Can you make a living as a designer? This is a hard question. The best way to make a living, in my opinion is to diversify your income. I’ve talked about this before, and I still believe this is the best way. Even many of the most famous designers are turning towards tangible goods to make money these days.

However, you might not be up for selling tangible goods or even teaching. Can you make it solely on selling designs? I think the answer is yes, but it will be hard work.


You really need to be producing new designs on a regular basis. Get your name out there, keep it fresh in the mind of knitters. With so many designers out there, make your name the one everyone is talking about.

You might get a hot pattern every now and then, but you can’t count on them all being hits. Each new pattern you produce will bring knitters to your designer page and remind them about your past designs. It always surprises me when I release a new pattern how many old patterns I sell too. This is because knitters re-discover my older work when they look through my back catalog and find other things they want to buy.


To be consistent you need to set yourself some realistic goals and plan for them. I’m big into planning. At first, maybe you want to think about how many self-published patterns you want to release every quarter, or every month. If you are more into third-party published patterns, how many submissions do you want to try to get accepted every quarter?

If you have realistic, tangible goals you’ll have something to aim for, and something to work towards. Meeting your goals will be rewarding. Every month or quarter re-evaluate your goals and readjust if necessary.

Designer Jen Lucas set a money goal and then was able to quit her day job. You can read about her journey on her blog post here.

Everyone’s goals are different, you need to decide what’s best for you and your situation. Remember that you might not become the next hottest designer over night. And if you do get a big hit, your next design could be just as forgettable. This is a fluctuating and unpredictable market. Planning and setting goals are important. Consistency is key and producing on a regular basis will keep your name on the tips of everyone’s knitting needles.

Heather Zoppetti

Heather Zoppetti is a knitwear designer, instructor, author and owner of Stitch Sprouts. She spends her days filling orders, knitting, and rambling on this blog. She can also be found at Heather Zoppetti Designs.

One Response to “T4D: Making a Living Wage”

  1. So true! I was managing to release about a design a month, but when life derailed me for just two months, I did see a difference.

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