Tag Archives: patterns

So, how does designing work?

I hang out a lot at ravelry and a question that often comes up is ‘How do I get into pattern designing/writing?’. I can only answer for myself, but this is a little about how the designing process works for me.

I got into pattern designing because there were things that I wanted to make, but there was no published pattern for me to work from. At this stage I had been knitting for a few years and was comfortable with a variety of different techniques, construction types and had worked from a range of different pattern styles.

As I worked out what I needed to do in order to make the item, I took notes (particularly helpful if you are making a pair of something such as socks or gloves and want them to look the same). This including sketching, and swatching, and ripping out and starting again over and over. After all of the work of checking gauges and trawling through stitch dictionaries it seemed a shame for that work to be lost with the completion of my project, so I typed it all up into a pattern style that I was comfortable with and so my first pattern was available for publication.

My first few patterns were all self-published for free, and no testing was undertaken prior to release. These days I utilise the various groups on ravelry in order to test patterns for accuracy and also for yardage and fit information. It’s a great way to get feedback and work out the kinks, without having to spend a lot of money on testers or tech editors. It also helps to see how other people interpret instructions which seem clear to you.

There are a range of different pattern styles, from the extreme hand-holding where every stitch and every step is described in detail (often with photos and videos as well), which can be great for beginners, right through to charts which show all of the necessary shaping with coloured borders or ‘no stitch’ squares, leaving interpretation up to the knitter.

My patterns fall somewhere in-between. They won’t tell you exactly which cast on or bind off to use (except that it might need to be stretchy), and if I don’t think it’s going to be particularly visible I might leave it up to the knitter to decide whether to mirror increases and decreases or not. But they do include a key of stitches used in the pattern (though not full instructions as to how to make each one, there are plenty of tutorials for that out there already).

I like to include two versions of the pattern instructions, so once a pattern has completed testing (which usually takes at least a month depending on the amount of knitting time required for the item) and the instructions are locked down, I make a printer-friendly version without the high-resolution images and coloured text. In this version I try to fit the instructions most economically onto the pages so that people can print the absolute minimum, saving both ink and paper. The high-res version is great for those working from computers and tablets, allowing them to really zoom into the images for any clarification.

I am still designing primarily based on things that I want to make, taking inspiration from commercial items, other knitting patterns, fabric, yarn, fibre, etc. I may look to move from self-publishing (on ravelry) to selling to magazines, but that will require working to a brief, a more rigid format both time-wise and style-wise, so we’ll see.

Frost Flowers Socks – updated

Frost Flowers Socks

I have updated my Frost Flowers Socks pattern, originally published in 2008 to better reflect my current style of pattern writing. It is still free, and only one-size, but is a great sock and only uses 6 stitches to complete (knit, purl, yarnover, ssk, k2tog and slip 1). It is also now available on ravelry, so can be stored in your library there forever.

Socks require:

  • 320-360 yards of 4ply/fingering weight/sock yarn
  • 2.5mm circular needle/DPNs (or size required to achieve gauge)
  • Gauge: 32 by 42 stitches over 10cm/4 inches (in stocking stitch)
  • tapestry needle to weave in ends
  • sized to fit average adult ladies foot.

Download it directly from ravelry here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/frost-flowers-socks

Dragonskin and Diagonal iDevice covers – updated

The second set of patterns to be revamped include one of the first patterns I ever published, my Dragonskin iTouch cover. Both covers have been updated to include more explanations of the abbreviations, making them even more suitable for beginners. They have also had their instructions charted so are available in written and charted versions.

IMG025 Full Dragon

Protect your iDevices and use up those leftover scraps of sock yarn with these protective covers.

These quick knits have both written and charted instructions. The ebook contains four parts: a high-res and printer friendly version of each of the two patterns.

Fits iDevices (phones and iPods) up to iPhone 5.

for £1.50 plus VAT.

IMG025 Diagonal

Ladybird mittens

A playful pair of mittens that mimic ladybirds. Keep your fingers warm and a smile on your (and everyone else’s) face while we await the return of these aphid-loving creatures from their winter hibernation.

Click on image for more photos

Click on image for more photos

The colourwork pattern is fully charted and adaptable for longer or shorter hands, narrower or wider thumbs. Written instructions accompany the colourwork chart, explaining how to work the cuff, top and thumb gusset.

The pattern is sized for average adult hands (circumference 6.5”/16cm, length 7”/18cm) but it can be adjusted by altering your gauge.

Yarn requirements:

  • 135-160 yards fingering weight/4-ply/sock yarn in main colour
  • 25-50 yards fingering weight/4-ply/sock yarn in contrast colour

You don’t even have to stick to red and black.

Available in high-res format only, no printer friendly version as contains colourwork charts.

Available on ravelry for £2.50 (for customers within the EU – VAT added at checkout).

Dayflower Cowl – updated

I am slowly working my way through my older patterns, re-writing them, re-working them, and adding extra options.

My first pattern to get this treatment is the Dayflower cowl. This has been completely re-worked and re-written for additional sizes.

A delicate cowl with a travelling leaf pattern designed to be made in fingering/4ply yarn. Fully adaptable for width and circumference. Pattern includes written instructions for stitch pattern, stitch counts at the end of each round and charted instructions for stitch pattern.

Updated October 2015 for more information about sizing and gauge.

Yardage requirements and finished dimensions:

  • single loop version (circumference 32”/81cm, width 12.5”/32cm) – 180 yards
  • double loop version (circumference 46”/117, width 12.5”/32cm) – 300 yards
  • triple loop version (circumference 64”/112, width 9.5”/24cm) – 320 yards
  • quadruple loop version (circumference 96”/244cm, width 9.5”/24cm) – 410 yards

2 pdf files are provided – a printer friendly version and one with all of the high-res images.

for £2.50 plus VAT.

 

Strobilus hat

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/strobilus—hat

A warm and snuggly slouch hat that is reminiscent of pine cones.

Slipped stitches create pockets of air to keep your head warm, and make this hat ideal for handspun yarn which might be a little variable in thickness.

Stitch pattern used in the hat is available in both written and charted formats, though the majority of the instructions are written.

Matching fingerless mitts are available for a coordinated look.

Hat requires:

  • 200-260 yards of 4ply/fingering weight/sock yarn
  • 3.75mm circular needle for hatband
  • 4mm circular needle for body of hat
  • stitch marker to indicate start of round
  • tapestry needle to weave in ends

Sizes:

  • size small to fit head circumference 18”
  • size medium to fit head circumference 20”
  • size large to fit head circumference 22”

2 pdf files are provided – a printer friendly version and one with all of the high-res images. Click on the image above for more photos.

Available on ravelry for £2.50 (EU customers will have VAT added at checkout):

Strobilus mitts

Strobilus mitts

A pair of warm and snuggly fingerless mitts that are reminiscent of pine cones.

Slipped stitches create pockets of air to keep your hands warm, and make these mitts ideal for handspun yarn which might be a little variable in thickness.

Stitch pattern used in the mitts is available in both written and charted formats, though the majority of the instructions are written.

A matching slouchy hat is available for a coordinated look.

Mitts require:

  • 150-170 yards of 4ply/fingering weight/sock yarn
  • 2.25mm circular needle/DPNs for cuff
  • 2.75mm circular needle/DPNs for body of mitts
  • 4 stitch markers
  • tapestry needle to weave in ends

Size:

  • sized to fit adult hands.

2 pdf files are provided – a printer friendly version and one with all of the high-res images. Click on the image above for more photos.

Available on ravelry for £1.75 (for EU customers VAT will be added at checkout):