Taking Crochet Designers for Granted… I’m Guilty as Charged

Knit and Crochet Show

Michael Sellick, The Crochet Crowd and Tammy Hildebrand, Hot Lava Crochet Designs.

I’m just back from the Knit and Crochet Show held in Concord, North Carolina. It’s the first time I have ever attended a consumer show where crochet designers have the opportunity to be available to regular people like you and I.

Crochetville, based in the USA, is a community billboard community forum where crocheters from around the world can connect. It is run by Amy Shelton and Donna Hulka. Part of the foundation core values of Crochetville is to give recognition and encourage their followers to know who the crochet designers are and potentially support the designers by encouraging sales of patterns and books. Crochetville had arranged several great crochet designers to have book signings during the 3 day show.

So I will admit something to you all, I haven’t really paid attention to who the designers are that are really putting some wicked patterns together. Honestly, I was surrounded by crochet designers where I should have known their names but I haven’t invested my time into putting their names into my memory or doing a bit of background research.

Take for example Tammy Hildebrand of Hot Lava Crochet Designs. Tammy is someone I knew through a face shot but didn’t know her name to hear it in my brain. Tammy is responsible for many free patterns on RedHeart.com but also has her own books with a new one on the way.

I know that designers put great effort into the patterns that are offered. I took a professional development course on what it takes to be a designer and how to pitch ideas to a publisher during my conference at the Knit and Crochet Show. I knew the process was lengthy with about a year to develop a book but I didn’t know how to get from the start to the end of the pitching and process development a book. Speaking frankly as I can, I was naive and frankly overwhelmed by the process.

Designers have to create, research and develop the final model piece and write down their steps as they go. There’s also so much more to it than just that. Many have to take their own photography for the book and there is a lot of work to get the content ready for the magazine. Most of them have to do the promotions on their own to increase their sales. Their job isn’t over once a book is released. They are responsible for getting the word out to increase its sales. If they have to travel or get advertising, they are responsible for it.

Many designers hope to be published in a large capacity but truly only a few really break out of the gate for their own book series. The process to make a book is extremely time consuming and is something that I wouldn’t have time to develop. These designers really have to work hard to get recognition they are deserving. Speaking from first hand experience, sometimes the errors in a pattern are not the designer’s fault either. I have learned that it could be an editing issue of copying data from files for the book process. Sometimes the copying process may omit details by accident. Sometimes it is the designer as well… It happens because we are all human.

I seen Tammy speaking to fans who knew her and being brave to approach guests that don’t know her to introduce who she is and what she has to offer. We all expect free patterns as society has turned that way, but we don’t think about the process and the brain power to get a pattern onto paper. From first hand experience, if pattern designing was easy, we would all being doing it.

I was strongly thinking, on the plane ride back from North Carolina, about Tammy. She was one of potentially hundreds of designers at this show that work really hard to bring their ideas to life. To pitch ideas and hopefully have a publisher see value in her. I seen one person not wanting to buy a $3.99 pattern saying it’s pricey. It wasn’t Tammy’s pattern but I thought after I had been through an 8 hour workshop, I think we are believing that it’s the cost of the paper that it is all the pattern is worth. We think millions of copies are being sold for $3.99, when in fact, it could just be less than 50 copies. In books, the designer gets a very small percentage as the cost of the book manufacturing process and distribution is a huge percentage of the book.

Going forward, I am going to vow to pay more attention. If I am talking about a pattern, I will find out who the designer is and give them the recognition for their design. Appreciation for designing has to start with myself and if my fans want to follow my lead, you are more than welcome to do so. I will still continue to offer free patterns but I won’t be doing it so casually. I will make effort to name the designer going forward. I think is the right thing to do to help people understand that free patterns really shouldn’t be taken for granted and/or should be expected with everything that is created.

I took a few personal moments to watch Tammy and thought to myself on how hard I have worked to get where I have. She is doing just the same but in a different avenue in the same field in which I am working. Though she may never know, she changed my point of view by demonstrating through her own actions as I watched silently to realize I need to do my part to encourage and give the designers the recognition they are entitled to.

I would love your feedback on this topic. What are your thoughts? Do you give thought to a person who has developed a pattern? I notice once I like a pattern, I will look more at the designer’s name to see what other things they have done because chances I like the way they write and ideas.



About Mikey, The Crochet Crowd

I am Mikey, owner of The Crochet Crowd Blog. I'm a 'hooker' at heart with the passion to crochet. I am from Ontario Canada and teach how to crochet online through YouTube Video Tutorials. From a simple idea and being at the right place and time in my life back in 2008, the concept of The Crochet Crowd was developed. I'm here to hook and share. Come follow my crochet journey and share yours with comments here and you are most welcome to share your creativity within our Facebook page.
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30 Responses to Taking Crochet Designers for Granted… I’m Guilty as Charged

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  6. Hi Mikey- we met at TNNA a few months (years?) ago. I just want to say how much I appreciate this post. Many times people have asked me for free patterns, copied and distributed my patterns in front of my face, and even shamed me for charging for patterns- and creating a well written pattern is a LOT of work. The occasional thanks I get for the few free patterns I still offer is really appreciated. I know a lot of crochet designers, and we all love the craft and love to share it- we just need to pay our bills like everyone else. I always tell people that you’re not only paying for the pattern, but for me to have the brainspace to come up with and design things. If I’m worrying about paying my electricity bill, it’s a little harder to focus on accurate stitch counts. 🙂 Anyway. Just wanted to say hi and thank you!

