If you have been crocheting for a while now, you have probably designed some of your own pieces and thought about sharing those designs with the rest of the maker community. I think it’s a very natural progression for a crocheter to want to try their hand at designing and I say GO FOR IT! If that’s you, you may not know exactly where to start. In this post I have listed all the components a crochet pattern might need (some are optional depending on the design) in hopes that it will help you to write your first pattern. Don’t worry about writing these down, I have provided a PDF for you guys that’s linked at the end.
I also want to throw this out there, I am still very new to pattern writing. I just released my first pattern in summer 2017 and I think I now have a total of 11 patterns in my Etsy shop. You don’t have to be super experienced to write a pattern, just put all the information you think a reader would need to know and you’ll probably be good. But, in case you are a list person, or just like to double check your work, this post is for you.
Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links, meaning I may receive a small commission, at NO ADDITIONAL cost to you, from purchases made using the links provided.
DON’T BE SHY
First things first, you are an amazing human being. You are talented and your design idea is a good one!! Do not be scared to write your first crochet pattern. The crochet community is amazing and there is going to be so many people there ready to cheer you on. Don’t be worried about if people will like it, because who cares! You did a thing, and you put it out on the internet for the entire world to see and that is an accomplishment in its self! If you don’t want to make it a paid pattern you can post it to Ravelry as a free pattern! Do not let fear hold you back because you never know, your pattern may be the next big thing. Or maybe your pattern may touch the heart of a mother who is suffering from postpartum depression and your pattern inticed her to pick up her crochet hooks and your pattern changed her life. You literally never know, so just do it! And be excited about it! Because I’m excited for you ☺️.
Ok, now that we are on the same page, here is a list of things your crochet pattern should include (Remember some are optional).
Introduction: Explain what the pattern in, who it’s for, and the different ways you can use it. If your pattern is for multiple sizes, you can explain that here in the intro.
Finished Item Pictures: I suggest putting a picture of the finished piece on the cover page of your pattern. I received a less than 5-star review once because there wasn’t a finished product picture on the front page, and after reading the review, I totally understood that customer’s point of view! I also include different angles and some close-ups of the finished piece at the end of most of my patterns.
Materials: List all the materials needed to make this pattern, in detail. When you list the yarn, list the brand, color, weight, and how much of it you will need to complete this pattern. Get very specific when it comes to yarn details, the more info the better! You can also include any yarn substitutions here just in case your reader lives in an area that doesn’t have the same yarn the pattern calls for. Include the hook size/brand, if you need stitch makers or pins, scissors, tapestry needle, polyfill, anything they will need to complete this project needs to be listed here.
Pro Tip: Kitchen scales are great for weighing yarn and determining how much you will need for a specific project.
Stitch Key: List all the abbreviations of all the stitches you use in the pattern and what the abbreviations stand for. Example: SC is Single Crochet. You will also need to indicate if you are using US or UK terminology. Here is a master list of crochet abbreviations by Crafty Yarn Council.
Special Stitches: It’s smart to explain how to do the crochet stitches your pattern uses. Pretend the reader of your pattern doesn’t know very much about crochet and explain how to do each of the stitches used, step by step. Include video links as well if you want to be extra sure your customer will be able to understand and complete the pattern.
Pro Tip: Whenever I go to explain how to do a stitch, I always crochet the actual stitch in a swatch and type out exactly what I do, as I do it. Start keeping all your stitch explanations in a document on your computer so next time you design a pattern with that stitch, you can just copy and paste.
Gauge: When I first started designing patterns I didn’t include the gauge. Then I had to go back and add it in and send the updated pattern to everyone who already purchased it, it wasn’t fun lol. So just include the gauge from the very beginning and save yourself some hassle! What is a gauge? Gauge just tells you how big your stitches are. To create your gauge you crochet a certain number of stitches for a certain number of rows. Say you crochet with a size I hook, 15 single crochets for 15 rows and you get a 4″ by 4″ square. If someone is following your pattern and they make a “15 single crochets for 15 rows swatch” and their square is only 2″ by 2″ they know they either need to loosen up their tension significantly or go up in hook size until their gauge matches yours. If their gauge doesn’t match yours, then their finished piece will not have the same measurements as yours.
Dimensions: Include the dimensions of your finished piece. If you offer more than one size, include dimensions for all sizes. I also like to include dimensions throughout the pattern, if necessary, so the customer can see if they’re on track during making the project instead of making the whole thing and realizing their tension was off.
