11 January 2011

Opinion Tuesday: free-pattern websites

I recently made my feelings known on the topic of free-pattern sites.
I know this is quite a contentious issue, and one that needs to be tread upon lightly, but I just can't accept the perception difference between crochet and knitting which is bolstered by these sites.

For me, crochet is a growing, vibrant and flexible art. It's worth just as much as knitting, and sites which do nothing but promote "free crochet" do so much damage to the image of crochet:

Firstly, they lead the public to assume crochet isn't worth paying for. Good design, whether it be knitting, crochet, tatting, or whatever is ALWAYS worth a few bob. The time, thought, talent and experience which goes into a good pattern is huge. To lead people to believe it's "just" a pattern is, to me, terrible.

Secondly, the patterns usually available on these free sites are going to be of a less than fantastic quality. So, people browsing them will only see the lower end of the creative spectrum. This, in turn, I believe, strengthens the argument that crochet is all cheap yarn, ponchos and place mats.

And that is so sad!

Talent should be recognised, in every field, and I for one promise not to undermine my fellow designers' time, effort and skills by submitting to free-pattern sites.

But, how about you? Have you found anything worthwhile on free sites? Do you submit to one yourself? Do you agree or disagree?

9 comments:

  1. I can only say Amen! Although I do provide a couple of free patterns on my own website, but that is just a fun little service for passers by and my customers. I, like you, feel very strongly about the way some free sites are undermining the reputation of crochet. Well said, you!

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  2. I have a few, too, but I have them there solely to allow people sample my writing style, and to hopefully entice new-comers to the craft.

    Thanks for the support!

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  3. there is definitely a place in the world for free patterns, and also for paid patterns. I guess it depends on a load of things! like the stage a designer is at, or the complexity of the pattern.

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  4. I haven't had much experience with only free pattern sites. I am however completely addicted to Ravelry. As a knitter and crocheter it's hard to find free crochet patterns that I would rather do over free knitting patterns. I do think there are some really good selections of crochet patterns that you pay for. I see some really stylish things coming out and I get more and more excited for crochet and what is going on there.
    Berroco is coming out with a spring/summer booklet that is half knit and half crochet in a week or two and they are all pretty stylish. Even Interweave Crochet magazine is getting better and better (though it keeps having more Tunisian crochet, and I wish they wouldn't do so much of it).

    One site that has great free crochet patterns is Pierrot Yarns (link at bottom). yes, it is in Japanese but it has full charts. So, unfortunately, this is good only for people who know what their doing. But it is this site more than anything that really gets me excited about crochet again.

    http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/search#craft=crochet&query=Pierrot%20Yarns%20Patterns%20%28English%29&view=captioned_thumbs&sort=popularity

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  5. Whether its crochet or knitting (I wouldn't consider a difference between them in this situation, tbh) patterns I think that little freebies are good to let you get a preview of a particular designer's style, and for a prettier thing or more complicated pattern, i wouldn't have a problem paying.

    I was disappointed that free or paid, the crochet patterns that I could find out there don't generally seem to be up to your standard in terms of modern style :( I hope that this expectation of freebies isn't what's hurting the inclination to design new and unusual stuff.

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  6. p.s. are we every going to see that LOTS inspired vest written up as a pattern? :D

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  7. R, you have a point. I'd never argue against free patterns. How else are people suppised to get started? My only issue is when sites promote "all free" as the nrom. It just drags everyone down a notch or two. : (

    LeeAnn. I do love Ravelry, too! It's brought us all together so well. I also appreciate how they mix the paid and free pattern together, too. means everyone gets a decent chance at attracting crafters.

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  8. Julie. Totally agree about the designer preview thing. That's one of the reasons I do it. And you could be on to something. Perhaps the free-culture is making potential designers give up before they've even started. : (

    Aaaand, yes! In two months or so, it'll be in Inside Crochet Issue 16. : D Thanks for remembering it.

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  9. tbh, I think the whole world has sort of fallen into this trap of wanting everything for free. Or cheaper. We're a culture who looks first for the lowest price, not the best quality. We rely on sales, and scorn higher priced items as "luxury" no matter what they are.

    I know from experience that if you offer only free patterns, than people expect free patterns all the time. And too often I think people really aren't willing to pay for patterns simply on the principle of not wanting to spend money. We're so used to shopping at big box stores, where the money we spend is meaningless except as numbers. We forget sometimes that buying patterns supports an individual.

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