The Anatomy of a Pattern – the Essential Pieces of Information You Need!

Every week in my Facebook Group, Transform Your Yarn, I give my members a chance to ask a question about knitting, designing or running an indie-biz, which I answer personally, during a live-stream.

This week’s question is by Amanda, who asked:

What elements should be included when writing a pattern for publication and what format should they take?

Let’s break it down piece by piece by examining a pattern itself. You can download the pattern that I will be using, the Kakano Hat, for free and keep it as a reference, and knit up a sample for yourself too ;-)

Take the Initiate Knit Design Challenge (starting September 14th) to put this lesson into practice, as well as learn the knitwear design process!


The Title and Photo

The name of the pattern and the cover image of the design goes first. You want to show clear images of the design so the knitter has an overall idea of what the pattern will comprise of. Don't forget your name too ;-)

 

 

 

The About Section

You need to list all the materials needed for the knitter to successfully knit up the pattern:

·             Needle(s) used—in US size and in mm.

·             Yarn Used—yarn company, yarn base, yarn weight (ie, fingering, sport, etc.), fiber content, actual yarn weight in grams, yardage per skein in both yards and meters. Skeins used and colorways.

·             Yardage—Include both in yards and meters. If multiple colorways, list yardage for each.

·             Gauge—After blocking! If you have multiple stitch patterns, list them all here. Also specify if it’s worked flat or in the round.

·             Notions

·             Final Measurements—After blocking! Include in both inches and cm.

In the about section, you’ll also want to provide a summary of the design: the source of inspiration, the meaning of the name or how the knitter would connect to it, then the features of the pattern and how they benefit the knitter (I didn't do this, naughty me! But you can check out the pattern descriptions for my patterns such as the Taimana Cowl or the Mizu shawlette).

The Abbreviations Section

You may not want to write out “knit”, “purl”, or “knit two together” without using some abbreviations. Put ALL abbreviations and their definitions in this section. You can put the stitch instructions here as well, for example, for cable stitches or special lace increase or decrease stitches.

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The Pattern Stitches Section

If your pattern includes any stitch patterns that are not stockinette or garter, write them out here. In the pattern instructions itself, you’ll be referring to the stitches in this section and guiding the knitter where they go and how many times to repeat the rows. When listing stitch patterns include the stitch count, in the format “x sts + y” e.g., 12 sts + 4.

 

Stitch Pattern (X sts + Y)

Row 1 (RS): Capitalize the first letter of the row instructions, with a period at the end.

Row 2 (WS): On the first two rows, specify which is the RS row and the WS row. For patterns knit in the round, this isn't necessary.

Row 3: Bold everything preceding the column. 

Row 4: K1, p1.

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The Pattern Notes Section

Include all notes on construction: shaping details, unusual seaming, the direction of knitting, flat vs circular, etc. I include links to special pattern tutorials in this section.

The Pattern Instructions

Start with the CO instructions. If using multiple needles or colorways, state which one to use.

Breakdown the pattern into sections, with clear headers. Use the term “work” not “knit” when directing the knitter to work a stitch pattern. Indicate which rows to work and how many times it's repeated.

Include new stitch count at the end of decrease/increase rows. Be specific in which decreases/increases are used in the pattern.

And finally, the finishing instructions. If your design uses a particular BO technique, state which one to use. Don’t be afraid to go into detail on the finishing touches (such as blocking, adding extra flair, etc.)

Charts

I highly recommend to put in both written and charted instructions. Where you place this section is up to you, but I put it after the pattern instructions. When putting in your chart, don't forget the chart key too!

Take the Initiate Knit Design Challenge (starting September 14th) to put this lesson into practice, as well as learn the knitwear design process!

Aroha Knits Revamping + FREE New Pattern

What busy and stressful these past few months have been! Between traveling back to the States for a visa renewal, hosting a second round of the 5 Shawls, 5 Days challenge, taking part in Master Brand and really taking a good look at what it is I want to do and where I want to take Aroha Knits, I am exhausted!

But I'm also on fire and excited to be pushing Aroha Knits into a new direction. So what's new? 

Well let's start with the obvious, the MAJOR facelift. Before Aroha Knits was pink, now it's blue! I've been working closely with Chelsea Fitch of knitfitch.com on my visual branding - she not only created my new logo, but she also helped me determine my visual story, the colors, the imagery, the feel... I'm still working on updating my Instagram to be taking that same direction, but my website finally feels as it should be! Yay! You'll also hopefully find that it's much easier to navigate around now. Depending on who you are and what magic you like to create (knitters, aspiring designers and indie yarn dyers), you'll find a section catered to you and how you would like to experience Aroha Knits.

My patterns have also gotten a change as well. You'll be able to see the new look in the FREE download I have for you in this blog post.

PATTERN NO LONGER AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD

But I think the biggest change and shift that Aroha Knits has experienced is... my why. Why do I do what I do? What drives me? What's my mission in this industry? What mark do I want to leave behind? I shared my story on Instagram but I'm going to write it here again for you to take it all at once.

