On Writing Crochet Patterns

It has been a very busy 2 weeks as far as writing a crochet pattern is concerned. I have just finished writing a pattern that fills up some 14 pages of letter-size paper in size 12 Times New Roman font text. That’s over 8,000 words.

The pattern is for a garment that uses some 24 motifs, each one different, joined together at the final rounds. I couldn’t really see any other short-cut for writing such a design. If I had the time and patience, I might draft a crochet symbol chart – I guess a good software for this would also make life a bit easier. However, for now, written pattern instruction is my most practical option.

I must admit, I do enjoy writing patterns. It is difficult, tedious, meticulous work. Sometimes, when I write a pattern in the evening, I couldn’t understand a word in it in the morning! There also seem to be a particular way of thinking/expressing that has to be consistent in pattern writing.

There are plenty, but here are just a few things that I have learned/experienced in writing patterns:

  1. Read and follow patterns. Although I make my own designs and write my own patterns, I always take the time to read and follow patterns made by other people. Reading and writing are two processes that need to work together. For sure, I find that I improve pattern writing when I read other patterns, and vice versa.
  2. Learn to read your own stitches. It may sound ridiculous but after having crocheted something, it is easy to get lost in all the stitches. Even stitch rows are difficult to see. It can take a while to learn to decipher all the stitches in an item that you made yourself, but with constant practice, it becomes easier. This is a particularly useful skill if you prefer to finish an item before writing the pattern, rather than constantly interrupting your crocheting to write down the pattern.
  3. The person who complains about your pattern writing is your best pattern writing friend. The very first critique I got for a pattern was from someone I didn’t even know – a brave and kind soul who wondered why I wrote “rows” when the item was worked in “rounds.” Nobody else among my many crochet friends at that time bothered to tell me about an error as glaring as that!
  4. Learn symbol crochet. Even if you’re not presenting the pattern in charted form, you may find symbol crochet useful in making that quick preliminary “sketch” to the written pattern.
  5. Consult the pattern writing standards. Even if you intend to establish your own format and structure in written patterns, just check out the standards to see if you covered everything important – or if the standards folks have! At any rate, you will need to follow the standards if you plan to write patterns for submission to books and magazines.
  6. Test, test, test your patterns. Not once or twice but three times. By you, and by your best pattern tester friend. :)

Some Useful Resources (US Crochet)

Standards and Guidelines for Crochet and Knitting
Crochet Abbreviations Master List
Crochet Chart Symbols
Standard Body Measurements/Sizing
Standard Yarn Weight System

2 thoughts on “On Writing Crochet Patterns”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>