the thief of joy.”
Start Designing Patterns NOW
Designing crochet patterns is much easier than you might think. If you have a passion for crocheting your own unique creations you could also design. Maybe you read patterns purchased from your favorite designers and think to yourself, “I wonder if I could be writing my own patterns too?” The answer is yes! You totally CAN! Not only can you type them up, but you too can SELL your designs! I’m here to help you figure out how. I spend a lot of time sharing the information that I’ve acquired in my DMs on Instagram. Now is the time to share in an open forum for you all to keep!
First, let me start off by saying I’m new to the world of crochet designing. As a matter of fact, I’ve only been actively designing my own crochet patterns since 2018! In a short period of time I’ve gone from only being self-published to landing multiple magazine features. The sooner you start the sooner you too can become a crochet designer! Enjoy part 1 of this series! Below you’ll find a quick summary of necessary steps to take in order to get started on your design and selling journey.
Steps to Pattern Design and Selling
Step 1: Keep it simple
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to start writing and designing patterns. It may seem enticing to turn your dream project into your first pattern design, but that’s more work than it may appear. Start small and keep your first few patterns simple. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with descriptions and terminology. You don’t want to discourage or overwhelm yourself by using complicated or too few terms and instruction. You want your instructions to be clear and comprehensive for the chosen skill level. The more consistent you are with writing down notes and formatting terminology the easier it becomes to elevate in skill.
Tip: Keep a design journal and write down EVERYTHING.
Keeping a design journal will help to keep all of your concepts and notes in one location. A journal or sketchbook will help take the guess work out of remembering all the details that will go into making your design a solid pattern. Here’s a list of items to include to ensure your pattern is complete:
- Hook size
- Yarn weight and total yardage required
- Any extra required materials, i.e., scissors, buttons, sewing needle
- Row by row and/or round by round instructions
- Complete stitch and row/round counts
- Any assembly and/or finishing information
- Care instructions
- Contact information
I suggest purchasing a downloadable pattern template. Editable pattern templates allow you to insert your pattern information into a pre-designed layout. Spending a few dollars on a template will save you time and energy; ultimately getting your pattern converted into a .pdf and out to testers more quickly. Templates will make your patterns look professional, maintain an organized flow, and are easy to alter for future patterns.
Step 2: Have your patterns tested
It’s super important to have your patterns tested by your peers for multiple reasons. Peer pattern tests help put fresh eyes on your work. It’s important to ensure that your instructions objectively state what’s to be accomplished by following the pattern as it is written. A tester’s role is to help confirm your pattern is concise and identifies any possible errors. A tester may also offer suggestions to enhance the clarity of pattern instructions. Furthermore, testers physically make sample items from your pattern prior to the pattern’s release. This reduces the possibility of errors being found after the pattern is published. Tester samples can also be used to help promote your pattern and your testers’ hard work. Getting a pattern to it’s release date is a multi-person effort. At the very least your testers deserve to have their work highlighted and appreciated.
Tip: Use your social network communities to find testers .
Let your community help you! More often than not, your peers will jump at the opportunity to help you bring your patterns to light. Testers typically work for free with the compensation of their time and materials being the receipt of your pattern for free. There are potential cons to this option. If your testers are working for free there is the possibility they could bail and not complete your test. You could always invoice for the cost of the pattern, but it’s not guaranteed you’ll get paid for your property. Also, life could present its own set of complications and testers may not be able to finish your test in your preferred timeline. Go into all tests knowing there are things you simply can not predict or control. Don’t let uncertainty scare you away from having your patterns tested. Most testers believe in honesty, integrity, and will keep an open line of communication with you. Remember you set the tone for your test expectations, communication, and engagement.
If you have access to and/or resources available for a tech editor that’s a bonus. A tech editor’s role is to go over a pattern in its entirety with fine-toothed comb; checking for any errors or inconsistencies. A tech editor for crochet is basically the equivalent to an editor for any other form of print. Some things to consider are tech editors do not physically test patterns for instructional accuracy and they can get expensive. Tech editors are not necessary in early stages of self-publishing patterns. I’ve only experienced using a tech editor for my magazine publications at the expense of the magazine. Utilizing a word processor can help check for grammatical and spelling errors if hiring a tech editor isn’t a feasible option.
Step 3: Choose a platform to sell/share your patterns
In this day and age of technology the possibilities for digital selling are endless! Here’s a list of easily accessible platforms to choose from but you are not limited to:
I sell patterns on each of these platforms. Each platform has it’s own set of pros and cons. The main pro for each is the built in customer base. The main con for each is the potential of limited site visibility. My personal favorite is selling on my own domain! I thoroughly enjoy having my own blog and shop. This space gives me the option to share sponsored patterns and projects for free and sell in my shop. My audience has a one-stop location to access me for support and more of my work. If you’re considering a future in blogging or building your own e-commerce platform definitely go for it. You make the rules and call the shots! I won’t get into too many details on this post for digital selling; stay tuned for part 3 of this series.
There you have it; designing and selling patterns in a nutshell. Coming up in part 2 of this series I’ll go over the writing portion of pattern design. I’ll explore the finer details of the list of items to include in your pattern. If you have any questions about this summary leave them in the comments. I’m looking forward to sharing more and connecting with you!
© 2020 Leah Gordon, IPWF ; All rights reserved.
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