Learn everything you need to know to get started on your crochet designing journey! If you’ve ever wanted to become a crochet designer, you’ll want to read this!
Have you ever looked at a stunning crochet shawl or blanket and wondered, “how in the world did they design that?”
Are you an aspiring crochet designer needing guidance and help to get started on your journey? If so, you’re in the right place! Starting with this ‘How to Become a Crochet Designer’ post, I’ll be writing a series of ‘How To’ blog posts that will cover different design topics. Throughout this series, we’ll discuss how to design crochet blankets, how to design crochet bags, how to design crochet beanies….and well, and the list goes on!
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Not sure if you’re an aspiring designer? Answer the following questions, add up your score and read below to find out what stage of designing you’re in!
- Have you ever looked at a crochet design and wished you could design something similar? (2 pts)
- Do you ever get an idea in your head about a crochet item but you’re not sure how to bring it to life? (2 pts)
- Have you ever felt inspired by something you’ve seen and thought, “I can design something from that.” (2 pts)
- Do you know more than just the basic crochet stitches OR like to put stitches together to create a “look”? (2 pts)
- Do you have a desire to create and use crochet as your medium? (2 pts)
- Do you test crochet patterns to learn how something is made? (2 pts)
- Have you ever googled, ‘How to Design a Crochet Pattern?’ (2 pts)
What Design Stage Are You In?
If you scored 2 points or only answered ‘yes’ to one question, then you’re what we consider a ‘Hatchling Designer’. You’re curious about designing crochet pattern but still need time to build on the basics. More than likely, you’re either new to crochet or new to the concept of crochet design. Being a hatchling isn’t a bad thing! Everyone starts at this stage! Read on to find out what you can do to grow!
Did you score 4 pts? Then you’re a ‘Nestling Designer’. You have fallen in love with crochet and are curious how stitches come together to create different items. You love to learn but are still in need of guidance and help when it comes to putting it all together. This is a great place to be because your curiosity and creativity will eventually turn into your 1st design! Continue reading to find out what you can do to get to the next stage!
Wow! You scored almost half of all possible points! When you score 6-8 points then we consider you a ‘Chick Designer’. You have a passion for crochet and know quite a few stitches and techniques. You have confidence and are eager but you’re not quite ready to fly off on your own! You know you still have a lot to learn and you’re comfortable at this stage but have great hopes for a future design! To find out how you can gain your flight feathers, continue reading!
Okay, so you’ve scored 10-12 points! You’re an adventurous ‘Fledgling Designer’. You’re gaining your flight feathers and you’re ready to take off! You may have already designed your first pattern, have it written or typed out and wondering how to move forward. You might be a little nervous to publish it and wonder if others will like it as much as you do! You still need that support and maybe a little push to leave the nest! This is a great place to be. Keep reading to find out what you can do to take flight!
You got a perfect score of 14 points! You’re ready to leave the nest! All ‘juvenile designers must leave the nest some day! You may have already published your first pattern and felt the excitement of launch day! Chances are that you may have an Etsy shop or even your own website. You’re eager to learn as many techniques for different designs as you can, and the math is starting to make sense! We all know, no matter what stage of designing we’re in, there is still room to grow! Continue reading to learn more and grow as a designer!
What is crochet design?
Whether it’s a crochet design, an architectural design, a publication design, or even an animation design, designing can be summed up as ‘a plan or drawing produced to show the look and function or workings of a ___fill in the blank___ before it is made. I know! I got super technical with my definition! Okay, here’s the simple answer: ‘crochet design is an idea coming to life!’ Most, if not all, designs begin by drawing or sketching your ideas on paper or tablet! These sketches will help you to see the look and function of whatever your design idea is. You’ll be able to see the shapes needed, the lines created, and the details you want to include.
Design is about development. An evolution of an idea. Design is about taking a concept and creating a new thing. Designers envision and make. However, they also do a lot of research and brainstorming! Many people think design is only about creating art but it’s much more than that. Design has a process and can be quite scientific. Don’t let that scare you! I’m not talking beakers and chemicals!
What skills do I need to become a crochet designer?
I know this goes without saying, but you need to know how to crochet! If you’re just learning this craft or relatively new to crochet, I recommend taking time to learn and grow before taking full flight into crochet design. There’s no need to rush the process. A baby bird wouldn’t take full flight once it’s hatched, would it? No, it wouldn’t. It couldn’t. It doesn’t have the feathers, nor the knowledge needed to soar. It doesn’t matter if you’re new to crochet or you’re a more experienced maker, there are a few things you can do to develop the skills needed to become a crochet designer.
