Wine and Roses Fingerless Lace Mitts on Patternfish

Wine and Roses was first published by Interweave Knits in their Winter 2006 issue. I as surprised at the flurry of blog activity that I saw in connection with this pattern when it came out…Wordpress, which is where I have my blog, has stats that include incoming links and things like that. I even saw blogs in Scandinavian countries with pictures of these mitts up. Interweave is planning on including them in their Holiday Gifts 2009 issue.

Wine and Roses_Patternfish CoverI have been self publishing them in pattern leaflet since the Winter 2006 issue was close to being sold out, and they are now available in pdf on Patternfish. Patternfish is the only source I use for pattern pdf delivery. They are very supportive of independent designers. They have a wide and ever growing selection of patterns, offer convenience to the home shopper, as well as a measure of security to the designer or whomever holds the rights to the intellectual property (the pattern copyrights). They only sell patterns, so you still need to go to your favorite store for you supplies to knit your project.

I had to think long and hard before I made the leap. There are enough LYS owners out there that have a bad taste in their mouth with pdf downloads that I was very cautious. However, there is a large segment that simply want their patterns that way. I can choose to accommodate or ignore that market. By choosing a delivery method that offers security to me, convenience to the knitter, and sales of yarn and supplies to the shops seems like a good compromise all the way around. Plus, this offers delivery in areas where shops don’t carry my patterns…like South America, or Scandinavia.

If I were to license my pdf files to shops, there would be no way for me to ensure or track their use or misuse without expensive security software that might make ease of use a serious issue for the knitter who purchases the pattern. For me to just send out my intellectual property into the ether with no protection and trust blithely that everything will be sweetness and light is a bit naive.

What other independent designers have found is that their pattern sales really have not changed (the hard copies). When they add another means of distribution, the pdf route, their total sales have increased while maintaining their numbers of print copies sold. That tells us as designers that people are still buying print copies that want them. And knitters who want pdf patterns will search them out. They are increasingly popular, true, but there is a market for both.

How far do we carry the concerns with competition? I know when my distributor adds other Designers, I am not consulted and nor should I be. They are doing what they need to do to grow their business and make it well rounded. Independent designers need to be able to have that same capability with their businesses as well, as they serve a varied market and in order for their business to grow and be healthy they need to diversify. I don’t do retail anymore, I haven’t for years, because I don’t want to compete with the yarn stores. However….I need to be able to follow new methods of distribution. I have to be sensitive to the market. I have to treat it like a business. Designers cannot protect yarn stores from trends or demands in the market or advances in technology, nor should they be expected to. But we can find ways to continue to grow our business and to make ourselves relevant. We can be sensitive to the needs of our customers, including those of both the online home shopper and the yarn store.

I have a page on my website, for example, where I can list yarn stores that carry my pattern. I know there are a lot more out there than what is on that page because of the number of patterns that I sell. Yarn Stores just don’t avail themselves of that feature, and that data isn’t something that is searchable on my distributors web site. I try and talk about Yarn Stores I visit that I like as well. There is a lot that can be done between Designers and Yarn Stores to help promote each other. Some stores have a knack for that and some don’t.

I look forward to including all of my patterns on Patternfish. I had the pleasure of meeting Julia when Patternfish had not gone live yet. She is energetic and lively and quite fun. She loves knitting, and is just a nice person. I love nice people. Besides new designs (or as in Wine and Roses, pattern leafletts that were first published elsewhere) Patternfish offers new and previously out of print patterns, which is a nice service. If I were looking for a pattern that were out of print I would look there first, as many yarn companies have added their older patterns to Patternfish. Many of these are still popular, but not practical for them to still carry in paper form so it is a win-win.

Peace and Knitting, JoLene Treace

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2 Responses to “Wine and Roses Fingerless Lace Mitts on Patternfish”

  1. Nina Says:

    Hi Jolene-
    as an insomniac knitter I love Patternfish. When I can’t sleep and my hands an/or eyes are too tired to knit I can cruise Patternfish and get instant gratification by downloading patterns. It’s a wonderful resource for knitters and I’m glad that you as a designer like working with them.
    Nina Elsohn, member of old Ample Knitters List

  2. angelarae Says:

    It’s interesting what you say about the shops. I want to support them, too. After all, it is way more fun to walk into a yarn shop and touch and squeeze the yarn than it is to peruse an online store and try to get the color right or the drape that you want. Now, if you know exactly what you want, dye lot and all, then online shopping is very convenient. And I, almost exclusively, get my patterns online. Where the shops excel are instruction and interaction and I do think it is good that they provide patterns because many knitters still do not use a computer. I am always amazed at those whom I talk to who do not know about Ravelry, or Knit Picks, or PatternFish, for that matter….Anyhoo, the LYS I use most is very open about sharing online patterns, and displaying knit examples in their stores. I think it is smart to do so. Sell more yarn that way!

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