and free myself.