Crafting Corner

How To Design and Create Your Own Crochet Patterns For Beginners

Have you ever wondered how the people on sites like Ravelry and Etsy come up with those awesome crochet patterns? Have you ever wanted to try your hand at creating your own crochet patterns to sell or to list for free?

Honestly, if you’re interested in making money in the crochet world making and selling your own patterns is the way to go.

As a beginner crocheter, you may not feel like you how the skills to create your own crochet designs and write your own patterns.

But I’m here to tell you that if you have the basic crochet skills down, then you have what it takes to design and write your own crochet patterns.

If you’re interested in selling your patterns on line ready my post on selling digital products on Etsy.

So let’s get to it.

The Design Process

Find Inspiration

The first thing that you need to do is figure out what it is you want to create. If you are new to crochet or you don’t know many of the advanced crochet stitches I would start with something easy.

Some of the best and easiest crochet items for beginners are:

  • Dishcloths & Hand towels
  • Scarves
  • Baby blankets
  • Coffee Cozies
  • Headbands
  • Boot cuffs
  • Pillows
  • Coasters and
  • Hair Bows

If you are a little more advanced or want to challenge your skills you could try designing your own garments, purses or stuffed animals (amigurumi).

For example, a few months ago I attempted to crochet a replica of one of my favorite shirts that had become… shall we say a bit too small and had a little run-in with some bleach.

I’ve crocheted a cardigan before so I figured why not try to make my own sweater. That project was the inspiration for this blog post.

Start with the basics

Now, that you have decided what item you want to make you need to ask yourself a few basic questions.

1. What kind of stitches will you use?

I would suggest you start making something using a combination of the basic crochet stitches.

Basic Crochet Stitches:

  • Single crochet
  • Half double crochet
  • Double crochet
  • Treble crochet

These stitches can be used in combination to make interesting patterns and textures or you can use just one specific stitch. It just depends on the look you are going for.

Other ways you can add texture to your work are by using the following types of stitches:

  • Stitching in the front or back loops only (ribbed effect)
  • Shell stitches
  • V stitches
  • Post stitches

Remember you can use any combination of stitches that you want in your design.

Just make sure it is something that you are comfortable with and something that you can explain to somebody else.

To create a crocheted replica of the sweater I used single and double crochet stitches.

I used single crochet stitches at the base and the rest was made using double crochet stitches and single stitches for the border.

2. Are there any special skills you need to complete your work?

As a beginner, you might not know many of the advanced stitches, but don’t let that stop you.

However, there are still some basic skills that you need to make sure you freshen up on before you start creating your work.

For instance, will you be using one color or will you be using multiple colors? If you are using multiple colors you will need to make sure that you know how to change colors.

If you are going for a ribbed look, do you know the difference between the front loop and the back loops?

When you get to the end of your row how many chains do you need to do create before you turn the work so that your stitches are the same height?

To an experienced crocheter these may not seem like special skills, but if you’re a novice they are skills that are essential to your success as a designer and a pattern maker.

When I decided to create a crocheted replica of my shirt I had to know how to change colors, how to increase and decrease stitches and how to sew the two panels together.

All of these are basic skills, but I usually make blankets or scarves, which usually don’t require you to increase or decrease stitches nor do they require you to sew two pieces together.

3. What type of yarn will you need?

The next piece of information you will need is what type of yarn will you use? If you are making a dishcloth you will want to use something absorbent like cotton yarn.

If you are making a blanket or scarf acrylic or wool yarn would work just fine.

Most crocheted items are used making size 4 yarn. But maybe you want something super warm and squishy, then a bulky or super bulky yarn would work best.

If your making something a little more dainty and lacy then a size 3 or lower yarn would be the best option for your project.

5. What’s the size?

The final question that we need to ask ourselves is how big do we want our project to be.

For items like dish clothes, scarves and even baby blankets size is not that big of a deal. However, if you are concerned you can always look up what the average size of these items are.

Knowing the size of your item is important for making things like sweaters, hats, etc.

All bodies are not created equal and having correct measurements is a must when making any type of garment.

This information will also give you a rough estimate of how much yarn you will need to buy to complete your project.

Write Down Everything

Once you’ve gotten the basics figured out now it’s time for the fun part. Creating your masterpiece!

I assume you are reading this blog post because you want other people to be able to make your marvelous new creation.

If you want to be able to share your pattern with the rest of the world you will need to write down EVERYTHING.

If you took measurements. Write it down. If you changed colors in the middle of row 11 on stitch 22. Write it down.

If you don’t count the turning chain as a stitch. Write it down.

Whatever you do from this point on make sure you write it down. It doesn’t have to be neat, but it does need to be written down somewhere.

I can’t tell you how many scarves or blankets that I’ve created that I wish I had written down what I had done.

If you don’t write down what you are doing you will forget what you did by the time you are finished.

As you can see from my diagram. I wrote down everything I did and the measurements that I took on one sheet of paper.

It is important to note that in this phase, you will probably start over many times. But keep working at it until it turns out the way you want it too.

The crocheted sweater I made came out the way I wanted to, as far as the way it looks. But after making it and trying it on I realized that the yarn I had used was too bulky and stiff.

So I’ll have to try it again with a thinner yarn. But it wasn’t a total loss. I could rework the pattern and take out the increase to make it a “normal” fitting sweater.

This step will also make writing your final pattern easier, we’ll talk about that in the next section.

Will You Need a Gauge Swatch?

At some point you may want to create a gauge swatch for your pattern. If you are making a sweater, hat, cardigan etc these are very important and need to be included in your pattern.

