Interesting Experiment: Costs to Produce a Pattern

Crochet Hooks

A very interesting experiment is taking place in the knitting world: Shannon Okey (professional knitting designer, author, indie book publisher) plans to release a new pattern every single week of the year AND provide complete, transparent documentation of the total cost of producing these patterns from every conceivable angle.

I think she’s going to come up with some very interesting data that will also be of interest to professional designers, hobbyist designers, and crocheters and knitters in general.

Keeping Track of Pattern Expenses

She will be keeping track of exactly how much each pattern actually costs to produce: sample knitters, photography, tech editing, pattern layout, administrative fees (bookkeeping, order processing, customer service), postage, and more.

Another interesting tidbit about this endeavor is the thought and effort behind how to fund the experiment. After running numbers based on previous pattern releases, Shannon came up with a figure of $1,000 per pattern, which should cover all the expenses to pay those involved (photographer, tech editor, sample knitters, administrative personnel) a fair wage and have some extra to help advertise and promote the patterns as well. The total yearly expenses for these 52 patterns will be $52,000. I don’t know many in this business who have a spare $52,000 just lying around to fund this type of experiment, and apparently Shannon is no exception to that.

Funding the Experiment

She has created a subscription service to encourage knitters to take part with her in this experiment. For a weekly subscription fee of just $4, subscribers will receive that week’s pattern plus access to additional content and information that is not available to current subscribers. The great thing: Shannon isn’t asking for a commitment for the entire year. If you like, you can subscribe on and off throughout the year. As long as there is an average of 250 subscribers each week, Shannon will meet her goal to cover all pattern production expenses. Those who subscribe for a minimum of six months will also receive a free copy of the book she plans to write and publish about the experiment.

Questions I to Which I Want Answers

I have questions of my own that I hope will be addressed throughout this experiment:

Your Questions

Do you have questions you’d like answered through this experiment? Please leave them in the comments.

For More Info ~ Become a Subscriber

Want to be an inside part of the experiment to get more information? Want to help support the project? Click here to go to the Knitgrrl Patreon page and make your $4 pledge per pattern release.

As of 3:30 CST on 12/31/16, Shannon has 31 out of the hoped-for 250 subscribers for her first pattern release of 2017.


3 thoughts on “Interesting Experiment: Costs to Produce a Pattern”

  1. Thank you so much, Amy, and to everyone else who is reading this. Having been in the yarnie design industry full time since 2004, things really have changed a LOT, and not always for the better, so I’m hoping this will bring us all new information and data we can work with to improve things. Wishing all of you a very happy new year, and I hope you’ll join us!

    • Shannon, I totally agree with you about the less-than-positive changes. I’m very interested in seeing how this all plays out for you this year. We also put out money where our mouth is: Crochetville just signed up to help support this project.

      Fellow crochet and knit designers, and crocheters and knitters who want to help support the industry, foster education, and bring about some much-needed change to make it easier for professionals to make a living in this industry, we encourage you to support this endeavor throughout the year.

      Did you know you can sign up for just one payment of $4 each month? That’s less than the cost of a Starbucks coffee with the added benefit of helping our industry!

  2. Very interesting endeavor! I’ve recently ‘retired’ from the business of publishing patterns, but I’m still extremely curious to follow along. I’ll be heading to the sign-up page from here!


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