Pattern Writing Philosophy - Primordial Sworl Pattern and iMac screen

Pattern Writing Philosophy

Have you ever published a knitting or crochet pattern. As I’m writing one now, I realize I have a pattern writing philosophy. What’s yours?

QueerJoe’s Pattern Writing Philosophy

It should be noted that my ideas on pattern writing have evolved recently. A number of the guys in the daily Men’s Yarn Crafting Zoom meeting are publishing designs. Their ideas are helping me clarify both my designs and my philosophy of what’s important.

Initially, when I started publishing designs, they were somewhat careless. I’d write up just enough to get the knitter/crocheter the information they needed to make my design. Now, this type of pattern is my first draft. My latest pattern has been modified at least 20 times so far.

I’ve realized that I want a somewhat consistent format for my designs. “Somewhat” because a sweater pattern will look very different than a scarf pattern. But I realized it would be good to have a consistent heading/logo on the pattern. All my patterns should also use the same font. A font that is clear and easy to read.

Here are some of the other items I’m finding important to have:

  • Design blurb with a description of what makes the design interesting
  • Consistent overview of characteristics of the design:
    • Size(s) of finished garment (in both imperial and metric
    • Yarn weight and amount used (in both imperial and metric)
    • Needle(s) (in both US sizing and metric)
    • Gauge – indicating stitch for the gauge and before or after blocking
    • Necessary tools
  • Video tutorial links for any complicated techniques
  • Pattern stitches in both written and chart format
  • List of abbreviations

There should also be good photos of the garment. And an aesthetically pleasing layout of text and graphics.

Test Knitting?

Should it be test-knit? I think this depends. I don’t sell many patterns. If there’s a mistake and a knitter contacts me, I am very responsive and will fix it quickly. With apologies and a refund for the pattern price. I figure if they turn out to be an unwitting test-knitter, they shouldn’t have to pay for the pattern. I don’t put my patterns out for test knitting. Although I do work through my own pattern to make sure it works.

I’ve come to realize there are two reasons designers have for test knitting. To pre-promote their pattern and to make sure it’s correct. Having a handful of completed projects in Ravelry when a pattern is published is usually a good thing. And having a pattern that is error-free is also good.

Is that too much to ask? Apparently it was for my earlier patterns…I may go back and modify some of them now.

Current Knitting

Mostly I’ve been focusing on pattern writing and finishing the back section of the Shaker Rib Cardigan.

Shaker Rib Cardigan Arctic 10-23-20 01

I’ve got about 2 more inches on the back. I’m thinking I may introduce a contrasting color for the button band and pocket edgings, but I’m not sure yet.

Shaker Rib Cardigan Arctic 10-23-20 02

Thoughts on a contrasting colored yarn?

8 comments on “Pattern Writing Philosophy

  1. Sounds good , going to look at your patterns on Ravelry Joe , love your work especially the multicoloured sworl . I am a keen knitter , sewer ( not a sewer for bodily waste lol)and crocheter
    Cheers , Linda from Scotland x

  2. As always, you give good information. I have been a follower for a very long time and still love your content.
    As far as the contrast color for the shaker rib, I like the Yellow.

  3. I like the video links in the pattern, and you have good video skills. KnitCompanion recently(?) added function that lets you watch videos from pattern’s links in KnitCompanion, so that’s good too.

    I like the policy of refunding the price of the pattern if an error is found. I’ve never heard of that before. And, the only reason I can think of for test knitters is to populate ravelry projects, proof read patterns, and edit for clarity.

    The only thing I can suggest you add to your already-complete list is to have an experienced pattern editor give it a look before publishing.

  4. Joe,
    I am so happy I found your blog by accident. You are so real and very interesting.
    I prefer the Golden yarn as a contrast color. Tones of yellow have been seen by many designers. I just love them.
    The back of the sweater is looking good.
    Have a good and safe weekend,
    Your Fan,

  5. Thank you for this look into your process for putting patterns out into the world.
    I think that things like headings help guide your readers through the sections of the pattern, your thoughts about word choices, and consistent formatting. You’ve put in information about needle size- sometimes I find it helpful if you put in needle length too, or circular vs straight needles. I like to know from the pattern if any special cast on or bind off techniques are required and also, places where I can adjust the pattern.

  6. I am new to using a pattern to knit. It’s extremely important to me that all instructions are very clearly written, down to every detail. We knitters come in all levels of ability. A well-written pattern is a joy to use for a wider range of knitters. I like the middle yarn, with the tinge of muted blue. I’d like to see a little knitted piece of each of the three next to your sweater.

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