What’s In A Design
Yarnspirations has asked me to create a design for crocheters in any project of my choice. The design must be challenging with a mixed bag of crochet stitches and create a design that is useful.
I was given this project a week ago. I sat down on a Sunday / Monday night for several hours and free-formed an idea. Daniel was instrumental in the push to be different and to open up my creativity as there are no limits as Yarnspirations hasn’t restricted me on anything at this point. It’s up to me to pour my heart into the design. I was tossing my mixed bag of knowledge into the project while trying to keep the project from buckling from too many or too little stitches.
I pride myself in being an awesome free former when bombing over items. However, when an idea needs to be designed where an item cannot be stretched if I am off by a little here or there. I have to ensure my design can be accomplished by another crocheter.
I would do a step, frog and really examine my step. Worth it? Not Worth It? Hmmm… If I was unsure, I kept going. If I was totally doubting the step, I would frog it and re-attempt something different.
For my original design, I didn’t concentrate on colours at all. I just did the stitch work and my mini sample is one solid colour. I decided to wait until after I got an idea hammered out that I can see where the colour can be infused into the project.
I sat on the design with it on my desk for 2 days. Constantly looking at it as I came and went in the room. I would look to the side. I was really excited about the design but I wanted to sleep on it for a few days before I commit to it further.
After a couple days, I sat with the sample in front of my computer. I reviewed other crochet designs on Yarnspirations on how they are wording the pattern instructions. Writing instructions isn’t a great skill of mine. If I can see similarities of similar instructions, it would help me understand the writing process better. This is part of the research that goes beyond the stitch work. There is a technical way to write a pattern for everyone to enjoy. It took me 4 hours to transition my idea onto paper.
I struggled while writing the pattern and I had to write a rough crochet diagram to follow to be able to count stitches accurately. With myself using 1 solid colour verses many that I intended, the pattern cannot be written the same way as crocheters need to fasten off and attach in areas that make sense and are easy to follow along.
With a preliminary pattern written. I taped 4 pieces of paper together so I could make a large blueprint, aka crochet diagram, of my pattern to see if the written instructions made sense by following only the written instructions. Needless to say, the written pattern has been adjusted about 15 times here and there. I am sure it will change more in the days and weeks to come but my main idea is hammered out.
The crochet diagram had to be tweaked in several locations and then I hit a barrier. I sat back for several hours. I used up an eraser on the end of my pink pencil. I was stuck.
I had a couple friends come over and I showed them my design and where I am stuck. I cannot see the answer though it’s right in front of my face. Though the answer seemed obvious, the question remained… where do I fix it and so that it makes sense to crocheters in a pattern.
Together, over a half hour of us with our pencils and paper, we re-drew the crochet diagram where I am stuck and to figure out a solution. THANK GOODNESS! I just couldn’t figure it out. Amazing, the brain times three can do when we set our mind to goals we have.
The bigger question on my mind was, “How am I going to know how much yarn I used if I am changing colour in several spots?” Well, our friend Karen had thee perfect solution which seems obvious.
I was going to crochet the step, then rip it out and weigh it to know how much yarn I used. Once I break into a ball, I have no idea how much yarn yardage I am using. I wasn’t looking forward to doing a second sample only to rip out the yarn to get the information I needed.
Karen’s idea was to put the ball on a postal scale prior to using it. Take it’s weight. Complete the step and fasten off the yarn. Weigh the yarn ball afterwards to see how many grams the ball has dropped. Take the weight of the ball and divide it by the yardage per gram. Then take how many grams were used in a step times by the yardage and you know how much yarn you are truly using for each colour in the project.
Today, it’s been a week and I am far from over. I have to redo my crochet diagram from scratch after I have made several tweaks. I need to go through my written instructions and make all of the corrections and re-test it again.
In my mind, I keep thinking about “How would a Crochet Crowder do this pattern?” In some areas, I have simplified steps but have not made any or much of a visual impact. I don’t see the point of confusing crocheters with complex steps when it’s really not required. Yes, it makes my design look more complex, instructions wise, but there’s no need for it. My ultimate goal is for crocheters to enjoy the pattern in areas of the pattern without too much thinking and have areas where you need to pay attention more carefully.
I need to complete three finished examples in three different colourways for consideration. I am so excited as the design is 100% my own and I hope people will enjoy it.
Truthfully, I classify myself as a crochet educator and not a designer. Speaking bluntly, I am loving the process of being able to develop something from scratch. I don’t know how major designers go through this process. I do know for myself, I am the Yarnspirations Socialite and The Crochet Crowd Leader to over a half million crocheters. I cannot exclude myself from being offline too long. So I need to do my designing during times of the day and evening when I get escape and concentrate without being too noticeable. That is the hardest element of this whole process for me.