Tips for Designing Your First Pattern

Designing your first pattern can be overwhelming but with a few simple pointers it doesn’t have to be. It’s time to look at your pattern from a different perspective and shed a whole new light on the subject. Let’s look at 3 tips that will help you get started on writing a clear, easy to read pattern.

 

Designing Your Own Crochet Pattern Series - Tips for Designing Your First Pattern

 

Welcome to Part 10 – the final post in the “Designing Your Own Crochet Pattern” Series. This series guides you from the basics of designing your first crochet pattern to the actual writing process, and includes everything in between. If you are just joining us and would like to start at the beginning, read Part 1 – the 6 Basic Steps of the Design Process. There was so much information packed into this series you don’t want to miss any of it.

 

Tips for Designing Your First Pattern

 

Working behind the scenes as a tech editor, I have learned many things about the design process and what it takes to make a pattern clear and concise for a crocheter. I want to share with you some of the things I have learned along the way. These are important to think about not only with your first pattern but with all the patterns you write. I recommend you apply the following tips to each and every pattern you write. If you can do that you will have success.

 

Pay attention to other designers’ patterns.

 

Are there designers’ patterns that you find extremely difficult to read? I think everyone has run into at least one pattern that they found difficult to follow. Of course there are also those patterns that are uniquely easy to read. Take both of these patterns and learn from them. What drives you crazy about a certain pattern? Don’t repeat that mistake. What makes you love a certain pattern? (ex: st counts at the end of rows) Use that! Look at your own experiences reading pattern and use the positive and negative to shape what you want yours to look like.

 

Use Standard Crochet Terms.

 

The Craft Yarn Council of American has industry standards in place for a reason. Please use them. I think all their standards are extremely important, but especially the use of abbreviations. Don’t try to be creative by coming up with your own abbreviations, style, etc. just to be original or have your patterns stand out. Generally speaking, it’s just frustrating not to mention confusing to the crocheter.

 

Don’t assume anything.

 

Write every pattern as if someone has never crocheted before and you’re trying to explain to them what to do. To you this may sound too basic but trust me when I say, it’s not. Generally speaking, if you write it for a beginner you can’t go wrong. I once did a tech edit for a pattern and it started off with, “Start crocheting as you always do.” That’s a perfect example of what not to do! The pattern was a beginner pattern, so “start as you always do” doesn’t fly. As a matter of fact, don’t write something like that for an intermediate or experienced pattern either. It’s not always possible, but try to write in the most basic form so that anyone can understand it, no matter what their skill level. Think of it from the readers perspective.

 

All of the above are equally important to the success of a well written pattern. Not only do they help the crocheter, but they make your life easier when writing the pattern as well as answering questions about the pattern.

Are you ready to dive in and design your first pattern? It will be exciting and scary all at the same time but the biggest thing to remember is to be thorough. Whether you need some help getting started, or you want to make sure you’ve covered everything, my Style Guide & Pattern Template will guide you through the basics.

 

Design Your Own Crochet Pattern - Style Guide & Pattern Template

Click to purchase Style Guide & Pattern Template – $1.00

 

For more on this series, read:

Part 1 – 6 Basic Steps of the Design Process
Part 2 – Finding the Perfect Design Ideas
Part 3 – Finding Your Designing Niche
Part 4 – Creating Your Brand
Part 5 – Steps to Publishing Your Crochet Pattern
Part 6 – Basic Copyright for Crocheters
Part 7 – Should You Charge for Patterns? The Free vs. Paid Dilemma
Part 8 – The 3 P’s of a Professional Crochet Designer
Part 9 – How to Find Your Writing Style

 

Happy Designing!

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How to Find Your Writing Style

I’m sure you’ve noticed that each designer has a slightly different writing style for their patterns. Most of these subtleties go unnoticed, but some are obvious to crocheters. One of the most obvious ones – stitch counts are included at the end of each row/round. Below are a few of the basic things to consider when writing your pattern.

 

Designing Your Own Crochet Pattern Series - Find Your Writing Style

 

Welcome to Part 9 of the “Designing Your Own Crochet Pattern” Series. This series will guide you through the basics of crochet pattern design. If you are just joining us and would like to start at the beginning, read Part 1 – the 6 Basic Steps of the Design Process. Even if you have no desire to be a designer, you can still benefit from this series.

Find Your Writing Style

 

Writing a pattern doesn’t have to be super hard but you should make sure you include all the info that a crocheter could possibly need. I would rather give a crocheter too much info than not enough. Every designer should use a template. It doesn’t have to be a fancy template, but it should be set up so that all you’ll have to do is plug in your info and add the pattern. A good template will help you do the following 3 things.

