Hey everyone, look at me go two blog posts in the same week! Lately I’ve seen a number of posts both on instagram and facebook asking for advice on how to write their first pattern. Now I’m no expert by any means but I have definitely acquired some tips and tricks since I’ve started designing crochet patterns. So here are my five easy steps to writing your first pattern. Also keep in mind I write crochet patterns so it may be different when it comes to knit patterns but it also may work who knows… not me..
#1. Write everything down.. Everything.
So normally when you are ready to write a pattern you’ve already made it once or a million times. While you are making it or remaking it make sure you write down all steps, especially things that you think you’ll remember because 9 times out of 10 you won’t remember. I don’t know how many times I’ve told myself “ill remember how many chains I started with” or “ill remember that number/measurement”. Let’s just say I never remember. Also make sure to save any and all resources you use, there’s nothing worse than using a video or blog post to figure out a stitch or how to do something and then you lose it. And last but not least make a note or what didn’t work, it will be helpful to know what you’ve already tried and you can also add it to your notes on your pattern so other makers will know what not to do!
#2. Make sure to include everything they will need.
By everything I mean everything they will need or need to know to make your design as easily as possible. First and foremost materials, include everything you used to make it, the hook size, amount of yarn and what weight and kind you used, stitch markers, tapestry needles, measuring tape, anything and everything you used to make the project. A stitch key, if you used stitch abbreviations (which you should because it saves a lot of room) then you will need a stitch key so if someone doesn’t know what one means or if you use a different one then the maker does they will know what you mean! GAUGE. Include your gauge! If your making something that needs to be a specific size make sure you include your gauge measurements!! Also state if the gauge isn’t important so people won’t message you asking about it. Last but not least notes and finished measurements, notes to tell them little tips and tricks that you used and finished measurements so they know they did it right!
#3. Keep it simple, but detailed…
Now this is way easier said than done. You want to include as much direction and details as possible but you don’t want to your pattern to be super long and cluttered. You can keep it organized by using brackets and parentheses. I use brackets for anything to do with sizes for example if the row number is different based on sizes I would put them in brackets going from smallest to largest eg. XS [S,M,L,XL,2XL]. I use parenthesis for the stitch count (always include stitch counts for every row) at the end of a row again going from smallest to largest eg. XS (S,M,L,XL,2XL).
Also if it doesn’t need to be written in the row put it in the notes so it stays simple, for example if the chain counts as a stitch throughout the whole pattern you can put that in the notes, but if it only counts as a stitch for a couple rows I would put that in the actual row.
Layout is also important and every designer has their own layout and things they prefer when it comes to how it looks. Personally I start my patterns with an introduction and a picture, then I list the materials, stitch key, notes, then get right into the pattern, then I always end with a closing paragraph which includes my social media info and a copyright disclaimer. I would recommend looking at other makers patterns and getting inspiration from they layouts.
Always include pictures of the finished project! I like to also put a picture of the materials, close up shots etc. I also recommend including pictures to explain trickier parts of the pattern for people who are new to reading patterns or are beginner crocheters. Make sure your pictures are well lit, clear, and aesthetically pleasing, I highly recommend looking up photography hacks and tips and tricks to help you take professional looking pictures. All you need to take amazing pictures is a phone/camera, and natural light it doesn’t have to be anything crazy, if you want to add some fancy dancy props I highly recommend just grabbing a cozy simple throw or a big white poster board as a backdrop and some little knick knacks from the home decor isle of Michaels and bam you have yourself a professional set up! (kinda)
Now that you have your pattern all typed up and looking professional it’s time to call on other makers to test it. Testers are in my opinion the most important step to releasing a pattern. Not only do they perfect your pattern by giving feedback, they also promote it so more people will know about your pattern. So you get the free advertising and they get a free pattern its a win win! Personally when I look for testers I use Survey Monkey and put out a tester call, so anyone interested can fill out an application and I can go through and contact the people I want to test for me.
Thats it, that’s all! This is the basic run down of how I write my patterns. It might be completely opposite of how someone else would write them but it’s what works for me and hopefully it can help you with taking the leap and writing your first pattern! Also one huge tip if you ever have questions don’t be afraid to contact makers we are usually always willing to help and I am a huge believer in community over competition so I love seeing and helping other makers succeed! If this helped you I would greatly appreciate if you give this a share or like! And definitely give me a tag if you end up writing your first pattern! Thanks for reading!