Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Write your own knit & crochet pattern

This week has been an exciting one. I was going to write this whole post in shouting cap blocks lettering, I am so excited. But decided that would be a bit too obnoxious.

As a designer, I feel like I have a lot of these fun, huge sigh of relief weeks. I just finished a shawl design and I am in love. Sorry, I can't share with you! GAH! I wish I could take a million photos and plaster them all over Ravelry. But, unfortunately, I will have to wait for the publication to come out. That's the hardest part - the waiting!

If you have designed your own pattern in the past or finished THE perfect project using the perfect yarn, you know what I mean. It just feels like the perfect marriage of yarn (fiber content and twist), stitch pattern, and shawl construction. The big sigh of relief happens a lot.

When you submit an idea, a sketch and a swatch, proposal to a publication, deep down in the back of your mind, you wonder - will it work out as I imagine? Well, at least I still wonder.

Even with over 100 patterns designs under my belt and 35+ tech edits of knit and crochet patterns each month for publishers, I still worry. Does that ever goes away? I sure hope not. That little doubt in the back of my mind, constantly asking: Is this good enough? Is this the best you can do? That voice is what pushes me to do better every day.

See, we all have that little voice. Sometimes that voice is so loud you can't even hear outside sounds. But, the key is how to channel the voice to drive you towards your goals and to achieve more, rather than to let it stop you from even trying in the first place, because if you haven't tried, you've already failed...

So, you want to write your own patterns!

This is both the easiest and the hardest thing to do. Coming up with original designs are great. It's fun. It's exciting.

You are thrilled to be able to get those cluttering ideas out of your head and to share with the fiber community. 

You might imagine this happening:

You come up with this spectacular design. You think it will literally blow the socks off the knitting community. You imagine people across the internet, shoppers at yarn shops and festivals will be talking about your design and buying the exact same yarn you used in the sample to make their very own FO.

So, you write up the pattern, all full of excitement and nerves, and publish to Ravelry, yay!

Now what? You wait. And wait. And no one is downloading it. It's not the Hemmingways of knitting and crochet patterns. Now what?

What did you think would happen? What were you hoping to achieve? If you just want to put out a design idea into the ethers, then mission accomplished. Now what?!

With over 100 patterns on Ravelry and hundreds of tech editing of knit and crochet patterns under my belt, here's a bit of what I have learned. 


4 Simple Tips for Pattern Writing

1) Begin at the end.
How will the pattern be delivered?
Will the pattern be a PDF or print?
Deciding this upfront will influence the layout and how much detail you decide to include:
  i. small charts with only RS rows vs. a chart with both RS and WS rows given
  ii. long paragraphs vs bullet points vs row by row instructions

2) What do you want your pattern to look like?
Study writing styles, see what you like and what represent your aesthetic
 Don’t copy but get influence from various sources. Look at pattern books and magazines, chart and hobby, home d├ęcor, architectural books to explore what you like and you do not like.

3) Know your WHY
Your WHY is your purpose. Why did you want to write a pattern? What is the long game end goal. Do you want to have a bunch of freebie patterns because you don't want to make living as a designer, now or in the future?
Sometimes new designers feel they have to offer up their first designs for free to prove their worth. But this isn't necessarily true.
4) Start as you mean to go on
This plays into your WHY and giving value to your work.
Put out the best work you can based on your currently abilities. Do you want to make money designing or just to put out a few freebie? Are you building a portfolio for eventually design for publications? 

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


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  1. Replies
    1. You're very welcome Theresa! If you have questions on designing and tech editing knit and crochet patterns, please do not hesitate to email me.