The Truth About Pattern Design
There are so many crocheters that want to dive into the world of pattern design. One of the biggest questions I get is, “How do you go about designing a pattern?” The truth about pattern design is this….
Every designer has their own way of doing it.
I know that was a very vague answer. The reason there is no absolute, no “one size fits all” answer is because each and every person is different. Our brains work in different ways, so the steps and/or processes will varies.
In January I was invited to participate in Battle of the Stitches. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s a design contest where designers are picked, and then all the designers are given the same stitch to design something with. The catch??…. you only have about 3 weeks to design, make, and write the pattern for it. I actually work well under pressure, so I loved this challenge. For example purposes, I will share with you my design process for my new Gray Skies Gradient Shawl pattern, which was the result of that contest.
My Design Process
Make a swatch – I’ll be honest, I don’t always do this. If I already know what I want to make and I have a stitch I want to use, I’ll just go ahead and start. But the reality is, you should always do this. It will help you know things like drape (so you can adjust hook size), gauge (so you know what size your project will be), etc. It will also give you a visual of what your project will look like with the yarn you have chosen.
Sleepless nights – Honestly, deciding what I wanted to design was the biggest hurdle for me this time. Some designers get their ideas from architecture, some from the yarn itself. Me….I usually get my inspiration from people, and because this wasn’t being designed for a specific person I had issues. I literally would wake up in the middle of the night (for 3 nights straight) and all I could think about was what I could design with this stitch. And, because I was on a deadline, I couldn’t sleep! I was so excited when I decided on a triangular shawl. (Note: Feel free to skip this step.)
Choose the Yarn – For Battle of the Stitches (BOS) you’re allowed to use any brand and weight yarn you want. I knew I wanted something with a sheen. Even though the paintbrush stitch is thick and warm (I made the swatch, so I knew it was a thicker fabric) I was thinking I wanted it to look elegant as well.
Sketch the Design – I’m not good about this step either. Because I’m on the go so much I tend to do a lot of my sketching in my head. Can you say “bad habit”? It’s much more ideal to actually sketch it on paper. This will help you visual how it will look, placement of increases or decreases, etc.
Get to Work – Make it. Love it. Share it.
You are your own person. You may sketch it out first to see if you even like your idea. Or maybe each design you come up with will vary slightly in steps. What does your design process look like?