In The Beginning...

How to design a crochet pattern

Hello fellow crocheters!

Thank you for coming to visit me here at Kerry Jayne Designs and reading my very first blog post!!!

Let me tell you a little about me. My name is Kerry and I am happily married with three lovely grownup children and we live in a beautiful coastal town in Dorset England.

I absolutely love to crochet and designing crochet patterns is not only my passion but now my job too :-) I hope you will enjoy browsing around my happy and colourful crochet world, where I hope to bring you lots of interesting posts and fun crochet tutorials :-) Here

To start, I would like to share a little about how I design a crochet pattern. There is an enormous amount of work that goes into producing a crochet pattern, such as the design plan, sketches, choosing yarn and colour combinations, sizing,  prototypes, photographing, making a gazillion notes and finally writing up and testing the pattern.

But it all begins with an idea...

THE IDEA

An idea will ping into my head at the strangest of times, in the shower, out shopping, or sometimes in the middle of the night when I cant sleep, and then I'm up, quietly grappling around in the dark for a pen (trying not to disturb sleeping beauty lying next to me). I make a quick note in case I forget my idea in the morning.

That used to happen a lot and was so frustrating when I woke up and remembered I had a brilliant idea but had no idea what it was! Now, I try to keep a pen with me and make a quick note or draw a sketch right there and then where ever it may be. The design for 'Kerry's Owl blanket' here started on the back of a till receipt!

Designing the Owl house clock

MAKING A SKETCH

As soon as I can, I like to draw out the design and colour it in. I have a lovely selection of coloured pencils and paints that I use and I try to match them up to the yarn colours that I have in mind for the design model. The photo above shows the beginning of the Owl House Clock pattern Here 

CHOOSING THE COLOURS, YARNS AND ACCESSORIES

If you have have come across my designs before you will know that I have my favorite colours :-) I look at many yarns, yarn weights, colours and textures and enjoy experimenting to see how they feel. I have developed my own Kerry Jayne Designs trade mark style.

I look at the palette and spend a long time selecting the colours and tones that I love and that would work well for my design. Needless to say my house is full of yarn! Before I was lucky enough to acquire the spare room, it was falling out of every cupboard! My house gave a massive sigh of relief when I moved it all into the new craft room! This shot of my craft room below was taken the day after I moved into it, its the only time it has ever been tidy, Lol!

Kerry Jayne Designs Craft Room

If I need buttons or yarn for my design, I often won't wait for samples to come through the post but dash off to one of my favorite little yarn shops out in the country side, it's called 'Not just Wool' and it isn't either!

Kerry Jayne Designs at Not Just Wool

It's a family run shop, run by a lovely lady and her Mum. They have a fabulous selection of wool and stock a huge colour range of Stylecaft Special which I love to use in many of my blanket designs. They also have a great selection of buttons too from good old vintage style to bright, quirky children's buttons! I always buy more than I need and often come home with ideas for my next design. It's such a quaint and happy little place nestled in the 'Courtyard' amongst other crafty shops. A real higgledy piggledy little treasure trove filled from top to bottom with yarn, ribbons, buttons etc, with knitted bunting and other cute crafty makes hanging from the rafters. I find it all rather charming, a great trip out, you get to feel and touch everything and that's really important to me. 

Kerry Jayne Designs

MAKING UP A SAMPLE 

I like to make a sample, trying different hook sizes until I get the right density and drape that I need for the design.

As a general rule I start with the hook size recommended for the yarn I am using and that is usually indicated on the yarn label, I will do a tutorial on how to read a yarn label later.

The stitch pattern chosen for a design will affect the feel and look of a piece, different textures are produced by using different stitch patterns, but that's for a later blog too :-)

If I want my design to be looser with more drape for instance, say it is a slouch hat, I may try a larger hook size until I get just the right amount of 'slouch'. Or if the design requires a really tight dense fabric for something such as a crochet basket, then I will try a smaller hook size to achieve the right amount of stiffness that is required for the basket to stand up.

