Confessions of a professional crocheter

crochet kitRecently i have been receiving lots of emails and messages asking for my advice on becoming a professional crocheter. At first i wondered why these queries were directed at me, but then i realised that from the outside, from an observers perspective i look like i’m successful. Who knew? πŸ˜‰

I won’t lie, i don’t like receiving these emails. They are usually from excited (and skilled crocheters) who have a dream of giving up their day job and spending their day, yarn and hook in hand designing one beautiful pattern after another. It sounds like an AMAZING dream doesn’t it?! It’s my dream too. And the reason i don’t like receiving these hope filled emails, isn’t because i don’t want to offer advice or share my experience, it’s because i don’t want to squash or discourage anyone’s dream……BUT, i also feel like i have to be honest. And honestly, it is very hard to make money being a crochet granny square cushion

Now, if you’re just looking to make a few extra dollars to fund your yarn (or coffee) addiction then go for it! You can definitely make a few extra bucks here and there, and there’s nothing quite like the thrill of seeing other makers recreate your designs. It never gets old! I love it. πŸ™‚ But if you’re seriously considering giving up your job and planning to replace that income with crochet work, then please read on. It isn’t easy to become a professional crocheter.Β Round granny square

The Realities of Being a Professional Crocheter

(1) I make VERY little money….very.

(2) I work hard…really hard! I spend at least 50 hours a week blogging, instagramming, pinteresting, working on commissions, creating tutorials, photo taking and writing patterns. Actual designing/crocheting time is about 5 hrs per week….not including stuff i’m just making for fun that i work on at night.

(3) It cost money to maintain a decent blog, have an email newsletter service, to run an online shop, to buy yarn, have photoshop and other design related software. Some weeks my income doesn’t cover these costs.

(4) It can get lonely working from home.

(5) Everyone wants your patterns for free (i want stuff for free too, so i understand). The MANY hours and hours it takes to design, photograph, write and chart patterns isn’t always valued and sometimes people get cranky when you charge for patterns. It’s hard to compete when hobby crocheters offer all their patterns for free (i’m not boo booing them, they’re entitled to share for free if they want to), but it’s a very competitive industry and it’s hard to compete with FREE. πŸ™‚free crochet patterns

In the interest of keeping things fair, here are the positives of becoming a crochet professional –

(1) You get to work with yarn! Lovely, squishy, colourful yarn! And that’s priceless as far as i’m concerned.

(2) You will meet and collaborate with other yarn creatives. It’s a wonderful way to make new friends and learn new skills from them.

(3) You can work from home and your hours are flexible! Hooray! This is definitely a positive.

(4) You will learn a variety of new techie skills – photoshop, wordpress, social media, stitch charts etc.

(5) Being able to work everyday on your passion will bring you immense joy!

Okay – if you’ve read this far and you’re still keen on becoming a cro pro then i’d like to share my tips for success (keeping in mind i’m not successful yet)crochet mandalas

(TIP 1) Work on your photograpy skills – News Flash! I am not the best crocheter (really, it’s true) but i can take pretty pictures that people like to admire. It also important if you’re creating patterns with step my step images. They need to be clear so the instructions are easy to follow.

(TIP 2) Create a decent blog that users can navigate easily. I’ve recently updated my site and my traffic has grown immensely just in the last 3 weeks.

(TIP 3) Start collecting emails for newsletters. I’m using mailchimp to for my newsletters and it’s fantastic! It is user friendly and FREE up to 2000 subscribers. Once you hit 2000 plus then you have to pay to use the software.

(TIP 4) Diversify your income streams! I strongly believe that if i’m going to be successful in this yarny world, then my income needs to come from a number of sources – pattern sales, affiliate links, crochet kit sales, sponsored posts etc.

The hardest thing about affiliate links is that often others will think you’re selling out, but it’s not like that at all. Currently, my affiliate commissions are small and wouldn’t cover my coffee habit so i’d hardly call that selling out. Also, any affiliate links you see here on my blog are items or services that i believe in 100%! I won’t attach just any affiliate link to my blog, i am very choosey, and you should be choosey too.

