How to Become a Crochet Designer

How to Become a Crochet Designer

You enjoy creating new designs instead of relying on other people’s patterns. Your friends want to make the items you’re designing. How do you become a crochet designer?

There’s a lot to learn, but you’ve got to start somewhere. Here are my ten best tips for becoming a crochet designer.

This post contains affiliate links.

Tip #1 Crochet, crochet, crochet

Crochet, crochet, crochet

Crochet a lot. Crochet many different types of things: hats, scarfs, afghans, pillows, amigurumi, shawls and sweaters. Crochet items where gauge matters so that you understand how important gauge is. Crochet sweaters for women, for men, and for children so that you understand ease and fit.

Pay attention to the techniques you use and try to understand the “why” behind what you are doing. You may learn that you don’t enjoy crocheting a specific type of project or with a certain type of yarn. Or you may find new favorites!

The more you crochet and the more varied your projects are, the faster you will learn the designer skills.


Tip #2 Learn from Others

Learn from Others

Study what other crochet designers have done, and see what techniques they use.

As you learn new techniques, make sure you’re learning from reputable sources. Blog posts and videos made years ago may have a lot of views. This makes them show up at the top of a list when you do a search. And they may be at the top of the list because they are useful and answer your questions.

Yet not every post or video you’ll see will be accurate. It may be that things have changed recently and new terminology has come into fashion. There may be more than one “right” way of doing something. The information given may not cover the whole story.

Take time to look at many sources for information. Learning from books, blogs, and videos will increase your knowledge. Books like Design Your Own Crochet Projects by Sara Delaney can speed you on your way.

Take classes to up your skill level. Many in-person classes are on hold right now, but they are an excellent way to build your skills. Bloggers and teachers who teach at national shows such as the CGOA’s Chain Link or Stitches events are a good place to start.

Classes from Bluprint and Creativebug are other reliable sources. You can see all my available classes here.

And of course, there are thousands of YouTube videos to choose from. Subscribe to my YouTube channel for lots of crochet instruction.


Tip #3 Swatch, swatch, swatch

Swatch, Swatch, Swatch

swatch of crocheted fabric

Swatching is the process of making a small sample of fabric using the yarn, hook, and stitch pattern(s) you’ll use in a project.

Most people think of swatching as a chore they have to do to match a pattern gauge. But swatching is much more than that! It’s a crucial tool for designers.

Swatching allows you to try out ideas before you commit to making an entire project. If you have a problem with the yarn or hook, or don’t like the stitch pattern, it’s better to find that out early on. Why wait until the middle of the project to find out you don’t like it?

Swatching allows you to get a feel for the fabric you are making. You can decide if that fabric behaves the way you want it to for your project. Play with combinations of hook, yarn and stitch pattern to get the exact fabric you want.

Crocheting is forgiving of experimentation, and that’s what swatching is all about. And yes, a good swatch also gives you important information about gauge.

Watch How to Measure Gauge in Single Crochet.


Tip #4 Make Friends with Stitch Dictionaries

Make Friends with Stitch Dictionaries

While we are on the topic of experimenting, grab a stitch dictionary or three and try out different stitch patterns. Add stitch patterns to your design toolbox!

Try out a variety of patterns, hooks, yarns, and projects. This kind of play (it’s called swatching!) allows your creative juices to start flowing.

Here are some great places to start with stitch dictionaries:


Tip #5 Understand the Math

Understand the Math

Designing for crochet is all about math. You are going to be using arithmetic in all your crochet designs, whether you realize it or not.

Knowing how gauge factors into everything is a start, but there is a lot more to know. You will save huge amounts of time, and lots of trial and error, if you take the time to learn the math behind the crochet.

Understanding the math ensures that your projects will turn out to be the size and proportions you intend. Don’t be scared! We are talking 4th-grade level calculations, and calculators are allowed! Learn more in my Math for Crocheters class.


Tip #6 Prepare a Professional Pattern

Prepare a Professional Pattern

Have you ever felt discouraged trying to read a crochet pattern? An incomplete or poorly written pattern can make you throw your hook in the air with frustration!

