Brick and Mortar

From Design Idea to Published Pattern

This topic can be approached from a couple of different directions and might become lengthy. I will start with the approach of what I as a designer of crochet and knit patterns experience in my personal design process.

First of all the design process is exactly that, personal. It is different for everyone and everyone has a different approach and way that they deal with it.

For me most often the yarn comes first, not always but usually. I see a yarn and I love something about it; fiber, color, weight… So I buy it. Sometimes when I buy it, I will have a basic idea in mind of what this yarn might become. This helps me know how much to buy.

Next I begin swatching. This process can take a lot of time. If I am designing an ethnic piece using what I’ve learned from the techniques that have been written down, then this part of the process will include time doing more research so I know, to the best of my ability, I am doing the best I can by the technique and preserving as much of it as possible. When I publish an “ethnic” design I say that this piece is done in the style of… It will never fully belong to any ethnicity, because I am 100% American made. My family has been here so long that my heritage has been lost.

Swatching is the process of choosing a needle or hook that I like with the yarn and choosing a stitch pattern as well.

If you have been following the blog you may have seen that I have been working on a mitered square piece. One morning on my walk, I thought “What would happen if the line in the miter was off center…” When I got home I pulled out needles and yarn and tried it in knitting. Below is what happened.

I will continue swatching and trying different things until I have something I like. This doesn’t mean it is the final and that it is what will be published. That might change as the larger finished piece comes to life, during fitting or if I have another idea along the way. That’s why there are 2 different reversible hat patterns in my design library. The stockinette was the original idea and the ribbed was the new idea along the way. Both of these ideas were good and both made it to publish.

Next for me, I get the piece started and far enough along that I feel comfortable to begin writing the pattern out for others. Prior to this it is just notes and drawings in my notebook and on my phone. I wait because I don’t like to edit the “final ish” directions again and again if I make changes early on. This is how I miss key details that I changed in the piece but not in the directions.

For the next piece I don’t really have a standard of how I do it. Sometime I have completely finished the pattern before it goes to tech edit and testing. Since I have started using a Tech Editor it always goes in that order, but the final piece isn’t always completed. Sometimes though the piece has been finished so long and been worn or used so much that I need to make a new one for photos.

During the stitching process I make a lot of other small swatches too. These are used in my technique and stitching videos which I am working hard to include in each new pattern and in the patterns that I have started refreshing.

I do my own camera set up, shooting, editing and uploading. This is a process but I am grateful for all that I have learned from it along the way. The videos I have made and uploaded can be found here.

Tech editing and testing can take anywhere from a month to 3 months, depending on what the piece is. I have 4 tech editors I am working with. They each have a different specialty. I found them through The Tech Editor Hub.

When the file is returned from the tech editor, I make my changes and then send out the file to the testers. To recruit testers I use a service called Yarnpond. As a designer I pay per test and the the testers don’t pay anything to get to be testers. I like this platform and the tools it provides me. If you would like to sign up to be on my tester list outside of Yarnpond, click here

When the testing deadline comes, I collect the info and input they gave. If there was something big enough along the way there might be changes to the file and it gets sent out again. All the changes get put in. I add photos and the links to the videos. I do photo editing in Affinty Photo, colleges and pages in Canva and bring it all together in Affinty Publisher. These programs are worth every penny for me to keep my work looking consistent and cohesive.

Then it’s time for publishing! I am currently publishing on 2 platforms, Ravelry and PayHip and am working on a 3rd, Making. The first 2 I can upload and run from the computer and have been around a while. Making is barely out of beta testing and is only available on the phone, through the app. They have big plans and that takes time and I’m happy to be part of the early ground work process.

All told, depending on the muse, the process from idea to published pattern might take 6 months, could be as little as 6 weeks though. I love my design process and am happy I change things up along the way if needed.

What else would you like to know about my design process? Drop a comment below and I’ll share.

Happy making!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s