Welcome to part II of how to write and self-publish knitting patterns. This mini-series consists of two parts. In case you haven’t read the first post, I recommend that you start with reading part I first and then continue with part II. You can find the first part here.
How to Write and Self-Publish Knitting Patterns
- Choosing a Design Idea
- Choosing the Yarn
- Knitting the Sample
- Writing the Pattern
- Choosing a Name
- Tech Editing
- Test Knitting
- Taking Pictures
7. Choosing a Name
After you have written the pattern, you should think about a name for your design. Maybe you already have something in your head, but in case you don’t it makes sense to think about name suggestions now. In general, I recommend choosing a name that is memorable, not too long and not complicated. There also has to be some kind of connection to your design. This connection could be with the stitch pattern or shape, the yarn or simply with the situation you were in when you created the design and knitted the sample. I always make sure to include some notes about my inspiration in the knitting pattern to bring the meaning of the design closer to the knitter.
For example, this is the inspirational part of the introduction of my Barre Socks pattern:
A couple of months ago I started going to ballet classes. The elegant look in combination with the strict lines of the sock design reminded me of this fascinating type of dance and the barre which is an essential part of the ballet training.
In addition, you should also make sure that there isn’t already a pattern on Ravelry with the same name. At least not in the same garment/accessory category.
8. Tech Editing
When your pattern is written and you have thoroughly checked it for any mistakes or obscurities, you will have to find a tech editor to proofread the pattern for you. To do so, I recommend that you check out the Indy Pattern Designer’s Resources group on Ravelry. You should be able to connect with a tech editor without any difficulty there.
I personally prefer having the pattern tech edited before the test knitting in order to ensure a positive knitting experience for the test knitters. If there are major amendments to be made after the test knit is completed, you can ask the tech editor to re-check the pattern for you.
9. Test Knitting
It is very important to have your pattern test knitted by several people before publishing it. Ideally, you find at least one, preferably more, test knitters per size in order to catch any mistakes in the pattern. It makes sense to always choose a couple of test knitters because not everybody will finish knitting the pattern in time.
How to Find Test Knitters
If you have a following on social media, you could look for testers there. On Instagram, use the hashtags #testknittersneeded and #testknitterswanted to increase your reach.
You can also look for testes on Ravelry. There is a group called The Testing Pool where you can post about your pattern and interested knitters will contact you. I have made good experiences with finding testers via this group. Just make sure to communicate very clearly from the beginning what you expect from the test knitters and what the timeline is. You will also have to check the thread at least once a day and get back to any questions as soon as possible.
10. Taking Pictures
Taking high quality pictures of your design is of utmost importance. Great pictures can make the difference between a successful pattern and a pattern that will not get noticed. I am not sure if I am the best person to give advice on this since I still find this step rather challenging. I recommend that you have a look at the pictures that popular designers you like include in their patterns. For example, I find that Joji Locatelli and Andrea Mowry always have beautiful photography of their knitting patterns.
In general, there should always be pictures included in which the design is worn. You should include full body shots of the design as well as several close-ups from different angles. Also think about the feeling you want to evoke with your pictures.
At last, you pattern is finished and it is time to publish it. There are several possibilities to do this and you can choose to publish your pattern on different websites.
The most popular place is probably Ravelry. You will have to create a Ravelry pro store (which is free) and then you can upload your pattern. You will also need a PayPal account to receive payments from your pattern sales.
I find publishing patterns on Ravelry very simple because they walk you through the process step by step.
It is also possible to sell knitting patterns on LoveCrafts. If you already have a designer page on Raverly, publishing your patterns on LoveCrafts is very easy. You can simply import your patterns from Ravelry to LoveCrafts. Once they are imported, it is possible to add extra information before publishing them.
Etsy is another place where you can sell knitting patterns. You will have to create an Etsy store for this and Etsy will keep a rather large percentage of your sales. In my personal experience, Etsy is not as suitable for publishing knitting patterns because the audience and product range are very broad.
If you want knitters to know about your patterns, you will have to promote them. At the time when I write this, there are more than 650.000 knitting patterns on Ravelry. And many new get uploaded every day. Therefore, if you want anyone to notice your knitting patterns, you will actively have to let people know about them. You can do so via social media, your website, a newsletter or a podcast. Maybe you have YouTube channel which would be a great opportunity to promote your patterns as well.
At last, let’s talk about copyright. Copyright is a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the exclusive right to make copies of a creative work, usually for a limited time. The fact that different countries have different copyright laws makes it a rather complex topic.
I will only touch on this section briefly since I am not a copyright lawyer and therefore cannot provide any legal advice. If you are looking for detailed information, you will have to contact a copyright lawyer.
How to Copyright your Work
If you publish your knitting pattern it will automatically be protected by copyright. Nevertheless, you should always include a copyright notice with the copyright symbol, your name and the year of the publication, e.g.: © Annika Scheer, 2021
Alright, we have now come to the end of this mini-series on how to write and self-publish knitting patterns. Do you have any remarks or questions? Let me know in the comments below.
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