6 Basic Steps to Designing Crochet Patterns

Welcome to the “Designing Your Own Crochet Pattern” Series. This series will guide you through some of the basics of crochet pattern design. If you have no desire to be a designer, stick with me anyway. You may be able to gain some valuable insight into the work that goes on behind the scenes of designing crochet patterns.


Designing Your Own Crochet Pattern Series - 6 Basic Steps to Designing Crochet Pattern


Designing Your Own Crochet Pattern Series:

Steps to Designing Crochet Patterns



You look at this gorgeous crochet pattern and think, “I would love to be able to design a crochet pattern like that.” I would like to say it’s 3 easy steps…. Design it, Create it, Publish it but reality is, it’s not that easy! To help you get started designing crochet patterns let’s go over a few steps that every designer uses.


Basic Steps

All designers approach their design process a little bit differently. I asked a few of the designers I knew if they would share some insight into their process. I gave them 6 basic steps that almost all designers use and asked them to put them in the order they do them when designing a new pattern. Here’s mine to show you how it works.

  1. I get an idea.
  2. Then I pick out a yarn that I think will be perfect for my idea.
  3. Sometimes I will swatch it up to make sure I’ll like the yarn and stitch together.
  4. If I think a sketch will make the process faster, or if I’m submitting my idea to a magazine, I will work my not-so-artistic skills with a pencil.
  5. I crochet the project (probably everyone’s favorite part).
  6. Write the pattern. (I personally write the pattern as I crochet because I have too much going on in my life and I’ll forget what I did by tomorrow.)


Jocelyn Sass – Idea, Pick Out Yarn, Swatch, Sketch, Crochet Project, Write Pattern. (Jocelyn also writes her pattern as she goes.)

Brenda Bourg – Idea, Pick Out Yarn, Swatch, Sketch (sometimes), Crochet Project, Write Pattern.

April Garwood – Pick Out Yarn, Idea, Swatch, Sketch, Crochet Project, Write Pattern.

Susan Heyn –  Idea, Sketch, Pick Out Yarn, Swatch (sometimes), Crochet Project (Make Sample), Write Pattern.

Susan Lowman –  Idea, Pick Out Yarn, Swatch (if needed), Crochet Project, Write Pattern as I crochet project (usually on paper so I can change it as I go).  I rarely draw a sketch because I can see the idea in my head. But sometimes I will draw a sketch, especially if the idea is a design proposal to a publisher.

Sarah Read –  Idea, Sketch, Pick Out Yarn, Swatch, Crochet Project, Write Pattern.

Kristin Omdahl –  Kristin’s order changes depending on where she gets her idea from (which I’m sure all these designers have happen every so often). If she’s inspired by yarn she’ll start with the yarn and then come up with an idea for it. If she’s inspired by a stitch she’ll swatch it out, or sometimes she’ll just come up with an idea and then find the yarn for it, swatch it, etc.

As you can see each of these designers approaches their design work, each one is slightly different from the others. Even the most published designers don’t always do things the same, they mix it up too. I encourage you to visit each designers Ravelry shop (click on their names above) and see just how beautiful their designs are, even though they all design differently. Your designs can be equally as beautiful, no matter what order you go in.


Give it a Try


There is a lot of flexibility when it comes to designing crochet patterns. All you need is some imagination. But the design process also requires patience and it’s not for everyone. If you’re unsure about whether or not you want to try designing please read 10 Reasons NOT to be a Pattern Designer.

If you have designing questions please feel free to ask. I’ll do my best to answer them all in this series.

For more on this series, read:

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 Crocheting!

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