Monday, February 28, 2011

Patternfish vs. Ravelry

There were a number of comments on my original post as well as even more behind the scene emails and conversations with other designers regarding this topic.

The general consensus is that I may be losing sales by not selling directly through Ravelry. Some felt that my designers page is not enough to get potential buyers over to Patternfish.

Interestingly the whole discussion of self publishers vs. traditional publishing came up numerous times. Some self publishers (but not all), think I should put my patterns there ASAP, yet at the same time they are cognizant of the fact that the quality issue is very real. Traditional publishers seem to hesitate to make any substantial commentary almost as though the whole subject is taboo or simply because they haven't had any experience in the self publishing world. Many in both camps expressed concerns about the lack of tech editing on Ravelry patterns and that there are no standards for quality. An employee at my LYS said she was having real issues with the number of free patterns on Ravelry that customers bring in for help and how poorly many of them are written. It is also thought that many Knitters assume that because something is on Ravelry that it has some sort of stamp of approval or credibility simply from having been posted there.

There are also concerns about the devaluation of designers work by free and under-priced patterns in a constantly evolving marketplace of existing and new pattern sources.

Patternfish does review the designers that submit to them before they go live on the site. I was told that I needed to have everything tech edited. I received very clear and constructive feedback on the first patterns that I submitted. Fortunately most of it was positive and some showed me exactly where to direct my first efforts into improvement.

I'm still mulling this one over for myself. Please feel free to continue this discussion in the comments.


  1. It seems to me that once you have established your reputation by teaching classes, folks looking over any of your free patterns, and by the lovely professionalism of this blog, putting your patterns on Ravelry is just exploring another market - a separate issue from your reputation.

    Was your LYS friend grumpy about a bad pattern, or a bad pattern plus yarn bought at a box store?

    Patternfish itself is now advertising on Ravelry,

  2. Your bring up some very good points and i think some patterns on Ravelry are of concerns. I've printed off free patterns from Ravelry for a friend that have caused problems and I had to re-work a lot of it. But that does not mean all patterns on RAvelry are poor quality. I think name recognition is important and knitters should look into who the designer is and their credentials before buying. For me, Ravelry is a much more efficient way of hosting my pdfs than on my own website. I sell on Patternfish too but my Ravelry sales are much higher. Also I like the Rav feature of being able to e-mail every previous buyer a notification if I've uploaded a new version.

  3. I like ravelry more. Patternfish requires an extra step of registering (if you are coming from ravelry) and it if you are not, well, chances are your pattern is not being bought very often.

    As for the free patterns - no doubt patterns(free and not) vary in quality. There is nothing you can about it. There is also no guarantee that if you buy it from patternfish, it will be up to your standards. I mean, I once met a lace knitter of 50 years who didn't know how to read charts. Everyone is different.

  4. I know this is an old blog entry. I find patternfish difficult to navigate. They do not use an easily navigable search system, which means that I have trouble finding the patterns I want. Ravelry makes it incredibly easy for me to find patterns. I purchase a large number of patterns from Ravelry, and I take advantage of a large number of free patterns from Ravelry. Many patterns there are tech edited, many of the designers are becoming well known. Of course, there are always patterns that are difficult to read, or written poorly, or haven't been tech-edited. I think that those things are worth it, considering the wild variety of patterns to revel in.
    I've tried numerous times to love Patternfish...I was over there looking for a pattern tonight. Unfortunately, their poor search engine made it difficult enough that I gave up. I've purchaseishd one pattern from Patternfish. I've purchased 38 from Ravelry.
    I still hop on over to Patternfish on a regular basis...hoping that they'll realize their need to become competitive through ease of use.