An avid knitter for over 10 years, Donna enjoys sharing her free patterns and knitting experience with other fiber fans and yarn lovers.
Craft shows and fairs can be a great place to make money selling your knitted goods and apparel. Here a list of some popular items to make and sell at craft fairs, and some things to keep in mind when knitting items to sell.
There can be a great difference between craft shows. Some shows are more like art exhibitions where expensive and high-end objects are for sale. Other fairs are run by local craft guilds and feature work by local artisans and craftspeople. And some fairs are organized by local schools and churches where local artists and hobbyists display their crafts. All of these venues can be great opportunities to sell your knitted goods, but the audience and the prices will vary depending on which type of craft show or fair you participate in.
Regardless of the location or venue where you choose to sell your work, it is always best to offer high quality and unique pieces that shoppers can't find in their local stores. The items below have proven to sell well at craft fairs. Beyond being popular and fashionable, these items are good choices to make and sell at craft shows because they are generally small items with no size requirements.
I have also included links to sample free knitting patterns for each category. There are, however, many patterns available for each of these items. For more pattern ideas, you can visit Ravelry, Grandmother's Pattern Book, Knitting Bee, and other knitting sites.
Please note: The patterns offered below are just samples of items to knit. You should check the copyright on each pattern to make sure that the designer allows their pattern to be used for making items for sale.
Handmade baskets are a hot trend this year at craft shows and fairs. There are a number of ways to incorporate knitting in basket making. I've linked my own basket knitting pattern as a sample. Sarah E. White also has a knitting pattern and directions for felting a basket at her site on About.com. These felted baskets are great when made as a set and can be embellished with beads and embroidery.
Arm Knitting is another trend that is very popular right now. Jennifer Dickerson has a really beautiful pattern for an arm knitted scarf on her Fiber Flux website. This pattern would look amazing in some variegated yarn. If you are interested in learning how to arm knit, Kristin Gintert has directions and a tutorial on the website, How to Arm Knit.
Buyers love baby items at craft shows. These items always make wonderful gifts with a handmade touch that non-knitters are willing to pay for.
Baby clothes are always cute and appealing, and the sizing is usually easy. For example, the bonnet worn by England's Princess Charlotte became very fashionable after she was photographed leaving the hospital wearing it. There are a number of patterns available for a similar bonnet, including this pattern by Sarah Lehto. This bonnet would be a charming item to sell along with some booties knit in the same yarn.
Baby blankets are also strong sellers. Often buyers want blankets that are knit in a particular color palette to match a nursery, but blankets can still be used a display props in your booth and as samples if you are willing to knit blankets on commission.
Children's items, like mittens, hats, and scarves, also sell well - particularly as holiday gifts. Themed goods, like those featuring characters from children's movies, are hot right now. There are lots of patterns on the internet for hats and mittens with Minions or the characters from Frozen on them.
Another popular seller is items knit in the colors of a particular sports team or school. Paton's has a wonderful knitting pattern for a striped hat and mittens set. You can change the combination to be whatever colors might be popular in your area.
Accessories and Apparel for Women
Most craft show attendees are women, and women often enjoy buying handmade items for themselves. Women's accessories are hot sellers at craft shows because they are unique, specialty items that shoppers can not find in regular stores.
Headbands or ear warmers make cozy winter accessories to sell, especially when packaged in a set with matching fingerless mitts or gloves. Drops Design has a cabled headband pattern that would be easy to match with some mitts or mittens.
Boot Cuffs or Toppers are a fashion accessory that continues to be popular with women and young girls. These items can also be sold in a set with a matching cowl, scarf, or mitts. These boot cuffs by Mockingbird Knits have a classic cable pattern that would be easy to match with a scarf or cowl pattern. Andi Clark also has a fun leg warmer pattern that features a cable pattern.
Ruffled or Potato Chip Scarves are still very fashionable and are a very quick knit to make. There are many novelty yarns available that are specially designed for making these ruffled scarves. In fact, some of these yarns even have a knitting pattern right on the label to make a this type of scarf. Barb Jansen has also posted a free basic pattern for a Potato Chip Scarf on her website.
Buyers are often looking for gift ideas at craft fairs and kitchen items, like dishcloths, towels, and place mats can be packaged into great presents. With kitchen goods, items that are colorful are strong sellers because they are eye catching and unique. Laura Aylor's Lizard Ridge Dishcloth is one of my favorite colorful patterns.
