If you’ve ever considered writing your own crochet pattern you’ve probably felt a little bit overwhelmed with the process.
- Where do I start?
- How do I make sure everyone can read my pattern?
- Do I need photos?
- Do I need Testers?
- How long will it take?
- How much do I charge for it?
- How will I get the word out?
- How do I structure it and design it?
Depending on the product you’re making a pattern for, it can get pretty complicated so it’s nice to start out with something simple like a blanket or scarf that only uses a few repetitive stitches, or a smaller item like a washcloth or headband! Maybe you’ve already started writing up notes and sketches but haven’t taken the next step to turn them into a ready to sell pattern OR maybe you’ve released a few patterns, but they haven’t been as popular as you’d hoped… starting small and even starting with patterns written on a blog for free can help you get your feet wet, get feedback on your patterns, your writing style, and details before creating PDFs to sell online. I wanted to gather a few of my favorite tips & trick here on the blog to help empower & inspire you to jump in and get to work on your first pattern!
Research, Research Research!
Study up on the patterns you’ve enjoyed following in the past. Pay attention to how the patterns are structured and the details they include. Take notes on the things you feel they did well when it comes to the clarity of the pattern overall. Every pattern writer is different. It’s also important to revisit patterns you may have had trouble with in the past. Make notes of what you struggled to understand and keep these things in mind as you are working towards writing your own pattern.
Write Out A Simple Pattern For Something You Know How To Do!
This could be something as simple as a granny square but practice writing out the instructions as you create it! This is great practice. Once you write up your instructions, google a few granny square patterns/instructions online and compare your notes. Did you leave anything out or get anything incorrect? Did you use the same abbreviations as the other patterns? These are all things to get more farmiliar with before you begin writing your own pattern!
The next step is to send this super simple pattern to some of your fiber friends for feedback! Can they follow the instructions easily? Did they struggle with anything? It may seem silly to have testers for something like this, but it is laying the groundwork for you to become more confident in your pattern writing–without the pressure of releasing a full fledged pattern immediately!
Take LOTS of Notes
Take LOTS of notes as you start your first test product and throughout the entire process! These notes could live in a notebook or on your phone, I use the app Google Keep because it syncs with my Google account and I can access the notes on my desktop as well. This makes it easy to transfer my notes into a word document to begin my pattern drafts!
When writing up your first real pattern draft, I suggest making the product and taking DETAILED notes as you create. This is a great technique if you haven’t written out any pattern notes and are starting from scratch. Once you’ve done this, it is time to test the pattern notes yourself. Try creating the product solely based on your own notes. This will help you catch the initial round of mistakes and ensures that you can follow your own directions easily. Make changes & adjustments, add details & clarify things as you go. This is the stage where I suggest you start taking process/progress photos, so choose a time to do this when you’ve got good lighting!
Be patient with yourself! This sounds simple but it is a very important part of this process–you are learning something new and it may feel frustrating at times. Take breaks and embrace the learning process! Know you may need to do some serious frogging, adjusting, altering, frogging again, readjusting…. you get my point. Unless you’ve been making this product from memory for a while, chances are it’ll take a few tries to get it right. It’s okay to put things down and come back to them if you get frustrated.
Key Elements to Include
- Name of your pattern
- Your name, business name and how people can get in touch with/connect with you
- Materials: yarn (yardage needed, size, type, brand, colors), hook (size), scissors, tapestry needle, additional materials.
- Swatch Gauge sizing (# of stitches & rows in a 4″ swatch)
- Stitches used in your pattern & their abbreviations
- Sizes available and how the instructions for each size will be denoted in the pattern
Taking Pattern Photos
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to include high quality images in your pattern to show the steps and details of the pattern. Good images do not require an expensive camera, many of today’s newer phones offer great image quality so it’s more important to focus on lighting and detail. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Use good (natural) lighting: Even if this means setting up a table near a window in your house to take the photos)
- De-Clutter your Space: Try to have a plain, light colored backdrop for your photos (not a busy tablecloth or a black table top)
- Use Light, Solid Colored Yarn: This is PREFERABLE for these photos when possible BECAUSE it makes the stitches & details easier to see!
- Consider Using Contrasting Yarn: In areas that are tricky to see, using a contrasting color can make it easier to show where to join or place stitches!
- You Can’t Take Too Many: Take LOTS of photos, photos are the best way for people to follow along and see what their project should be looking like as they follow along with your pattern.
Find Reliable People to Help You Test Your Patterns!
Use testers!! Once you’ve followed and proofed your own first draft, do a call for testers! You can do this on your social media accounts, on crochet forums or in crochet groups (there are a few pattern testing groups on Facebook and Ravelry!) Be sure to include a solid deadline and the materials they will need in your announcement. Be sure to ask for written feedback and be clear if you want them to provide progress and/or final photos for you to share!
Ready to Get Started?!
You can get my Crochet Pattern Writer’s Digital Workbook in my Etsy shop now! It is 30 pages PACKED full of tips & tricks for writing successful crochet patterns, including “fill in the blank” breakdowns for taking notes, structuring your pattern, tracking your progress, tracking your testers and so much more! You can even use the code TEACHME to get 50% off for a limited time!
I hope you found these tips helpful! I will continue to share more tips and tricks here on my blog so be sure to subscribe and never miss a blog post!!