  7. It is fun reading what you think about designers. I have designed crochet patterns for over 20 years and I still consider it a hobby. Other designers do it as a profession. Either way, it really does take time to create. I love seeing others enjoy the patterns that I make and I always take it as a high compliment when another crocheter wants to use one of my patterns. Thanks for all that you do Mikey!

  8. Hi Mikey, Excellent post 🙂 One thing I try to do now whenever I download a free pattern from another site (or even a recipe or DIY idea) I try to leave a comment on the blog – or forum for the Designer – just as a thank you – it only takes a moment of my time but it means so much to the Designer…just to ‘give something back’ – Thanks for all that you do 🙂 Rhondda

  9. Sherri says:

    I agree with you and encourage all to heed your advice, I for one will!

  10. Wow! Thank you Mikey! I think I can speak for all designers when I say how much we appreciate your acknowledgment! It was such a pleasure to meet you and Dan and I am looking forward to the next opportunity for our paths to cross!

  11. Von Vonne says:

    Mikey…as usual, well said. As crochet designers, we should command respect from the industry by the quality of our work, and that comes with respect for the work by all levels of crocheters.

  12. Laura Halpen says:

    Mike: It is good that you are starting to think about the designers, because developing a pattern and then getting it written down so someone else can read and follow it is a daunting task. I have designed a few hat patterns, when I couldn’t find just what I wanted, and it is hard to get the instructions down in a manner that I can follow again, let alone someone else. Now when I make a piece designed by someone else, on the card where I list the care instructions, I also credit the designer by saying, “Hand made by me from a pattern by ………..” So the designer gets credit and so do I. By the way, you should have someone edit your pieces for grammer, you should have said, “I saw Tammy…..” Never, “I seen” You do a great job, just need a bit of editing help from time to time.

  13. Regina says:

    I really appreciate all the hard work the designers put into their patterns! I love free patterns just like everyone else, but don’t expect them! If I really want a pattern or a book I will buy it when I can. I have quite a big collection of paid patterns and books. I might not never use that pattern, but I have a problem with collecting them! Hahaha! I know a lot of people say they can look at something and figure out how to make it, good for them, I can not! I guess you can say I’m lazy and don’t want the headache and heartache of trying to figure it out! I have no problem paying for a pattern, most patterns are priced any where from $1.00 to $6.00 and I find that very reasonable to me! There is a lot of amazing designers, whether their patterns are free or paid they should all be appreciate and credited for all their hard work! They are doing something they love to do and bring that love of the art to us! Thank you Mikey and all the wonderful designers that bring out our own creativity!!

  14. Julia Spires says:

    Tammy’s work is amazing, not realizing all that she has done. I applaud you Mikey, and will definitely give credit where credit is do on the artist that doing all these patterns, because there is a ton of them out there to appreciate.

  15. Karen Newton says:

    I find that if I’m interested in more than a couple of patterns from a designer I tend to follow do usually use a book his or her blog. Through the blogs I get to know the designer, almost feel like a friend, and they become a part of my crafting family. Most of the crocheting I do is done for charity. Since I’ve retired. I’ve tended to buy more books and patterns…mainly because I don’t have a printer. I still download a lot of the free patterns, but do usually use the books for crocheting.

  16. Cathy says:

    Sadly, I only take notice of the mistakes in a pattern as it can be so frustrating; especially when you’re new at the craft. Based on your article, I vow to give recognition where recognition is due. Lord knows if I were responsible for writing a pattern, there would definitely be some errors.

  17. Oceanna F. says:

    I use a combination of free patterns, patterns from magazines subscriptions like crochet today, etc. and I also pay for patterns that I like. Most paid patterns have a rating on them has far has skill level goes and that makes purchasing them easier. Yes, designers should receive credit for their ideas. Even when a pattern is free we should make sure we are going to the designers website to get the pattern because they usually make a their money from the advertising on their site. Therefore clicking on their site helps. Patterns are the intellectual property of the designer and we all should respect that and by supporting these designers it allows them to make more of those free patterns that we love so much. So take the few extra seconds to go to the designers web page to get the pattern and make sure you give them credit for the pattern.

  18. grandmasam says:

    I too usually use free patterns for cost reasons as well as the ones that cost seem to be harder than I can accomplish, and again I don’t know if I will be able to use them so they are useless unless I give them away. I am not a professional crocheter just a grandma doing my own thing. It’s not that I don’t admire the heck out of someone for creating as I have had my own business in the past that required creativity. Also I really enjoy watching people like Mikey doing a demonstration about how to do something, I usually watch something a few times at least so that I can ascertain if I am able to make it. I also appreciate those of you like Mikey who take the time to show those of us how to make something that looks interesting. Thanks for your kind thoughts Mikey I do appreciate them.