Crocheters are more likely to trust you and want to make your patterns if they are easy to read and understand. Publishers and editors love designers who can compose well-written patterns.

Save yourself time and effort by coming up with a designing system. Develop your idea, make the project, and write the pattern in one integrated, seamless workflow.

Crochet Pattern Writing Workshop graphic

In my online course Crochet Pattern Writing Workshop, you’ll start to create this type of workflow. You’ll develop a style guide so your patterns are consistently formatted. You’ll learn to write clear instructions. Improve the overall quality of your patterns for a more professional presentation.



Tip #7 Use a Tech Editor

Use a Tech Editor

A technical editor, or tech editor, checks your pattern between when you design it and when you publish it. They ensure that all of your math checks out and that you haven’t left out crucial instructions. A tech editor is a crucial step in presenting accurate, well-written patterns.

For more about tech editors, read Working with a Technical Editor.

Want to hire me as your tech editor? I’d love to help you become a better crochet designer!


Tip #8: Style Your Photos

Style Your Photos

Easy Little Baskets photograph
Easy Little Baskets

Think about how you’ll be taking photos. Don’t just take a picture of your project on the kitchen table with mess in the background. Use natural light whenever possible, and the best camera you have available. (Maybe you need to borrow a family member’s phone!)

Putting other items in the picture with the project to style it makes the photo more interesting and memorable, and encourages people to click on your pattern.

For more on this topic, read Show and Tell: Photographing Handmade Textiles.



Tip #9 Publish Online

Publish Online

Anybody can be a published designer when you publish online!

Put patterns up on your blog or on pattern sites such as Ravelry, Etsy, or AllFreeCrochet.

Many crocheters expect patterns to come as downloadable and printable PDFs, not as pamphlets from their local stores. Make sure that those who find your patterns are able to find you and any other patterns you may have. Include your email address or website on each pattern.


Tip #10 Promote Your Patterns

Promote Your Patterns on Social Media

megaphone graphic

Let your friends and family know about your pattern, and encourage them to share it. Your cousin who doesn’t crochet may have a best friend who is looking for their next pattern.

Use those beautifully-styled photos you took! Broadcast your news on all the channels you can think of: Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter. Consider making a promotional video for YouTube or other video platforms. Tell the world about your awesome design!

For more information on promoting your patterns, read my interview with Marie Segares, AKA Underground Crafter, and author of Design It, Promote It, Sell It.

More Resources

There’s so much to learn about becoming a crochet designer! Check out Knit & Crochet Design Resources for some helpful links.

Do you have questions about crochet design? Ask them in the comments below.

10 Ways to Celebrate National Crochet Month

March is National Crochet Month

It’s March, and that means it’s National Crochet Month. Of course, you can celebrate crochet all year, but here are some ideas for things you can do to recognize #NatCroMo.

This post contains affiliate links.

#1 Crochet in Public

Don’t hide! Let others see what you are doing!

Hands crocheting
Image by Lola Reyes from Pixabay

Crochet while you are waiting for appointments, waiting in line, waiting for your kids, or simply spending time outside. Why fiddle with your phone when you could be crocheting?

#2 Teach Someone to Crochet

Teach someone to crochet. Share your passion. If you can crochet, you can teach someone else.

Nervous about teaching? Don’t be! Check out the Craft Yarn Council Certified Instructors Program, a program that gives you the tools and knowledge you need to be an effective teacher.

Onsite Certified Instructors Program Craft Yarn Council

Note for 2020: In July I’ll be teaching the on-site Craft Yarn Council Certification Program in Crochet. It’s 2.5 days of intensive instruction, and you’ll get certified in both Levels 1 and 2. Look for more details on the blog later this week.

#3 Learn a New Technique

Learn a new technique. Stretch your wings!

Do you know foundation single crochet? Join-as-you-go? How to avoid gaps at the beginning of rows? How to block your projects?

You can never know everything there is to know about crochet, but take this month to learn more. The more you know, the better (and happier) crocheter you will be.

#4 Learn a New Stitch Pattern

Don’t get stuck in a rut. Let this be the month you try a new stitch pattern. There are thousands of ways you can combine basic crochet stitches to make fabulous fabrics.

