Thursday, April 28, 2016

Pattern Writing 101 Course: Write and publish your first (and your next) knit and crochet pattern with confidence

UPDATED 9/07/16

Here's what one designer had to say about Pattern Writing 101 e-Course:

"I wasted so many hours, reading every thread in Ravelry forums, confused and spinning my wheels trying to figure out how to write up my design ideas. I found the Pattern Writing 101 eCourse. I took a chance and registered for the first course and so glad I did. She showed me what I needed to include in every pattern, how to write for the skill level of the knitters I want to design for. She pushed me to beyond what is safe and what I think I want to see what I really want and can do. Before Pattern Writing 101 I was just stumbling around seeking answers. Now I feel confident and reassured that I can write up my design ideas, and confident my patterns are clear and worth selling because I have a solid foundation for writing up my design ideas, every time. The best part is that now I am not afraid to call myself a designer." ~ Confident Designer Boss

Are you struggling to figure out how to write and publish your first pattern? You might have been scouring Ravelry Forums, reading comments from other knit and crochet designers, searching interwebs, trying to collect all the advice into one cohesive plan, but getting nowhere. I have created a 4-week course to help you, Pattern Writing 101: Write - and publish - your first (and your next) knit and crochet pattern with confidence, every time! 

This new course is the most comprehensive training on how to start pattern writing. If you ever thought about designing - and publishing - your own patterns, Pattern Writing 101 can help you make it a reality.

The Pattern Writing 101 course is weekly lessons straight to your inbox that gives you hands-on guidance with actionable steps so you don't have to waste time, stumbling around the internet on your own. It’s a simple and comprehensive blueprint to help you to write patterns you are confident about and build the foundation to publish all your future patterns.

Write better patterns.

The 4-week course consist of templates, checklists, and various other action packed exercises designed to help you start - and publish - your first (and your next) knit and crochet pattern with confidence, every time!...

The good news is this: you don't have to show up anywhere live. You will receive the lessons straight to your inbox on Sundays, with a follow-up email on Wednesdays filled with answers to questions, tips, and motivation to get you to the next lesson - for a total of 8 lessons - over the course of 4 weeks. And once you sign-up and complete the course, you will have lifetime access to me to ask questions as you continue on your design journey at no additional cost.

At the end of the course, when you follow along with the course material, you will have a fully written pattern ready to publish on Ravelry. Take the first steps to writing and publishing your first knit and crochet pattern with clarity that people will want to download and make.

Just know this: enrollment is only open for 2-weeks or until all slots fill. I expect to fill-up early and slot fill up fast, so if you are interested, don't delay

Listen, I have been where you are right now. You have all these ideas swirling around in your head that you want to get on paper and share with your friends. You see other designers with success and you know you can do the same. But you don’t know where to start. 

I know how many questions can pop up when it comes time to put pen to paper and start writing the pattern. You think there must be a code you need to crack. 

The truth is, pattern writing can be overwhelming. Where do you start? There are A LOT of forum threads floating around the online designer space, which can make it tough to figure out which advice to take. It can be challenging to know which advice will help you move forward from where you are. It is frustrating to decipher what order to go.

I get it!

Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Is Pattern Writing 101 right for me if I have never written a pattern before or have only written a couple patterns?
Answer: Absolutely!
Pattern Writing 101 is best suited for knitters and crocheters just starting out or has a couple patterns under your belt. We will cover all the basic fundamentals of pattern writing to more advance techniques of how to infuse your own style and voice into your designs.

Question: Will you teach me how to come up with design ideas?
Answer: No.
This course is to cover how to write up your designs to share.

Question: Will I be able to skip ahead each week?

Answer: No.

This course is a marathon, not a sprint. Lessons are sent out on Sundays with a mid-week follow-up email to answer student questions and will include tips and/or motivation.

Some lessons will be very heavy and will take some time to complete. 

Question: What will I learn after going through Pattern Writing 101?

Answer: You will learn so much…

By the end of the course you will have a pattern template, a checklist, and a completed pattern ready to send off to tester, get tech edited, and publish on Ravelry.

Question: Does Pattern Writing 101 comes with hands-on help?

Answer: Yes. Everyone gets hands-on help. But please note the amount of hand-holding depends on the level you choose to join at. 

If you choose the Course Plus option, you will have unlimited email access to me throughout the course as well as me reviewing and tech editing your finish accessory pattern at the end of the course to give you that final push and confidence boost before you hit publish. 

Question: What do I need before the course starts?

Answer: A design already completed with notes ready to write up the pattern. 
If you have a pattern written already, you can use that as a guide through the course. 