- Crochet. A lot. Crochet blankets, crochet hats, crochet bags, crochet scarfs, crochet pillows, crochet sweaters, crochet dolls or amigurumi. Just crochet a lot of different things. And as you crochet pay attention to how the item is constructed. Pay attention to the numbers and do your best to understand the math behind the design. Pay attention to the techniques the designer uses and try to figure the purpose of the technique in the design. Refining these skills will help you to develop as a designer!
- Take Classes. Taking crochet classes can help you to develop various crochet skills and grow as a maker. Classes also give you the opportunity to ask questions and learn from your instructor. To find classes in your area, check your local libraries, local yarn shops, and local periodicals. You can also network and learn of classes by attending a crochet meet-up or crochet club!
- Sign Up to be a Pattern Tester. This is a great way to practice new skills and techniques. You can learn a great deal about crochet design by testing patterns that have yet to be published! Not exactly sure what a pattern tester is, find out more HERE.
Besides knowing how to crochet, having a great imagination is a wonderful tool! Designing is a daydreamer’s playground! Don’t think you’re the imaginative type? Don’t worry. Maybe you just need to give yourself permission to play! Every human on this planet has the ability to “imagine”!
In next week’s post, we’ll cover more on this topic and go into a lot of detail about design development!
What resources do all crochet designers need?
The best resources any crochet maker or designer can purchase are stitch dictionaries! When it comes to stitch dictionaries, more is better! Get your hands on as many as possible! These dictionaries will be your starting point for becoming a better crocheter and designer! These resources can help you learn new stitches and stitch patterns. They can help you grow your crochet vocabulary and give you an understanding of the various crochet terminology.
When I bought my first stitch dictionary 15 years ago, I was so eager to learn every stitch from one cover to the next! It took me some time, but I made my way through an entire book! Not only did I learn new stitches and stitch patterns, but I also learned a lot about myself as a crocheter. I learned how to control my tension and discovered the most comfortable way to hold my hook and yarn! I learned how the same stitch can look completely different when using cotton yarn vs. wool yarn, or any other yarn content!
Stitch dictionaries will be a wise investment for any crochet enthusiast! The library of resources that I have acquired has taken me several years to build. Some books are more than 15 years old, and some aren’t in circulation anymore! Join the Flock and Receive your FREE Resource Guide HERE. I’ll share trusted resources and walk you through how to use these dictionaries!
Download the Ultimate Guide of Crochet Resources
Don’t want to sign up to become part of the flock? No problem! Purchase the guide here!
Do I need to be good at math to design crochet?
The answer to this is yes and no. You definitely need to know basic arithmetic, but you don’t necessarily need to be a mathematician to design crochet. If you thought crochet design was all about being artsy and imaginative, you’d be slightly mistaken! Crochet involves math. Period. Whether you’re a designer or maker, the numbers need to add up! Those numbers within the (parenthesis) aren’t hanging out for fun! They have a purpose and a meaning.
Math has never been my strong suite. Words? I love words and I love grammar and I love putting words together to create story. Math? For the longest time I hated math! My father was a genius. I’m not kidding! He was so smart that he couldn’t explain simple mathematical equations to me! He was my adoptive father, so I didn’t receive his intelligent genes! I developed a fear of math because I was intimidated by his intelligence. (Yes, childhood trauma!) When faced with difficult math equations, my insecure self would say, “I don’t understand math.” I said that so much, I convinced myself it was true.
It wasn’t until I took some remedial courses at my local technical college as an adult that those discouraging words began to fade. My math teacher made numbers so fun that I developed a great appreciation for math and wasn’t intimidated by numbers any longer. I started courses knowing only very basic math. I could add and subtract with no problem. I knew how to long divide, and I knew my 2 times table by heart! By the time I was finished with my courses, I knew algebra! I still don’t have my multiplication table memorized but I’m muuuuch better at it!
So, yes. You need to know basic mathematical skills and you definitely need to develop an understanding of how math operates in crochet. That’s what this whole Designer Series of blog posts will be about! I want to share what I’ve learned over the last 15 years when it comes to crochet design and math!
Are there any tips for aspiring designers?
There is a lot you can do while you learn about crochet design! Here’s a few things you can start doing right now!
