I can’t believe we are up to P already in my A-Z of crochet but here we are, with a fairly important one at that. Patterns are everywhere, you name it and there’s probably a crochet pattern for it. (You only have to Google ‘crochet gifts for men’ to find some of the more dubious examples-it’s not for the faint hearted!)
I’m not going to share patterns in this post as there are so many just a click away that I see no need to. What I am going to do is explore some questions around patterns and look at how they can be used.
Bought or free?
The first thing I’m going to look at is how you obtain patterns-do you buy them or use only free ones? I use a mixture-it honestly depends how much I like the item as to whether or not I will buy the pattern. It’s probably worth bearing in mind that bought patterns will usually have undergone rigorous testing to ensure they are clearly and correctly written. That is not to say free patterns haven’t been well tested of course-I’ve used some excellent free patterns and some not so good bought ones. As a general rule, you get what you pay for, but at the same time I have to work to a budget too and that sometimes means relying on free patterns. I’m amazed at the kindness of crafters who share their patterns for free, and also in awe of those who can write their own patterns perfectly, test them and modify them. They definitely earn the money they charge for them!
Written pattern, video or chart?
Patterns come in 3 different forms-a written pattern using common abbreviations, a video tutorial or a chart. Sometimes each one is in all 3 forms, sometimes 2 and sometimes just the 1. With all three there is one thing to consider-the terminology. So many times I have accidentally made the wrong kind of stitch because of the difference between UK and US crochet terms. If you are finding a pattern particularly hard to follow then a video tutorial can be really helpful to get you out of a pickle,especially if you are learning a new stitch. I tend to use written patterns, but that’s because I can screen shot them and save them to my phone. I’ve hardly used charts, but when I have it hasn’t been too tricky once I knew what the symbols all meant. This post is really helpful for UK crocheters, US folk may need to do a little interpreting of stitch types! (I have added a chart below to help with theconverting process.)
How do you prefer your patterns to be presented?
What does it all mean?
Here’s a table of what all of the terms mean, there are a lot of them!
And a conversion chart:
Images sourced from: http://www.simplycrochetmag.co.uk/2013/07/04/uk-and-us-crochet-conversion-chart/
Follow it to the letter or adapt?
Obviously we use a pattern because we want to produce a specific item, but sometimes we feel the need to add our own special touches to our work-it’s part of the beauty of home made items. Occasionally adaptations also arise from the fact we’ve made a mistake and need to sort it out without frogging an entire piece (please tell me I’m not the only one who does this?) There are times when we plan to change a specific part of something-the edging of a blanket, the length of a cardigan or the size of a hat, for example. Either way, I think I’d be lost without a pattern as a starting point, even if my finished item barely resembles the pattern! What’s your approach to using patterns? Do you like to adapt them or do you stick to them rigidly?
Follow the crowd or go it alone?
As with all areas of life, trends come and go. There are always crochet stirches or patterns that everyone seems to be making. Sometimes I join in (if I like the pattern/item) and sometimes I don’t (if I don’t like it I won’t make it!) There are a few current trends I’d like to try, but I seem to have really limited crochet time at the moment.
Do you follow crochet trends or carve out your own path?
Where would we be without crochet patterns? Well freeform crochet is increasingly popular. I’ve looked into it and decided I’m not creative enough, but this site has some excellent tutorials for getting started if you want to crochet without a pattern!
Thanks for reading, I hope some of it has been useful.
Have you ever written your own pattern? Do you buy a pattern first or the yarn first? Do you have a favourite pattern that you return to time and time again?