When I check the patterns that I have published on Ravelry, I find that I published my Bandito pattern in December of last year and before that it was the Fingerless Mitts trio of patterns published in December 2008 – January 2009. It’s not that I haven’t been writing up patterns. In fact, this year alone I have 9 patterns written up and mostly ready to go – but not published. In 2008, I have 6 in the same state (that I haven’t messed with since then). That’s People patterns only – there are a few doll clothes patterns, too.
Why is this? I’m not totally sure. Part of it is probably that I feel that I’ve somehow “lost my touch.” Of the first four sock patterns I published (between December 2007 and March 2008), two were very successful (multiple hundreds of Ravelry projects) and the other two were not too bad (8 and 38 projects). Since then, I’ve published two more sock patterns, with a total of 2 projects other than mine. I’ve also published one hat (44), a collar, three fingerless gloves (max 15), and a scarf (16). Somewhat discouraging, though probably not statistically significant.
Also, I have become aware of an issue with publishing free patterns: is it fair to “professional” designers to make patterns available for free? This is a nagging feeling in the back of my mind that just doesn’t make me feel too good about sharing my patterns. In some ways, of course, I do feel good about it – lots of people can’t afford to pay for patterns, and they find mine potentially useful.
Another odd factor is that I have started using the absolutely wonderful Free Pattern Testers group on Ravelry. I have sent two patterns through there. The first was my first shot at the Thrummed Headband.
The pattern I submitted for test knitting was the version shown in the picture above. I later made a slightly wider version, which is easily incorporated into the same pattern, plus a much wider version, shown here, which has some things in common with the original, but many more differences:
And then I also created a non-thrummed version of the wide headband, shown here:
So that one is very complicated. I also have a thrummed mitten pattern which I’ve considered including with some or all of the items shown above, possibly in a for-pay version. At any rate, that got really complicated and I don’t know what I want to do.
The other pattern that went through test knitting was what I’ve named the Antonina Cowl.
The test knitters were very helpful, and I have lots of suggestions, some incorporated into the pattern and some not. Some slightly contradictory, actually. So again I’ve got myself confused and slowed down.
But the test knitting (as well as experiences with my published patterns) have made it clear that my instructions often confuse people. So that’s discouraging, too.
Here is a composite of several of the other projects for which I have unpublished patterns.
It does seem as though some of these might be worth publishing. I particularly like the pattern for the single sock on the left – my Hildegard pattern. I worked out and even tested three sizes, each with a variant of the pattern stitch as the chief sizing method.
Does anyone have any suggestions on this topic? Do you think there is still a place for free patterns? Do you think there are any of the patterns shown above (including in earlier photos) that should be published for any reason? I’d love to hear any opinions you care to offer.