How To Write Clear & Correct Crochet Patterns - Start Crochet

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How To Write Your First Crochet Pattern
(To Be Proud Of & Sell Online)

Wouldn't it be amazing to write your first crochet pattern perfectly and sell it over and over again online?

No orders... 
No shipping...
No returns...
No running out of time... or stock!

That's the beauty of creating a pdf pattern that you can sell online.

I was crocheting for about 5 years before I ventured into writing my first crochet pattern!

I always thought
it would be too complicated...
that I wasn't good enough yet...
& that I really wasn't a crochet 'designer'.

But one day, I decided to take the leap and design my own projects!

I researched all there is to know about how to write crochet patterns...
I took notes...
I practiced...
& I figured out how to do it.

So in this blog post, I'll share my findings with you to encourage you to take that leap into crochet pattern-writing.

It's quite easy if you follow the steps I'm going to outline for you here and you'll find it super rewarding too!

The important thing I focus on is writing patterns in a way that any beginner crocheter would be able to read & understand.  

I like to spell out each step clearly & include as much info as possible so that one can't really go wrong. 

Everyone should be able to have fun crocheting your patterns! 🙂


DisclaimerThis post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using the Start Crochet links. Please see my disclosure for more details.


How To Write Your Own Crochet Patterns

1. Before You Start Writing Your Crochet Pattern

There are a couple of things I suggest you do before your start writing a crochet pattern. This all depends on your purpose, of course. If you feel like writing a pattern for your own use, that's one thing, but if you intend to publish your pattern & are looking for people to purchase it, that's a whole other ball game.

Keyword Research

So if you're set on selling your crochet pattern, then it's best to write a pattern for items that are in demand. You don't want to go through the effort of writing a pattern for something that no one wants to buy.

You can find out what's in demand by checking trending keywords on Google Trends, Google Search "People also ask" section, Pinterest search, Keywords Everywhere & Ubersuggest.

Select Keywords

Choose a trending keyword of crochet patterns people are interested in this year. Once you've chosen one that you feel you can write a crochet pattern for, you can proceed.

Name Your Pattern

Choose a good name for your project, something that'll stand out and stick in people's minds. Don't just call it what it is! Spice it up a bit with intriguing words.

Crochet Pattern Writing Checklist
Free Printable

Crochet Pattern Writing Checklist - Start Crochet

2. Writing Your Crochet Pattern

Write an Introduction

Entice your reader to try out your pattern by telling them a little back story. You could share a personal story with them... just a couple of sentences, not more.

It's also a good idea to explain what this crochet project is exactly, who it’s for, and how they can use it. Point out the sizes you're including or how they can adjust sizing.


Include cover photo

Take a photo of your finished product and include it at the beginning of your pattern. The more professional your photo, the more people will want to check out your pattern.

If you don't have a clue how to take nice product photos, you can do some online research or improve your DIY Photography Skills with this course.

You really don't need to have fancy equipment for a good product photo these days. If you have a smartphone, all you need to figure out is how to use it to take the best shots of your projects.


Write list of materials

Write up your list of materials needed for this project in detail:
 
Yarn: brand/company name, color, weight, quantity required to complete your pattern & where they can purchase it.
Also include any yarn substitutions if the one you're recommending isn't available for any reason.

Hook size:  in mm, US letter, and/or # crochet hook

Crochet Hook Size
Conversion Sheet
Free Printable
Crochet Hook Size Conversion Sheet Start Crochet

Your info is 100% secure and will never be shared.

Also include any of the following if needed: scissors, tapestry needle, stitch makers or pins, polyfill, buttons, zippers, holders, etc.


Write size & gauge

Gauge is important so that your customer's finished product ends up having the same measurements as yours.

To create your gauge, crochet a certain number of stitches for a certain number of rows (eg. crochet with a 4.5mm hook 15 single crochet stitches for 15 rows and you get a 4″ by 4″ square).

Then when someone follows your pattern, they should get the same measurements. If theirs is smaller, they'll have to loosen up their tension or go up in hook size (or vice versa) until their gauge matches yours.


Write difficulty level

Here you state whether your pattern is for beginners, intermediary levels or advanced crocheters.


Write terms & abbreviations used in pattern

Write in point form the list of stitch abbreviations & terms you're using in your pattern. 

Make sure you stay consistent with the formatting you use to write your instructions: capitlizations you use for your stitch names, punctuation, repeat indicators, etc. 

CROCHET TERMINOLOGY & 
STITCH ABBREVIATIONS 

Free Printable

Write important notes

Here you can include dimensions of your pattern as it progresses, anything they need to watch out for in the pattern, or explain something to the reader before they start the project so they know what to expect.