Many dishcloth patterns can be resized to knit as dish towels, place mats or mug rugs. Kay Gardiner's Linoleum Dishcloth pattern would be great for making matching dishcloths, towels, or place mats. These items can also be used to make up gift baskets with small kitchen utensils or mugs for the perfect pre-assembled present.
Washcloths and Bath Items
Handknit washcloths can also make lovely gift items, and can be sold with a pretty soap and soap dish. Julie Tarsha has a wonderful pattern for her Almost Lost Washcloth that has a unique wavy edge that would make a truly special gift. I also have my own Simply Special Washcloth pattern (above) that would look great in a bath-themed gift basket.
Knitted toys have a special handmade and lovable look to them that make them strong sellers at craft fairs. Although these items don't usually use a lot of yarn, they often have many pieces and can take a long time to knit, thus raising the selling price of these items. However, if you can make high quality toys, they are sure to find buyers regardless of the price.
This little rabbit and bear pattern with matching clothes by April Cromwell is bound to be popular with both little girls and adult toy collectors. However, if you're looking for something that might be better suited for boys, this stuffed dinosaur pattern from Katie Boyette is perfect.
Christmas Ornaments and Decorations
Christmas decorations are always popular sellers at craft shows, regardless of the time of year. Generally, these patterns are quick knits that use few materials, which means a lower cost to you and a reasonable selling price for your buyer.
There are a lot of charming patterns for knitted Christmas ornaments. Pictured above are my own Cozy Snowmen Christmas Ornaments, which are knit in the round. The head and hat are knit together with the features and accessories added separately.
These owl ornaments by Aunt Em are also adorable, whereas these ball and star ornaments from Red Heart have a festive and traditional look to them. And these mini mittens and sweaters can be sold as tree decorations or hung together on garland.
Craft fairs can be a fun way to make additional income with your knitting. I hope these ideas and patterns inspire you to begin selling your knitting.
Copyright © 2015 by Donna Herron. All rights reserved.
Donna Herron (author) from USA on May 03, 2017:
Hi Rene - I think that depends completely on the size of the craft show and the size of the city/location. You might ask the organizers to share the average sales for vendors from previous years or if they would give you the contact info for some of the previous vendors to ask them for their advice. Generally, I find that artists are good about trying to help one another. Good luck and thanks for reading!
Rene on May 03, 2017:
Thank you Donna,I really enjoyed your article. How many pieces or sets do you feel are good to start with in selling ?
Donna Herron (author) from USA on April 11, 2017:
I'm not an expert on copyright issues, but as I understand it - if an image or character is copyrighted by another entity, it can not be reproduced by another for profit. I have heard stories of people being told to remove items from their etsy shops because these items are based on copyrighted patterns or represent known copyrighted images or characters. I hope this helps! Thanks.
Trish on April 11, 2017:
How do we stand re toys , I don't want copyright issues. I know about law re CE testing but unsure re copyrighted items, heard so many scary stories especially about Disney characters.
Donna Herron (author) from USA on March 24, 2017:
Great question, Eileen! Prices will vary depending on the types of goods you are selling, the quality of materials you are using, and the market or location where you are selling. Generally, knitters use a formula which includes the cost of materials, plus a reasonable hourly wage multiplied by the amount of time they spent making each item. I would use this formula, then check your prices against similar items for sale on the internet (like on etsy) or in your area and adjust your prices to stay competitive. I hope this helps!!
Eileen Donohue on March 23, 2017:
Donna, any tips on pricing some of the hand knit items?
Donna Herron (author) from USA on January 07, 2017:
Glad you find it helpful! Thanks for reading and commenting!
Gracy on January 06, 2017:
Awesome article. I have learned so much from you. Thank you!
Donna Herron (author) from USA on October 15, 2015:
Hi Sally - Thanks so much, as always, for your comments and support! Hope all is well with you.
Donna Herron (author) from USA on October 15, 2015:
Hi Michele - So glad this information might inspire you to start selling your knitting! Good luck and thanks for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate it!
Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on October 15, 2015:
Well done Donna. You have produced a very useful set of ideas for all craft knitters wishing to sell hand knitted creations.
Michele Kelsey from Edmond, Oklahoma, USA on October 14, 2015:
Thank you for sharing these free knitting patterns and crafting shop tips! I will need them if I ever decide to go that route. Great, informative article!