Here we are now: Write a Crochet Pattern, Step 3. In short, you will crochet your piece, writing down the pattern in detail as you go. Most likely, you’ll rip out your work and start over, or change direction, many times. You may end up changing your hook, yarn, stitch, or whole idea by the end of this step.
I’ll be discussing How to Write a Crochet Pattern, Step 3 here, and you can see the rest of the series as it unfolds:
(2) Fleshing Out Your Idea
(4) Final Pattern Production
(5) Now What?
If you want to see the whole series right away, or would like the information in one spot for easy reference, here is a PDF (with clickable links) for instant download! This is text-only, to help save your printer. AND, it has some extras I won’t be sharing here.
Materials for Step Three:
sketched ideas from Step Two
graph paper (for charts)
pen or pencil and eraser
ruler and/or measuring tape
Read over common crochet guidelines at Craft Yarn Council (http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/), specifically, the info under “Standards.”
Review and learn common stitch symbols, if you are creating a chart.
Make sure you understand common pattern phrasing.
Know and use common stitch abbreviations (and make note if you are using US or UK terms).
Some patterns won’t have a foundation chain (hats, purse bottoms, motifs, amigurumi, etc.). In this case, you’ll start with a magic circle, a single chain, or a chained circle.
First, determine the multiple for the stitch of your first row/round.
Then, measure the length of one finished (crocheted) multiple.
Next, decide or estimate the size of your finished piece.
Finally, do the math to get close to the length of your foundation chain. For example, if one completed multiple is one inch long, and your finished piece needs to be 20 inches wide, and you need 4 chains per multiple: 20 ÷ 1 = 20 completed multiples. 20 × 4 = 80 chains. If your pattern is worked flat, don’t forget that some of your foundation chains will need to count as your first “stitch.” Below, you can see a starting chart that is a “multiple of 2 + 4.” The “+4” are the foundation chains that count as the first double crochet + a chain one.
You may want to use your graph paper to make a “mini-chart” for yourself of the first few rows, to help figure out your foundation chain.
Will you need to convert a flat stitch to in-the-round?
Test your piece after the first completed row/round or two. If it needs to be longer, you’ll need to increase your foundations chain. If shorter, you’ll need to subtract foundation chains.
You may end up needing to change your stitch pattern to get the correct size. This is especially true for stitch patterns with large multiples.
Write down your materials in detail (hook, notions, yarn weight, yarn brand, yarn color, yardage, etc.)
Write the name of your pattern. You can always change it later if you want to.
Do not assume that your final consumer will know everything you do, and be as meticulous as possible (Do starting chains count as the first stitch? Are rounds joined with a slip stitch or invisible join? Where to start joining edging: right side, wrong side, at the seam? etc.). Don’t assume that you will remember everything later when you sit down to type up your pattern. Stay organized, cross out/erase mistakes or changes as you go, and re-write everything clearly and correctly. If you make a lot of changes, it may be best to start writing again from the beginning to eliminate confusion for yourself later on.
Use common pattern phrasing and stitch abbreviations.
You may want to use stitch markers to help with counting and organization.
Check your math and count your stitches after every row/round. Be sure to end each row/round with a stitch count for your reader, so they can check their work. You can write this as stitches (12 dc, 6 spcs) or as shapes (10 shells, 8 v-sts).
Keep a separate sheet on hand for jotting down special notes as you go. For example, “To attach edging, hold starting row toward you with the right side facing out and join new yarn in any ch-3 space,” or “It may be helpful to add surface crochet as you go, rather than at the end.”
Keep a separate sheet for writing instructions for special stitches (In general, this includes anything besides slip stitch, chain, single crochet, double crochet, half-double crochet, treble, and back-loop-only). A few examples of special stitches include: bobble, popcorn, herringbone half double crochet, spike stitch, puff stitch.
You may want to take photos of complicated steps as you’re working, in case you want to include them in your pattern later.
If you’ll be making a chart, design it and test it out. Graph paper is a great help for making charts.
When your piece is done, write down the finished dimensions in detail.
You may make a gauge swatch, or you may want to write down general “preliminary measurements” to help your reader (first three rounds × 12 sts = about 3 inches). Clothing should always have a gauge swatch. Most publications require a 4 × 4 inch gauge swatch. Some items like scarves, blankets, or bags have a little leeway for sizing, and as such, preliminary measurements can work fine.
This is the meat of your pattern-writing journey! I find Step 3 to be equal parts thrilling and infuriating. Often, the results are surprising and gratifying. However, there will be times when your idea just will not work and you’ll need to scrap the whole thing and start over.