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Topic: What do you look for in patterns?  (Read 730 times)
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CheeseOwl
« on: May 01, 2017 07:27:33 AM »

Hello! New to the site, but this seems to be a good place to throw this question out.

I'm one of those horrible crafters that doesn't follow a pattern for pretty much anything, not because I can't read them, I just find them boring, or not quite what I want, or what have you. I tend to make my own patterns, and at this point I have quite a few, some of them written down even! What I'd like to do is publish a few of those patterns but, well I've sort of shot myself in the foot, I don't know what people look for in patterns! I don't know what's too much explanation, and what's not enough? How many pictures? Is the text laid out correctly? Do I really have to have three pages of needless background/story for the pattern? How the heck do I calculate different sizes and yardage without making a test piece of each size? How important is it to have recommended yarn, or is a general size of yarn/needle(or hook) and swatch size fine?

What makes a good pattern for you personally, especially if it's in pdf form? 
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PixiePopStudio
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2018 10:55:54 AM »

I'm like you, I prefer making things up as I go. When I read patterns it's usually a basic version of whatever I'm knitting (socks, hat, sweater) and once I make one and understand how it works I like to customize and make my own.

So what I look for in patterns is basically room to do what I want. I don't like patterns where you HAVE to follow every stitch perfectly or it won't turn out right. That's just too stressful for me 😅
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Annchen
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« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2018 04:04:41 AM »

Try to get a few test knitters! If you plan to sell your patterns you should probably also get a proof reader well versed in knitting that can check both readability and math. I expect more from patterns I pay for. If a free pattern is a bit sloppy I just fix the problems or find another pattern. If a paid for pattern has mistakes I might just stop buying from that pattern designer, unless the designs are completely irresistable...

Your first question is: Who do you want to write the pattern for?
- People like you who might want to modify the pattern to suit their needs?
- People who can’t write/adapt their own pattern?
- People who want a pattern but might want to adapt parts and would love some directions for how to best modify your pattern?

The first group of people will need less hand holding and less description. The second group would want a pattern that works exactly as written. The third group is open for modifying things but will need guideance in doing so.

Are you writing for beginners, intermediate or very experienced knitters?

A basic beginner pattern will benefit from many pictures, while one aimed at more experienced knitters will not need pictures of how the cast on edge is supposed to look. Some pattern designers solve this by creating extra material like youtube videos for those that need more hand holding.

I liked how the pattern French Cancan was put together. Almost every page has at least one picture. Some are purely decorative, but give an idea to how the shawl will look and how it can be worn. Some showcase the look of different decrease choices that are offered in the pattern. In the back of the pattern is a very clear picture tutorial that’s super helpful to knitters not used to read their own knitting. An experienced knitter can just skip that part so it was a smart choice to put it in the back.

This pattern offers both written and charted descriptions. Many knitters prefer one or the other so you’ll add extra value if you offer both. Some can only read charts or only written out descriptions so you save your ”customer” some work if you add both.

In contrast the pattern Follow your arrow had no pictures at all, except for charts. It’s still a very well written pattern and the lack of pictures is made up for by the knittalong group on ravelry. The pattern was a mystery knit along so pictures would have spoiled the surprise.

You can calculate yardage and sizes without test knitting it all BUT you should check your work by either test knitting or having others test for you! Your customers will be very disappointed if the XXL version doesn’t work because you never tested it out!

If you’re making a sized pattern you should look for at least two test knitters for each size.

Test knitters will also help you find yarns to reccomend. It’s helpful for less experienced knitters to have a starting point when picking the yarn. Yarn weight, needle size and swatch info is enough if writing for more experienced knitters, but in that case it helps to have a few ravelry projects to look at. It’s nice to see how the pattern looks in X yarn or Y yarn. A cotton yarn, acrylic yarn and wool yarn in the same weight can behave very differently after all.

Don’t write just needle size and swatch info. That’s not enough. Did you use a thick yarn at a tight gauge? A thin yarn at a loose gauge? How am I supposed to know?

Background story: Not neccessary for me, but if you want to add some flavour text maybe stick to 1-2 paragraphs. In The Knitter (magazine) each pattern has a small blurb about the pattern before the description starts. It’s actually kind of nice. It’s setting the mood and maybe explaining the designers vision.

To go back to French Cancan, a quote from the title page of the pattern: ”I dreamt about a french braid suspended by lace”. It doesn’t have to be more than that.

I’d suggest some research. Search ravelry for patterns in the same genre as yours. (Shawls, hats, sweaters, lace, colorwork?) Check those with high ratings and many projects, and buy a couple of high rated patterns if you have to. Read the patterns to try to figure out what they have in common and what seems to work for knitters. Read project notes for those knitting the patterns too. They might talk about what they liked about the pattern, what they disliked and what they changed in their projects.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2018 04:08:18 AM by Annchen » THIS ROCKS   Logged
Annchen
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« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2018 04:10:43 AM »

The patterns I used as examples, both for sale on ravelry, both well worth the money:

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/follow-your-arrow-mystery-kal

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/french-cancan
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