This will help the person reading your pattern determine what size hook and tension they will need to use to get the same look and dimensions of your finished work.

Gauge swatches are usually a 4x4in square and include the type of stitch, the number of stitches it took to get 4 inches wide and the number of rows it took to get 4 inches in height.

Example Gauge Swatch: 10hdc and 4 rows created a 4×4 in square using a size M hook (the hook size is mentioned in the supplies section of the pattern).

Depending on how tightly or loosely the person reading your pattern crochets will determine if they can use the same hook size or if they will need to go up or down a hook size.

Writing the Pattern

If you remembered to write down everything you did during the design process. Then this part will be relatively easy.

All you have to do is transfer what you wrote down into a standard crochet pattern format.

Use Standard Crochet Terminology & Abbreviations

Before you begin writing your pattern you will need to become familiar with the basic terminology and abbreviations used in crochet patterns

Depending on what part of the world you live in some of the terms and abbreviations are not the same. For example, in the UK a single crochet is called a double crochet.

When I first started crocheting I didn’t know that the names for stitches and hook size were different. The first time I tried to follow a pattern written by someone in the UK I was thoroughly confused.

Here are a few of the basic abbreviations and terms used in the US and the UK when writing crochet patterns.

Common Crochet Pattern Terms and Abbreviations (US & UK)

Us Term

US Abbreviation

UK Term

UK Abbreviation

Chain

ch.

Chain

ch

Single Chain

sc

Double crochet

dc

Half Double Crochet

hdc

Half Treble Crochet

htr

Double Crochet

dc

Treble Crochet

tr

Treble Crochet

tr

Double Treble Crochet

dtr

Slip Stitch

ss or sl

Slip stitch

ss or sl

Yarn Over

yo

Yarn Over

yo

Explain Any Special Stitches Used

If you used a special stitch or technique that might not be familiar to the person reading your pattern you will need to provide an explanation of this stitches for your readers.

You can provide this information at the beginning of your pattern or you can explain it in the pattern.

If it’s something that is going to be done frequently or is a major part of the design I would explain it at the beginning of your pattern.

For example if you used a cluster stitch in your pattern in the section for special stitches you would explain how to do a cluster stitch. It would look something like this:

Cluster stitch (cl): yo, insert hook, yo, draw loop through, yo, draw through 2 loops over 3 stitches, yo and draw through all loops on the hook.

You could explain it again in the pattern if you think it will be easier for the reader to understand in the context of the pattern.

Basic Crochet Pattern Outline

Hopefully, you took excellent notes during the design phase. If you did, writing your crochet pattern will be a breeze.

Now that we’ve covered the basics I’m going to provide you with an outline to use to write your pattern. You can also download my free crochet pattern template here as an editable word document.

Basic Crochet Pattern Outline

Title:

Materials Needed: {yarn used (include size,color, and brand), hook sizes, scissors, needle, etc go here in bulleted form)

Gauge: (if needed)

4×4 in gauge square: 11 hdc wide and 4 rows

Special Stitches: (if needed)

Finished measurements:

Skill level( is this pattern suitable for beginners,intermediate, or advanced skill levels)

Pattern

Ch. 36 (always start with the number of single crochets used in the starting chain) This does not count as a row.

Row 1: insert hook into 2nd ch from the hook, sc in each stitch (35) ← this number indicates the total number of stitches at the end of row 1. If you are not adding or removing stitches then this number isn’t necessary at the end. Ch 1 and turn. Indicate how many stitches are in the turning chain

Row 2: sc in 2nd ch from the hook and across the rest of the chain, ch 1 and turn (35)

Row 3: repeat row 1. Ch 2 and turn (35)

*If you have repeating rows you do not have to keep writing the same thing over and over again. Simply write row 3-row 5: repeat row 2.

If your super lazy like I tend to be sometimes you can just right R instead of row.

R 4: 2 dc in 1st ch from the hook, dc across, 2 dc in the last stitch, ch 2 and turn (37)

R5-R17: repeat R4 (57)

Cut yarn, tie off, and weave in any loose ends.

Optional Information

At the end of the pattern you can include any other information you would like.

Some designers indicate whether people are allowed to create and sell the items they made from this pattern as long as they give credit to the author in this section.

If your handy with a camera you could create a tutorial and insert the video or link here.

Now to our final and most important step before you hit that publish button!

Test Your Pattern

The last thing you want to do before you submit your crochet pattern to the world wide web is to test your pattern.

You can either find a friend to test your pattern or you can set it aside for a few days and come back to the pattern and try to make it again yourself.

If you do this part it’s important that you follow the pattern as you have written it. If you notice any mistakes or can’t figure out what to do next, chances are neither will a complete stranger on the internet.

The best thing you can do is take notes on what went right and what went wrong. Then you will have to go back and tweak your pattern.

If you can get somebody else to test your pattern that’s even better. Make sure you ask them to leave you feedback.

Final Thoughts

I hope you found this post helpful and informative.If you create and design your own pattern please share your success with me. I’d love to hear and see all the wonderful things you have made.

I would not consider myself a pro at crocheting so if there is something I’ve missed or you have any questions please feel free to contact me or leave a comment.

Once again if you would like the free crochet pattern template you can download it here.

If you thought this post was awesome please share it or save it on Pinterest.

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro

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7 replies »

  1. Thank you so very much for all this information you shared. I’m disabled due to strokes and I also take care of my dad. I have been wanting to try my hands at designing for a long time. You have given me new inspiration. Thank you
    Anna Smith

    Liked by 1 person

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