Pattern sales will always make more money than selling actual pieces. As you probably already know, crochet projects take a long time to complete and you can never charge what they are actually worth in terms of hours spent making them. I also sell kits to try and boost income.

(TIP 5) Take on commissions…but not too many. Designing patterns for books and magazines is always fun and exciting! It is also a good way to promote yourself. Just be mindful not to take on too many because you still need to spend time on your own patterns and often you won’t be able to sell commissioned Β designs until 6 months after the edition expires. Try and balance your own design work with commissions.

(TIP 6) Embrace Social Media! I love Instagram!! Slightly addicted actually, so i think i’ve got that one under control. This year i am working on building my other social media platforms – Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. Marketing yourself though these platforms will help drive traffic to your blog/shop so it’s important to update them regularly and BE SOCIAL. I love being social on instagram so this one is a joy for me.

(TIP 7) Keep on Learning! Last year i purchased some awesome downloadable courses from A Beautiful Mess and i have learned a LOT. I’m happy to report my camera setting has been on manual for the last 6months and their blogging course has helped me to focus and work on a plan of action for the next 12months.

I’ve also recently discovered Skill Share which looks amazing! I’m hoping to delve into that a little deeper too when i have time.

granny square heart

Finally, I know this post has a negative undertone and i’m sorry. But i want to finish by saying that I’ve only been serious about cro proing for about 12 months and about half that time was spent writing a crochet book that will be released this year! Yay! So, realistically i’ve only been giving this a red hot go for about 6 months, so it’s early days. I believe that if you’re determined enough and willing to work hard that it’s possible. Hopefully, this time next year i will be writing a post titled “How i made it as a professional crocheter”.

Oh and if you have any tips for me, i’d LOVE to hear them!

Happy Making!!

Mandy xx













  1. Sue
    January 30, 2018 / 9:32 am

    Thank you Mandy that was such an interesting blog post, I’m a bit inbetween I teach crochet and have started dipping my toes into the world of designing patterns but I agree it is so time consuming and I am particularly slow. I’ve really appreciated your words of wisdom xxx

    • redagapeblog
      January 30, 2018 / 11:22 am

      Thanks for commenting Sue. I’m really interested in hearing from other makers/teachers on this topic. It’s SO time consuming isn’t it? I think teaching is a great way to go….sadly, I can’t do that where I live because there is already someone teaching crochet here and I don’t want to step on toes.
      All the best with your creative adventure! I wish you every success!
      Mandy xx

  2. Marianne Fischer
    January 30, 2018 / 10:07 am

    Great post and you do not Sound negative just simply honest πŸ‘

    • redagapeblog
      January 30, 2018 / 11:18 am

      Thanks Marianne. I appreciate your feedback and I’m glad it didn’t sound too negative. I don’t want to discourage anyone from chasing their dreams, but it good to have realistic expectations.
      Mandy xx

  3. Sue Coleman
    January 30, 2018 / 12:38 pm

    It is ironic that I am reading this post. Earlier this evening while crocheting a throw, I commented to my husband how nice it would be to make a comfortable living doing what I love : crocheting. I learned to crochet when I was 12. I am now 58. I really believe that one issue for anyonetrying to make money from hand created items is as you said….competition. But not competition from others that knit and crochet but from the automated world we live in. I was recently at a local Walmart and was shopping in the baby department for simple baby socks. I ran across some “handmade crocheted ” diaper covers….hats..etc. They were grouped together and were single and double crochet stitched items. Priced at $3-$5. Fine print : made in China. It is hard for those of us that truly have a passion for creating handmade items to compete with factories that mass -produce seemingly handmade items….at rock-bottom prices. There are only a small part of our population that truly appreciate handmade items AND have the patience to wait for them to be made. It’s easier to run into a store and grab it off a shelf. I’m hoping that the tide is turning. With your blog and others I see, it is apparent that people are beginning to have a real appreciation for skill, creativity, and devotion to a craft. Keep working toward your goal and if you never get any further than where you are now, if it has brought you joy in your life and touched a few others along the way , then you have been successful!

