Filthy Lucre
Published On: April 11, 2009

Yes, I’ve decided to start trying to sell some of my patterns. You knew it was coming. Even the underpants gnomes are in it for the bucks.

I’ve given this a lot of thought over the last several days and I’ve reached a few conclusions. I am not hoping to turn socks/ pattern writing/ knitting into a job or even into a substantial source of income. There are a few people out there who have managed to do that, but I don’t think I have the luck, the skill, or – and probably most importantly – the drive to do that. I want knitting to be a hobby and a source of relaxation, not job and a source of stress. I would like to earn enough money to offset the cost of my knitting materials and supplies, and maybe enough to buy a few extras.

There is a bit more to it than that though, and this part is harder to explain. I think people in general, and women in particular, tend to undervalue their time and their talents. Knitters know this. How many times has someone seen you knitting and asked if you’d make something for them. A friend of a friend once asked me to knit her a pair of knee socks. When I demurred, saying it would take about 30 hours of work, she offered to bake me a pie in return. She even added that she sold her pies for fifteen dollars at the local bakery. Fifteen dollars for 30 hours of work is fifty cents an hour. My time is worth more than that. I think people need to learn to value their time and talents. It seems only fair I do the same.

To that end, I want to attach a value to the time I spend working on these patterns. I’d likely be making the socks even if I had no intention of writing the pattern, so I won’t count the knitting time. To produce a pattern I have to write the text of the pattern, create appropriate charts, take photos, work with test knitters, edit and revise the pattern in light of the test knitters’ suggestions, and jump through the technological hoops needed to make the pattern public. All told, it probably takes about 20 hours of work to create the pattern, refine it, and make it available. I want to value that time.

So I’m trying something new. The original versions of the patterns for Popped, Slant, and Dippers are still available for free. There is also a much improved and more polished version of Popped available for a small fee (click on the socks in the sidebar for more details). Lets say the pattern took me 20 hours of work and the yarn cost me twenty dollars. The minimum wage is $6.55 an hour. $6.55 per hour X 20 hours + $20.00 for yarn = $151.00. I’m selling the pattern for $4.00. If thirty eight people buy it, I will have made back what I spent on yarn plus what I would have earned in the time I spent working on it if I were getting minimum wage. More than twenty five hundred of you have been willing to download it for free.

Are thirty eight of you willing to buy it for four dollars?

In the future, some socks will be released for free, some will be free for a short time and then available for a fee, and some will only be available for a fee. I’m new at this, and everything is subject to change, but I want to see if I can make this work.

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