Question: How does the Pattern Writing 101 course works?

Answer: You will purchase the level of the course that best suits your need.
Starting October 2nd, you will receive email lessons straight to your inbox each Sunday with a follow-up email each Wednesday answering questions, filled with tips and motivation.

Question: I've taken a lot of courses. How is this any different?
Answer: This is more than a course. It's part learning, part mentoring, and lots of tough love.
I will guide you step-by-step through writing a clear pattern that you will be proud to share and knitters and crocheters will want to make.

By the end of the course, you will have a solid foundation for crafting pattern instructions, your way. Plus, you will have the tools and know-how to recreate patterns, every time. 

Question: What if I am not ready to buy yet?
Answer: That’s cool. I get it!
Do me a favor though. Find someone, a mentor, in the knitting and crochet community and schedule a weekly coffee meeting with them. In this meetup you will get your designing and publishing questions answered. Promise me that at least.

Question: I'm not sure I can afford this. Do you guarantee results?

Answer: No, I don't make guarantees. But here's what I've done to make your chances of success as high as possible. In addition to the course material, I also offer email support through out the course so that you can get your individual questions answered.

We know this course can work for you if you do the work and put it in place, piece by piece

Question: This is a big investment. I can find everything I need online for free. Why you and this course?

Answer: Yes to all. This is a big investment and I don't ask you to register for the course lightly. Of course you can find answers to just about anything online. With this course, I systematically lay out the process in a manner that is repeatable so that you can use the skills and knowledge acquired here for every pattern.

With this course, everything you need is in one place. At the end of the course, you will have a complete plan for creating and writing patterns. 

Question: Am I ready for this?

Answer: Take a leap forward in your designing. Yes, it is scary. Even for me.
Thinking you need more time and more experience wont get you to where you want to be. You have to take action. Read what past students have said about the course below. You got this!

               Course Plus
Course Only ($75)                 Course Plus ($100)

Don't wait until 2017 to starting publishing your designs. Have your first knit and crochet pattern written and up on Ravelry before Thanksgiving. 

You don’t have to try to figure out on your own how to write – and publish – your first (and your next) pattern with confidence. 

Here’s what Pattern Writing 101 covers:
How to create a basic style guide.
Pattern writing techniques.
Information on what to include in a complete pattern.
Bonuses include templates, checklist, and advice. 

Here’s what you get when you purchase Pattern Writing 101:
Course Material – 4 weeks (8 emails) straight to your inbox.
Pattern Template to get started right away, as well as a checklists to use when writing - and publishing – every pattern.

BONUS: You will receive a bonus lesson (How to grade a pattern using MS Excel) if you register by September 8, 2016 11:59PM EST

The difference between the Course Only and the Course Plus options is me tech editing your finished accessory pattern. In both options you will have email access to me throughout the course. With the Course Plus option, I am will tech edit one accessory pattern before you hit publish (note: must have pattern and emailed to me within 2-weeks of the end of the course).  

If you purchase the Course Only option and later decide you need to upgrade for a tech edit, please email me prior to the end of the course.

Which course option is best for you...

Course Only: Weekly lessons with templates, checklist, action items, homework, etc., straight to your inbox - $75

Course Plus: Weekly lessons, PLUS unlimited email access, tech edit of one knit or crochet accessory (have to use within 2-weeks of course completion) - $100



"Tian’s course really gets down to the nitty gritty of pattern writing . Besides the fine tune details, you really get to look in yourself and figure out who you are as a designer. What do you want to achieve?  How far do you want to go?" ~ Smashlee Stitches
Click here to read Ashlee's entire review!

"Thank you for the tough love.  You've offered up some great strategies and I'm excited to get them organized into a plan that I can implement over time.  I really appreciate the pep talk--it's just what I needed to hear :)"

"I am truly a very satisfied customer!!!"

"I can’t think of anything you didn’t cover in this course – it was quite comprehensive!"

"Thanks so much for your course and encouragement.  I'm well underway for a 2nd pattern with a couple more ideas fomenting following that."

"Thank you for your encouraging words!!  You can't know how much they mean to me."

One Last thing
One last thing. Can you give me just 30 seconds of your time? I know you are super busy and your time is precious, so I will make this quick.

You’ve told me that you want to write your own patterns. That you have written a couple patterns and you feel like you are just flying by the seat of your pants. I recently opened up enrollment for Pattern Writing 101, and I noticed you didn't join.

No hard feelings, of course. But I'd like to learn more about how I can help you. So, if you can fill out this short survey, I'd greatly appreciate it.
Take this short survey

KNitDesigns by Tian

Until next time... Stitch on,

Tian Connaughton
*A rising tide lifts all boats*

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Knit and Crochet Designers, please Don't do this!

