that I have recently changed the prices of my patterns, I was reluctant to do so as I don’t want to charge so much no one wants to buy them, but at the same time charging too little leads people to thinking “you get what you pay for”, pricing patterns is not easy, in fact it’s harder than writing patterns (that could just be me though)
The Pattern Writing Process.
I have briefly touched on this subject before but I will go in to more detail. Firstly you need an idea, OK this is the easy part, but will it work? Will it drape how you think it will? Will it hold it’s shape? Will other people think it’s a cool idea, or are you a bit crazy? All valid questions that will be pondered while walking the dog, having a bath, making dinner, folding laundry, or just before you drop off. Has it been done before, or LOTS of times? (hunt through Etsy, Ravelry, Google, using all teh search terms you can find).
YES, it will work, but what yarn to use?
A word of advice here, not, under any circumstances mohair.
You want the best yarn for the pattern and your audience, are the people who buy your patterns throw it in the washing machine and hope for the best sorts? do they cherish every item and look after the fibers? If you have seen my many posts about accidentally felting afghans you’ll know where I am on that scale.
OK, that’s the yarn sorted, how are you going to write this thing? I write on a laptop as I crochet, I write each row before I work it deleting as I frog. This way I have a comprehensible pattern when I have made my item. This process is not as quick as following a pattern, not by a long shot, you do not know how many rows will reach from your neck to your waist (it’s never what you worked out with gauge and length), or how many stitches it will take to circle your head.
But not everyone is the same size. Now you have a pattern written that fits you (or your model, husband, wife, children, dog…) you need to make it fit other people too, this can be tricky as NO ONE is the same shape as anyone else. You just have to find a happy medium and go with it, I use The Craft Yarn Council’s sizes, to keep everything nice and contestant. You will need to do some maths (there is too an S, I’m British) here, how do you get from a 2XL original pattern to an XS? One step at a time that’s how. This step WILL result in profanities, pencils getting lost in dreadlocks, and over consumption of tea.
Is this blog post long do you think? To get to this stage of the round neck skater dress took over a month be thankful I am amusing. Really this is usually about the month mark on clothing, a week or two for amigurumi, and no one knows for hats as they never seem right the first five attempts to me.
But OH how do you know your sizing is right? It is here that we introduce the test crocheters, some are paid, some volunteer, but there job is to work up a pattern in a size not already checked to see how the sizing works and to check for spelling, notation, and typing 3rr0rs. I do not use test crocheters, I can not pay testers I simply don’t make that much money and the times I used volunteers I sent out a bunch of patterns and never heard from the testers again (well once I had a great bunch but the pattern just didn’t work as I wanted it to), after waiting a month in each case I gave up (four years later the round neck skater dress still hasn’t had any feed back). Now I test my own work, risky, I know, but I am fortunate enough to have an appalling memory so have usually forgotten what I was doing after a week. I actually had an amusing comment then but by the time I corrected a spelling I forgot what it was. My model hearing process dictates which size/s I will need to make.
That last bit was just pattern following and so far I have not needed to extensively alter a pattern after testing so less than a month has passed and I am ready for photography. I need a model but have no money to pay one, what should I do? I bribe friends with crochet goodies and their name in lights (well the title of a blog page). Lack of money again has lead to ingenuity with photography, if I am modeling an item Crochet Widower takes the photos, I am happy to take amigurmi photos myself but can not be trusted with people so for the Billy cardigan an aspiring local photographer T.H.Photography and the baby photo props were photographed by professionals Barefoot images as they commissioned the props and we came to an arrangement.
One day I hope to be able to pay testers, models, and photographers.
Now I need to add photos to the pattern, arrange the layout with yarn requirements, hook sizes, special stitches, and make sure it is all spaced and in a font that make it easy to read, with separate instructions for each size this can be a problem and usually results in more profanities and tea drinking than the sizing. THEN, I also need to convert the stitches from my usual writing terms, I auto US, to UK terms. I need to leave things a week or so now, because I can’t afford a tech editor I need to check I caught all of the term conversions, and spelled my own name right (I missed it on Googel+ and am forever Amamda). Phew, nearly there, are you still reading? well done.
Last bit now, upload and list my shiny new pattern, this usually takes a while day as I list on Esty, Ravelry, Love Crochet, and here on the blog, the blog needs twice the work as I use Payhip to handle the downloads and EU VAT. That’s it, my work is done… hang on… what if someone has a difficulty with one of my patterns? they didn’t know there are UK terms and UK terms and they use the same names for different stitches? They can’t download the PDF? They think the stitch count is out (usually crossing sizes)? or a million other little issues that normal people have from time to time when reading patterns? They message me and ask me questions, and I answer, and explain, and check stitch counts, and work out where things are going wrong, I mean who else will know the answers better than the designer?
All in all a clothing pattern will take two months solid work (taking out all of Dory breaks) of eight hours a day, at a wage of £7.50 an hour and selling most clothing patterns at £6 I will need to sell 560 patterns, this is not counting the yarn costs which you are too bored for me to go in to right now. Good job I’m awesome really.