  • Be thorough – Make sure your layout has everything you could possibly need to add. After all, you don’t want to forget things like gauge, special stitches, hook size, etc.
  • Be consistent – When you always use the same layout it looks more professional, crocheters will know what to expect, and you will have a greater chance of return customers.
  • Be professional – When you use a standard template it gives your patterns the same layout and customers will know what to expect. Plus, it just looks better.

 

A Writing Style that Works for You

 

There are many ways you can go about setting up a template. I use a basic template for my patterns and then add or remove any sections that don’t pertain to that specific pattern. Take some time to find a style that fits your brand. One that works best for you will make all the difference in your writing style not to mention your customers will be happy.

 

For more on this series, read:

Part 1 – 6 Basic Steps of the Design Process
Part 2 – Finding the Perfect Design Ideas
Part 3 – Finding Your Designing Niche
Part 4 – Creating Your Brand
Part 5 – Steps to Publishing Your Crochet Pattern
Part 6 – Basic Copyright for Crocheters
Part 7 – Should You Charge for Patterns? The Free vs. Paid Dilemma
Part 8 – The 3 P’s of a Professional Crochet Designer

 

Happy Designing!

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The 3 P’s of a Professional Crochet Designer

I’m going to go out on a limb here when I say that there is a difference between a crochet designer and a professional crochet designer. One word can make a huge difference and that word is professional. The word professional when used as an adjective (as I did in my title) means “following an occupation as a means of livelihood.” Someone who is designing patterns as part of their livelihood or using it for income is a professional. But if you’re going to be a professional there are certain things that you should be doing to make sure you’re also acting the part.

 

Designing Your Own Crochet Pattern Series - The 3 P's of a Professional Crochet Designer

 

Welcome to Part 8 of the “Designing Your Own Crochet Pattern” Series. This series will guide you through the basics of crochet pattern design. If you are just joining us and would like to start at the beginning, read Part 1 – the 6 Basic Steps of the Design Process. Even if you have no desire to be a designer, you can still benefit from this series.

 

The 3 P’s of a Professional
Crochet Designer

 

 

Process – Make a process that works for you. Don’t try to follow someone else’s lead. Be your own original.

Product – Don’t skip any steps. Have someone test your pattern and even have a tech editor look at it before you publish it. You want your patterns to be as close to perfect as they can be when your customers purchase them.

People – In addition to your patterns, please don’t forget about your customers. People are the most important thing, no matter what! In fact, I believe that customer service is a key element. I can’t tell you how many emails I get asking for pattern help because the designer they purchased a pattern from doesn’t return their requests for help. Respond to emails and be polite in your replies even if your customers seem rude or belligerent.

 

Be a Professional Crochet Designer

 

Almost anyone can design a crochet pattern but you should want your work and your patterns to stand out above the rest. Acting like a professional is a good way to put your customers first so you will have happy, returning customers.

 

For more on this series, read:

Part 1 – 6 Basic Steps of the Design Process
Part 2 – Finding the Perfect Design Ideas
Part 3 – Finding Your Designing Niche
Part 4 – Creating Your Brand
Part 5 – Steps to Publishing Your Crochet Pattern
Part 6 – Basic Copyright for Crocheters
Part 7 – Should You Charge for Patterns? The Free vs. Paid Dilemma

 

Happy Designing!

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Should You Charge for Patterns? The Free vs. Paid Dilemma

Should you charge for patterns or offer them for free? That is the question many designers struggle with. It’s even been a popular topic in some crochet groups, and it can become a heated discussion at times. Before you make any decisions there are a few things to consider.

 

Designing Your Own Crochet Pattern Series - Should You Charge for Your Patterns - The free vs paid dilemma

 

Welcome to Part 7 of the “Designing Your Own Crochet Pattern” Series. This series guides you through the basics of crochet pattern design. If you’re just joining us and would like to start at the beginning, read Part 1 – the 6 Basic Steps of the Design Process. Even if you have no desire to be a designer, you can still benefit from this series.

Should You Charge for Patterns?
The Free vs. Paid Dilemma

 

Should you charge for your patterns? There really isn’t a right or wrong answer to this question, it’s more of a preference. But there are some things you should at least think about and consider. The first thing you’ll need to decide is whether you’re just sharing your patterns as a hobby or do you want this to be a business? If it’s going to be a business venture then you need to decide how you’re going to make money (Ex: Are you going to have a website set up, or if you’re going to use a site like Ravelry for your patterns, or even both). There are various reasons each designer chooses the path they take. If this is your hobby, you can pretty much choose either without recourse. For today’s purposes, I’m only going to list one very obvious difference that comes from a business perspective.

