Why Knitting Isn’t Free

Why Knitting Isn’t Free

Lately I’ve received a flurry of questions asking why my knitting patterns aren’t free. I hope that this article will help shed some light on what goes into a knitting pattern and enlighten knitters a bit and give insight on the knitting pattern writing process. I don’t intend to make anyone feel badly, but to open your eyes on the costs associated with producing knitting patterns and the expertise that goes into it. So instead of asking a designer “Why isn’t your pattern free” maybe you’ll have a deeper insight into all the hard work, sweat and tears that goes into producing the knitting patterns that you love to knit so much.

Why Isn’t Knitting Free Dammit?

Yarn and knitting needles are not free. I’ve never gone into a yarn shop and demanded to have yarn and knitting needles for free (although I would have loved to do so many times), and the same goes for knitting patterns, books and literature that I’ve read and utilized in my knitting over the years. You pay your electrician, your dentist, your doctor, your plumber, and your yarn bills as they come due. And unless you write your own patterns or rely on those that do write free patterns, you spend a certain amount on books and knitting patterns each month so that you have something to knit with those beautiful yarns that you bought.

So What goes into a Fickle Knitter Design Pattern?

First and foremost, I wouldn’t be able to write any pattern without the technical background I have in physics, mathematics (including many years of studying calculus), computer science, and experience that I gained in college, graduate school, and working in the defense industry. How much does that cost?

Undergraduate Education 2003

$50,000 (Although I had to work three jobs while attending full time, and I got approximately half of my tuition paid for because I was a minority in physics who maintained good grades while putting myself through college). This does not include living expenses.

Graduate Education in Physics for a Masters Degree in 2010

$25,000 (No discount on this one, folks).

Years of Experience learning Excel, Word, Powerpoint and all that Math

This one is hard to price, because how much do we value expertise and experience? For argument’s sake lets say all my experience and time is worth only $30,000.

The Cost of being a Small Business

Okay so now we’ve racked up a debt of $105,000 getting me ready to write knitting patterns. Let’s include the fact that since I own my knitting design business I’m not able to also work in the defense industry where I’d make anywhere from $65,000-$85,000 yearly as a physicist with a Masters Degree who has excellent work experience, plus some pedigree from working for Sally Ride and other prestigious collegiate institutions during the short months in between full time schooling each year.

I’ve been working in the knitting industry instead of defense since 2008. We’ll take the lower end of the salary spectrum to be conservative which leaves us $65,000 times four years. That’s another $260,000. Now we’re at a personal cost TO ME of $365,000 to be able to write the knitting patterns that I sell to shops and knitters.

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