what can we learn from pattern writing?

In 2013 I had given myself the task to write up one knitting pattern, no matter what. My intention was not to become a famous knitting designer or anything wildly ambitious as that. I just wanted to experience the process of pattern writing, see what skills one needs to do it, learn something new.

And learn I did. It’s amazing how much writing even such a teeny tiny super simple pattern can teach you! Even though I was already highly confident with all the skills required to execute the pattern in question, the process of writing it led me to think carefully and deliberately about every single step we do in knitting.

All of a sudden gauge couldn’t be aaah-well-this’ll-do anymore – other people would depend on my exactness for their project to come out to the right dimensions. All of a sudden I was questioning which bind off is just the right one for this – because test knitters were asking whether they could change it to something else and I had to consider whether it would affect the overall design. All of a sudden I had to think about what information people would really need and what would be just crowding the instructions too much. All of a sudden I had a million modification ideas dancing around in my head, me, who is normally an I-prefer-to-knit-patterns-exactly-as-written girl.

It was illuminating. And in the end, rather than making me a famous designer, it made me a better knitter. Exactly what I wanted in the first place!

At the moment I’m thinking of putting another simple free pattern out there. It would be interesting to see how different the process is this time.

And you? Have you ever written a pattern? Do you want to? Do you think it would change how you approach your knitting?

(This post is illustrated with photos of the Kindle cozy I made while testing my own pattern.)

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About fridica

I started knitting completely by accident, when I was visiting my parents for a holiday in 2008. On a boring Sunday afternoon, I decided to dig through their stash of books to see if there was anything interesting to take back to my apartment. A knitting manual happened to be one of the books I found. I got curious, my mom immediately dug out her old needles and yarn stash (which she hadn’t used in a decade at least), and in a few minutes we were both casting on - she by memory, I by following the instructions from the book… :) Since I normally prefer learning from books, this was ideal.. I took the book home with me, and very very soon - I was an addict.

4 thoughts on “what can we learn from pattern writing?

  1. This is great encouragement! One of my goals for the new year is to write up my first pattern. I don’t want to become famous but I am just curious about what it takes to write one up. This is good to keep in mind when I try to write up my own.

  2. I do write patterns and what has come out of it is that I will rip a project over and over until it is perfect, even if it isn’t a design. It’s become habit since I have to make sure that pattern doesn’t contain errors. I also have a better idea of where to make modifications when working someone else’s pattern. Although, I really do enjoy knitting exactly what the pattern says. I find it much more relaxing.

    But I liked hearing about what you learned from the process. It sure is hard work to take all the feedback from test knitters and deciding what is more appropriate for the pattern.

  3. interesting. i can see how writing patterns and thinking about different techniques and construction can only improve the knitting – however, it the design idea that seems the harder part!

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