A new pattern! And I'm asking money for it.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013
                                                 Hey folks,

I'm excited to introduce my first for-pay pattern. A lovely little hat called Small Bones!!!

But this post is more about the fact that I'm starting to charge for my patterns.

I wanted to write a thing here about asking for money for patterns. I'm not especially comfortable asking for money for things. I have a hard time doing anything creative for pay. But financially I have hit some hard times. I'm living on my own in Vancouver B.C. and rent is expensive. The cost of living here is dumb, people who live here know what I'm talking about.

I have three amazing jobs and although i'm doing okay, there's always a threat of financial instability looming over my head. Just like lots of other people, but the thought sometimes it keeps me up at night!

When I talk to people about this lots of them will say "Why don't you charge a bit of money for your patterns?" and I go into my shpeal about how I want my patterns to be accessible to people who don't have credit cards, or people like me, who can't really afford to buy a whole lot of patterns off the interwebs. More than anything I want people to look at my patterns and knit them and love them and to not have to pay for them.

So here's been my dilemma since the Lonely Tree Shawl got so popular, do I start to charge for my patterns? I put a lot of work into them. The Lonely Tree Shawl took months to put together. Test knitting, designing, photographing, layout. It took a hundred hours at least of conceptualizing and knitting the shit out of that thing. But I had a passion to do it, so why should I ask other people to pay me? I was going to do it anyway, wether or not people liked it, why should I charge?

I guess the bottom line is that I am broke, but the core part of starting to charge for my patterns is that my time is worth some money. My skills are worth some money. I do everything myself, from conceptualizing, to designing, to knitting and test knitting, to photographs to pattern layout and design to publishing and also to dealing with the 1-5 questions I get a day from lovely knitters wondering about aspects of my patterns.

I use years and years of skills I have paid to learn, and lots that I didn't pay for, but spent hundreds and hundreds of hours perfecting. I think I deserve your $3-$5! But that being said, if you don't have $3 to give me send me a PM on ravelry and I'll probably send the pattern to you for free. Because I'm there. I don't really have $3 to give either :-)

So there's my speech, I'll get off my soapbox now. Money is hard to manage!

So let me summarize. I hope you feel my future patterns are worth the money! If you think they're worth the money but that you don't have it, hit me up and I'll send you an expiring link to my pattern for you to download!

If there were a "pay what you can" feature on ravelry I would do that for sure.

I want to thank everyone who has been supportive of me through this whole learning curve! Lots of love to all the folks who knit my patterns and who send me such kind messages about them! You're all awesome and man do I love knitters a whole lot!

~ Sylvia


  1. Strangely, earlier today I was thinking 'If softsweater starting charging for her patterns, I wouldn't cry about it.'

    And in that spirit, I just bought this pattern :) I have a lovely skein of Tosh DK that I knew wanted to be a hat, and I think this will work perfectly!

    Thank *you* for sharing so many lovely patterns with us ♥

  2. Your work is beautiful, your models are adorable, photography is excellent, and your patterns are definitely well thought through enough. You don't need to rationalize charging - I was surprised you didn't have some for sale patterns already! You're getting there, and I look forward to seeing you become a very popular designer.

  3. TOTALLY. So glad you're doing this! You deserve to be compensated for your super hard and professional work!

    If you do want to do a "sliding scale" option - I saw something cool recently, a book author who roughly once a week posts on his Facebook page that if you can't afford his book or are unemployed and want to read it there's this slightly stealth link on his website for a free download. So if people can pay, they pay, and if they are a "fan" enough to follow him on FB and can't pay, they can get it for free. Pretty awesome and I'd wager most people who can pay will respect your work enough to dole out the 3$!

  4. I agree 100% with this. I think every work deserves a salary. And, as you're spending hours and hours on your patterns, from design to layout, it's more than a hobby, it's a real work! Your patterns are worth many professional designers ones and you should charge for the work, I think. You spent a lot of time and effort and should be rewarded for it. I'm always fine to pay for patterns that have been test-knitted, with nice photography and great layout and yours definitively fall into this category. There is nothing wrong charging for high quality patterns. It's good not only for you, but also for all other designers that made the choice to make a career out of designing (and I hope one day, you'll go down that route).
    To show my support, I just bought the The Lonely Tree Shawl on Ravelry, as it's on my queue forever and I'll knit it someday. If you think about it, $3.50 is the price of a coffee or two and how many people buy coffees every day? Plus plenty of people are OK with spending $20 in a skein of yarn to knit your free patterns, so they should agree to pay a few extra bucks!

  5. I think that $3-5 is totally reasonable and i really hope charging a bit will help you out!
    This is a lovely pattern and I hope you get a ton of support!

  6. Great hat, I would have no problem paying for that pattern or any of your others! You put a lot of time and effort in and deserve to be rewarded for that! Keep it up!

  7. I have not a problem but i'm suspicious to buy a pattern from an unkown designer. Especially if they don't have a free pattern to get an idea how they write patterns or if i read negative comments from knitters. BUT your patterns are so good! Well written and I've learned so much! Thank you for that and will pay for further patterns I'm interested in. :)

  8. Of course you should charge for your patterns. In fact I think everyone should charge for their patterns. And you certainly shouldn't have to explain yourself for wanting to make money!?!

  9. I've been checking out your patterns for a while now. Your photography stands out! Enough so that whenever I see a thumbnail of your patterns I know instantly that its one of yours. I am frankly surprised that you haven't be charging already and I already assumed you were one of the popular designers for a long while.

    I'd pay more than $5 for one of your patterns, but I love your way of looking at things!

  10. Currently, I'm knitting the lonely tree shawl-very nice, by the way-and I want to expand the pattern beacause my shawl is coming out very small(my yarn is smaller). Could you, please, help me with that?I need at least 30 more lines.Thank you anyway!Greetings from Greece!

  11. Thanks for your informative writing.
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