Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Writing a knitting pattern

In my job I get to look through a lot of patterns. In my spare time I read a lot of patterns while knitting. Occasionally I even write my own patterns. Ergo, I spend a lot of time with my nose in patterns and I enjoy every minute of it, mostly...
A lot of patterns are very professional and nicely presented whereas others can be a nightmare and the only way to get a useful garment is to divert from the pattern. Whether you are a newbie knitter, aspiring designer or professional designer/tech editor, here are some of the things I look for in a pattern.


You need photos and you need good photos. No photos or bad photos does not sell. Make sure you have several photos from different angles, use a friend to model the garment (or take the photos and model the knits yourself), use natural light if possible. Indoor backgrounds can be boring, try going outside and show the knits in use, not just posed. If you don't have access to a model/photographer, hang the garments in trees, over fences, thrown over a statue... A garment lying flat is very informational and can be included, but don't forget to add some nice photos showing the garment in use or in an unexpected place. Close-ups on details are very nice too, did you just make the best looking button band ever? Show it off! We love to see fancy knits!


Looking to be original and Times New Rowan or Arial feel boring? Feel free to try something new but keep to the standard fonts, with serifs for printables (those little 'flags' on top and bottom of t, k, l, m, etc, example Times New Roman), sans serifs for anything intended for screens (for example Arial). And remember, there is nothing wrong with good ol' Times New Roman and Arial, just add photos and nice layout and the pattern will look amazing.
Avoid anything that is hard to read for the text mass. Titles can be in a fancy font but keep to standard  fonts that are easy to read for the pattern text.


Save space, use columns! We all have different preferences when it comes to using paper patterns or on tablet/computer/smartphone, but long text rows are just as tiring and hard to read on any device/paper. Make the rows short and easy to read.
Make sure the whole paragraph gets on the same page, never let a single sentence get lost on another page. The people who wants a printed pattern will be much happier with a pattern on 2 pages than a spaced out pattern on 7. But still, don't go under 10 points in size of the text, use the space wisely but still easy to read.

Check your pattern

It is so annoying when a pattern has mistakes, even typos will set off comments from knitters. Run a test knit of your pattern and/or have a technical editor going through your pattern. What makes sense to you does not necessarily make sense to someone else. Hopefully all mistakes will be caught in a test knit/tech edit and the knitters will be happy!

I hope that you find my tips helpful! Do you have more tips, please leave them in the comments!

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