    • redagapeblog
      January 30, 2018 / 1:43 pm

      Oh gosh yes! Who can compete with those mass produced items sold at ridiculous prices?! I wouldn’t even try. It’s true that only a small percentage appreciate the time, skill and effort that goes into Making genuine handmade items or patterns. And usually they are designers and makers themselves which is why they have the appreciation.
      Thanks so much for commenting here Sue. And you’re right – even if I don’t get any further than I have now I have succeeded in lots of other ways (non financial) πŸ™‚
      Mandy xx

  4. January 30, 2018 / 1:41 pm

    Love your honesty! I am years behind you in the crochet world and trying to get my name out there. You have been one designer from a few that I feel aligned with and that I have been watching to “see what you do” so that I can learn and get ideas from to help my own business grow. I still work full-time and see my crochet business as my future retirement lifestyle fund through the patterns that I sell. (If it pays for one meal out a year I’ll be happy!) It is nice to see people start to buy patterns, and it is definitely more cost effective than making things to sell! And the crochet community is such a wonderful community too. I feel that we’re on a slight disadvantage being in Australia too – growth appears to come more from online than anywhere else, as the physical world of crochet in at least my state (WA) is almost non-existant. There seems to be a lot more love for yarn and craft overseas.

    • redagapeblog
      January 30, 2018 / 1:53 pm

      Hi Seona! Thanks for visiting me here and I sincerely hope my post hasn’t discouraged you at all. I couldn’t agree more about being at a disadvantage here in Australia. It makes selling my online kits very diffult because for a lot of my followers overseas, the postage costs are too high…that’s where the pattern PDfs are better. I think that it’s important to be realistic about income potential and diversify as much as you can. All the best with your business!
      Happy Making!
      Mandy xx

      • January 30, 2018 / 2:12 pm

        Thanks Mandy! You definitely didn’t discourage me – the exact opposite! Part of my mission is to make everyone love crochet so hopefully we will see a bigger audience down under eventually…I’m tracking all sorts of things in my business to see what is working and what isn’t. People’s preferences surprise me and they definitely love free stuff! But what is most important to me is that I continue to love what I do, and it’s hard not to with crochet πŸ™‚ I make and do what my heart, gut & head tell me to and so far it is working out ok. Your work is always so pretty and a delight to see and I love the detail that you put into your patterns too. Your patterns cater to all levels of skill, which is what I am aiming for too. xx

  5. Poonam kohli
    January 30, 2018 / 2:10 pm

    Beautiful work and crocheting you do . Really appreciate your work and the designs you make. It’s so much of hard work to put in . I love and adore your crocheting work. Stay blessed always. Thank you for sharing good tips and your blog is awesome to read.

    • redagapeblog
      January 30, 2018 / 9:00 pm

      Thank you for your sweet comment! It’s worth all the hard work when people appreciate you. Mandy xx

  6. January 30, 2018 / 5:22 pm

    Interesting article on your personal experience! I am not at all interested in becoming a professional crocheter! But I am passionate about crochet and love to visit crochet sites and blogs. I love coming here to see your beautiful patterns and excellent photography which presents your lovely crochet. I have used several of your patterns which have turned out beautifully and you explain them very well. Not everyone can do this!
    I don’t mind paying a reasonable amount for a pattern that someone has gone to the trouble of writing out and taking many step-by-step photographs to help the buyer. I find it only natural to pay for someone else’s hard work!

    I never go on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter! But I do visit other people’s blogs that I enjoy! I have a blog which is more about photography, but sometimes I may put up some crochet that I have done (always with reference and/or a link), to the person or place where the pattern came from.

    Thank you for all the good work you do here and I shall be looking forward to seeing more exciting patterns and your book when it comes out!

