Many knitters and crocheters come up with their own designs. In episode #21 of our half-hour radio show, YarnCraft, we talked about sharing your patterns with others, whether online or in print. Here are five tips from the show:
1. Self-publishing online: If you've shared a pattern on your blog or website, it's "published" and protected by standard copyright law. If you want to share it with a broader audience than just the visitors to your site, link to it on communities like Ravelry.com and Crochetville.org so that more knitters and crocheters can find out about it. You can also share your pattern directly on Ravelry.com, where you can create a pattern page and post the pattern as a PDF. It also allows you to share it with a bigger audience than you might otherwise be able to. Ravelry and other web communities are also a great place to engage other people and encourage them to check out your designs. You can also publicize it by sharing it with the groups you belong to or by submitting it to sites like Craftzine.com that feature projects from all over the internet.
2. Submit your pattern to web sites like crochet.about.com and knitting.about.com, which list free patterns on the site. Or submit your pattern for a chance to be included in the knitting and crochet Calendar-a-Day collections. These are great opportunities to put your patterns out there.
3. Sell your pattern on websites like Etsy. You can offer more original or complex patterns for sale by either e-mailing the pattern to customers once they've paid you or sending them pre-printed designs in the mail. If you build a following for your patterns, you could also go to local yarn shops and see if they will carry your pattern in their stores. Even the Lion Design catalog features some paid patterns from designers.
4. Submit your pattern to magazines & online magazines. Each online magazine has its own guidelines and deadlines, so make sure your timing is right and that the project you are submitting fits the needs of the magazine. Many magazines work months ahead of the season, so if you submit a Halloween pattern in October, it's too late. Also, make sure your work fits the style of the magazine. A pattern that might work for one magazine might not be right for another one. Don't forget online magazines like Knitty.com and LoomKnittersCircle.com, which also take submissions.
5. If you're submitting your pattern, try to standardize the way you write your patterns according to the style of the publication. This will make it easier for the publication to use your pattern. Use standard abbreviations and check out the Craft Yarn Council's yarn standards for sizing and other information guidelines.