Check out online sources for individual stitch patterns, or look at some of the following stitch dictionaries, which offer many stitch patterns in one place.

#5 Get Comfortable with Symbol Charts

Get comfortable with symbol charts. If you’ve shied away from crochet symbol diagrams, take some time now to understand them. Symbol diagrams are a visual representation of crochet stitches. They can be a huge help in understanding the sometimes confusing language in crochet patterns.

See It Crochet It Reading Diagrams with Charles Voth

To learn about creating crochet charts, read In Search of Crochet Charting Software and watch How to Read a Crochet Pattern, which includes reading a crochet diagram. My colleague Charles Voth has a Bluprint class called See It, Crochet It, which covers reading crochet charts in some detail. The very best way to learn about charts is to use them! All of my books, and most of my self-published patterns, include charts as well as text.

#6 Splurge on a New Tool

Splurge on a new tool. Whether it’s that special crochet hook you’ve been wondering about or a special ball of yarn you’ve been coveting, treat yourself to something special.

Clover Amour Crochet Hook Set
#7 Make a Quick Crocheted Gift

Make a quick crocheted gift. Everyone loves to get a handmade gift. Celebrate the month by crocheting a quick gift and give it to someone you love—or to a complete stranger!

Quick Crochet Home Decor Book coer
Quick Crochet Home Decor

For bonus points, wrap your gift in “crocheted” gift wrap paper.

#8 Put Crochet in an Unexpected Place

Put crochet in an unexpected place. Crochet a border on a picture frame or basket. Or go big and yarn bomb something! It’s always fun to see crochet in a surprising place.

Building covered with granny squares
Image by M W from Pixabay
#9 Join a Crochet Along

Join a Crochet Along (CAL). Crochet Alongs happen all the time, so you should be able to find one at any time you happen to read this post. This month, I’m finishing up a 5-Panel Blanket Crochet Along with Plymouth Yarn, but you can still join in and catch up in your own time.

5-Panel Blanket Crochet Along

Previously I did a Skill-Builder Crochet Blanket CAL, but it’s still available for you to join at any time. Check Ravelry for other CALs.

#10 Find Other Crocheters

It’s fun to crochet with others. If you’ve crocheted in public, you’ve probably run into like-minded souls there. Collect their contact information and meet up at a local coffee shop.  

Young hands crocheting
Image by Lola Reyes from Pixabay

Find a local crochet guild, form a lunchtime crochet group at work or school, or see if your local yarn shop has a “open table” for yarn crafts.

Consider going to a crochet conference, where you’ll find oh-so-many passionate crocheters. The Crochet Guild of America hosts the annual Chain Link conference. It includes a market and crochet classes for all skill levels. There’s plenty of opportunity for sharing laughter and knowledge with other crocheters.

What you are going to do to celebrate National Crochet Month?

6 Crafting New Year’s Resolutions I Can Keep

6 Crafting New Year's Resolutions I Can Keep
6 Crafting New Year's Resolutions That I Can Keep graphic

Conventional wisdom says that sharing New Year’s resolutions with someone else is supposed to keep us accountable and thus more likely to achieve success.

I’ve come up with 6 reasonable and sustainable goals for my crafting life in the New Year. With your help, I think I can achieve them. Who wants to join me with these New Year’s Resolutions?

This post may contain affiliate links, which help support me but don’t cost you anything extra.

Resolution #1: Allow My Yarn to Mature

Resolution #1 Mature Yarn: skein of natural-colored Candide Yarn
This classic yarn has been in my stash for many years.

Not all yarn needs to be used immediately. Sometimes it needs to age until it is ready to reach its full potential.

This process may take years. Since yarn doesn’t go bad if properly cared for—in moth-proof storage, for example—there’s no time limit on when it must be used. I have yarn that is more than 25 years old. It’s still a nice color. It’s still wool. It just hasn’t decided what it’s going to be.

My yarn stash serves as high-quality housing insulation.

I resolve to not stash bust this year.


