The first time I sold yarn at a show, a lady picked up a skein and asked, “Do you have patterns for this?” Geez, that never occurred to me. There are so many knitting patterns out there. When I said no, she put the skein down and walked away. In two weeks, I created my first official knitting pattern. It was a simple little scarf, just a long rectangle, with a dropped stitch design that buttoned closed. Unfortunately, I can't find any pictures of it.
At the next show everyone wanted to buy the sample scarf or have me to knit it for them. Really? They also wanted kits: yarn, pattern, with knitting needles and such. Wow, another thing I never thought of.
That was seven years ago. People still want to buy my samples. Not happening! But I'm happy to say now you can buy the yarn, pattern, or the whole kit with all the fixings. Packaged up pretty, it makes a nice gift.
I decided to make a knit and crochet pattern for each of my hand-painted yarns. I've knitted and crocheted my own designs since I was a teenager. Most people want simple, quick projects. My patterns only take one or two skeins and are easy enough for beginners.
Creating knitting and crochet patterns is sort of like patternmaking for clothing but also different. Both start with standardized patterns that come from technical references. I have sets of these that I have altered to suit my style. Let's say I'm designing a crocheted sweater. I have to decide what shape and style it is, then start with the basic instructions for that. In clothing I use principal pattern pieces: sleeves, collar, front, back, etc., and alter them, make my own “style lines” (seams), to create an original garment. Knitting and crocheting have different stitches, so I go to “stitch dictionaries” to find stitches that suit the design.
If you knit or crochet from patterns, you know that there both good and really bad ones out there. Some are overly technical, and some give no direction at all. I like simple instructions with lots of pictures and diagrams. My patterns are written from basic pattern templates, with standard US abbreviations and terms.
Developing these patterns takes time. There can be lots of false starts. I wanted to knit a turtleneck cowl with my Cot Bouclé yarn. The cotton yarn was heavier than I thought. It slid down the neck and turned into a clown collar. That was two months of work down the drain! Sorry, no pictures of that either. I unraveled pretty quickly. Eventually, I created a wonderful scarf pattern for that yarn, the Lariat.
Once I start a pattern, I have to finish it as soon as I can. My notes can be confusing, and over time I will forget what my scribbles mean. Then I knit or crochet it two more times to work out the kinks. Then it goes to a test knitter to proof the pattern. What happens to all those samples? I keep one to show you and have for reference and give the others away.
My last two patterns can together in one week. I had been working on a crochet pattern for my Cloudz alpaca yarn off and on for over a year. It's a bit bulky, and I just couldn't make anything work. So, I decided to make the simplest beginner pattern I could think of. It's just a crocheted strip that gets turned 180 degrees and sewn together, a mobius cowl. Yay! The knitting pattern was a “no brainer”. I've been knitting fingerless mitts from an old set of scribbled notes for years. I just wrote up the instructions and changed the stitches to make it a little more interesting. So easy! Hope you like them.
My patterns aren't anything special. You can find hundreds of similar patterns out in the world. But they do fill a special niche. If you have one beautiful skein of yarn but it's less than 200 yards, what to do? Don't worry, I have a pattern for you, and yarn too.
Happy knitting and crocheting,
May 1, 2023