  19. otrabogada says:

    Thank you for this post from the heart. I actually am a book worm and when I get a free pattern always look at the who, what, where, etc. Then I go an look them up to either give them kudos or to put them in my favorites for the future. I love designers and because of sites like yours am able to learn more about these incrediibly gifted and giving artists. Thanx for all you do.

  20. Iverna McAnulty says:

    I’m a seamstress with a Home Economics degree, 42 years of sewing experience, and 40 years of crochet experience. I was designing clothing even when I was a small child and needed to learn how to make my ideas reality. There have been times I’ve counted it money well spent to pay $25 for a garment sewing pattern from another designer because of how much time and work it saves me. My dad is an artist who has said that in spending the creative energies to make pieces or patterns; putting your ideas out in public, taking the risks of how well they’ll be received or not is like not knowing how the world will treat your babies. I haven’t (yet) sold my patterns, but I’m working towards that. It is hard to establish value for your work because people just don’t see what goes into a ‘simple’ pattern.

  21. Ruth D says:

    I’m glad to see you’ve finally come to this. I used to give some of my patterns freely but with the advent of Pinterest, most people aren’t willing to take the extra 10 seconds it takes to find the original and it’s been so disheartening, I stopped designing for the public. I don’t want to be famous but I do want credit for my work and I’m sick of more well known people stealing my work and putting their name on it. I’m much happier now but have much empathy for all the designers who are taken for granted. Hopefully, more won’t go back underground like I have. You have a big platform. I hope you really do get the word out.

  22. Karolin says:

    If I find a pattern that I use and it’s free I always make sure I’ve got a proper link in the comments or wherever because that’s mostly what they ask for.

    I love free patterns, I have to be completely honest here. The main reason I don’t seek out paid patterns is simply this; I’m not sure I would be able to complete the pattern and then it simply becomes a $4 or whatever amount, piece of paper to me.

    Maybe I lack the confidence or understanding on some level. It just seems that a lot of paid patterns are difficult. If you’ve never read a pattern from a specific designer who’s to say you’ll be able to understand what their saying. I find a lot of the free patterns have the odd flub in them that I have to work around. Just because your paying for something doesn’t guarantee it’s perfection.

    That’s just my 2 cents, or 4 or 6…

    • Most designers have many free patterns available as examples of their style. Also, a lot of work goes into testing their patterns. If you look on Ravelry you will see there are many testing pools! This is to make sure that patterns are as bug free as possible and as easy as possible to understand. It actually sounds like you would make a good tester as you say you sometimes find patterns difficult! Testers usually get the pattern for free in exchange for feedback.
      The other point I would make as a designer is that if you have any issues I am available for advice (via blog or Ravelry). Most designers want you to be able to complete a pattern well whether or not you paid for it- but particularly if you did. We have a reputation to keep after all! 🙂

  23. Gail says:

    I agree with you 100% Mikey! I used to ask people for copies of patterns they had made something gorgeous from and was stunned when a friend said ” I can’t . It’s copy written .” Who cares-I thought! That’s eons ago but looking back I have a lot of respect for that friend’s moral stance. I would NEVER even consider asking that now . I have a friend who makes gorgeous knit and crochet patterns and I KNOW the designers work so hard for so little . Let’s all give them credit for the beautiful designs they provide for us and if you are not willing to support them by paying a “pittance” for their work then there are millions of free patterns on the Internet…… but don’t whine about ” pricey” patterns. Really? How much do you think your creations are worth??

  24. Marion says:

    I’ve been crocheting for a year and I never thought of the designers either. I thought they must work for some big yarn company. This weekend my eyes were opened to soo many things I took for granted. Husbands fishing hobby is poles,line,lures,fishing license etc. My hobby is MORE than a hook,yarn and free patterns. I will now buy a pattern and even buy a book. I now realize how important it is to support the designers, and those that write books. Buying a pattern is supporting small business, creativity and entrepreneurship. They all were so friendly,encouraging and willing to answer a question.

    • Tami says:

      I agree with Marion. We went to this show together after meeting for the first time. I have to admit I too took the fact that they give so selfishly the free patterns we see today. These women work very hard to get where they are and deserve the recognition for that hard work. I bought an afghan pattern before I came to the show and now I will be sure to look at the designer and give them recognition when others admire it.

      Thank you for bringing this to light Mikey because I’m ashamed to say I never paid any attention to what I was doing by not giving them their just due. That is going to change from this day forward and I WILL be purchasing more patterns and books. 🙂

  25. Rosalie Wright says:

    I think the pattern designers should,be recognized so that they feel validated for their hard work. I agree with you when I find a pattern that turns out well and is easy to understand I do tend to look for more patterns by that designer. While I mostly use free patterns due to money constraints if there is a book with more than one parttern that I will use I will buy the book. The PDF patterns on raverly that are paid patterns I tend to not purchase because I cannot preview the directions to see if they are to my skill level and I don’t have disposable cash if it turns out not to work out well.

  26. Cristin Berrafato says:

    Bravo! Well said!

    Cristin from the Conference

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