Why Are Knitting Patterns So Expensive? (Explained)




why are knitting patterns so expensive

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There are a lot of things you need to get before you can start knitting. At the bare minimum, you need a knitting needle and yarn or wool. While shopping online or in-person for these two, you may come across items called knitting patterns.

Some of them are more expensive than yarn, wool, or even knitting needles, yet they’re just pieces of paper. So, why are knitting patterns so expensive?

Though knitting patterns are just pieces, or in some cases, a single piece of paper, they contain a step-by-step, easy-to-understand guide to knitting an item. So, you’re basically buying an item, except you need to knit it yourself.

Some may argue that knitting patterns aren’t really necessary to knit a specific garment or item, but there’s more to knitting patterns than you would expect.

In this article, we review some of the most frequently asked questions about knitting patterns on the internet and their corresponding answers.

What Are Knitting Patterns?

A knitting pattern is, in essence, a set of instructions that a knitter can follow in order to recreate an item. In short, it is to knitting as a recipe is to cooking.

Just like recipes, you can diverge from the instructions detailed in the knitting pattern if you wish to make modifications. But the general consensus is that you must follow the instructions exactly as described to perfectly recreate the item.

Knitting patterns can come in the form of paper if you’re buying in person, but they can also come in the form of a PDF file that you can download.

What Does a Knitting Pattern Look Like?

A knitting pattern can consist of two things: (1) a chart and (2) blocks of text.

It can either contain one of the two or both.

As you would expect, the latter is just a bunch of sentences describing the steps you must follow to knit the item. The chart is a bit more complex, though.

A knitting chart consists of a grid, and outside are numbers that refer to the order in which you must knit them. The position of the two can interchange.

Each tile or square in the grid is either empty or contains shapes, lines, dots, or a combination of the three. These correspond to instructions that experienced hand-knitters would understand. But, of course, they may seem alien to beginners.

Are Knitting Patterns Valuable?

Yes, knitting patterns are valuable, and not just in terms of price. In fact, you can quite literally get in jail if you use the knitting pattern without purchasing it first.

That’s because the US Copyright Office has included knitting patterns in their list of Works of Visual Arts. In doing so, they’re practically declaring that using a unique knitting pattern to knit an item without purchasing it is a copyright infringement.

While some may argue that a knitting pattern is essentially just an idea, it is more than that. Copyright protection covers illustrations and explanations of an idea.

And as you might imagine, knitting patterns are illustrations and explanations of an idea or item. That may have also been one of the reasons why they’re pretty expensive—it allows you to use a pattern that you’d otherwise get in trouble using.

Surprisingly, there are free knitting patterns out there if you look hard enough. But of course, since they’re free, don’t expect to find one that’s incredibly unique.

Though, at the very least, there are a lot of decent free knitting patterns online.

That applies to crochet patterns as well. But that being said, if crochet patterns are also being sold, what makes knitting a more expensive hobby than crochet?

Why Is Knitting More Expensive Than Crochet?

It’s common knowledge that between knitting and crochet, knitting is the more expensive hobby. People from both communities have various theories about why, but one of the more popular assumptions is that knitting requires knitting patterns.

However, crochet is no different since, as stated earlier, there are also crochet patterns. So, why is knitting more expensive than crochet?

Well, it has to do with the necessary tools.

If you’re a beginner, there’s really no difference in expense between crocheting and knitting. A beginner knitting kit should cost you roughly the same amount if you were to buy all the necessary tools and materials to start crocheting.

However, as you delve deeper into this hobby, you’ll realize the difference in expenses. Knitting, in particular, has become more and more expensive.

That’s because you have to buy knitting needles of different sizes and types, as well as yarns of different thicknesses. You may also have to invest in accessories like stitch markers. But with crocheting, not much changes when scaling up.

So, to summarize, knitting has roughly the same amount of expenses as crocheting if you’re a beginner, but as you progress, knitting becomes much more expensive due to the increasing number of tools, accessories, and materials you need to buy.

Perhaps the only financial advantage to knitting compared to crocheting is the fact that knitting uses less yarn. So, crochet is more expensive in that one regard.

Can You Make Money Designing Knitting Patterns?

Yes, you can make money designing knitting patterns.

In fact, most experienced hand knitters would argue that you can make more money designing knitting patterns than selling the knitted item itself.

For example, if you go on Etsy and sell a knitting pattern for a frog, and your friend does the same, except they would sell knitted frogs, you’ll likely earn more money.

That’s already taking into account the fact that knitting patterns would sell for a much lower price than the knitted item itself. Using the previous example, if the knitting pattern for the frog costs $5, the knitted frog itself will cost around $50.

So, in that scenario, your friend will always earn ten times more than you per sale of her item, so why would you make more money than them? you may ask.

It has to do with the fact that knitting patterns usually have a lot more sales.

In that previous example, let’s say the knitting pattern for the frog gets around 10,000 sales. But at the same time, the knitted frog will get about 1,000 sales.

So, you have ten times more sales than your friend.

At that point, you would have already earned as much as them. They would earn $50,000 ($50 x 1,000 sales), and you would earn $50,000 ($5 x 10,000 sales) as well.

However, you spend less time and effort to earn the same amount of money.

After all, you didn’t buy materials to knit the frog, and you didn’t spend hours knitting a thousand frogs. You just made the pattern, and your work ends there.

So, for the most part, you can earn more money designing patterns than you would knitting the item. Keep in mind, though, that this won’t always be the case.

There are items out there that can sell as much as its knitting pattern, if not more, at a much higher selling price. It’s ultimately only a matter of finding the right item.

What Knitted Items Sell Well?

Like most markets, certain categories are more popular than most. And in the case of knitting crafts, the categories or items that are on top include the following:

  • Small toys and plushies
  • Baby items and apparel (e.g., hat, cardigan, blanket, toys, bibs, etc.)
  • Children toys
  • Bath items (e.g., washcloths, towels, and bath mat)
  • Women’s apparel (e.g., toppers, boot cuffs, headbands, and ear warmers)

Basically, cute items are the ones that sell the most when it comes to knitting crafts.

There are also items that sell like hotcakes given the right time. These include decorations and ornaments for Christmas, New Year, Easter, and other occasions.

Apart from choosing an item that sells well, you must also take into account the venue or place where you’re selling the item. If you’re selling them online, then it’s best to list the item on sites like Etsy, Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace.

Platforms like Amazon and Alibaba have too broad of a market, so it can be difficult to get seen on those platforms. Make sure your price is reasonable as well.

Wrapping Up

Why are knitting patterns so expensive? Considering how beginner knitters don’t even know how to read patterns, it’s understandable why one would be in shock after having seen their price. But with this guide, you should now understand that the high price of knitting patterns is completely justified considering their value.

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