My mission is to evolve and to grow. I am passionate about the transformative magic of knitting in all its forms; from transforming yarn into unique hand knit designs, to transforming my life from dissatisfaction to fulfillment, to empowering other magic-makers to make similar transformations.

I love putting myself right in the middle of the creation process of transforming yarn into a unique hand knit design. Watching and feeling the stitches coming together to create a tapestry of color and texture is such a magical feeling, one that’s easy to get addicted to and lost in, and it’s always an extremely satisfying moment when I take my project off of the blocking mats and think, “Wow, I thought of this idea and I made it come to life!”. Designing quietens my anxiety and combats depression, and honestly, it also makes me feel productive and that I’m contributing to the betterment of society. I incorporate personal stories and my cultural heritage into my designs so that I don’t create “just another pattern”, but something with meaning and significance, to leave a long-lasting mark in the fiber community. I want to leave my legacy in the fiber community, even after I’m long gone, to be known as the designer who drew upon her Maori heritage to create unique designs. 

I strive for a life of financial self-reliance on my design work, so I can continue to do what I love the most, making transformations happen. Like Merlin of Camelot, I like to lock myself away in my tower for days in order to create magic without distraction, then venturing out at the end to share my creations, and knowledge, with the community. Designing transformed my life from dissatisfaction to fulfillment, so of course I have the drive to do the work needed in order for me to be able to continue to do so. It’s challenging to make a living as a designer in the industry’s current state, but I want to play a part in shifting the perception that a designer’s work is worth paying for and that we are unapologetic about making it a career choice.

Part of creating magic is teaching others how to use their internal spark to manifest their own transformations. I don’t want to keep what I’ve learned all to myself - it’s greedy, selfish and only serves to hinder me in the long run. “A rising tide lifts all boats”. That’s why I strive to be generous with my knowledge of knitting and design; being a catalyst for people’s transformations is extremely rewarding and empowering the community, even a little bit a time, strengthens the fiber industry as a whole. Because I’ve experienced first hand the rewards that knitting and designing have brought to my life, not just financially but also mentally and emotionally, I want to empower others to push past their fears and self-doubts to discover the same rewards for themselves, whether it’s in knitting or designing. There is magic to be found in both knitting another designer’s pattern and creating your own; both involve transforming yarn into a project you can feel proud of, boosting your confidence and creativity. It doesn't matter how: use your creativity to make transformations happen!

Transforming yarn, transforming my life and transforming you: it’s these three aspects that help me leap out of bed every morning and push me past my own fears and self-doubts to ignite magic and spark transformations.  

So, in honor of my new mission of making transformations happen, here's a free pattern for you to download so you can start transforming your yarn too! This pattern has been fully tech-edited, test knit, complete with photos and a special link to a private page for video tutorials on any of the more fiddly stitches. So you're basically getting the quality of a paid-for pattern, for FREE!

PATTERN NO LONGER AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD

I would love to hear your thoughts magic-makers! Do you love the change as much as I do? I feel so excited to be taking you on a new journey with me!

5 Shawls, 5 Days Round-Up (and E-Book Release!)

Last week I launched my first challenge, 5 Shawls, 5 Days. Each day of the week participants would receive an email with one surprise shawl shape—a basic overview of the shape and written pattern that served as the backbone of that particular construction. The main goal behind the challenge was to encourage knitters to take the time to see how the increases come together to form a shape, without the pressure of knitting a full sized shawl, with complex stitches. A mini yet educational and motivational KAL with which many had tons of fun!

Here below are some of my favorite FOs from the challenge. I was really impressed with all the talent and thought that went into knitting up the samples! Knitters experimented with different types of increases, bind-offs or even added some simple stitch patterns into the mix! Others used some extremely funky yarns to quite stunning effects! Over 600 fiber bosses signed up for the original challenge - more people wanted to play so I created DIY version of the challenge, which saw more than 800 people sign up for that!

 Day One!

Day One!

 Day Two

Day Two

 Day Four - I lost Day Three's files haha

Day Four - I lost Day Three's files haha

 Final Day

Final Day

While it was exhausting for me to make sure all the systems were ready to go, to have all the materials for the Periscopes prepared, and to respond quickly to emails, it was very rewarding to see this community of knitters come together, interact and engage with one another. And I’ll definitely be planning round two of the 5 Shawls, 5 Days challenge, but first, a whole new type of challenge is in the works…


And today I released my long awaited e-book, "Forming Shawls and Their Charts". This has been a huge passion project of mine and I'm so excited to be finally releasing it! With 15 shawl shapes to discover and explore, you will find the possibilities for shawl knitting and design endless!

Chrysanthemum Shawl Beta Release

This week I’m bringing you a special treat—a free pattern! The Chrysanthemum Shawl is one of my latest collaboration pieces. This one is between the talented Amelia Putri, of Papiput Yarns, and me!

Amelia Putri has the amazing title of being Indonesia’s FIRST independent yarn dyer. Her mission is to introduce knitting to her community, and introduce the knitting community to Indonesian culture. We have both been huge admirers of each other’s work, so a collaboration was bound to happen.

Amelia’s contribution, to this project, is a skein of her wonderfully fabulous Silky Merino lace-weight yarn: 766 yards of soft, silky goodness. Even better, she created a special colorway for this collaboration that we named Ayu Wahine, “Beautiful Woman”, a combination of Japanese and Maori words.

