Monday, January 10, 2011

The Most Important Thing To Do When Writing a Crochet Pattern

Okay, what I am about to tell you may not come as a surprise. It is not a secret. You will probably even  think "Well, duh, Ann, everyone knows that!" But even though it seems so obvious,  you would be amazed at how many designers (even professionals) do not do it. It is so simple, yet it can make the difference between a pattern that works and is easy to follow and one that will have any poor crocheter that tries to make it pulling out their hair in frustration.
Are you ready? Okay, here it is:
The most important thing to do when you are writing a pattern for a crocheted item you are designing is-
Write down everything you do at the time you are actually making the item.
That's it.
Don't be tempted to think "Oh, this is so simple, I know will remember what I did," and think you will be able to go back later and write the pattern. You would be surprised at how hard it is to remember if you used "ch-3" or "ch-4" sps on Rnd 4 after you have worked 20 more rounds of different lengths of ch sps.
I know it is more fun to just crochet without taking the time to write down the instructions, (especially if you are not  exactly sure how to word what you are doing at the time,)  but do it anyway. You will thank yourself later on. And if you plan on submitting your design to a publisher, your editor will thank you as well.
If you are really on a crocheting roll, and it is a fairly small project, go ahead and make your item without writing the pattern. Just be sure that you then make a second one, and this time write the pattern down. This is also a good time to make small adjustments to the design; say the stitches a certain round look a little stretched. When remaking it, you can add a few more increases. Just be sure to write down how many you are adding  and where they are placed.
 Even if it is just notes, quick scratches on a scrap of napkin or a used envelope, the  important thing is to document how many of what stitch you did where. For each and every row or round.
This is the best advice I can give any budding designer. After all, it doesn't matter how gorgeous your designs are if no one can follow your patterns to make them. And believe me, one bad pattern can ruin a designer's career before it even gets started.
I have a few more designing and pattern writing tips that I will share in future posts, and if you have any specific questions, just let me know and I will try my best to answer them. I think the world needs more crochet designers!


Sheltie Times said...

I don't design but I do adapt many of the toy and doll patterns I have. Your words are so key. I actually put a note in a blog recently because I kept forgetting to ad a note to a pattern I changed. Without the change the pattern does not fit the type of doll I made it for, but I kept forgetting to write it down.

Based on the reaction to my blog, writing notes while crocheting and knitting is a common challenge.

paula said...

Amen to writing things down tewhen you do them.

I have taken to having my netbook open to a document page so I can type down what I am doing.

Ana Luisa said...

So true! I also DRAW out the patterm using symbols, makes it easier for me to "read".
Thanks for sharing!

Mis Letras al viento said...

Hola !!! yo hago algunos trabajos libres , pero esw verdad es dificil, tejer , destejer , anotar y querer volver hacer el mismo trabajo sin anotar nada , es imposible , muchas gracias por sus sabios consejos sus trabajos son hermosos

- said...

Very important tips!

Natalia Kononova said...

Yes, indeed! Thanks for reminding.