    • redagapeblog
      January 30, 2018 / 9:12 pm

      Thank you so much for your comment Sandra! It’s nice to know that there are people out there that follow and read blogs without social media driving them to visit. I just assumed most people find my blog via Instagram. I’m happy to be wrong about that.
      Ideally I’d like to provide ALL my patterns for free, which is why I’m introducing affiliate links. The more I can make in commissions the more patterns I can provide for free. This would be the perfect scenario for me!
      Thanks again for reading,
      Happy making
      Mandy xx

  7. January 30, 2018 / 6:46 pm

    This is such an honest and insightful blog post! Thank you so much for sharing! I can relate to so much of what you say… I continue with my day job as a nurse and my crocheting is β€˜part time’ in the evenings although the hours it takes … You’re absolutely right!! Good job we just love crochet and yarn!! πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜Šβ€οΈβ€οΈπŸ’•

    • redagapeblog
      January 30, 2018 / 9:19 pm

      Hello Eleonora! Thanks for reading this lengthy post….I don’t often write this much. I hope your found it useful. Ahhh we need more crochet hours in the day don’t we? And yes it’s a good job we love yarn and crocheting!!

  8. January 30, 2018 / 8:08 pm

    Honesty is always the best policy! I’m in a similar situation and I have friends who say they envy me just being able to make things all day! Then I laugh & say I spend more than 50% of my time on the computer! Your stuff is fabulous, the hard work will pay off in time (I’ve got everything crossed for you!)

    • redagapeblog
      January 30, 2018 / 9:21 pm

      Haha! Exactly!! I spend most of my time at the computer – editing, writing, blogging, etc. I actually love doing it, but people seem surprised when I tell them. I have everything crossed too, so I hope I can make it work this year. Thanks for vote of confidence, I really appreciate it.
      Mandy xx

  9. January 30, 2018 / 8:18 pm

    I 100% agree with all of this!! It’s pretty much what I’ve experienced in my first year (only I’ve been avoiding mail chimp and paying for any website stuff, which shows!!). Can we have some more hours in the day please?!! πŸ˜‚
    Thank you so much for sharing this. A wonderful read!!

    • redagapeblog
      January 30, 2018 / 9:25 pm

      Thanks for visiting me here Rosina! I’ve only just reached 2000 newsletter subscribers for MailChimp, which is great because my email list is growing, but bad because now I have to pay. It’s these running costs that really cut into profits….my pattern sales pay to run my blog. 😏
      Yes! More hours in the day please…..crochet hours to be precise!
      Mandy xx

  10. January 30, 2018 / 9:20 pm

    So much truth in this post! I love it 😍 Thankyou for sharing and goodluck! ❀️

    • redagapeblog
      January 30, 2018 / 10:22 pm

      My pleasure Kate! Glad you enjoyed and thank you….I think I need that good luck 😘

  11. January 31, 2018 / 12:03 am

    A brave post Mandy and I love how honest you are. I totally agree with everything you say here, it’s a long hard slog but beats sitting in an office any day. I am just glad that I don’t have to pay the mortgage πŸ˜‰

    Keep going, you are doing a fabulous job! – Can’t wait for your book to come out!
    Big hugs, Heike xx

    • redagapeblog
      January 31, 2018 / 6:30 am

      You’re so right Heike!! It definitely beats working in an office. Challenges aside, I love getting up everyday and working on my passion. Here’s hoping it pays off!
      Thanks for visiting me here Heike. πŸ™‚
      Mandy xx

  12. January 31, 2018 / 6:17 am

    You just told my story so far (except the part about my stress with techy stuff and not being comfy with social media!) Thank you so much for keeping it real Mandy….we will get there!!
    Carmen x

    • redagapeblog
      January 31, 2018 / 6:53 am

      Oh don’t worry, I get stressed about the techy stuff too!! It’s hard when you’re starting out and don’t know how to do techy stuff. I’ve spent hours and hours learning how to do things that someone in the know could do in 5 mins! It’s frustrating.
      Good luck Carmen!
      Mandy xx

  13. Lisa - @crazyflamingolady
    January 31, 2018 / 7:00 am

    I admire your honesty. Things aren’t always as they seem….. keep doing what you’re doing and thank you for all your lovely Instagram posts! πŸ’•

    • redagapeblog
      February 1, 2018 / 8:16 am

      Yes – they aren’t always as they seem. Thanks for commenting here and happy making!

