As you may have noticed, with my new pattern releases, such as the Kopekapeka Hat and the Kaka Kirehe Shawl, I’m trying something new with them: offering trial versions of the pattern.
The reason I’m doing this is twofold. First, I believe that knitting should be an experience that everyone should have access to, so they can transform yarn into fiber art. This process of transformation feels so delightful and relaxing, and everyone should have the chance to feel proud of the work that they have created.
While patterns are not super expensive, I would imagine they can add up over time, like cups of coffee from Starbucks. As someone who is fortunate enough to be able to splurge on patterns if I want to, I also recognize that not everyone is in the same boat. Hence, my reason for providing a trimmed down version of the pattern for those who are on a tight budget. Lack of resources should not be a hindrance to creating art in your home!
The second reason also pertains to accessibility, but this time in terms of skill level. I’ve read a few comments and stories here and there that nothing sucks more than purchasing a pattern, reading it, and realizing that it’s not well-written, or it is above their skill level (really above their skill level). Challenging yourself is what I would think to be the best way to progress your skills, but that is also really scary. You do not want to have invested so much time on a project and it not come out correctly, just because you were new to it. With a trial version, you will be able to see exactly what skills are required to complete the pattern and also, see if the instructions make sense and are clear, complete, and concise.
I always get my patterns tech edited and test knit, but I think having that extra peace of mind, by previewing before purchasing, would be extremely beneficial to some. Unfortunately, it is impossible to refund a digital product.
And lastly, it is about creating a better experience and elevating the industry as a whole. I would rather you take a peek at the trial version and decide that maybe it is not right for you, then spend the $5 and be dissatisfied with your purchase.
On the business side of things, free patterns are hurting our work as designers. They devalue the worth of patterns as a whole (there are so many groups on Ravelry just dedicated to finding free patterns). My paid patterns offer much more than the trial versions. However, with trial patterns, I can honor those who can’t afford to purchase patterns at this time or who want the peace of mind before making a purchase, while honoring myself and the work that I put into creating designs for you, and honoring the work other designers put into theirs.
So what would make the official version worth the price? It all comes down to user-friendliness. From charts for the visual learners (or for those who like to use both written and charted instructions at the same time to help keep themselves on track); to stitch counts (to make sure everything is in line); to photos that serve as reference or provide visual clarification; to written and video tutorials (made by yours truly!) for techniques required for the pattern. Everything is at your fingertips so you can focus solely on creating, without having to worry about a million other things.
This also pushes me to ensure that my work is worth the price tag I put on it, which I feel is a win-win for everyone involved, as higher quality work is always a good thing. I also teach knitwear design, so I make sure others put in the work to ensure the same level of support and care, which elevates the industry as a whole. I don’t expect this to change the industry overnight, or if this will even have any effect at all, but hey, we have to start somewhere, right?
So let me know what you think about this—knitters and designers alike! I am always looking for ways to introduce innovation to the industry, in order to make it a better experience and community for everyone.