Add visual elements

Add progress photos, pictures, graphics, charts and/or embed videos.

The more pictures you include, the fewer questions/confusion readers will have.

You might want to highlight certain parts of your item by circling them or adding arrows to pinpoint an instruction. You can use Canva.com to add these elements.


Include link to video tutorial (if available)

If you've made a video tutorial for your project, add a clickable link to your pattern.

Also include the actual url so that someone could type it up in case they've printed out your pattern on paper.


Include links to external instructions

To help your reader figure out how to work up certain stitches, how to block the project (if required), or how to do anything that you're not explaining within the pattern, you may want to link to external tutorials to guide your reader.

Make sure to reference your links with proper credits, and if you're using Affiliate Links, to disclose this in your pattern.


Write your pattern Instructions (Method)

As you physically work up your pattern, write down every single step along the way using the necessary terms & abbreviations. Make sure to indicate whether you are using US or UK Terms (see printable below).

Include instructions fo each stitch, row, round, turn, tying off, switching colors, leaving a long tail for sewing etc.

US vs. UK Crochet Terms & Symbols
Free Printable

US vs UK Crochet Terms and Symbols - Start Crochet

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Use the correct crochet punctuation: Use punctuation to tell your readers how to work each stitch & when.  You can use punctuation to either group or separate stitches. 

  1. Grouping stitches: Use either [brackets ], (parentheses) or asteriks * if you want to indicate working more than one stitch in the same stitch before moving on to the next stitch or to point out sections that need to be repeated in the pattern. Eg. * SC 1, DC2* until the end, which means these instructions between the asterisks should be repeated till the end.
  2. Separating stitches: Use either commas, semi-colons or dashes.

Stitch Count: At the end of each row, make sure to include a stitch count in brackets [x] to make it easy to check if one has the right number of stitches at the end of each row.

Explain as much as possible if there are any special instructions you'd like to give to clarify something.

I personally found it quite difficult at first to put into words what I wanted to instruct my readers to do, but with practice & feedback from others, I was able to clarify this quite well.


Finishing

Write any further instructions on how to finish the project (if it needs blocking, edging, or weaving in ends, for example).


Write your conclusion

It's good to include a conclusion at the end of your patterns.

Perhaps you can thank the reader for supporting you, invite them to follow you on social media, or encourage them to share pictures of their finished pieces and tag you.


Your name & social contacts

At the end of your pattern, make sure you write your name and how crocheters can reach you if they have any questions.

Also include your social contact info if you have an Instagram account, Ravelry, Etsy shop, website/blog, etc.

Include a brief biography of yourself with a photo.


Include your copyright©

Write your copyright info at the end of your pattern. © Designer name, year/Date, Version Number, month/year

Your copyright© should state that the pattern & photos are your intellectual property. The reader is not permitted to sell or share the pattern in any way.

If you give the reader permission to sell the finished piece, you will include that in your copyright, but ask that they credit you for the design.


Review your pattern

Read your pattern, edit, fix errors & make necessary changes.

Make sure it makes sense. I tend to work up my pattern again following the instructions I wrote step by step and more often than not, I realize that I forgot to mention something. So add these details in when you go over it one more time.


Test your pattern

After testing your pattern yourself, you can ask friends to help or ask for crochet pattern testers on crochet FB Groups.

You can also hire professional crochet pattern testers on online platforms like Fiverr


3. Publishing Your Crochet Pattern

Publish your crochet pattern for Free Download

Posting your pattern for Free has its advantages. You can grow your audience through the wide distribution offered by large pattern-sharing sites like

Publish your crochet pattern for Paid Download

If you'd like to sell your pattern, you may do so on

  • Etsy.com,
  • Amazon Handmade,
  •  Lovecrafts.com,
  • Ravelry,
  • Love Crochet,
  • WeCrochet,
  • I Like Crochet,
  • Fave Crafts,
  • All Free Crochet,
  • Crochet Pattern Central,
  • Crochet Patterns Galore

Submit your pattern to a crochet magazine

  • WeCrochet Magazine,
  • Crochet! Magazine,
  • I Like Crochet,
  • Happily Hooked Magazine,
  • Interweave Press,
  • Inside Crochet,
  • Crochet Talk,
  • Crochet Foundry Magazine,
  • Crochet At Play,
  • Crochetville,
  • Happily Hooked Crochet Magazine,
  • The Yarn Box.
  • Inside Crochet,
  • Vogue Knitting, .
  • Crochet World,
  • Interweave Crochet,
  • Knotions,
  • Pom Pom Mag.

