Thoughts upon Publishing a Pattern with Knit Picks


Have you ever wondered what it might be like to publish a knitting or crochet pattern at, under their Independent Designer Program (IDP)?

Me, too! And now I know . . .

I have always loved Knit Picks products, and I’ve also been happy with their knitting patterns. Now that I’ve had one of my patterns chosen to be part of Knit Picks IDP Program, I feel proud. Here’s the story:

Last year, I attended The National Needle Arts Association (TNNA) Trade Show for the first time. I loved it. While there, one of my goals was to research organic yarns. More than anything, I wanted to fall in love with an organic cotton yarn.

Why? Because my background in the gluten-free community taught me how difficult it can be to cope with intolerance and allergies. While I am not allergic to wool or other fibers, I know that many people are, and finding hand knits that are kind to sensitive skin can be a challenge.

I was playing with a design for a newborn baby hat. I felt an organic cotton yarn would be the perfect choice for a safe, hypoallergenic hat. I wanted the yarn to be a true worsted weight, and I wanted my pattern to be an easy knit and reversible, to suit a boy or a girl. I also wanted it to have a use after a baby outgrows it.

The top of my hat sits flat when turned upside down, which made me realize it could convert into a decorative bowl. It is great to hold cotton swabs or similar things . . . and, if you put a battery-operated votive inside, it also makes a nice nightlight. This gave me an additional reason to choose cotton, since a touch of spray starch might help stiffen the hat when turning it into a bowl.


At TNNA, I relished scouting the floor as I dreamed of finding the perfect yarn. I sampled cotton yarns, and then I sampled some more. I loved the look and feel of organic cotton, but, as much as I wanted to love it, I disliked knitting with it. The yarn split, and it split, and it split.

And it split.

While I found many other wonderful things at TNNA (don’t ask me how much I spent), I felt sad in not having conquered my cotton quest.

However, I did settle on one organic cotton yarn I found there. Sadly, along with splitting, the yarn was more of a sport weight than worsted, but it worked well enough to put my pattern into place.

I queried the yarn company to see if they had an interest in my pattern. They did, but they wanted to own all rights to it. That didn’t interest me.

It was a blessing in disguise.

I don’t remember if I had been fiddling around on the Internet or if a new Knit Picks catalog arrived, but somehow, I discovered Knit Picks Simply Cotton Organic Worsted Yarn. I wondered if it might also split when I knit with it, so I ordered some to see.

When I opened the box, heaven opened, too. As I lifted the skein, I felt the softness and saw how it had a plumper look than other organic cotton yarns I tried — a true worsted weight! It was perfect. This would make my hat pattern a fast knit as well as an easy one.

It was love at first stitch. I enjoyed what I like to call “Nirvana knitting.” Nirvana knitting allows a knitter’s hands to luxuriate in tranquility and suppleness. For many knitters, it is the ultimate tactile experience–even better than lingering in a feather bed on a Sunday morning.

It gets better. No split. NO SPLIT! Thank you, Knit Picks.

I wondered if Knit Picks might have an interest in publishing my pattern, so I explored their Independent Designers Program.

Heaven opened again.

Not only does Knit Picks allow designers to retain all rights, they also allow the designer to set the price and–yes!–sell the pattern elsewhere.

If you explore the IDP program (link below), you’ll see how Knit Picks requires “well written, professional submissions,” and you’ll see how test knitting and tech editing is the designer’s responsibility.

Here’s where my trip to TNNA really paid off. While there, I met THE charming and talented tech editor and test knitter, Elke Probst. She shared her portfolio with me, and I enjoyed hearing about her work with top designers and yarn companies.

Any writer with intelligence and a conscience knows that, no matter how well-written a piece may appear, it should be run past an expert. I hired Elke, and the two of us had a blast working together as we spit-polished my piece. She’s brilliant.

Time out for a rant. Few things burn my bones more than purchasing a pattern only to find it hasn’t been properly test knit or tech edited. There is no excuse for it. Designers who have the nerve to sell such patterns should have their needles broken and yarn pulled, much the same as a soldier losing rank and medals.

First, I queried Knit Picks to see if they had an interest in my submitting my pattern. I’m happy to say, they did.

So, off my pattern went for Knit Picks’ final consideration. I don’t remember exactly how long I waited for a response, but if memory serves, it was longer than the 30 days quoted on their site. Of course, it felt more like 30 years. Submissions have a way of doing that.

It was worth the wait. My Organic Cotton Heirloom Baby Hat now has a home at Knit Picks. While my baby hat may be knit in any worsted weight yarn, Knit Picks married my design with the perfect yarn, and the pattern for the Organic Cotton Heirloom Baby Hat was born.

Have you knit the Organic Cotton Heirloom Baby Hat or worked with the Knit Picks Independent Designer Program? Do you agree or disagree that a designer has an absolute obligation to have a pattern painstakingly tech knit and edited before expecting people to pay their hard-earned money for it? I’d love to hear from you.

Note: If you purchase my pattern on KnitPicks, Craftsy, or Etsy, but you would like to have a copy in your Ravelry library, write to me. Include a copy of your receipt along with your Ravelry user name, and I’ll gift you with an extra copy for your library.

Find the Organic Cotton Heirloom Baby Hat patter on Knit Picks here.

Find the pattern on Ravelry, here.

Find the pattern on Craftsy, here.

Find the pattern in my Etsy shop, SimplyHeavenKnits, here.

If you’d like to contact tech editor/test knitter Elke Probst, write to me through Ravelry (see below) or my Etsy shop.

Find information on KnitPicks Independent Designer Program here.

Love to all,

This blog is brought to you by my Etsy Shop: SimplyHeavenKnits

Find and write to Lee on Ravelry:
User Name: LeeBernstein
Visit the Knitting Is Gluten Free Forum on Ravelry — GREAT discussions here, including loving support for people with food intolerances . . . and tons of recipes.
Facebook: Fans of Knitting is Gluten Free
Twitter: Lee_A_Bernstein
LinkedIn: Lee Bernstein

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2 Responses to Thoughts upon Publishing a Pattern with Knit Picks

  1. Interesting post. I wanted to buy organic yarn when I first started knitting because cotton uses more pesticides than any other crop in the world. They were hard to find then but then slowly more and more organic cotton was available and Classic Elite committed to using organic cotton in their line. But, I just looked and they only have two yarns that are organic cotton and they don’t look appealing to me. Maybe the appeal of organic cotton has passed.

    • Thank you for your post, Margaret. I wish more people would try knitting with organic cotton. It is affordable, and it feels so good to knit with it knowing that it is a responsibly-produced fiber.

      Organic cotton is also good for those who like to work with natural fiber but are allergic to wool or the chemicals in some yarns.

      Have you tried the Knit Picks organic cotton?

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