As I seek to develop my pattern writing business I’ve spent a lot of time studying patterns that sell on Ravelry and patterns that get into magazines. As a Mum to a large family I knit on a tight budget. The high cost of lovely yarn was one of the main reasons I got into spinning my own yarn as I can produce lovely yarn from 100g of fibre costing £3.75. The cost of knitting designs in magazines can sometimes take ones breath away. A jumper in the March edition of Knitting magazine in Malabrigio Merino Worsted takes 11 x 100g of yarn at a cost in my size of £93.50 plus postage. As an experienced knitter I would take that pattern if I wanted to knit it for myself and find an alternative yarn that knitted to the same gauge and make it for a far lower cost. The question I am wrestling with is should I only focus on using lower cost, but widely available yarns to design with or is it essential that I use the expensive high end yarns in order to get my pattern noticed?
I did a quick survey on Ravelry the other week to see what people loved to knit – shawls, fingerless gloves and lacework came out top with socks following closely behind. This is a quick glance at the top five patterns on Ravelry today :
1. Honey Cowl by Madelinetosh – using Madelinetosh DK yarn
2. Hitchhiker by Martina Behm – using Wollmeise Pure (scarf pattern)
3. Color Affection by Veera Valimaki using The Plucky Knitter Cashmere (shawl pattern)
4. GAPtastic Cowl by Jen Geigley using Lion Brand Wool Ease Chunky
5.Turn a Square by Jared Flood using Cascade Yarns 220 or Noro Sik Garden (Hat pattern)
A selection of luxury and indeed expensive yarns used by these designers and so on down the top ten patterns. Although established designers get commissioned to produce designs with specific yarns it is tricky for newcomers like myself to get a foot in the door. I have a wealth of yarn companies around me in West Yorkshire – Rowan Yarns, West Yorkshire Spinners, Cygnet Yarns, Edward Hill, King Cole – I could continue. I had links with some of these businesses from my time producing children’s knitwear so I hope to rekindle these connections over the coming months.