- Practice Crochet. Get good at crochet by crocheting every day. If you have issues with your tension, crochet to improve tension. Have a hard time with color change? Practice until you perfect the various ways to make color changes! (Yes, there are several ways!) Do you hate working with a certain stitch or technique. Practice that stitch or technique until you grow an appreciation or love for it!
- Take Pictures. Just like when someone takes pics each week as they lose weight to see the progress they made, you should be doing the same with your crochet. Taking pictures along your journey will show you how much you’ve improved in your crochet stitches and techniques. After taking pictures, download them or print them out to make a “Crochet Journey Journal”!
- Ask Questions. I’m a question asking kind of person! If I don’t understand something, I’ll ask numerous questions until I understand whatever it is that I’m wanting to understand. When I first started to crochet, I had tons of questions and would ask my friend Tina. If she didn’t know the answer, I went to the library! Eventually, we were able to ask ‘Google’. However, don’t trust just anybody! Go to a trusted source who is knowledgeable on the topic! Some people claim to be experts at crochet and only know the basic stitches! (Was that mean? I’m just being honest!)
- Perfect that One Thing. A long time ago a designer I looked up to shared that she perfected crochet blankets before she moved on to designing anything else. I always kept that wise advice in my heart as I began my journey into design. Of course, it would take a lifetime to perfect any one crochet item. However, the idea is to get really good at one item that you enjoy making. If you could make one crochet item for the rest of your life, what would it be? Mine? Blankets! Hands-down, I adore a crochet blanket!
- Be Patient. Don’t rush the process! Becoming and developing as a designer takes time! There are no overnight stars! It may look that way because of social media. Various platforms are always pressuring us to perform and ‘go viral’. Let me let you in on a little secret: Only 1.2 % percent of anyone goes viral. That’s roughly 1person out of 1 million! What’s your purpose for wanting to become a crochet designer? If it’s to go viral or make a ton of money. Sorry, but you’re going to be very disappointed! If you’re wanting to design to tap into your creative self, self-expression, or simply learn how to do it…then your hearts in the right place. Say “no” to rushing yourself in the process and have fun with it!
What are some Dos and Don’ts of crochet design?
Here’s a quick list to follow when it comes to crochet designing!
- Remember your ideas and designs have value. Yes, this market seems oversaturated. However, there is more than enough room for you and your crochet designs! There may be many different crochet designs but there is only ONE you!
- Sign-up to become a pattern tester. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again! Testing various patterns will help you become really good at crochet and will also help you discover what type of items you enjoy making!
- Learn about various yarn content. You’ll be ahead of the flock by getting familiar with the various weights of yarn and its content. Not all yarn is created equal! Learning about fiber content and practicing the same stitch with different yarn will teach you a great deal!
- Get familiar with crochet vocabulary and terminology. I am planning to write about this in a future blog post. However, don’t wait for me to write about it! There are many resources on the internet you can learn from!
- Compare yourself to others. This may go without saying, but sometimes we need a reminder. Every designer, even those well-known designers, had a start. Some of my favorite, and quite famous, designers have been designing and creating content before I even knew what a hook was! They have 100’s of blog posts, 100’s of crochet patterns, and thousands and thousands of followers on IG! It took them decades to get to where they’re at! Just stay focused on you and your journey!
- Stop making other designer’s patterns. Take time to continue to enjoy this craft! When crochet becomes work, we begin to lose the joy in creating! My business revolves around crochet but every day at 4 pm, I shut “work” down and any crochet I do in the evenings are usually other designer’s patterns! This helps to give my brain a break from creating designs and enjoy crochet as a hobbyist!
- Copy Patterns. You probably already know this. However, I would be amiss if I didn’t make it clear from the very beginning! Copying other designer’s pattern in part or whole is just wrong! It infringes on copyright laws! Some people have said that a 20% rule applies when it comes to designing. They basically believe if you have a pattern from another designer and change at least 20% of it, then it becomes a new pattern entirely. That’s not true. Any true designer completely disagrees with this 20% rule. Noting fires me up more than a copycat in this industry!
- Stop Trying. Design isn’t about getting it right the first time! There are going to be many revisions of your original idea and even more swatches! Have fun with the process. After all the revisions happen and everything comes together, you’ll be able to stand back with pride!
Leave a comment below to let me know what stage of design you’re in. What was the most impactful information shared today?