MAKING UP THE DESIGN

Once I am happy with my sample piece, I can work out my gauge or tension by counting how many stitches and how many rows would be required for the design.

A blanket design is fairly straight forward and I usually include the 'multiple number' in the pattern, so that the blanket may be made to any size. A fitted garment is more complicated, I like to include many sizes ranging from newborn to adult. Some of my hat patterns here include 8 sizes and that takes quite a bit of working out and lots of prototypes!!

APPROVAL

My family and friends are my critic's and I value their opinions enormously, sometimes they love a design and sometimes they don't, but that's ok, as I appreciate their honest opinion, I have plenty of designs that didn't quite make it to the finish!

My family are also my models and help me a lot by constantly trying on and testing out sizes. I really appreciate their patience for this too. Especially when they are on their way out of the house for the day and have just done their hair into a nice bun and I pounce on them and say.. "Could you just try this crochet hat on before you go?". There is a lot of eye rolling in my house! Who'd be the child of a crochet designer, lol, It's such a hard life!

crochet Hat Pattern

SMILE PLEASE

Once I am happy with everything, I write up the pattern from my mountain of notes and I photograph the design. I really do love this part. I like to include a beautiful, colourful photo tutorial with most of my patterns, especially in my blanket patterns Here , so during the making up part, I photograph every step as I go.

When I learnt to crochet (some forty years ago), some 'written only' patterns were very complicated and difficult to understand.

I find that it is so much easier to have someone 'with you' showing you what to do as you go along, and that is exactly what I try to do in my crochet patterns, I break it down into small steps, with close up photos to show exactly where to place your hook and change your colours.

Kerry Jayne Designs Crochet Tutorials

I am certainly no expert photographer but I could write a whole chapter on it, not about the technical stuff that relates to the camera but about everything else that goes with creating a nice photo, like setting the scene, photo props, light sources, etc.

I find photographing a blanket indoors is fairly easy, providing there is enough natural light, but photographing a hat on a model outside in a public place, waiting for people to pass, waiting for a dry day with the right amount of light, can be much more tricky, Lol! But that's a whole new story...

Well, that's just a little bit about me and my pattern design process, I hope you have enjoyed reading my first blog and I haven't bored you to tears! lol!

I look forward to bringing you more crochet articles and perhaps a few non crochet related articles too :-)

Have a lovely day and I hope you get some time to put your feet up with a little crochet :-)

Kerry xxx

 

 

 


6 comments

  • Loved reading your blog.I taught myself to crochet many years ago and my blankets are usually granny squares sewn together.I understand the many hours you must spend on a pattern,so I thank you for the beautiful ones you have designed.

    Shirley Jordan
  • What a fascinating read!!! I must say I love how you explain each step..
    I have recently been making your lovely matinee coat..I am now on number 4 !!!
    Will be looking for something new when I have finished my batch of wool…
    Thank you Kerry…💕

    Lynne Busby
  • A lovely, talented lady with an amazing eye for colour and detail. Everything is so beautifully photographed. I have been crocheting (and knitting) for the best part of 60 years and Kerry, I know exactly what you mean by wee small hours inspiration :) x

    Jules Hipperson
  • Hi, I have just discovered your blog and found you on Instagram – your patterns are great and I have just downloaded two of them and have more on my wishlist! I am also longing to visit ‘Not Just Wool’, it looks a wonderful shop that I could happily spend some time in – I think a visit to Swanage is on the cards with a stop off on the way. If only there was a model aeroplane shop nearby so my DH wouldn’t mind how long I spent in the woolshop!! xx

    Jan Doling
  • What a lovely read especially as it’s from my neck of the woods in beautiful Dorset. I have also visited ‘Not Just Wool’ and it’s a real gem. You are a very talented lady and I look forward to following your crochet world ?

    Linda Bridle

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