Free Patterns

When a designer offers their patterns for free, the majority of the time they have ads on their website and that’s where their income comes from. I personally decided from the very beginning that I did not want ads on my website. (I do have a few affiliates which is slightly different.)

 

Paid Patterns

When a designer charges for their patterns it is because they are charging for their work, and not relying on outside sources of income. I charge for my patterns – this is my business and I need to make money – but I do from time to time offer a free pattern on my website, or even coupon codes for a discount or free pattern.

 

Another thing to consider is this – most paid patterns will be tested and possibly even tech edited. That cost is somehow left to the designer if they don’t charge when they sell them.

There are always exceptions, but the majority of designers I know would fall into one of those 2 reasons. Whichever way you decide to offer your patterns just make sure you believe in your decision because you will always have those who will not agree with you or question it. Stand firm and know you’re doing what’s right for you and your business.

 

For more on this series, read:

Part 1 – 6 Basic Steps of the Design Process
Part 2 – Finding the Perfect Design Ideas
Part 3 – Finding Your Designing Niche
Part 4 – Creating Your Brand
Part 5 – Steps to Publishing Your Crochet Pattern
Part 6 – Basic Copyright for Crocheters

 

Happy Designing!

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Basic Copyright for Crocheters

Most designers have seen a pattern and thought that they could take it and put their own spin on it. Or they’ve come up with a great idea by seeing something else. There is a fine line between an original design and copy someone else’s work. Some things border on that fine line, while others are just plain and simple wrong. Let’s take a basic look at some copyright issues.

 

Designing Your Own Crochet Pattern Series - Basic Copyright for Crocheters

 

Welcome to Part 6 of the “Designing Your Own Crochet Pattern” Series. This series guides you through the basics of crochet pattern design. If you’re just joining us and would like to start at the beginning, read Part 1 – the 6 Basic Steps of the Design Process. Even if you have no desire to be a designer, you can still benefit from this series.

Basic Copyright for Crocheters

 

The term “copyright” gets thrown around a lot in the crochet world, but what exactly is copyright? Copyright, by webster’s definition, is “the exclusive right to make copies, license, and otherwise exploit literary, musical, or artistic work, whether printed, audio, video, etc.: works granted such right by law on or after January 1, 1978, are protected for the lifetime of the author or creator and for a period of 70 years after his or her death.” 

What does all that mean in layman’s terms? It means don’t copy someone else’s work, plain and simple. There are a bunch of legal aspects that I am choosing not to cover because I’m not a lawyer and don’t want to misspeak, but here are 5 things that are a given.

 

Do Not . . . . 

 

Copy Other designs

Some people claim they look at an item and can figure out how to crochet it so they don’t need to buy the pattern. That’s great, but that doesn’t mean you can then write the pattern and sell it as your own. Plenty of designers get ideas from crochet pieces they see. But they come up with their own ideas or spin on what they’ve seen. I’ve heard figures of everything from 10% – 20% needs to be changed, but an article from Vogue Knitting states that there is not legal percentage. It has more to do with whether or not your interpretation relies too heavily on their idea. Even if you take their design and write your own pattern for it, it’s still violating copyright.

Rewrite or Share Patterns

Do not take a purchased (or free) copy of a pattern and rewrite it into your own words/terms. Just as you cannot copy a pattern and “reword” it to make it your own, you also cannot share a pattern you have purchased with a friend. Even if the design is free, send them to the designer.

Use Someone Else’s Photos

Do not share photos from a designer to sell your finished product of that item, or for any other purpose. I once purchased a crochet book and to my surprise found one of my tutorial photos used in the book! That’s copyright infringement!

Make or Sell any Logo Items

NFL, NASCAR, Star Wars, Disney, Pokemon, etc. – they are all copyrighted, and without permission you are violating a copyright law. And believe me, they will take you down if they choose to. Companies like these have been know to police Etsy on a regular basis, not to mention they have had shop’s that violate their trademarks closed. That’s being nice. They have the right to sue you for thousands if they choose to.

Make or Sell Characters

If you create a pattern, or a physical item (hat, blanket, etc) to visually look like a character from a movie you are still infringing on their trademark. Most companies (like Disney) register the look of the character as well. (Ex: Storm trooper helmets have a trademark attached to them and you cannot make any helmet/hat to look like it.)

