Pattern Preferences, the survey, closed yesterday. As always, I learned interesting things, some of which I thought you might be interested in knowing as well. I recognized a lot of the people who took the survey, and not surprisingly, some were other designers and tech editors who are taking or have taken courses from me.
I’ve been considering pattern preferences for a while, although I tend to do what I want to do (that is pretty universally true for me), so it was a bit unusual that it occurred to me to check in with people who might use patterns to find out what was important or if they valued the same things I do.
The survey had 16 questions (plus email and name for drawings). How questions were answered depended on knitting perspective, so that has to be considered too.
I was surprised at how many people still print. It think printing is a good thing, and it may not be a universal practice, but 75% of the responders said they print. 20% used a tablet or iPad. Some preferred to print selected pages, which I think is great.
Pattern Preferences, What Do You Look for First?
Gauge and needle size was the winner at 55%, followed by yarn information at 36%. I was a little surprised by this because I would think that information was all available beforehand and drove the choice. So that was really good to know!
There was a choice for “this is what makes a really great pattern” for each of these.
Schematics for Measurements: 10% didn’t find them important, while 31% found them really important. 44% said that having them made a great pattern. There were comments that shawls and scarves don’t need them, so I suspect the type of knitting the knitter does had a high impact here.
Stitch Pattern Charts: This had almost the same breakdown as schematics, with a few people abstaining. A really great pattern got 40%.
Shaping Charts: 30% didn’t find them important and 22% found them really important and, again, there were a few people abstaining. Context of the knitting was important. 25% thought this part of a really great pattern.
Pattern Preferences, Links to Abbreviations and Techniques Not In the Pattern
14% didn’t think this very important, while 50% would be surprised not to find them or found it important. 24% though it part of a great pattern.
Pattern Preferences, Link to PDF of (large) Charts
I think I could have phrased this more carefully. I was thinking about large charts that get shrunk to fit within a pattern, and whether it would be useful to have a link to get a larger version. 25% didn’t think this terribly important, and 35% did, in addition to the 32% who thought it was part of a great pattern.
Pattern Preferences, Goals, Presentation
I’ve been told I should include more of this, and I will admit that I like putting it into my patterns, but I got some mixed results on it. I will likely include more of it for those who want it. 24% weren’t that focused on it, while 45% would be surprised not to find it or found it really important. 30% thought it was part of a great pattern.
This one kind of surprised me. 60% said that as long as they can print what they want to, they don’t care how long a pattern is. There were an additional 22% who also didn’t care about length, with about 18% who do care about length, a few with very specific feelings.
Pattern Preferences, Right and Left Shaping
An overwhelming 71% liked this, while 20% didn’t mind not having it. 10% had comments. I cannot stand having to figure this out in anything other than stockinette, so it goes into all my patterns. I honestly believe leaving this to the knitter is one one of the fastest ways to derail a project. Not because a knitter can’t figure it out, but because it rarely comes up at a moment when that is what they want to be doing instead of knitting!
Pattern Preferences, Following Along
56% like to just watch things unfold, while 43% liked to sometimes, or had specific thoughts to share.
Pattern Preferences, Finding the Proper Pattern Size
60% want a size chart and measurements; I think this skewed a bit since that is something important to me. 4% thought knowing the model’s size useful, while 22% wanted to know more about how the measurements are used in creating the design. I’m so glad to know that! There were 11% with comments. Look for more on this in the future.
Pattern Preferences, Price
I can report that the disconnect between pattern prices, and pattern wants, is pretty universal.
From my perspective, I want to provide a ton of information and assistance that costs way more than what I can realistically sell my patterns for.
From the user perspective, the expectations for content and the unwillingness to pay for them is often completely baffling to me. It does explain why knitters continue to use free patterns, and then complain about them.
I asked for a valuation of a fair price (not what you want to pay) for an accessory pattern and for a garment pattern (both with 1 to 5 sizes).
For an accessory the average fair price was $10. The lowest price was $5 and the highest $20. I had one person generously say $100. I think that the popularity of knitting accessories has probably raised the fair price here.
For a garment the average fair price was $16. The low was $7 and the high was $35; also that $100! Perhaps this is a reflection of the relative lack of popularity for knitting adult garments right now.
Pattern Preferences, Comments
I also asked for and got comments to a question on what the knitter would pay extra to have in patterns. Some of these are a bit unrealistic, but also provide a nice sense of what is valued.
Another question asked what knitters would like to say to a designer/pattern writer. These were thoughtful and helpful, and here are the top words.
And The Winners Are!
I have two books to give away, so Mitch drew numbers for those from my newsletter subscribers.
- Bonnie Baker (#18) won a copy of Carson Demer’s Knitting Comfortably. This went
- Donna Bowman (#37) won a copy of Classic Knit Shawls from Interweave Press.
I have a couple copies of Simplicity Volume No. 2 from Skacel, featuring patterns by me.
- Ann Sinclair (#23) gets a copy, and
- Sara Hickling (#3) gets a copy.