Resolution #2: Allow My Yarn Stash to Grow

Resolution #2: New yarn from Stunning String Studio
Who wouldn’t want this beautiful pink yarn from Stunning String Studio? And some cute stitch markers, too?

Forget “yarn diets”! They just make me feel guilty about buying new yarn. Yarn doesn’t have calories and it doesn’t make me fat, so why should I diet?

Instead, I want to embrace the joy that purchasing a beautiful new yarn brings: the expectation of a future project; the zen of repetitive motion as colorful fiber slips through my fingers; the prospect of unlimited options.

Budapest Yarn Shop
I bought souvenir yarn with my last forints in this shop in Budapest.

Yarn makes an excellent travel souvenir. Every time I see that ball of yarn I bought in Budapest, I remember the adventure I had finding the yarn shop. I couldn’t read the street signs, the store was on a small street away from any tourist areas, and no one around spoke English (or Spanish or French, which were other languages I tried). When I found the shop, we all had a marvelous time visiting and admiring each others’ work, despite some pretty significant language challenges. They helped me figure out how many forints I could spend and still have enough change to take the tram back to the boat. If I had been on a yarn diet, I would have missed that entire experience!

I resolve to buy more yarn this year.


Resolution #3: Allow My Yarn to Range Free

Resolution #3 messy studio space with free-range yarn
The sad truth is that my studio is never Instagram-worthy.

Some people like a very tidy desk, a very tidy house, and a very tidy studio. I am not one of those people. While I like a neat kitchen, living room and bedroom, when it comes to my creative spaces, “tidy” is not a word that any one would use.

When I’m being creative, I want to see things out in the open. As I sit and crochet with one yarn, I like to let my eyes rest on other yarn that I have yet to use. I allow my mind to wander and dream of my next project. If everything is tucked away from sight, I can’t do that. I prefer free-range yarn.

I resolve not to organize my stash this year.


Resolution #4: Allow Some Yarn to Depart

Resolution #4: bag of yarn to donate
Not all yarn needs to live at my house.

This resolution may seem at odds with Resolutions #1 and #2, but it’s not. I do have a finite amount of storage space, and an even more finite amount of open (free-range) space.

Sometimes as yarn matures, it tells me it needs to leave the house and spread joy elsewhere. (Infrequently, it tells me this the moment it arrives at my house, but often it takes a bit longer.)

Maybe the color is not my thing, or the fiber content. Maybe I swatched with it and just couldn’t get it to behave in the way I wanted it to. These are the yarns that are ready to spread their wings and depart my nest.

There are plenty of people who would love my unloved yarn. I’ve given to senior centers, elementary and middle schools, and church groups, and they are always happy to accept donations.

I resolve to give away yarn this year.


Resolution #5: Use the Best Tools

Resolution #5: Circular knitting needles stored in The Circular Solution
I don’t love every single one of these needles. It’s time for some to find a new home.

I have a lot of crochet hooks, and even more knitting needles. I have tape measures in every drawer and project bag.

However, some of those tools aren’t the greatest. Needles may have blunt tips or sticky finishes that I find annoying. A few circular needles have a catchy cable-to-needle join. Certain brands of crochet hooks don’t fit my hand and make crocheting awkward and uncomfortable. A couple of those tape measures are surely stretched out and faded.

Some of these items should be discarded entirely, while others would be perfect for another crafter. Why am I keeping these tools?

I resolve to use only tools that make my crafting more enjoyable.

Resolution #6: Practice Safe Crafting

Resolution #6: Knitting Comfortably cover

If I want to keep knitting and crocheting for years to come, I need to take care of my body. This means avoiding repetitive stress injury, getting up and moving instead of sitting at my computer and behind my needles/hook. It means getting sufficient full-body exercise. It means using a body-friendly bag when I go to teaching gigs, fiber shows and shopping sprees. It means paying attention to proper lighting, keeping my yarn and electrical cords out from underfoot, and more.

These are not new resolutions to me, but it helps to remind myself of them. One of my go-to resources for reminding myself of these things is Carson Demers’ excellent book Knitting Comfortably. (Read my interview with Carson.)

