That statement certainly sounds a little ostentatious or grandiose! I have been a prolific crocheter every day since I retired. When I received so many comments on how pretty they felt my shawls were, it occurred to me that I could write down what I do when I crochet a shawl and create a pattern.
Writing a crochet pattern is totally different than just crocheting! When I crochet for myself, I can take shortcuts, finagle a stitch or two, or even do something that makes no sense whatsoever to create a certain look. The difficult part is writing it down for someone else to understand!
As with any style of writing, there are certain rules and formats to follow. There are specific and common usage abbreviations to indicate crochet stitches and patterns. There is a standard way of indicating how to do something in a pattern. You need to give measurements, you need to indicate the type of yarn, whether it’s acrylic or whether it’s animal based such as wool or whether it’s cotton. Each type of yarn has a different feel and has a different look when you put it into a finished item. You need to indicate what size hook you decided to use.
The US has a different size table for yarn and hooks than the UK and Australia and the rest of the world. A pattern must indicate whether you are using US or UK terminology. Yarns readily available in the US stores are usually not the same as what is available elsewhere. Online shopping has given buyers in every country the option to try other yarns. Many yarns come from South Africa, Turkey, Denmark, Japan, and China. That has opened my eyes to realize that Walmart, Michael’s, Joann’s, or Hobby Lobby are not the only places to buy yarn!
The most difficult thing in writing a pattern, is to actually try to verbalize your instructions in a way that any crocheter could follow, recognize and understand what you’re trying to say, and then be able to emulate your creation.
You can’t take shortcuts, and you can’t assume your reader knows everything that you know. You must be specific, writing out every step that you take and include measurements and stitch counts for them to double check their own work.
Each crocheter has their own way of doing things, there’s not a standardized way to teach crocheting, and so, everyone learns what is best for them. Some hold their hook very tightly and make small and dense stitches. Some, like me, crochet quickly, in a hurry to see results, and crochet stitches are looser. That is the tension that crocheters have to pay attention to.
If you want to re-create a lovely blouse, the pattern will indicate standard sizes and/or indicate places to fit the body with specific measurements. Crocheters and designers need to be aware of gauge swatches.
A gauge swatch is when the designer indicates their hook size, their specific yarn, and crochets a small square with measurements to indicate how many stitches and how many back and forth rows it took to create this square. That way, you as the crocheter, can make this small square to check if you can match their gauge, their tension, and be able to recreate the blouse and ensure that it will fit you. You don’t want to just wing it, and discover after you have spent days crocheting the blouse, that it will fit your 12-year-old daughter instead! Even if you buy the exact same yarn as the designer used in the pattern, you still need to check their gauge to see if they crochet tighter or looser than you do. That is when you have to adjust and choose a smaller or a larger hook size so that your crocheted item will come out just like the pattern!
You will then need eye catching pictures of your finished item that will entice someone into wanting to recreate that crocheted gem!
I even discovered there is sometimes a mathematical formula to creating crocheted items. I am not a math person! I was horrible at math! What a shock it was to me, to learn that I was going to be using a little bit of math in my designs!
I tend to be a “crochet as I go” designer. That just means, I decide I want to make a shawl. I decide on my yarn, get my desired hook size, and begin. Sometimes to keep myself entertained and interested, I will use different stitches for different combination of stitches that create visual or textural interest. And then I have to write down what I did in the first row. And then in the next row, I have to write down again every stitch I made and make sure it makes sense.
What all of this has taught me is, I am an intermediate crocheter of sorts, but still a beginner at writing patterns. And there is always something to learn from each! I enjoy learning new stitches, new ideas, new ways to put stitches together and then I turn that into something wearable or useful.
After you have made your creation, written your pattern, and tried to proofread and edit, added some pictures, then you need to have testers try out your pattern.
Testers are crocheters from everywhere and anywhere who will volunteer their time and their yarn and their hooks to follow your pattern to recreate your design. They will read your pattern, find your typos, check your measurements and tell you if it is legible and sometimes we’ll even tell you you did it wrong or should have done it a different way!
Despite that, testing is important! If you’ve ever proof read an article you wrote, you know that it is so easy to skim read, Read between the lines, and/or forget to include simple instructions. After the testing is over, that’s when you can publish your pattern for sale.
As with anything, it’s a journey! Sometimes it is fun and sometimes it is frustrating. I am enjoying it! I love the creative side, and I love learning new things, and I Love 💕 sharing with you!
Usually the crocheted items I make go in my Etsy store. The patterns are available in my Ravelry store as well as my Etsy store. Why don’t you drop by sometime! I’d love to see you!
Wow, there is so much more to this than meets the eye! I would not be able to make a pattern. I also have a hard time following written word. I’ve always needed to have things shown to me rather than read instructions. Your creations are very pretty!
Thank you so much