I just posted a new sock pattern on Ravelry for free two days ago. I made a deliberate decision to give this pattern away. My decision was based a a few factors: I used a technique that I’ve not used before in a published pattern, it was not test knit, nor did I hire a technical editor. There was another consideration as well. I was curious to see how many people would download the pattern because it is free.
Other than writing a blog entry about the pattern’s availability, I did not announce that it had been published. Within an hour of putting the pattern in my Ravelry shop, it had been downloaded 10 times. As of this afternoon, it has been downloaded close to 100 times. I find it fascinating that I can give away so many copies without promoting. What would happen if I actively promoted the pattern? Perhaps several hundred more downloads?
Which leads me to a question. A serious question about knitters. Why are so many unwilling to pay for patterns? I understand that for some $4 or $5 many be a financial stretch. Yet many of us (and I include myself) willing pay the same for a large latte and several times a week at that.
Which leads to another question. Do knitters expect free patterns to adhere to the same standards as patterns that are available for purchase? In other words, do knitters expect the pattern to have been tested by others, edited by a technical editor, and offer multiple sizes?
And a final question. If you download a free pattern from a designer that also sells patterns, do you consider purchasing one of their patterns?
I am not trying to start a war here. I realize that we are motivated by many factors, including our financial means, our desire to support designers--well-known or not, our desire to see our craft thrive, etc. I ask these questions because I am genuinely interested in the answers.