I resolve to pay attention to crafting ergonomics this year.

Final Thoughts

Of course, I could make more traditional goals that would make me more organized, tidier, and maybe even more financially responsible. But I probably wouldn’t keep them, and that failure would just make me feel bad.

I’m content with the way things are, and these goals fit into my lifestyle this year. If they don’t fit into yours, that’s fine. Perhaps you need to save money and thus should use stash yarn all year. Maybe an untidy crafting spaces gives you the creeps, or UFOs make you nervous. Perhaps your living space doesn’t allow for more yarn.

Embrace what works for you, and set your goals accordingly. This fiber-crafting thing is supposed to be fun and relaxing. Make it so.

What about you? What are your goals for the New Year?
Share in the Comments below.

Stocking Stuffers for Knitters and Crocheters

Stocking Stuffers for Knitters & Crocheters
Stocking Stuffers for Knitters & Crocheters

Stuff a stocking with tools and notions for a fiber artist in your life. They’ll love you for it, and you may even get a handmade gift in return! Here are some suggestions for stocking stuffers for knitters and crocheters.

Scroll over the image for more information, or click the links to learn more.

This post contains affiliate links, which may provide a small income to me if you buy something, but won’t cost you anything extra.

Stitch Markers

Every crocheter and knitter uses stitch markers, and if they don’t, they should! And markers have a way of getting lost, so we always need more.

There are several different styles of marker. Even if the gift recipient has a current favorite, it’s always a good idea to try new products. Try them all!

Hint: Crocheters need markers that open. Look for the words “locking”, “split ring”, or “opening” in the title to make sure you are getting the right kind.

Scissors

A good pair of scissors is always appreciated. I’m always on the lookout for tiny scissors that pack easily but are sharp enough to cut well.

Wondering about scissors in your airplane carry-on? According to the TSA, scissors with blades less than 4″ are allowed. However, razor blade style circular thread cutters are not allowed.



Small Tools & Notions

Besides stitch markers and scissors, there are all kinds of little tools that make a fiber artist’s life easier. Here are some suggestions.

Hint: Check before buying tape measures. They either have WAY too many already, or not quite enough.


Note Cards & Paper

We can’t play with yarn ALL the time! Sometimes we have to write old-fashioned notes, on paper.

A Google search will lead you to lots of knitting and crochet-themed paper products. Here are some of my favorites.

Things to Drink From

It’s important for crafters to stay hydrated. Whether that’s water, soda, or wine, there are plenty of options for yarn-related beverage containers.

Once you open your eyes to the possibilities, there are lots of stocking stuffers for knitters and crocheters.

Want ideas for larger gifts? Read 12 Gifts for Knitters and Crocheters, and Sheep-Themed Gift Roundup.

If you find something I’ve missed, please share your ideas in the comments below.

How to Wind a Yarn Butterfly

How to Wind a Yarn Butterfly

Sometimes you need just a small amount of yarn for a project, and it would be uncomfortable to use a full ball of yarn. That’s when you need a yarn butterfly! Here’s how to wind a yarn butterfly. It’s quick and easy.

A yarn butterfly is simply a “re-packaging” of yarn into a small butterfly-shaped bundle. If prepared right, the bundle stays wrapped and secured, making it possible to use the working end of the yarn for your project while the rest of the yarn waits patiently.

Yarn butterflies are usually used for the intarsia method (knitting or crocheting), but they can be used any time.

It can be easier to use a butterfly than a yarn bobbin. In my experience, plastic yarn bobbins get tangled more than butterflies. Plus, I can never find enough bobbins when I’m ready to start a complex intarsia project.

OK, I didn’t say that very well in words. It’s really quite easy to do, so let’s try some pictures. Follow these step-by-step instructions or watch the video at the bottom of the post.

Step-by-Step Instructions

How to wind a yarn butterfly Step 1: Hold yarn tail under thumb.
  1. Hold the yarn tail under your thumb and out of the way.

Begin wrapping in figure-8.

2. Begin wrapping the yarn around your fingers in a figure-8 pattern.


Keep strands parallel.

