This old chestnut again!
What is a knitting pattern worth? How do I answer the question below, posed by a pattern distributor (whose country’s currency happens to be extremely low right now)?
“What I am up against is a huge market of either free or very cheap patterns, whilst Lucy’s are nice, there are lots of nice patterns in the COUNTRY NAME for a lot less money.”
I started writing patterns after many years of knitting from pattern books. I cut my teeth with Phildar patterns, which were excellent, a masterpiece of compact layout and learned to interpret the code that forms knitting abbreviations. As time passed, I tried designs from Rowan, Patricia Roberts, Tessa Lorant to name but a few that I can remember.
The things that stuck in my mind were (with no particular names above singled out) the lack of details when it came to technique suggestions, poor planning for easy finishing, lack of completion of edgings etc. I now understand why. Most knitting patterns from yarn companies are subsidized vehicles to sell yarn. You sell yarn fastest by keeping the needles big and the knitting simple.
I feel that my patterns have over the years, more and more become workshops in a pattern. I endeavor to illustrate and describe techniques, give both simple and sophisticated options and wherever possible give both chart and row by row directions. This means that my patterns are longer than usual. They take both more paper and a lot longer to write.
Now, as I am so busy writing new detailed patterns I rarely have time to knit from anyone else’s patterns. Thus, I am unable to compare how they stack up as a knitting experience for the end user. Are they too detailed? What do you like about them? What DON’T you like about them? How can I get knitters over the “Look how long the pattern is, it’s too complicated for me.” syndrome? I could write shorter patterns, it would be much quicker for me!
A brief pattern would be: A pretty picture plus “Cast-on 24sts. Good luck. Some assembly is required!”
So how can you tell a pattern by it’s cover? Thank goodness for Ravelry. At last we do have a forum for reviewing patterns.
PS – I did have a holiday and knit a Hanne Falkenberg kit a few years back and I thoroughly enjoyed my excursion into her not-inconsiderable brain. I was impressed at the thoughtfulness of her design. Another designer on my wish list is the wonderful Marianne Isager. I need to retire.
PPS – The Bubbles Scarf is up on Patternfish now.