  14. January 31, 2018 / 7:19 am

    Dearest Mandy, all your points are right on the money! Which is exactly what we crocheters don’t make in big amounts πŸ˜‚ Especially on how hard it is to compete with all the free stuff going around. Everyone is entitled to do as they wish, but designing and writing patterns does involve an enormous amount of time and work and it should have some kind of recognition. Thanks for taking the time to write about this issue, money talk is always a sensitive topic. Hugs 😘 xx Mariana

    • redagapeblog
      February 1, 2018 / 8:19 am

      Hi Mariana! Lovely to see you here. πŸ™‚ Yes, money is always a little cringy to talk about, but it’s important taht ambitious crochet designers know what they’re up against. I love free patterns and will continue to offer them, but there needs to be balance. Here’s hoping i find that balance in 2018! πŸ™‚ MAndy xx

  15. Joy Clements
    January 31, 2018 / 12:26 pm

    Wonderful post Mandy! And love how you keep it real… There’s no pretence here and we’re all glad for itπŸ€—
    It’s a hard slog and you’ve hit the nail on the head with so many points in this post, thank you for sharing.

    • redagapeblog
      February 1, 2018 / 8:22 am

      No pretence here at all – designing and writing patterns is very hard work. There’s lots of competition out there so newbie designers need to be prepared for the hard road ahead….especially if they’re considering giving up their day job. It’s important to be realistic.

  16. Kathy
    January 31, 2018 / 12:26 pm

    One of my biggest fears is if I try to make a “job,” out of something that I love, I won’t love it so much. Love your thoughts and perspective – thanks!!

    • redagapeblog
      February 1, 2018 / 8:24 am

      Thanks for commenting here Kathy! That fear is justified because so little of my time is spent crocheting. I still love what i’m doing, but that’s becuase i love all of the other work that goes along with it too – writing, charting, photgraphing, blogging etc.
      Thanks for reading this lenghty post.
      Mandy xx

  17. January 31, 2018 / 2:18 pm

    Thanks for your generous sharing!
    I relate to alot of the points you have highlighted and I think that you are a wonderful pro cro! 😊
    Your works and blog always bring a smile to a weary day with the wonderful colours.
    Please keep doing what you have been doing! You’re an inspiration to all wannabes like myself πŸ˜‰

    • redagapeblog
      February 1, 2018 / 8:27 am

      Thanks for reading! I hope you found the information useful and not discouraging. I like that you are a ‘part-time crochet enthusiast’! This is the ideal way to start i believe. I’d never recommend giving up your day job. Happy Making!
      Mandy xx

  18. January 31, 2018 / 6:12 pm

    Loved reading this! It’s refreshing to hear some realism when it comes to this topic. It’s definitely a struggle to juggle all the different aspects/social media platforms etc in order to be successful. I think it takes more commitment than many realise πŸ€”

    • redagapeblog
      February 1, 2018 / 8:29 am

      Hi Ashlee! Yes, it takes a LOT of work to keep up with all the different social media platforms and becuase i like to acknowledge most the comments left for me, i spend a lot of time doing this. Luckily i love it! Thanks for commenting here. MAndy xx

  19. Anna (@sulphurcrested)
    January 31, 2018 / 6:53 pm

    Hi Mandy, you’re such a wonderful hooky role model. I love how frank you are in this post and can’t wait to see your book hitting the stands. Xx

    • redagapeblog
      February 1, 2018 / 8:34 am

      Thanks Anna! It’s always a little awkward taking about money so i was apprehensive about this post. That said, it’s important to have realistic expectations about being a crochet designer. There’s a lot of competition out there and even the most successful designer won’t make big bucks.
      I work VERY hard, but i LOVE it so i don’t mind that i’m not seeing much return for my work yet. Hopefully this year will be a game changer for me.
      Thanks heaps for commenting here. I really appreciate it.
      Mandy xx

  20. January 31, 2018 / 8:15 pm

    My “tip” is to not break your wrist just after you get your first crochet pattern published! I’m at least half a year behind due to that and the back injury I suffered in the same accident. But honestly, I love your honesty, and it kind of helps knowing that even fabulous crocheters that I admire don’t always have it together. I’m pretty confident that you will write that β€œHow i made it as a professional crocheter” post and hopefully I’ll get to write one too!