Search these websites for “designer guidelines” or “submission calls".

Publish your crochet pattern on your own website/blog

If you offer your crochet pattern for free on your own website/blog, you can generate an income through advertisements & affiliate links.

Start-A-Crochet-Blog-in-8-Simple-Steps-Start-Crochet

4. Promote Your Crochet Pattern

Share your pattern 

Share your pattern with your friends on

  • FB,
  • Pinterest
  • Email List
  • Instagram
  • TikTok

Comments

Check comments section of your post every few days to answer people's questions.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Writing Crochet Patterns


What do crochet symbols mean?

Crochet symbols are visual representations of a crochet pattern, a universal language that allow an alternative way of reading patterns.  

This means that instead of / or in addition to writing your crochet pattern in words using crochet abbreviations, you could also include a crochet diagram using a symbol chart.

In symbol crochet, each stitch is represented by a little symbol. Have a look at these crochet symbols below.

Note:  As you might already know, there is a difference between US & UK Crochet Terms & Abbreviations, so using a crochet diagram would offer an alternative way to reading your patterns that is accessible to everyone who can read the symbols used (which would be a good thing to increase your sales).

How do you read crochet diagrams?

If you want to include a crochet diagram to the written version of your crochet pattern, you need to arrange the symbols of the stitches used to form a "Picture" of the project.

If a reader looks at the crochet diagram, they will see at a glance how the finished crocheted piece will look like.

Crochet diagrams can either be created manually or by using a software like StitchWorks. There is a bit of a learning curve to get used to using StitchWorks, but if you feel like giving that a shot, it might come in handy for simple projects.

You could also use Canva to draw out your crochet diagram. This is not a dedicated crochet software, but it is possible to create good diagrams using Canva. Here's an example of a Crochet Granny Square Diagram I've designed on Canva.

You could also create manual crochet diagrams using hand drawing.  For this you'll need a pencil, notebook, & eraser. You can sketch out your pattern. You can erase and adjust as necessary until you are happy with your design.

If you feel your design looks good in hand-written form, you can go ahead and publish that with your written pattern.

Handwritten Crochet Diagram

crochet diagram flickr olivia sola - Start Crochet

But if you want to make your diagram look more professional, you may want to use a vector charting software such as Adobe Illustrator (paid product with free trial) or Inkscape (open source).

Crochet Diagram Using
Vector Charting Software

Crochet Diagram Flickr Crafideas.us - Start Crochet

How much do you have to change a pattern to avoid copyright Infringement?

Well, this is quite a sticky topic and from my research haven't been able to find a clear answer to that. There are so many factors that have to be considered that this really needs proper advice from a legal professional.

All I could gather is that the commonly perceived 30% rule of changing a pattern for it not to be considered copyright infringement, is generally false.

But in a nutshell, a crochet pattern is a written document that would essentially be protected under UK copyright law as a 'literary work' even if the pattern is made up of numerals & symbols rather than words.

If the pattern includes photos, illustrations and/or charts, then these would be protected by copyright as 'artistic works.'

Here are some reputable resources you can check out:

Patterns and copyright protections: The Ohio State University Library

Copyright notice: knitting and sewing patterns: The Intellectual Property Office UK

Top 10 copyright myths: Copyright Service UK


How do you submit a crochet pattern to a magazine? How do you get a crochet pattern published?

Can a pattern be copyrighted?

The short answer is Yes, you can definitely copyright your crochet pattern.

Depending on where you live, though, rules change. But if you reside in the US, it is generally accepted that as soon as you write up a crochet pattern, it is essentially copyrighted. 

If you feel like you need specific copyright protection, you can do this formally by registering your pattern with the U.S. Copyright Office.

Copyright Registration for Pictorial, Graphic, and Sculptural Works

Legal Zoom: How to Copyright a Design 

Recommended Resources:

Books: Design Your Own Crochet Projects by Sara Delaney 

Conclusion

Hopefully I've been able to show you what steps you need to take to write you first crochet pattern.

As a Bonus, I've also prepared a downloadable checklist for you that you can keep handy when you come to write your crochet patterns. You can instantly access it for free below.

Crochet Pattern Writing Checklist
Free Printable

Crochet Pattern Writing Checklist - Start Crochet

May

About The Author

Hi. I'm May! Welcome to my Blog! Here you'll find crochet tutorials and easy crochet gift ideas you can offer your loved ones on special occasions. You'll also find little crochet designs you can use for Random Acts of Crochet Kindness (RAOCKs) to help make the world a happier place for everyone.

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