Before you start tips: Sometimes I have a pattern where I need to explain something to the reader before they start the project that way they know what to expect. In my Crafty Watermelon Pillow pattern, I had a whole “before you start” page that explained how I used stitch markers before certain rows, complete with pictures. I also had a “before you start” section in my Kate Bun Beanie pattern pointing out to pay close attention to the end of each row because after some rows you turn your work when after others you don’t.
Video Tutorial Link: If you make a video that corresponds with your crochet pattern make sure to include the link in the pattern its self. If your customer is reading the PDF on their computer the link should be clickable (at least it is on a Mac), but if they print it out they can just type it in by hand.
Pro Tip: You can use Bitly.com to shorten URLs so that they are easier to read/type out.
The Actual Pattern: The easiest way to do this is to write the steps/rows/rounds as you physically do them. Be sure to pay attention to the little details like turning after chaining, tying off, switching colors, leaving a long tail for sewing, things like that. I always put a stitch count at the end of each row so my reader can easily go back and check to see if they have the right number of stitches.
Progress Pictures: I personally include a lot of progress pictures in my patterns. My thinking is the more pictures I include, the fewer questions/confusion my reader will have. Some designers use very little, if any, pictures. You will want to do what’s right for your particular design. Try to imagine a first-time crocheter is following your pattern and include pictures on any part you think needs extra explaining. I have actually started offering a “printer friendly” version of my patterns too that doesn’t include the pictures, that way if the reader doesn’t need the pictures they can save ink/paper when printing. You can also use arrows on your pictures if you need to bring your reader’s attention to a specific detail. In some of my pattern pictures, I use an arrow clip art image to show exactly which stitch I’m talking about in the pattern.
Pro Tips: Throughout my patterns, I sometimes include “pro tips” to help the reader. With my Kate Bun Beanie pattern one of the increase rows doesn’t have a nice repetition, I wrote out exactly how many stitches to do in between each increase in the pattern but some readers may be more advanced crocheters and all they need to know is that row has 5 increases. That’s what I would say in a “pro tip”.
Graphs, Charts, or Diagrams: Some crochet designs are better explained using stitch graphs, charts (think graphgans), or even diagrams you make yourself. There are a couple of online programs available that will help you make crochet charts. Stitchworks and Stitch Fiddle were both recommended to me by fellow designers. Here is a list of crochet chart symbol meanings by Craft Yarn Council you might find helpful.
Blocking: If your piece requires blocking you could explain in your pattern how to actually block a crochet item, or links to tutorials that you think explain it perfectly (be sure to give credit to the maker who’s link you’re using)
Copyright: You will want to include your copyright info somewhere within your pattern. I always put mine on the very last page. Your copyright should state that the pattern is your intellectual property, and so are the pictures. The reader is not permitted to sell or share the pattern in any way. If you give the reader permission to sell the finished piece, you will include that in your copyright, but ask that they credit you for the design. Here is what my copyright looks like at the bottom of my patterns.
Please do not copy, redistribute or sell my pattern in any way. You are more than welcome to sell your finished INTER PATTERN NAME HERE. I hope they are a very hot item for you!! I just ask that you please credit me for the pattern so other makers can find me as well. You may not use my pictures and pass them off as your own for they are my property. Thank you for your understanding.
You can include the copyright symbol (©️) if you want to look really professional ????. If you’re using a Windows computer hold down the Alt key while pressing 1069. For a Mac, press option and the G key. (https://www.lifewire.com/copyright-symbol-on-windows-and-mac-2688246)
Conclusion: I always like to include a conclusion at the bottom of all my patterns. In my conclusions I thank the reader for supporting my shop, invite them to follow me on social media, and encourage them to share pictures of their finished pieces and tag me. I think it’s important to let your customers know how thankful you are for them, plus if they just finished your pattern and they loved it, they might really want to look you up on social media and would appreciate the info!
That pretty much sums up everything I can think of that you would need to include in your crochet patterns. Like I mentioned in the beginning, some sections are optional depending on your specific design. It’s always good to look at more experienced designers patterns too as a reference (please do not copy anyone though). If you need a little extra help DeBrosse has some amazing pattern templates available for purchase under “Maker Tools” on her site. She also has some awesome Pattern Writing Notes in her shop too that are great for helping you stay organized. I actually have both her pattern template and notes from when I purchased her MasterClass.
I hope this post has encouraged you to try giving pattern writing a go and relieved some of the anxiety you may have had about leaving something out. Thanks so much for reading and good luck writing your crochet patterns! You’ve got this!
Here is a free PDF of the list above so you can print it off and use it for reference when you go to write your patterns.