Friday, August 22, 2014

Why do designers charge for patterns?

Have you ever wondered what goes into designing a pattern and why you have to pay the majority of patterns?  I was recently asked why I would charge for a pattern and I found this very thought provoking and I thought it would make a good blog post.  I won't be able to answer why other designers charge or don't charge for their patterns, but I will be able to tell you what goes into one of my designs and hopefully give you an idea of what you are spending your hard earned money on.

I think that everyone's design process is different because we are all creative people.  When I am starting a new design, it's often based on something that inspires me.  The inspiration for my Mother of Dragons shawl for instance, came from Game of Thrones.  When I watched the last scene at the end of the first season where Daenerys emerges from the remains of the funeral pyre with the dragons, I knew I had to design a shawl that would have some dragon qualities to it.  I sketched out the basic shape that I wanted and then did a lot of research in my stitch dictionaries for inspiration.  I worked on the charts for many hours to make sure I liked how the stitches were going to work and then I began swatching.  I dug through my stash to find just the right yarn.  It had to have a fiery effect with some variegation in the colorway to help show off the lace scales.  The Biker Chick from Miss Babs was a perfect match.  Once the swatching is done and the charts are laid out, then the fun begins!  I knit every design that I create.  I know this takes a lot of extra time, but I want to be certain that I like the way something is knitting up.  Especially when something has a lace component in it.  I think we have all knitted something at one time or another that just didn't flow well for us.  It doesn't mean that it was a bad pattern or that the lace wasn't charted or written well.  When this happens I think it just didn't have the right rhythm for me.  With my patterns I figure that if the lace or texture is knitting well for me and that I am enjoying what I am knitting than there is a very good chance that other knitters will enjoy it as well.  

Now we are at the point where the design (a shawl in this instance) is knitted up and I have blocked it.  I work on the final measurements and verify that the gauge from my swatch matches what I knitted.  Now the pattern writing begins.  I take very detailed notes while I am knitting my designs and use them to help me write the pattern.  Out of the whole design process I find that writing the pattern can be the most challenging.  I want to be absolutely certain that anyone who purchases one of my patterns will find the instructions to be clear and easy to follow.  I double and triple check what I have written and then have my editor go over the pattern in case I missed anything.  Anything that needs to be corrected is done at this time and then finally the pattern is sent out to the test knitters.  My test knitters are absolutely fantastic and tell me when they find something that needs clarifying or if something doesn't seem to be working for them or for the yarn they are using.  Once the test knitting is finished, I compile their notes and make any necessary changes to the pattern.  Then this final version is sent back to the editor for a last check before publication.

The photo shoot comes next.  It's always a lot of fun for me to finally get to see how one of my designs is going to look in real life!  Andy and I are always on the look out for new places to take pictures and we are lucky to live in an area with really great scenery.  I edit the pictures and choose which ones will work well in the pattern lay out and which ones will work best on line.  Speaking of pattern lay out, that is another very important component.  I do the lay out myself and try to incorporate the theme of the design into the pattern. I put almost as much time and thought into the lay out as I do on the written portion. There are also advertising costs, fee's from the places that patterns are sold at (Ravelry, Etsy, etc.), and fee's for PayPal as well. 

From start to finish not including the time that it takes to knit an item, a pattern generally takes me about forty hours to create.

I hope that this helps to explain the design and pattern writing process and gives an insight on why designers charge for their patterns.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this!


Friday, August 15, 2014


Introducing Coquette

Have you ever touched a yarn was so soft that you could wrap yourself up in it? I liked the Coquette yarn so much, that I named my new shawl design after it! 

When I got my first skein of Coquette, I fell in love it!  I knew I had to design a shawl that I could wrap around myself and really enjoy the feeling of the yarn while I was wearing it. The Coquette shawl is light and airy while warm enough to keep the chill off your shoulders. Coquette is the perfect accessory for any occasion and pairs well with everything from your favorite dress to jeans and a t-shirt. The simple lace pattern is easy to remember and enjoyable to knit.

I am so excited about Coquette and hope that you will enjoy knitting it as much as I enjoyed designing it.  Please use coupon code: WF2014 in my Ravelry Pattern Shop for $1.00 off.  The coupon expires on August 18, so don't wait too long! 

Use the same coupon code atWanton Fibersfor 10% off your order through midnight August 18th.

Friday, August 8, 2014

SKAL With Cat and Sparrow and a New Pattern is on the Way!

I'm so delighted to announce that there is a Spin and Knit Along (SKAL) for Night's Watch in the Cat & Sparrow Ravelry Group.   The SKAL official start date is September 10, but since they are located in Australia we thought we would go ahead and announce it now to give everyone a chance to order their fiber for the spinning portion.  If you aren't a spinner, no worries because Julie of Dyed By Hand Yarns will be offering a limited edition Night's Watch coloway in one of her fab yarns for anyone who wants to just do the knitting portion.  All the details for the SKAL can be found here:  Cat & Sparrow Night's Watch SKAL   Check out this cool batt that they created in the Night's Watch color!  I can't wait to get spinning on it!

Next week I will be releasing Coquette,  a new lace shawl pattern in Wanton Fibers Coquette yarn.  Rachel from Wonton Fibers will be having a update with lot's of Coquette in it next Friday the 15th.  I can't wait to see what colors she has for the update.  I absolutely love this yarn, it's one of the softest yarns I have ever touched.   Seriously if I had enough of it, I would wrap myself in the skeins and wear them like clothes. 

I am over the top excited about the pattern and will be giving a copy away on Facebook.  Yesterday I noticed that my design page on Facebook is only 9 likes away from reaching 400.  I can't believe it!  I really appreciate all of the support from you guys and can't thank you enough!  Once the page reaches 400 I will do a drawing for the Coquette pattern.

I have never been very good about holding out on things and really can't resist giving you a sneak peek of Coquette.

Friday, August 1, 2014


One of the things that I like the most about designing is getting to see all of the beautiful projects that you are making from my patterns!  It's really fun to see them knit up in different yarns and you guys have so much creativity with modifications.  KisForKnitting added beads to her Mother of Dragons Shawl:

Stephanie used her own yarn that she had made at a mill from local fiber to create a larger version of Mother of Dragons. 

FlowerKnitDeborah who won a copy of Juliet on Facebook, knitted hers up in just a matter of days!  She used Indulgent BFL Silk DK which is from her own shop.  I love how Juliet looks in a tonal colorway.  The lace pattern really shows up well.  I really enjoy working with variegated and self striping yarns and sometimes forget how pretty something can be in a more understated colorway.

What modifications have you made to patterns?  Are you a knitter who strictly follows the pattern, or do you like to change things up a bit? 

Fresh off the needles and soon to be handed over to Margi for test knitting is Eclipse.  She is knit up in Unplanned Peacock's Peacock Sock in Sun and Moon.  Here is just a hint of what she looks like!
I don't want to go on and on about the puppy and how cute he is and how much I love him and all, because not everyone loves puppies and some people just want to hear about knitting and that is perfectly ok.  We did finally figure out a name for him last Friday so we don't have to call him Voldemort.  We are calling him Iggy!  He looks like and Iggy, don't you think? :)