Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Writing a Workable Crochet Pattern: Part Three

Now we come to the most important part of writing a pattern- the actual instructions. As in the previous post, the original pattern is written in black and  my comments are in red.

Rnd 1: (remember to use Rnd or Row correctly. I always write them in bold print so that they will stand out from the rest of the pattern) With brown, (if you are using multiple colors in a pattern, tell them which one to use. The same goes if you are using more than one size of hook) ch 6, sl st in first ch to form ring, ch 2 (not worked in or counted as a stitch) (you can add extra information either in a Note section at the beginning of a pattern, or in italics and parenthesis within the pattern itself at the time it is needed. I use both methods) 2 dc cluster (see Special Stitches) in ring,  (it makes a Special Stitch more noticeable if you bold it the first time it is used in a pattern; you can then refer them to the Special Stitches for instructions) ch 3, (3 dc cluster -see Special Stitches- in ring, ch 3) 5 times, join with sl st in top of 2-dc cluster (on rnds, remember to tell them how and where to join). (One 2-dc cluster, five 3-dc clusters, 6 ch-3 sps made) (A stitch count helps the crocheter know that they have worked the correct number of stitches for the round. Stitch counts are the thing my customers have most often said they would like to see added to a pattern)
Rnd 2: (Sl st, ch 2, 2 dc cluster, ch 3, 3 dc cluster, ch 3) in first ch-3 sp, (whenever possible, list everything that is going on in a single stitch or space together inside parenthesis) (3 dc cluster, ch 3, 3 dc cluster, ch 3) (I try to write out the instructions as completely as possible, it makes the pattern a bit easier) in each ch-3 sp around, (this set of instructions could also be written "(3 dc cluster, ch 3) 2 times in each ch-3 sp around" but I like to write out a repeat if it is worked less than 3 times)  join with sl st in top of 2-dc cluster. (One 2-dc cluster, 11 3-dc clusters, 12 ch-3 sps made)

Rnd 3: (Sl st, ch 2, 2 dc cluster, ch 3, 3 dc cluster, ch 3) in first ch-3 sp, 3 dc cluster in next ch-3 sp, ch 3,
*(3 dc cluster, ch 3, 3 dc cluster, ch 3) in next ch-3 sp, 3 dc cluster in next ch-3 sp, ch 3; (when writing a repeat that starts with an asterisk, end the section to be repeated with a semi-colon) repeat from * around, join with sl st in top of 2 dc-cluster. Fasten off. (when changing colors, remember to tell them to fasten off the old color) (One 2-dc cluster, 17 3-dc clusters, 18 ch-3 sps made)

Rnd 4: Join green with sc in first ch-3 sp (when changing colors, tell them what color they are now using, where to join and what stitch to use to join), work 2 more sc in same ch-3 sp as joining,  (if working more stitches in the same space or stitch that you joined in, use the phrase "in the same st/sp as joining" to avoid confusion) work 3 sc in each ch-3 sp around, join with sl st in first sc. Fasten off. (54 sc made)

Rnd 5: Join yellow with sc in first sc, (ch 3, 3 dc) in same sc as joining, skip next 2 sc, *(sc, ch 3, 3 dc) in next sc, skip next 2 sc; repeat from * around, join with sl st in first sc. Fasten off.

Other things to remember and think about:
Always do a spell check!
Be consistent within the pattern. If you write "sc in each of next 3 dc" in one round, do not write "sc in next 3 sts" in the next. It might mean the same thing, but your customers will feel more comfortable with your patterns if they are written in a consistent manner.
Make sure you have numbered the row/rnds correctly. I have been known to go from Rnd 4 to Rnd 6 when writing a pattern; where Rnd 5 went is still a mystery, but your customers shouldn't have to try to figure out if it is just a numbering mistake on your part, or if a portion of the instructions are missing.
If you pattern has more than one piece (sleeves, pockets, collar, etc.) be sure you include the pattern for each.
Make sure the math works! This is such an important topic that I will be doing a follow up post on it in the future.
Do a little homework. If you have a favorite publisher or designer, someone who's patterns you enjoy working and find easy to follow, take one of their patterns and study the way it is written. You will quickly see how you can apply their style to your own patterns.
Did you ever dream there was so much to writing a crochet pattern? I trained for over 2 years in the Editorial department of Annie's Attic and I still didn't learn all there was to being a technical editor! We were told we must make the patterns easy enough so that a child could work them if they wanted to. Stay tuned for Part Four!


CrochetBlogger said...

This series is terrific!

Sheltie Times said...

This series has been very interesting. I am just starting to record my notes for myself, but I am interested in learning how to standardize my writing so I can share with others. Thank you for the help.

Anonymous said...

If I could have one wish about patterns it would be the end count for each row as in your pattern.
i.e. This row has x stitches, y clusters, z spaces.... whatever. I find reading the text of many patterns hard but am rescued by the information that tells me what that row should contain.
Thanks for this series.

Wool Working Woman said...

Thank you so much for this series. I'm finally ready to write up some of my patterns and appreciate the helping getting started the right way.

Anonymous said...

Wow. This is a lot, but I can see how it is all so important. I must be using well written patterns these past few years, because I never had to really think about the writing of the pattern. I am off to try a pattern now. Thank you, ~Kelly

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