3. As you wrap, keep the strands parallel to each other. Don’t let them cross over each other.


How to wind a yarn butterfly Step 4: Pinch the yarn bundle together at the center.

4. When you have wrapped enough, pinch the yarn bundle together at the center point, and slide it off your fingers.


Wrap the tail around the bundle

5. Leaving at least 12″ [30 cm], cut the working yarn. Wrap this end around the center of the bundle. Wrap tightly, but not too tightly.


Tuck end under center wraps.

6. Tuck the end under the center wraps. A crochet hook is handy to use for this task.


Step 7: Use the free end of the yarn to work with. It should pull neatly out of the butterfly.

7. When you have finished, use the working end (the end that was under your thumb). It should pull out neatly as you need it, leaving the rest of the yarn still wrapped up in its butterfly shape.


The yarn I used for the demonstration is Chic Sheep by Marly Bird. Looking for more yarny information? Check out How to Wind Yarn with a Yarn Swift and Yarn Winder and How to Block Knitting and Crochet.

Now that you know how to wind a yarn butterfly, what will you make with your yarn butterflies? Leave a comment below.

Interview & Giveaway With Marie Segares: Design It, Promote It, Sell It

Design It Promote It Sell It Online Marketing for Your Crochet and Knit Patterns by Marie Segares

As a teacher and designer mentor, one of the most frequently-asked questions I get is: How do I sell my designs? Crafts blogger Marie Segares, of Underground Crafter and the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show fame, offers targeted tips to knit and crochet designers in her newest book: Design It, Promote It, Sell It.

Read on to see what she has to say about promoting your patterns, and to see how you can get your own copy.

Marie Segares provided a copy of Design It, Promote It, Sell It for this article. This post contains affiliate links.


What’s Special About Design It, Promote It, Sell It?

Online Marketing graphic

Edie:  You offer a crash course in marketing and introduce a number of important concepts. For  those designers whose eyes glaze over when you start using marketing terms, can you give us a one sentence explanation of why Design It, Promote It, Sell It is worth a look?

Marie: If you struggle with getting more eyes on your patterns, or have lots of people looking but not buying, this book has some actionable ideas to help you change that situation.

Edie: How is your book different from all the other marketing books on the market?

Marie: Most marketing books are very general. This one is specifically about marketing crochet and knitting patterns online. It’s shorter than many marketing books and it’s more focused on the specific challenges of crochet and knitting pattern designers.

For New Designers

First Steps for Newbies

Edie: I’m often asked “What do you have to do to become a designer?” My answer is, “Design something,” but the deeper question being asked is really “How do I get my designs discovered?” Would you agree?

Marie: Designing isn’t a career that most people know about from their everyday life experiences, like being a teacher or doctor, so often people are just trying to uncover what is involved. I agree that designers do need to design, though!

Edie: For a brand-new designer with only a design or two in the bag, the amount of promotional work you set forth is pretty overwhelming. What are the first two steps they should take?

Marie: I think new designers should add their patterns to the Ravelry pattern database and find one other online place that their ideal customer is likely to be hanging out to start establishing a presence there.

(Edie has collected some knit & crochet design resources.)

What About the Money?

Edie: One thing I didn’t really see discussed in the book is realistic expectations. What advice would you give knit and crochet designers about what the level of sales and revenue they can expect?

Marie:  Are you asking if I think folks can “live off designing alone”? I personally don’t know anyone who earns a full time living ONLY as a crochet or knitting designer. I discuss this more in my other book, Make Money Teaching Crochet, but most everyone I know in the industry blends several income streams. You can listen to my podcast episode about this (or read the show notes) at 6 Income Streams for Your Yarn-Related Business.

About Doing It All

Edie: ‘Fess up, do really do all these things for every pattern you release? In other words, do you practice what you preach?

Marie: I definitely don’t, and I mention that in the introduction. I’m also not saying that everyone SHOULD do all of the things I list in the book with every pattern release. If your audience isn’t on Facebook, for example, what benefit is there in posting each pattern there and doing Facebook Lives for each pattern release? This is why I wrote a book instead of selling a checklist for marketing patterns. It’s really important for each designer to customize the checklist based on their audience AND on their own capacity.

