Monday, March 18, 2013

The Economics of Knitting - Time and Money

There is no way around it, knitting is a slow process and pattern publishing can be even slower when you do everything from start to finish. There are times I envy designers who go with publishers who handle everything else other than the actual initial design. Some of them take all responsibility for the grading, editing and photography. I've had success using sample knitters and I keep my fingers crossed that they will continue knitting for me in the future.

The following is an incomplete list of all of the steps I take to create a pattern. Not everything applies to every pattern, for example a shawl doesn't require grading. What the list doesn't reflect is the number of times I check and recheck all of the numbers and the details such as the yarn name, fibre content and yardage. I don't do everything on the list by myself, some things are done by others which impacts the timeline to publication. It also doesn't reflect the total number of hours of work that goes into every pattern.

Initial swatching
Blocking swatches
Writing the general information section 
Writing stitch patterns
Writing each segment of the instructions
Knitting of the item

Convert all measurements cm/inch
Work out yarn requirements for each size
Post on Patternfish
Post on Ravelry
Add to slide show for my blog

To help me with this list and some of the many, many non-design related business duties I have to get done I hired a part time assistant.  She has been doing everything from winding yarn, pattern checking and working on a spreadsheet of my expenses and earnings. She usually works about four hours a week which is not as much as I would like but keeps things in balance in terms of dollars in and out. I'm very focused on not going into debt. At the same time I'm happy to reinvest my earnings. We will see how things work out in the future. I certainly never thought I'd need an assistant but I'm quite happy with the decision to hire one now that I have.


  1. It sounds like you demand excellence from yourself and nothing less when it comes to your career. I can't wait to begin knitting some of your patterns. I was looking for a pin button for Pintrest, do you have a Pintrest blog?

    1. I'm on Pinterest as Robin Hunter. I don't have a button because they create problems with my antivirus software. I lost a laptop to a virus 2 years ago so I'm extra vigilant about security.