Oh my gah, I am pulling out my hair.

I love her to death, but I think she finds these things online just to test me. You remember my friend Betsy, right! Yeah? No? Well, if you don't, she's a retiree, been knitting for a long time, but still at a beginner level, and she is okay with that.

So last week, she brought a project to me that almost stumped me, almost.

I'll have to say that sometimes, Betsy is not the best at judging the book by the cover, especially when it comes to picking patterns to knit from the myriad of freebie patterns strewn across the interwebs. She buys knitting books and magazines, but likes to go pattern searching online for freebie because she can search specific keywords to find exactly what she wants to knit rather than flipping through all her books and magazines.

Vacation Knits-Vol 1

So, Betsy wanted to find a simple project for a long road trip she was planning. She goes online to start her search. Of course she wanted a free pattern, which is find, but like they say, you get what you pay for.

The other day, she brought this mess of a project. I mean it was not good, at all. So I had her show me the pattern page and in less than 5 seconds it became glaringly clear why this pattern was a problem and she should not have attempted to make. I am all about building her confidence to try new techniques and make mistakes, but in this cause, so much could have been avoided.

Remember what I said about judging a book but it's cover? Well, imagine the pattern page as the cover that is a window to the written instructions within. First, the pattern page was not complete. There were no information on the yarn used, the gauge, needles, how it's constructed, nothing. Failing to fill out that information is generally a big red flag to the completeness of the actual written pattern.

Then for giggles (because I wanted to confirm my suspicions), I had Betsy show me the printed copy of the pattern she was using and unfortunately it was exactly as expected from the pattern page. It was more than spelling/grammatical errors; we are all humans, these things happen. It was the lack of "required" information that is pertinent to achieving the same result as the designer.

KNitDesigns by Tian

Forget abut the romance copy that is all cutesy and clever about what inspired the designer, that stuff is optional, but there was no yarn and needle details included, just "worsted weight yarn". Was it wool, acrylic, cotton? Because those behave differently. Was it a size 9, 8 or 7.5 needle used? What gauge did you get? Was it loose or dense? Needless to say this headband for a baby turned out almost big enough to fit around a telephone pole, twice. Also, the stitch pattern was off. The yarn overs in the poorly lit photo are suppose to line-up certain spots, but didn't if you followed the written directions.

So, there are a lot of things I don't believe we "should" do, just what makes us feel good. But when you are writing a pattern that you are sharing with the world, whether it'd free or for pay, there are A LOT of things that you not only should do, but MUST do if you want to be a knit and crochet designer.


By the way, if you are wanting hands-on help with pattern writing, register for my Writing 101 E-Course: Write your first (or next) knit/crochet pattern.

Registration is only open to {The Weekly Yarn} subscribers at the time. So, if you are not on the list, get on it!

Class Starts May 15th and runs for 4-weeks, so sign-up today.

Until next time...Stitch on!
A rising tide lift many boats


Go, check out KnitDesigns by Tian Pattern Page to get your copy here:

Want a 20% OFF COUPON to my Ravelry Shop 
and subscriber-exclusives?  

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

100, no 105 knit and crochet patterns

I didn’t grow up with yarn in my house or learn to knit and crochet at my grandmother’s knees. When I first learned to crochet in 2001 it was just a distraction from all the news relating to the aftermath of 9/11. Never had I expected to be a full time designer and tech editor. Heck, I didn’t even know those were career options!

The path to get to where I am now WAS neither linear or easy. But ending up where I am now IS so worth the work.

Like many designers, for me this journey started out as a hobby. At first I was just modifying
existing patterns to fit my specific needs and taste, which later developed into full-blown creating unique designs. It started with self-publishing, discovering Knit Picks’ Independent Designer Program, then working hard to get a few pieces sporadically published in print publications.

What I wish I knew?
Running a design business is more than following my passion. There is so much behind the scene stuff that goes on that is not as sexy as what the outside world sees.

Designing is expensive when first starting out. You have no credibility yet, so you have to buy all your own yarns for the samples.

Don’t go it alone! Having a support system makes life a lot easier. Sure, having family and friends support is important, but having fibery help (a tech editor and/or test knitter) to help work out kinks are essentials.

KNitDesigns by Tian

How did I go from hobby to full-time?
This is not an easy decision and you are never really ready. I wish I could tell you I walked in to my boss and handed my resignation, but that wasn’t it. I made a plan.

I knew my corporate job would be going overseas.  I used the time to plan my new career. It started out a finding my bliss and following my passion, but what I have created today is more than whimsy.

