How This Knitter Turned Her Hobby Into a Smart Way to Earn Passive Income
Calling all knitters!
Did you know you can make some great passive income just by doing what you already love to do — knitting?
I’ve created three knitting patterns in the past three months, and earned up to $35 per month. It’s not hard: All you need to design and sell knitting patterns is a creative mind, reasonable writing skills, attention to detail and — of course — decent knitting skills.
If you’ve got those things, and you’re willing to put in some upfront time and effort, you can easily design and sell your own knitting patterns online.
Once you have the system up and running, you don’t have to do anything else. The money automatically comes into your bank account — no further input required.
How to Sell Your Own Knitting Patterns
Here’s the process I’ve used to create and market my three knitting patterns — with more coming soon.
1. Decide What to Make
The first step is to come up with an idea.
Shoot for something you think would be useful, pretty, would teach someone a new skill or could make for yourself or someone you know.
Bonus points: Make a gift for a friend or family member — then sell the pattern for extra cash!
2. Knit a Sample Item
Once you have an idea, the next step is to actually make it.
Take extensive notes about everything you do as you go, so you don’t miss any steps or key advice. Think about what you’d find in a typical knitting pattern.
This is the trickiest part of the process — but fear not! There are lots of resources to help you.
Craftsy offers several amazing classes about the more difficult parts of the design process.
If you want more guidance, Marie Segares at Creative Yarn Entrepreneur has a whole series of podcasts devoted to each step of the process, from start to finish.
3. Write the Knitting Pattern
Once you’ve worked out the first sample and taken lots of notes about the process, it’s time to write the pattern.
Write down in sequential order the exact instructions for recreating the knitted item, down to the most minute detail.
You’ll also need to include other info, such as what size needle you used, the amount and type of yarn used, the gauge, etc — basically, everything you see in a normal knitting pattern.
4. Get Your Knitting Pattern Edited
Once you have your first draft (and you’ve triple-checked it for errors!), have it looked at by a technical editor.
This highly experienced knitter will go through your instructions with a fine-toothed comb, checking for errors.
They won’t knit the pattern, but will go through the pattern line-by-line, making sure everything makes sense and is in the proper place.
Typically, technical editors charge around $15 per hour to look at your pattern. Most patterns take between 30 and 90 minutes to look at, depending on their complexity.
5. Get Your Knitting Pattern Tested
It’s also a wise idea to have a group of test knitters go through your pattern to ensure your pattern is bomb-proof.
This step isn’t required, but it’s smart. I do it to save myself the embarrassment and wasted time of having to come back later and edit a pattern a bunch of people bought.
You can find test knitters in your own network, or online. Ravelry even has groups of test knitters set up. Just post your pattern with all the details and requirements you’re looking for in test knitters.
Most test knitters work for a small fee. Some will work for free in exchange for a copy of your pattern, plus another free pattern of their choice from your already existing (or future) inventory.
6. List the Knitting Pattern for Sale
List a PDF copy of your knitting pattern on your favorite knitting sites. Ravelry and Craftsy are the most popular options, but smaller sites like Kollabora, Patternfish and Love Knitting are good, too.
Plus, you can list your knitting pattern for free! If you list with Craftsy, you keep 100% of your earnings. Ravelry only charges a small percentage once you hit a certain sales number.
When someone buys your pattern, the site sends your PDF automatically and deposits your payment to your PayPal account. So once you list your pattern, you don’t have to lift a finger — it’s all passive income!
How to Keep Making Money From Your Knitting Patterns
You don’t have to do any more work with each knitting pattern once you’ve listed it, but there are a few things you can do to keep a steady cash flow.
Promote your pattern within certain groups in Ravelry, and on social media. I’ve never done it, but you also can take out ads on the site.
The market for knitting patterns can be somewhat seasonal because more people tend to knit around the holidays.
Releasing patterns at regular intervals helps keep people coming back to your sales page, where they can find your other patterns — which helps even out your sales.
I’ve been releasing about one pattern a month, working on small knitting projects in my spare time. I price my patterns at $4.99 each. Every time someone buys one, I get an automatic deposit of $4.99 into my PayPal account.
Since I released my first pattern three months ago, I’ve been making a steady income of around $35 per month with just a few patterns.
It’s awesome to make money doing something I love — and I’m planning on creating a lot more patterns!
Your Turn: Do you knit? Would you consider selling knitting patterns to earn money on the side?
Lindsay VanSomeren lives in Fort Collins, Colorado. She enjoys hiking, fishing, learning languages and drinking fine brews.