Use Character Names

Come up with your own original pattern name. Honestly, there are some names you could easily argue and get away with (Ex: Pocahontas headband). But there are others that are too obvious to be your original idea (Ex: Minions). Many companies also trademark their character names. (See the Star Wars link above. Disney is suing a company that makes holograms because they are calling themselves LEIA – and Pokemon is suing a company for using the word Pokemon in their name).

 

Be Original

 

Things like the granny square do not have a copyright, but if you were to copy either the design for my Vintage 60’s prayer shawl, or the written pattern itself, that would be copyright infringement.

You want your pattern to be original because it will represent you and your brand. It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon because everyone else is doing it, but it’s not worth it. Be original. Be yourself.

If you need help coming up with design ideas, see my post: Finding the Perfect Design Ideas.

 

For more on this series, read:

Part 1 – 6 Basic Steps of the Design Process
Part 2 – Finding the Perfect Design Ideas
Part 3 – Finding Your Designing Niche
Part 4 – Creating Your Brand
Part 5 – Steps to Publishing Your Crochet Pattern
Part 7 – Should You Charge for Patterns? The Free vs. Paid Dilemma

 

Happy Designing!

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Steps to Publishing a Crochet Pattern

Publishing a crochet pattern can be a lot of fun but the pattern writing process is a lot more involved than most crocheters think. We don’t just come up with an idea, write the pattern, and then poof – we publish it. There are so many behind the scene steps that go into the process and pattern writing isn’t the end of that process. A lot more work needs to be done before your pattern is ready to publish. You designed it, you created it, now it’s time to take the next steps.

 

 

Designing Your Own Crochet Pattern Series - Steps to Publishing Your Crochet Pattern

 

Welcome to Part 5 of the “Designing Your Own Crochet Pattern” Series. This series guides you through the basics of crochet pattern design. If you’re just joining us and would like to start at the beginning, read Part 1 – the 6 Basic Steps of the Design Process. Even if you have no desire to be a designer, you can still benefit from this series.

 

Steps to Publishing a Crochet Pattern

 

Publishing your crochet pattern can be done a couple different ways. You can sell your pattern to a publisher or yarn company or you can be an indie designer and self-publish your patterns. The quick difference is that is you sell your pattern you are basically giving up your rights to it. Some publishers will only hold onto that right for the first year, others keep it for life. An indie designer will go through the steps of publishing and marketing their pattern on their own, in turn keeping 100% of the profits. Most designers in the industry will now do both. They will attempt to sell an idea to a publisher and if the publisher isn’t interested then they can go ahead and self-publish the idea. The steps below will prepare you for self-publishing.

 

Design It, Create It, Publish It

 

Design It – At the beginning of this series we covered the 6 steps to designing your crochet pattern. The designing step includes everything from the idea you get to making the swatch.

Create It – The “create it” section involves the actual crocheting of the item as well as writing up the pattern. You can do these two steps separately or at the same time. I personally prefer to write the pattern as I go because I have mommy brain sometimes.

Publish It – For most designers, the process of actually crocheting the project is the fun part. Then they just want to hit publish ad move on to the next design idea. As tempting as it is, don’t do it! These next two steps are where many new designers cut corners. (I used to be guilty of the same thing!) But these steps are the most crucial to customer satisfaction.

  • Test – Find yourself a good pattern tester. If you have a business page on FB you can just ask and you’ll get volunteers. I currently have 3 amazing testers that I recruited that way!
  • Tech Edit – Not everyone will agree with me 100% on this, but you need to have someone tech edit your patterns. (For more info on what a tech editor does see my tech editor info page). No matter how hard you try you cannot edit your own pattern for errors because you know what you want it to say. I am a tech editor and I miss my own mistakes. It’s just a necessary part of the process.

 

You’re Done!

 

Now you can publish your pattern!

You want your pattern to be as close to perfect as possible before releasing it to the public. By doing this you will save on questions from customers who either find mistakes, or they don’t understand something in the pattern itself. Publishing as an indie designer can be fun and rewarding as long as you’re not cutting corners.

 

For more on this series, read:

Part 1 – 6 Basic Steps of the Design Process
Part 2 – Finding the Perfect Design Ideas
Part 3 – Finding Your Designing Niche
Part 4 – Creating Your Brand
Part 6 – Basic Copyright for Crocheters
Part 7 – Should You Charge for Patterns? The Free vs. Paid Dilemma

 

Happy Designing!

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