As an example, I don’t rely on my crochet and knitting business for my full income because I have a full time job. However, it is a growing and significant part of my household income, and I do need it. If I didn’t have this income, I’d be working part time somewhere to earn the money. I have more time constraints than some designers who do this for a full time living, but in exchange, I have more financial security. Some designers have more time and can “do more” to promote their businesses, while others are balancing jobs, family life, or other responsibilities, too.

About Analytics

Edie: You talk about measuring your marketing efforts to understand what tactics are working. If you have things set up right, it’s pretty easy to get the numbers on impressions and engagement. It’s harder to measure conversions to sales, especially when the marketing is taking place on Facebook or Instagram but the actual sale may happen on Ravelry or somewhere other than your own website. How do you analyze that?

Marie: It’s definitely a challenge. Etsy gives you a pretty good idea where your sales are coming from, but other sites like Ravelry and Craftsy don’t have as many analytic tools. Some designers use tracking links, like the ones from bit.ly or by using a plugin on your WordPress site like Pretty Links. If you went this route, you would set up different links for each place where you promote your patterns, but you’d still probably be estimating the percentage of sales come through the the clicks to that link. Another way to track is to offer different discount codes on different sites. As an example, many designers offer patterns at a discounted rate for the first days or week after the pattern is released. Offer the same discount, but use different codes through your various social media outlets. You can track how many sales were made using that code.

Working with a Virtual Assistant

Edie: The Online Profile Audit Checklist and Pattern Promotion Checklist are very useful. Some of those tasks seem ideally suited to be delegated a virtual assistant (VA) or other helper. VAs can save you time and effort, especially with streamlined tasks like uploading patterns and  tagging and notifying collaborators. Have you worked with a VA, and do you recommend them?

Marie: I haven’t worked with a VA, though I know many designers do. I’ve tried to build my business organically, which means I don’t take on any expenses that the business can’t already pay for. While, in theory, a VA could free up time for me to produce more patterns, I don’t currently earn enough of a profit to feel comfortable hiring someone else. I also don’t have the time to train anyone else to do it “my way.”

I personally wouldn’t feel comfortable assigning a VA the role of writing my social media posts or tagging my collaborators until I had worked with them for a long time. I have seen many designers with VAs that don’t “sound” like them, and that impacts your brand in a negative way. I would be more comfortable delegating tasks that don’t relate to my (potential) customers, like submitting patterns to craft directories or uploading patterns to secondary marketplaces.

In any case, I would never recommend  allowing a VA (or any other delegate) to set your marketing strategy. Instead, allow them to perform your marketing tactics. This is an important distinction and I’ve seen many designers who are uncomfortable with marketing hoping that some other person can magically solve their “marketing problem.” It’s like allowing someone else to design all the patterns and you will just make type up their ideas or make the samples. The concepts and the intellectual property should come from the designer, not the VA.

About Design It,  Promote It, Sell It

Design It,  Promote It, Sell It is available in three editions so you can choose the format that suits you best. It’s available as a 69-page PDF e-book that includes 3 printable questionnaires and 3 printable checklists. You can get it as a Kindle ebook, or as a paperback print edition (coming soon).

Thanks to the generosity of the author, I’m able to give away one copy of the PDF e-book.

The giveaway period has ended.

About Marie Segares

Marie SegaresMarie Segares is a crochet and knitting designer, crafts blogger, teacher, podcaster, college professor, and small business consultant. She hosted the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show, a podcast for yarn industry indies, for two years and 71 episodes. She is also the author of ​Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students​.

Marie shares crochet and knitting patterns, crafts projects and tutorials, and recipes on her blog, Underground Crafter​. Marie’s patterns, tutorials, and articles have been published in a number of publications.

In addition to teaching crochet and knitting classes locally, Marie has also taught or presented at BlogHer, Creativation, and other professional blogging conferences. Marie is a graduate of Barnard College. She earned her MPH at Columbia University and her MBA at New York University. She is currently enrolled in the EdD program in Organizational Leadership Studies at Northeastern University.