The resulting piece is the Chrysanthemum Shawl, an all-over lace piece featuring four different lace patterns coming together to form a painting of elegance, grace and beauty. Pair it up with your favorite skeins of lace-weight yarn and you’ll have an eye-catching shawl, which you’ll always want to wear.

The Chrysanthemum flower represents optimism and joy, two values that both Amelia and I hold dear! May this shawl bring you joy and positivity, as well as beauty, to your handmade wardrob!

A beta pattern means that the pattern has not been tested or edited, but pattern support is still available—email me if you have any questions or problems! The pattern will be available for free on my website until April 15th, by which time it will have been tech edited, corrected, and made available for purchase on Ravelry. 

Beta No Longer Available

And Special giveaway! You can also enter to win a skein of Papiput’s Silky Merino in Ayu Wahine! Just follow the rules below to be entered in! Giveaway ends April 8th.

Whakatā Shawl Beta Release

After a long and stressful day, unwind with the Whakataa Shawl. A relaxing and meditative knit, you’ll find yourself entranced by the yarn running through your fingers, hypnotized by the rhythm of the stitch patterns and in love with the swooping silhouette of the crescent shaping. A collaborative piece between Aroha Knits and Moeke yarns, this shawl was designed to take advantage of the rustic and organic nature of the yarn with a classic and simple design and textural stitches that play wonderfully with the variegated bases.

The beta version of the Whakata Shawl will be available for free download until January 29th. Make sure to save the pattern to your desktop!

Beta no longer available.

Pattern support still applies to betas, so email me if you run into any problems (or post them to the mini-KAL thread in my Ravelry forum)!

If you wish to receive the final version, which will be tech edited, corrected for errors, updated with photos and special tutorial videos (including a link to where you can view high-res images), please purchase it when it goes live on Ravelry. Sign up for Frenchie’s Knitsagram to be among the first to know of the official release, as well as receive exclusive discounts on Aroha Knits patterns. You will also receive a free copy of the SeaShell Shawl when you do. Note: if you sign up for the Newsletter but get a blank email, hit respond to let me know. Sometimes the automation system gets a bit buggy.

Whakata Shawl Mini-KAL

I'm hosting a mini-kal for the shawl in my Ravelry forum, from Friday, January 22nd to February 12th. It's totally laid-back, and stress-free; a good opportunity to meet some of the other magic-makers in the Aroha Knits community and support each other. I'll be present in the thread, available to answer any questions and encourage y'all on. Some small prizes will be given to participants who finish the shawl!

Click here to join in!

Moeke Yarns Giveaway

Enter below to win two skeins of Moeke Yarns Transylvanian Merino. I reviewed this yarn a couple days ago and all I can say is that it is easily in my top 5 favourite yarns to work with. If I can get my hands on some more skeins of this rustic and organic yarn, I certainly will! I'm sharing the goodness of this treasure from Romania with you all so that one lucky knitter will also be entranced by this very special yarn. Just follow the instructions below for chances to win this precious yarn (note: if you are in New Zealand, I will not be able to get the yarn to you. Japan refuses to send yarn to NZ due to customs and quarantines. However, if you are willing to wait until June to get your yarn - which is when I'll be back in the States - then enter away!).

When entering, you just need to enter your email address once, even if you do more than one entry.

Pata Shawl in Creative Knitting

Well, here it is! Another pattern in a magazine! At the beginning of 2015, I made it one of my goals to get at least one of my patterns into a knitting publication, and at the beginning of 2016, my managed to surpass that goal by getting three patterns accepted. One in Chicago Knits, Holla Knits! and now Creative Knitting. It wasn't all sunshine and roses, though, I had received way more rejections than acceptances but I'm learning what makes a good submission proposal and what gets me immediately in the rejection pile. 

But that is not what you are here for! You came here because you heard that I have a free pattern somewhere. And that I do indeed. Introducing the Pata Shawl!

Can you see the "water drops" in the leaves?

Pata is Maori for "drop of water", based off of the little bobbles in the lace resembling droplets. This is a crescent shawl with the same top-down construction as the Puaka Shawlette - yarn over increases are worked every row to achieve the shape. Blocking it helps stretch it into the proper form but even when the fabric relaxes (as it did in the sample photos here), it still makes for an elegant piece.

This shawl was chosen as the featured pattern of Creative Knitting's Spring Issue, meaning that it was selected for CK's upcoming KAL, starting this Friday. And as the featured pattern, it is being offered for free for a limited time. So if you download the pattern, consider also joining in on the KAL (pretty please, I'm sure it would make Kara, the editor, happy)!

1. Visit CreativeKnittingMagazine.com and click on the “Featured Pattern” tab. There, you'll find the Pata Shawl, available for as long as the summer 2016 issue is on the newsstand. Click “download,” and it's yours for free! 

2. Visit Annie's to purchase Plymouth Baby Alpaca Lace or Plymouth Linaza in the color of your choice. 

3. On January 22nd, visit the Creative Knitting Fans Group on Ravelry to get started.