How to Design and Alter Crochet Patterns Part 1: Stitch Patterns

I still feel like I’m only just getting started with crochet designing, particularly if judged by the number of my projects which get started and scrapped.  But I wanted to write this series because I’ve picked up a few things along the way which I think will be helpful whether you’re a designer or someone who likes to follow patterns – because even following a pattern it can be helpful to pick up on why something has been designed a certain way, or you may just want to modify the pattern for your needs.

How to Design Crochet Patterns by Make My Day Creative

How to Design Crochet Patterns by Make My Day Creative

Ideas for projects come from many places – but most often mine start from either a particular yarn, a stitch pattern, or from a desire to make a certain item (scarf, basket, sweater, etc).  Once a yarn or stitch pattern has caught your eye or an idea has sprung to mind, you’ll still need to figure out the rest, so this series is designed to give you some tips on what to consider as you go about creating or modifying your pattern.

Stitch Pattern Selection

Stitch patterns come in all shapes and sizes, but the important thing to consider is how the resulting fabric moves (or doesn’t!).  If you’re looking at a pretty lace then it will make a light, stretchy fabric with drape – best for lightweight scarves and shawls.  Something with a closer stitch pattern to plain old  double crochet will have less stretch and drape, but may be more suitable for sweaters and mittens.  A denser pattern with a bit more structure may be suitable for 3D items like flowers or items where you want more coverage like bags and Christmas stockings.  Finally, a pattern with multiple layers of stitches such as post stitches will be better suited to items like baskets and purses.

How to select the right crochet stitch pattern for your project - tips from Make My Day Creative

How to select the right crochet stitch pattern for your project – tips from Make My Day Creative

And while we’re on the subject of adding structure – think about the way the stitches link together also.  One of the reasons Diamond Trellis Stitch works well for baskets is the crossing action of the post stitches – they are worked diagonally across the fabric, restricting stretch, and act just like cross bracing on scaffolding.  Great for a basket but rubbish on a sweater!

Diamond Trellis Stitch Pattern - diagonal post stitches add structure to crochet fabric

Diamond Trellis Stitch Pattern – diagonal post stitches add structure to crochet fabric

The converse to adding structure to your fabric is also true – sometimes you’ll see an apparently dense stitch pattern which drapes like lace, perhaps because the links between blocks of stitches are delicate, such as in wedge stitch.  These stitch types can be used to make warmer scarves which still have plenty of drape.

Image from New Stitch a Day (Links to video)

Image from New Stitch a Day (Links to video)

Look out for upcoming posts in the series and let me know if there’s an other area you’d like my tips on!

Pattern Repeats

Yarn Weight & Hook Size

Yarn Fibre Composition

Yarn Colour and Texture

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15 thoughts on “How to Design and Alter Crochet Patterns Part 1: Stitch Patterns

  1. I love that you are writing about this. I have been mulling over in my minds eye how to construct a triangular scarf from a stitch pattern that I love in one of my stitch dictionaries. I will follow your series. I am thinking I shall invest in some graph paper and have a go at it.

    • Thanks! I will make sure I include increasing (or what I know about it anyway) :) I really like using my graph paper notebook, it makes sketching easier and it’s good for keeping stitch patterns to some sort of scale.

  2. Reblogged this on The Night Owl and commented:
    As someone interested in how crochet designers do their designing, I had to reblog this to my site so I can keep a record of it. I’m still not at the stage where I feel confident in creating my own designs, but this will be a good blog tutorial series to start keeping in case I ever buck up the courage to try :)

  3. Pingback: How to Design Crochet Patterns Part 2: Pattern Repeats | Make My Day Creative

  4. Pingback: Part 3a: Shaping in Crochet Stitch Patterns | Make My Day Creative

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  6. Pingback: How to Design Crochet Patterns Part 4: Selecting Yarn | Make My Day Creative

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