Today I want to talk about why we need to support crochet designers. So you have just learned to crochet, and you’re looking for patterns to hook up. The first place you are likely to look is Pinterest, and you’ll find a ton of free crochet patterns there. There is tons of crochet inspiration and know how on Pinterest and any crafter utilizes this amazing picture perfect database. I mean, if you’re not…what are you doing?
I know what happens next. You start to find patterns that are not free, and you’re a bit aghast that designers are asking $7-10 Canadian for a pattern when other people are giving them away for free. It’s highway robbery! But many of those patterns look so good. You want those patterns. But you don’t want to spend the money.
Not All Patterns are Created Equal
You vow never to spend money on crochet pattern–after all, there are free ones everywhere! So you begin the hunt for the perfect pattern for your next project. And quickly become frustrated as you have sort through a lot of patterns that are not that well written, difficult to access on a site full of ads, or going from one site to the next to find the pattern. It’s exhausting! And discouraging. I’ve been there. And you’ll spend so much time searching for that pattern that you might not even have time to start your “perfect” free project that evening or afternoon or whenever.
Now, I am not knocking free crochet patterns. There are plenty of them out there that have clearly given a lot of time and attention to detail, and both beautiful and easy to follow. But many have not been given that kind of dedication. I myself have written patterns and sell them for small fees (less than $7 CAD) but they are not tested and I kept the patterns fairly simple so that I wouldn’t *need* to test them. It was a way for me to get my blog and business started and I know that in the future, I will have to go back and update those patterns.
Personally, I was never opposed to spend some money on crochet patterns. Even before I started selling my own patterns, or even started my blog, I just figured that there if you want something, you gotta pay money for it sometimes! So yes, I went on Etsy and Ravelry and paid money for crochet patterns. And you should too. If you are a crochet maker, you really need to support designers.
Most crochet designers are having their patterns tested by others so that they can ensure the patterns are easy to follow and contain no errors. Crochet language doesn’t exactly have it’s own grammar after all, and the way I write an instruction may not always be clear to every maker. Having a pattern tested means that the quality of the pattern readability is going to be very good so that makers can follow the pattern without too much pondering or confusion. Now, the designers have invested money (and time) in the testers who have helped them smooth out any errors. The end result is, you get a better pattern! So that is one excellent reason why you ought support designers by spending some pennies on their pattern.
Time and Creativity
Now, something I noticed when I started buying patterns is that the patterns were a lot more detailed and complex. For instance, I was purchasing a lot of lacing shawls and shawls with shaping. Designing those patterns takes time! It takes creativity! And it doesn’t happen in a week or two. Designers spend hours hunched over their patterns, shaping, doing the math, frogging, crocheting, making notes, drawing charts before they have a finished piece that they can then write up a pattern for. Everyone needs to be paid for the hours of work they do, and the same is true for designers, who are fiber artists. Designing crochet pattern is a full time job, not something you do while baby is down for a nap, and that needs to be taken into consideration by those of us who are makers.
Suggested for You: Sand and Sky Scarf Pattern
Contributions to the Industry
I have been crocheting for a decade or so and I have noticed changes in the industry. When I first began self teaching myself crochet, corner to corner crochet was not a thing I ever ran across. And then suddenly, it was all the craze. Tunisian crochet was something I knew about, but wasn’t coming across a lot on Pinterest when I was searching for crochet related content, but now it definitely is bigger among crocheters. And that’s because designers and teachers in the industry have taken the time to play with yarn, innovate, educate themselves about fibres and techniques and then share all of that knowledge with us.
For example, there wasn’t really a lot out there about Tunisian crochet before someone made themselves an expert of sorts in that form of crochet, then how were the rest of us to learn? Everything I know, I learned from people in the industry who wrote books, made YouTube videos and put together photo tutorials to really get us makers making more and doing more with the craft. I think that those individuals are deserving of both recognition and of the respect of makers. They really need to be paid for their work and innovation in keeping this craft vibrant and alive and evolving.
Nothing Comes Cheap
If you really want to crochet, you have to invest some time and money into the craft. Yes, many might say this is a hobby. But hobbies aren’t cheap. Painters need paint, writers need paper, and crocheters need yarn. Painters also need canvas and brushes. Writers also need ink or a computer. Crocheters are also going to need hooks and patterns. You pay for the hooks and yarn, and you do also have to pay for patterns. It’s actually pretty amazing that anyone is offering patterns for free when you come to think of it. Is your hobby worth your time and investment? If you’re like me, and it is, then dishing out some money for a pattern is just part of that investment. Nothing comes cheap. Sure, we can save some money here and there when it comes to anything in life–groceries, car insurance and our hobbies, but everything has a price and if you need it, or it’s valuable to you, then you have to pay out the money.
It’s Their Livelihood
I think it’s easy to forget, or overlook the fact that for these designers, this is their bread and butter. While we might drag ourselves out of bed for a 9-5, these designers are working on crochet everyday to earn their livelihood. This is their income, how they put food on the table and support their families. Content creation takes time and is a steep learning curve and it’s a tough industry. Think of supporting designers in the same way as you think of supporting your local businesses. Because it is exactly the same. You are supporting someone who is working for themselves, often by themselves, just the way you support the local cafe owner in your downtown core. So I am calling on all crochet makers to dip into their purses every now and then and buy some crochet patterns. You won’t be disappointed in them. I recently bought one myself and was challenged by it, even though I’m an experienced crocheter. It was fun to try a new technique and I was so glad I did when I finally weaved in all my ends.
We are all friends in this community, and I hope that if you were hesitant, for whatever reason, to spend money on patterns, that now you have a better idea of why you should (for amazing patterns) and why you need to (to support hard working designers) and that you start searching for designers who you love and feel happy to support. Some of those designers also offer free patterns so you’ll likely get lots of know how and lovely crochet items from them to keep you looking pretty in crochet.
Know some great designers to support? Have some thoughts on this topic? Please share in the comments!