Thursday, January 20, 2011
Writing a Workable Crochet Pattern: Part One
1: Learn the correct names of the stitches and the standard abbreviations for each one. I am talking about the basic stitches here: sc, dc, hdc, etc. Some designers make a big deal about how they write their patterns without abbreviations. I am not sure that this is actually helpful, since the abbreviations are pretty self explanatory (sc stands for single crochet, I think that would be easy enough for a beginner to grasp), and the crocheter is going to need to know the abbreviations if they are ever going to make another designer's patterns.
If you think you have come up with a new stitch and want to name it yourself, make a reasonable search to make sure it doesn't already have a name. But you can find the same group of stitches called a "slanted shell" stitch in one guide and a "bushy stitch" in another, so as long as you are giving instructions on how to make the stitch you are using, you can pretty well call it what you like.
2: Learn the difference between a "Rnd" and a "Row" and use them correctly in your pattern. A Row is turned at the end without joining. A Round is usually joined at the end to the first stitch of the round, and may be turned or not. Lots of very old patterns called everything a "Row" and some designers still do this today. This is a pet peeve of mine, as I find it very annoying!
3: Learn when to use Parentheses, Asterisks, and Brackets and use them consistently throughout your pattern. Of course, you are free to write your repeats as you like, and can use them as desired. But most crocheters who already know the standard use of ( ), *, and [ ] might be a little bit annoyed to find that they must learn a whole new set of rules in order to follow a pattern, so stick to the standard usage whenever possible. If you are not sure about when to use what, check out this page on the Yarn Craft Councils site:
http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/tip_crochet.html Their site has lots of good information you can refer to when writing a pattern.
An editor once told me that writing a crochet pattern was more difficult than writing a computer program, and since she did both, she probably knew what she was talking about. It is a part of designing and publishing my patterns that I dislike, but I have to admit it is probably the most important. It takes time and effort, but with a little patience and practice it can be done. Stay tuned for Part Two!