About a month ago, I blogged about Crystal Palace Yarns removing some free patterns from their site. The patterns were knit with their Creme yarn, which was being discontinued. I also posted this information on some knitting forums. On one of those forums, a few people wondered aloud why the patterns were being removed. Okay, so the original yarn was no longer available, but substitutions could be made. Patterns don’t expire; they were still useful. So why not do the consumer a favor and leave the patterns?
A few possible explanations were offered, including some guesses of mine. I pointed out that yarn companies provide patterns for one reason: to sell yarn. They pay designers to come up with tempting designs using the company’s yarn so that a consumer will buy the yarn to knit that pattern. Sure, they know that we might substitute yarn, but they’re hoping that what we see is just so tempting that we have to have that yarn. But if not, at least we’ll remember them in the future and think well of them because they provided us with free patterns.
The logic sounded good to me, but it was only a guess…until a representative from Crystal Palace Yarns posted in response. With her permission, this is what Susan Druding had to say:
Yes, you got the right idea – we are going to reknit some of those patterns in a new yarn, but then the photos would be out of date and there might be subtle changes in the pattern itself. So, some of these will reappear in a new look over the coming year. We have a new DK weight version of Panda Silk coming out for this fall and some of the Creme patterns would look great in the new yarn.
But, you’d be amazed at how many emailed questions I get about how to knit something from our patterns – I spend a lot of time answering emails. And, often they aren’t being knit in our yarns (which I understand since the patterns are free and ‘up there’). But once a yarn is totally gone, I can’t see keeping the patterns up promoting it and answering questions as people substitute a yarn they got from someone else.
I’ll also give a tip – all the Creme we had left has gone to www.littleknits.com until they are out of it – they have it on sale by the ball or the bag.
Susan Druding at Crystal Palace Yarns
I’d like to thank Susan for both posting on the forum and for allowing me to copy her response here. I think it’s important for us to understand where these patterns come from and why, in order to appreciate them as much as we should. Free patterns are a goldmine for beginning knitter especially–many of them tend to be easy enough for a beginner (although there are plenty of advanced level free patterns out there!) and it gives a new knitter a chance to practice his/her new skill with a smaller investment. And free patterns are good for yarn companies, for the traffic they bring to their site and the purchases they generate. But they are a business decision, and when they’re no longer good for business, they’ll be gone. Just remember that when you see a free pattern you like on the internet–make sure you snag it, because at some point down the road it might be gone.