I took the hook in one hand, the yarn in another and began on my project. I didn’t have a pattern, but I really wanted to create something quickly so I decided to wing it. Within hours I had an amazing cowl with no idea how to do it again.
Does that sound familiar? I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that as crocheters, we’ve all had that experience. We create something amazing and never think to write it down . . . so it’s gone forever.
Let’s stop doing that!
Let’s learn how to quickly write your own crochet pattern so we don’t lose valuable, fun projects ever again.
To begin, let’s take it one step at a time so we’re comfortable writing our own patterns.
Keep in mind, this is an overview, but you’ll get the basics and that’s where we want to start.
Step 1 – The Idea – chances are you’re way past this step, but let’s not skip ahead. Figure out what you want to make. Whatever it is, visualize it fully.
Step 2 – Gather Inspiration – You now know what you want to make so find and enjoy looking at different styles. Will it be bulky, long, light or masculine? Check out magazines, online fashions or your friends and get inspired by the elements you want to bring to your design.
Step 3 – Sketch It – This is where the details come in! Will it have flowers? If so, put it in your sketch and show where you think they’ll go. Are you making a dress? Draw the silhouette you see in your minds eye. This is to help you flesh out your vision as you move forward.
Step 4 – Stitches & Material – Now you’re ready to dig in! Look through your library of stitch books to decide on which stitches you’ll use for your vision. Now is also a good time to pick yarn. Contrary to popular opinion, choosing the right yarn makes a world of difference in design so pick a yarn that will act properly. If you want drape, you’re probably not looking at a worsted acrylic yarn.
Step 5 – Swatch & Measure – Now the fun begins . . . kindda . . . Who hates to swatch, raise your hand, be honest (hand raised). We’ve got to get over that. Creating a swatch in the stitch and yarn you want to use in your design is critical for measurement. Now, if you’re designing a cowl or scarf, it’s not that crucial. But, if you’re designing a dress or coat, you’ll need to get over the loathe of swatching (I’m working on it too). It’s very hard to figure out the measurements for your piece, making it easier for anyone picking up your pattern to adjust it as needed, if you don’t know the measurements yourself.
Step 6 – Start Your Project – This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for, we can now get started on our projects! However, there’s going to be something different this time. This time, you’ll start by writing down everything you’ve done until this point. That’s right, you’ll need to write out which yarn, you’re using, what the measurements are on your swatch (also known as gauge), the size hook you’re using, and the stitches you’re using. If you’re using unconventional stitches, write out an explanation for your stitch. Once all that is written out, you can begin breaking down the steps for your piece.
Step 7 – Write As You Go – Something I learned the hard way, write as you go. As crocheters we go through certain steps instinctively. If we wait until the end of creating a project to write out the steps, we’ll forget very crucial steps needed to help another crocheter get through our pattern: Start writing everything down from the very beginning so you don’t forget anything.
Step 8 – Test Your Pattern – Yes, create one more piece using just the instructions you’ve written and no instinct. Trust me, you’ll make changes and add tons of notes the second time around. Testing will help you feel confident that what you’ve written can be understood by others. It’s also a great idea to have someone else test your pattern because they will find things that you’ve missed.
Step 9 – Sizing & Schematics – Once you’re happy with your completed piece block and measure it for the pattern. Create schematics, abstract representations of the pieces that go into your final product, and write out the size. Adding those extras will make it easier for anyone grabbing your pattern to get it right the first time.
You have now completed your pattern and you’re off to another!
That’s it my dear, my very brief overview on how to write your own crochet patterns. Start writing for yourself, then have others read and create your pieces (test your patterns) to see how they work. The more you write the more confident you’ll get so don’t worry if your first pattern leans on the “sucky” side, I promise you’ll get better if you keep at it!
I can’t wait to see your creations!