The blog of BaggieAggie, designer of bags, gadget cases and other fabulous accessories handmade in Wales. Sprinkled with recipes, gardening chat, the odd piece of short fiction, and anything else that inspires (or annoys!) me. So pull up a comfy chair and stay a while.


Saturday, 14 August 2010

Have Kate and Madonna really made knitting cool?

Among other things, I design no-sew knit-and-felt bag purse patterns, selling exclusively now through Ravelry and Craftsy (as downloads) and Etsy (as PDFs sent direct to a buyer's inbox). Interest has been huge, and the pattern on the left is one of my best sellers. Oddly, though, 99% of my customers are from the US. I've had the occasional Canadian and Australian buyer, but very little interest from the UK. Unexpectedly, the few UK sales I did make came mostly through eBay. (That was shortlived, though, as I logged on one day to find that eBay had removed all my pattern listings, for the reason that sending items by digital means is not allowed. When I asked why, no-one could give me a sensible answer. As sending hardcopy through the mail would have made the patterns unattractively expensive, that was the end of that!)

Anyway, I digress! The reason for this post is to try to find out why there's such an apparent lack of interest in knitting in the UK. It's a huge industry in the States, and lots of celebrities have supposedly made it 'cool'. So is it the prices of designer patterns that puts Brits off? Possibly, as I was once asked by a UK eBayer if I would consider selling one (priced at what I consider a modest £2.75) at half price. I politely explained the work and time involved, and pointed her at Etsy and Ravelry, where most pattern prices are a lot higher than mine, and she came back and bought!

So are we simply a nation of tight-wallets who want everything at car-boot prices? Or is it something else...? Your thoughts gratefully received!

(To those interested, the actual bag above, fully lined and with magnetic snap fastening, is available here.)


  1. I can't really comment about the tight-waddedness of Brits (being only a "pretend" Brit myself) but I suspect there is an element of the ol' carbooty about Brits as a national group. You only have to look at the number of telly shows going out of their way to get people to "bag a bargain", whether it be at the aforementioned car boot, or at auction houses or whatever. I know there's a similar mind-set in Australia, but I'm not sure it's so ingrained; and over there the handcrafts market has always been fairly huge (I think it has something to do with being so far away from "the rest of the world" - it's often considerably cheaper to do it yourself), so people know a decent price when they see it. Don't know how to dispense with the "buy cheaply buy often" mentality, but I think we have to keep plugging away...

  2. I have some patterns for sale on Ravelry too and have made a few sales, but I think a lot of people (not just Brits) expect to find free patterns on there. I've priced my patterns in GBP to make it easier for me, but I've had a few Americans asking how much they cost in dollars, so maybe they are more willing to pay for patterns.

    Given the price of knitting magazines that often contain patterns I would never want to make, I'd be happy to pay a few quid for a single pattern I really like.

  3. Thanks for your thoughts, both. :-)

    I can see why knitting mags are expensive, but as they rarely contain anything I'd knit, I wonder how they stay afloat. I can't be the only one who flicks through them, then - disappointed with the contents - puts them back on the shelf!