Sure from the outside I am knitting and crocheting for a living, but on the inside there is marketing, promotion, administrative work, contacting yarn companies for yarn support, submitting designs for publication, invoicing/billing, tracking payments, tracking submissions/yarn receipts/sample due dates, and so on.

So, while it might seem like the life of a knit and crochet designer is lazily sitting on the couch watching Murder She Wrote on Netflix and stitching all day, there's a lot more to it than that. Heck, some days I don't even touch yarn. But the bright side is doing something I love which provides me with the flexibility to be a better wife, mother, and steward to our land and all the little creature that come to visit and those who call our backyard "home".

So, there you have it. That's how I've been able to publish 105 patterns, 14 in the last 4 months and consistently.

Until next time...Stitch on!

A rising tide lift many boats


Go, check out KnitDesigns by Tian

Pattern Page 

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and subscriber-exclusives?  

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

6 Major mistakes knit and crochet designer are making

I wanted to die when I got that first email. And it wasn’t just one email. They just came coming in. It was one of my first pattern published by a publication. I should have been over the moon, and I was, but for only a short time. There were errors with my pattern in a magazine. How could that be? It was tech edited.

The high I was riding on had swiftly landed back to earth with a harsh crash. I was jolted back to reality and it was painful. I didn't know what to do. This thing I had created and was so proud of was a failure, or so I thought. I’ll get back to this.

Should I blame the magazine tech editor? Well, the thought had cross my mind. But, at the end of the day, the final published pattern – the quality and accuracy – is ultimately the responsibility of the designer.

So, what does a tech editor do anyway? And if you are a designer, do you need one?

Yes, you absolutely need a tech editor. A tech editor is integral to the publishing process and elevates the professionalism of a designer because you have a polished pattern that you are confident about. Every designer needs a tech editor, especially when first starting out.

A tech editor is not the same as a copy editor who reviews for punctuations, spelling, and grammar. A tech editor does all that and much more. A tech editor checks to make sure the pattern is clearly written. They search patterns for errors and accuracy, check the math, make sure the design works, and checks for consistency and flow throughout the pattern, from start to finish. They offer recommendations on how to improve the instructions.

So, back to that seemingly disastrous pattern. How did I get through it to this being a top seller? Well, it wasn’t easy. With years of experience in corporate finance, I had to develop a process for customer service. Sorry you guys! Most of you have purchase one or more of my patterns, but the truth is, the customer isn't always right. But most importantly, the customer deserves to be heard, always. That is key. If a knitter or crocheter finds an error with a pattern, it is the designer’s responsibility to take the time to review the possible problem provide feedback, in a timely manner. This is how we improve.

KNitDesigns by Tian

6 Major Mistakes Designers Make and How to Avoid Them

1) Not having a style guide.
Creating a style guide allows for consistency in writing style and a cohesive pattern look.

2) Not following the publishers' established style guide
Having your own style is great but when publishing with a magazine it is important to follow the template they provide. Being a good designer is more than writing great instructions, you have to be able to follow them as well.

3) Using non-standard terminology or making up your own
There are times when you need to come up with a way to describe something new and different, but don't reinvent the wheel with your patterns. Use the standard terminologies that everyone else is using. This will allow for a clearer understanding of your designs.

4) Making assumptions
Don't write your pattern thinking you are writing a guide for dummies, but don't leave out crucial information that the knitter/crocheter will have to go searching for in order to figure out. Consider the skill level for which you are writing the pattern and evaluate how the information will be received at that level.

5) Not handing errata
Errors happens. I've seen patterns go through 2 rounds of tech editing still having errors. It happens, so don't avoid it or delay too long. Develop a process for how you will handle customer service issues and be consistent.

6) Not having patterns tech edited
Especially in the beginning when you are first starting out, it is important to get experienced eyes on your pattern to catch errors and provide guidance. This might seem daunting, but spending that $25-$45 now will save you time and heartache from solving error questions in the long run.

Ok, again, this was a long post. That's it for now... there is so much more say, but I will end here for now.

Are you a designer or aspiring to write your own pattern. What is one thing you want to know about writing or getting published?
Or, did I miss anything or do you have a question? Leave a comment or question on the blog

Until next time...Stitch on!

A rising tide lift many boats


Go, check out KnitDesigns by Tian Pattern Page to get your copy here:

Want a 20% OFF COUPON to my Ravelry Shop 
and subscriber-exclusives?  

Subscribe to

{The Weekly Yarn} from KnitDesigns by Tian

* indicates required
I am interested in Crochet and Knit...
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