knitting · Other crafts

How to make money from selling your knitting and crochet designs online – some ideas

If you have a talent for designing knitting and crochet patterns, it could be that you could make an income from your skill. I did this as a way of avoiding claiming unemployment benefit when my daughter was young.

Crafters are always on the lookout for interesting designs to make, and the advent of the instantly downloadable PDF has opened up a wealth of opportunity to designers and creatives.

Your patterns don’t have to be anything complicated. Beginner knit and crochet patterns and quick and easy makes are always in demand. Fingerless gloves, hats, cowls and boot cuffs are all great examples of designs that you could write out a pattern for, and then sell.

Easy knit hats patterns are always in demand. The key to selling them is to have attractive photos so you can market your designs

Selling paper patterns on Ebay

I used to sell my designs (baby hats, mostly) on Ebay. I typed everything out and then saved each design as a PDF file, and I would print them out and post them off as and when I received an order. Considering that I only had a handful of designs, and really didn’t market them well at all, I sold quite a few.

The problem that I encountered, and the reason that I would never sell knitting patterns on Ebay again, is that customers somehow thought they were receiving the actual knitted item, and were not at all happy when they received a piece of paper.

Selling your knitting and crochet designs as instantly downloadable PDF files on Etsy

Etsy is brilliant for selling knitting and crochet patterns. Well, any sort of pattern. It is really easy to set up a shop and then upload your PDFs and get selling. I wrote an article here about making an Etsy store look nice. When you make a pattern sale , Etsy sends off the PDF to the customer for you, takes a commission cut, and then pays you what’s left.

Etsy is a very creative, visual sales platform, and you need to take beautiful photos of your work. This will receive likes, and pins, and maybe even feature on the front page of Etsy, helping your patterns to gain attention and sell.

Click here to see an example of one of the best selling knitting and crochet design shops on Etsy. The designer uses her daughter as a model. You don’t necessarily need a live model to get great sales though. This is another example of a best selling knitting pattern.  The main photograph is just lovely and really makes the design stand out.

Designing can be as simple or as complicated as you wish. I write down what I’m knitting, row by row, word by word, and then knit the pattern several times so I know it works. You can also use test knitters to check that your pattern works before you sell it.

VAT collection issue when selling instant download files in Europe

I would strongly recommend using a platform such as Etsy if you want to sell instant download PDF files, particularly if you are selling to customers in Europe. By law you have to collect VAT on instant download digital file sales, and pay it to the country of each customer.

What a headache that would be! So if you wanted to sell instant downloads on your own website, you would be responsible for this yourself. With Etsy though, no worries about collecting the VAT. Whoever processes the sales collects and pays the VAT, so in this case, Etsy is responsible.

If you send a PDF pattern manually, and not via digital download, there is no VAT issue. You could sell via a Facebook page, for example, take the payment and then email off your pattern. You could manually email your patterns with a regular own website too, however I think that customers would expect the pattern instantly if you did that. I wouldn’t do it.

Sell your knitting and crochet designs to a yarn company

Another way to make money from your own knitting or crochet patterns is by partnering up with a yarn company. Knitpicks, for example, pays up to $1,000 for a pattern which is successfully chosen to appear in one of their collections. They provide the yarn, and do all the photography for your finished piece, and only ask for two years exclusivity to the pattern. After that, you are free to sell the design yourself. Click here for full information about how you can make money working with Knitpicks.

Other ideas about selling your knitting and crochet designs

  • self publish an ebook on Amazon. 
  • Sell via a blog. WordPress, for example, has plug ins that can integrate with PayPal to make it easy to sell whilst blogging.
  • Write to your favourite yarn retailers ( surely other companies must have similar schemes to Knitpicks, which I wrote about above) and ask them if they looking for designers. Deramores, for example, stocks the patterns of a few independent designers and may well be looking for more. The worst that can happen from asking is receiving a no.
  • If you have any designs and would like to feature them on this blog, let me know, I love to support other crafters and would happily write about you and link to your shop or work. Leave a comment or contact me!

Please note that this post may contain affiliate links and/or advertisements. The author of the post may receive a commission, at no extra cost to yourself, should any purchase be made after clicking on a link.

Further reading:

Surprising ways to make money from knitting.

How to self publish knitting patterns on Amazon.

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