    • redagapeblog
      February 1, 2018 / 8:36 am

      oh no! That’s definitely not the way to kick off your crochet career. I hope it’s all mended now and you can play a bit of catch up. I hope you found these tips useful. Keep an eye out for that post next year! πŸ˜‰ Mandy xx

  21. Annmarie
    February 1, 2018 / 1:12 am

    Hi Mandy
    I follow you on Instagram and I found your page on Facebook.

    I love your craft room! I want one just like it. I have been crocheting for just under a year, and I am still learning new stitches.

    I love to crochet. And your right. You will never be a millionaire from crocheting. I make a few bits. But as I can only do it on the evenings. And I am not that quick. It does take me a while . But it helps cover the cost of my wool addiction.

    I have recently set up a Facebook page attached to mine. (Handmade By Annmarie)
    To help sale some bits I have made! But it’s for fun.

    I will continue to follow you. And I will defo be buying your book.

    Good luck πŸ˜‰
    Love πŸ’• Annmarie

    • redagapeblog
      February 1, 2018 / 8:38 am

      Hello Annmarie! Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment here. Sometimes it’s hard to steer away from Instagram….i should know! πŸ˜‰
      No i never expect to be a millionaire from crocheting, but a decent income would be nice. That said, i feel lucky everyday to work with yarn in my beautiful craft room. No complaints from me!
      Good luck with your venture.
      Mandy xx

  22. Afeefa
    February 6, 2018 / 5:02 pm

    Hello Mandy! I really love the way you’ve expressed this in your post! And being true in this matter, which many people don’t! I’m glad there’s someone talking about this too! Thanks Mandy for shaing your experiences with us!
    – Love from India

    • redagapeblog
      February 6, 2018 / 8:25 pm

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post. Yes, it’s important to be honest. And you’re right, more people need to talk about this and place more value of design work.
      Mandy xx

  23. jen
    February 7, 2018 / 1:57 am

    I always wondered how you were able to make a living doing this. Thank you for being so honest. I really loved your positive points as well. Your photos are always amazing. I really enjoy following you. Good luck with your plan. I hope you are extremely sucessful!

    • redagapeblog
      February 7, 2018 / 4:46 pm

      Thanks Jen. Hopefully it pays to be honest! πŸ™‚ sorry that’s a terrible pun. Seriously, thanks for reading my post. I appreciate it. πŸ™‚
      Mandy xx

  24. Kay
    February 7, 2018 / 2:17 am

    Thank you for this post. I’ve just discovered your blog and admire your skill & efforts. It’s great to see someone who lays it all out on the line. Good & bad. The one thing I’d add as someone who isn’t techy but changed careers to work in the industry is that it can be exhausting having all of your creative focus on just one thing. Crochet (or any needlework passion) can loose it’s calming, escapist properties when it becomes “work”. As you say , it’s hard work, very long hours for not a lot of pay. That being said, no regrets, it totally is worth it. As long as one doesn’t have dreams of becoming a superstar.
    Keep up the great work!

    • redagapeblog
      February 7, 2018 / 4:52 pm

      Hi Kay! Thanks for reading and commenting. Yes, i tried to be as honest as i could. I have had people emailing me saying they’re ready to give up their day job, which scares me!!
      The moment i start to lose my love for crochet, i’ll toss it in immediately. I’m lucky in a way, because i actually enjoy learning all the tech stuff (most days), so i hope once i’ve mastered that, everything will be easier….and i’ll have more time to crochet. πŸ™‚

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