In Defense of Free and Paid Patterns

I am a thrifty individual on a tight budget. Hopefully that will change soon, but if you’re anything like me, then you’re always looking for a sale or a way to save for the stash. There’s a lot of people who love the free patterns on Ravelry, and I’m one of them. But there are also a lot of people who don’t agree with free patterns and believe that a good design is worth the price of the pattern. There’s a huge conversation up for debate on the designer group on Ravelry that has people arguing over which is better. While both have good points in both camps, let me just state the reasons why I offer all my patterns online for free (currently):

  1. I’m doing it as a service—to either educate or show someone a new idea on crochet that they might not have come across before. Each pattern you use comes with different ideas of combining stitches or joining or something that makes it unique, and that’s what I like to show.
  2. They’re a by-product. All of my patterns were made when I was working on a commissioned item. I simply just wrote the steps down so that I could easily recreate them. I’ve already gotten “paid” for the commissioned work.
  3. They’re not unique. There’s other free patterns for relatively the same concept. They’re not marketable and I want people to be able to use them. I design them differently than what is available, but the average person isn’t going to pay 99c if they can find a design slightly differently for free.
  4. I’m not doing extensive project design. The patterns I make are for small motifs and projects you can complete in 1-2 hours, not large wearable items that need four different sizes.
  5. I’m just starting out. Most importantly, I don’t charge because I don’t have independent pattern testers or editors. I’m just getting started in this designing thing, and I’m not sure if I want to invest the money in getting patterns tested/vetted by others who charge for editing costs. I certainly test my own patterns, but there are things that I miss that others might not.

And #5 is the problem if you’re going to only use free patterns. I’ve seen fantastic free patterns that are super easy and wonderfully thorough (like the Lise Motif Block), but I’ve also seen really crappy patterns that are riddled with errors or nonsensical instructions. If you see a project you like and you want to make it but the pattern is hard to follow through—it’s disappointing.

Hopefully the paid patterns you buy are not going to have those same issues. There’s a startup cost for the pattern to get them to be understood by beginners yet brief enough for the advanced user. You are (theoretically) buying the knowledge that the pattern is good and the experience you have making the project will be easy.

But that’s where I have my thrifty brain kick and scream at me for spending money (you should hear it when I walk into a yarn store). Let me share with you a secret—yes, you: blogger reader who spent this much time reading this post.

Look in your local library.

Yep! Most likely they’ll either have a section for physical magazines that might have crochet/knitting section. If they don’t you could ask if they would look into getting them. OR even better, they might partner with an online magazine resource, like Zinio (available online and on mobile) that has over 5,000 magazines right to your fingertips. I’m a member of the Columbus Metropolitan Library and it’s absolutely fantastic and I have the last 2 years’ worth of Interweave Crochet, Interweave Knit and two or three other magazine subscriptions. And it’s free. (what-whaaat!?!)

You’re welcome.


Project updates

Knitspiration: The Krunkle Cowl 

So this weekend marks the one month marker for me knowing how to knit and I think I’ve been smitten by the circular needles. I’ve been working the last week on a cowl and it’s going really well—for the most part. I’m using a self-striping sock yarn in wool and a nice white acrylic of same weight, to try to use some color change methods. I think I might enjoy Fair Isle patterns in the future.

Krunkle Cowl

I did have a bit of a beginner’s issue and accidentally flipped my stitches when I joined the first row (even though I was looking out for that…. Whoops). I didn’t find out about it until about 20 rounds in and I was determined not to let it get the best of me.

Enter in the steek (I love that word. I wish there were more awesome words like that in crochet. Steeeeeek) I had heard of cutting knitting before and the concept scared me, but I determined that I was going to do this instead of frogging everything. I watched some nice youtubers who showed me the techniques and off I went.  It may be a little sloppy, but it’s not too horrible and I crocheted the two ends correctly together again, and then went on my merry way, round-and-round. It’s a bit messy and I realized that I could have waited until the end to steek, but I was tired of flipping the project around on the needles.

I’m currently about 60 rounds in and I’m contemplating a white ribbed edging for the top and bottom (I’m nervous about picking up stitches on the bottom edge, but I’m diving in head first). Since I learned continental style, this project isn’t going to slow—but it’s definitely not as fast as crochet either.

Crochetive: Teal-Quila Sunrise Cardigan

I’ve also begun my very first large, wearable project! Using a very thin DK weight acrylic yarn in a teal color, I’m hoping this project will be a wonderful cardigan to wear in the office. I’m using the Yaddo Cardigan pattern from Interweave Crochet. I’m loving the pattern so far, and I’ve decided to crochet on it during my lunch breaks.

Teal-Quila Sunrise

Anyways, I’ll keep you updated with the new projects and how they go as well as other tips and tricks that will help your fiber game 🙂

Until next time,

One Comment Add yours

  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and your free patterns. Both projects are looking good.


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