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.

Screen Shot 2016-09-09 at 9.50.48 AM.png

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.

Screen Shot 2016-09-09 at 9.44.45 AM.png

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!

How to Make a Stand-Out Impression for Collaborations

In the Facebook group, Transform Your Yarn, I give members a chance to get their questions about knitwear design answered, via “Catalyst Call” live-streams, or in a blog post that I write—both on a weekly basis. If you are not in the group, click here to join. If you do not have  Facebook, but have some questions that you would like answered, just send me an email!

I also have mentoring spots open as part of my Patreon membership. For $50 a month (in addition to benefits you get with the $10 membership), you will get monthly one-on-one personal coaching calls, and access to my e-course Swatch Studio, as well as future programs. There are only 5 spots, so contact me if you are interested in this mentoring opportunity!

The topic for this week comes from Babs:

How do you approach indie dyers or yarn companies for business relationships?

I work a lot with indie dyers and yarn companies, for my designs. In fact, I can hardly remember the last design I worked on that was purely for fun and not in collaboration with anyone.

Actually, that’s not true. The last one was the Kakano hat made from YOTH yarns, but that’s been the first one in a loooooong time.

Honestly, I am the one who has been approached for collaborations, rather than the other way around. I think this gives me some unique insight since I can say what really impresses me and makes brands stand out. [Read more]

First, even if you do not know what to say or do, sending an email to ASK for yarn support, a collaboration or some other kind of relationship is so much better than doing nothing or waiting for people to come to you. What’s the worst that can happen? They say no?

I think we are scared of rejection because we are so used to rejections that turn personal. But when you are interacting with a company, it’s purely business if they do reject your offer, absolutely nothing personal. It’s a simple, “We appreciate your email, but we must say no at this time” or something along those lines.

We want our emails to stand out, because as you can imagine companies and brands receive lots of emails every day. Keep the headline, of your email, simple and to the point. The content of the email is more important:

1.         Introduce yourself, what you do (mission statement), who you serve, and HOW you serve your audience. This is your elevator pitch!

Example: My name is Francoise, a knitwear designer and teacher under the label Aroha Knits. My company’s mission is to help knitters transform their yarn into unique, hand-knit pieces to boost their confidence and creativity. How? I design knitwear designs to inspire and delight, wanting knitters to add their special touch, and I offer courses and books that transform knitters into confident designers. 

2.         State the purpose of your email: yarn support, collaboration, business relations, whatever.

Example: I have been following your work for awhile now and have been recently inspired to design a shawl using your yarn. I am reaching out to inquire about yarn support and possibly fostering a relationship for future collaborations, depending on how well this one goes.

3.         Let them know how your brand is going to provide value back to their company. You have to give back, too. Basically, how you are going to SERVE them.

Example: I have a combined social media and newsletter following of over 30k+*, and I can offer you a copy of the pattern for you to sell in your shop as a kit. We can discuss our promotion campaign together, in order to get the most amount of eyes and sales possible on our work.

*If you don’t have big numbers, that’s ok! Brainstorm ways you will be able to help each other. In fact, if you are just starting out, I would look into finding brands that are just starting out too. Help each other out!

4.         Mention your portfolio of work: Ravelry page, website/blog, social media followings.

Example: You can find my portfolio of previous collaborations at www.arohaknits.com. Talk to you soon!

Obviously, you’ll want to expand a bit more in some of these points, like the specifics of your design or your project, but this is a good outline to use, so you can start to really make an impression on companies.

P.S. This is a bonus tip—if you can make it to any of The National Needlarts Association (TNNA)  tradeshows, DO IT. This is the perfect place to network with others in the fiber industry. In-person meetings are so much more powerful than email. I cannot tell you how much freelance work I have obtained during those three days; how many new relationships I’ve made; and how many amazing people I’ve met. While I will probably expand on this topic much further on, I just wanted to make you aware of this.

Designing 101: Choosing the Best Fiber for Your Design

With so many yarns on the market, it can be slightly challenging for newer knitwear designers (and even the more experienced ones have trouble with this too) to know which fiber will bring the most out of your design. Unlike knitting from a pattern that tells you the recommended yarn (and then from there you can make substitutions based on that yarn's fiber content), it feels like you are starting from square one  deciding what to use. But never fear, here is a guide that briefly touches over the five most common fibers found in yarn. I'll talk about the characteristics of the fiber, its drawbacks and lastly any blends that will help offset those drawbacks.

 So many choices, so little time.

So many choices, so little time.

Wool

Within the wool family, you have many types of sheep, such as Merino and Blueface Leicester, which are very different from each other.

Merino wool is valued for its softness, elasticitsy and warmth. It can be stretched out quite a bit but still remember its shape it was blocked to. It is usually not itchy, making it a popular choice for socks. You can also use it for sweaters, hats, and blankets.

However it is not the strongest fiber, and can pill quite a bit but blends with nylon or acrylic can give it that extra strength and prevent heavy pilling. And it is important to note that while it has good memory, it doesn't have the best drape (the more memory a fiber has, the less drape it gets). A blend with silk can give it that nice drape, as well as a lovely sheen.

Blueface Leicester on the other hand is denser and stronger. It has little memory but it makes up for it with lovely drape. This makes it really good for lace-shawls and elegant pullovers.

If you want to make something sturdy that will be going through lots of wear and possibly get dirty, focus on finding a 100% wool with multiple plies.

As mentioned at the beginning, there are many types of sheep breeds that will produce a different type of wool from each other! Merino, Blueface Leicester, Cormo, and Shetland wool are just a few of the many wool fibers on the market, with breeders still experimenting with cross-breeding or raising uncommon species to produce new yarns.  

Alpaca

The first thing to know about alpaca is that it is much warmer than wool, so keep that in mind when you want to knit up something heavy, like a cabled pullover. However it is lighter in weight, soft to the touch (especially if it is baby alpaca!), not terribly itchy, if at all and it is hypoallergenic. It is a very luxurious yarn that provides a nice amount of drape.

Because alpaca yarn knit up in plain stockinette can reveal irregularities in the stitches, even after blocking - something that wool is able to hide - textured stitches are usually a good way around that. Cable stitches also works, but take note that cables are usually heavy and dense and pairing it with an already heavy and dense fiber that doesn't hold a lot of memory may result in a garment that droops unflatteringly and pulls itself out of shape. But to fix that, just find an alpaca/wool blend. The wool will help it keep its shape better. 

Cotton

Cotton is a plant-based fiber, and as plant-based fibers go, it is best suited for warmer climates or seasons, making it a popular fiber for the summer season. It is very strong, and stronger when wet! It is generally comfortable to wear depending on how tightly it has been spun up. Tighter spins result in longer-lasting yarn but not as comfortable to wear, whereas looser spun cotton will produce a softer yarn but one that will pill and deteriorate faster. Textured stitches work very nicely in cotton.

The biggest drawbacks of cotton is that is inelastic and that it has no memory. To fix this, find a blend with wool. 

It is highly recommended to subject cotton swatches to the "gravity test" to see how the swatch reacts to gravity pulling it down (usually by hanging the swatch up for about a day). Of course a bigger garment will be heavier and thus gravity will have a greater affect on it, so keep the projects on the lighter side when using cotton. 

Linen

Like cotton, linen is a plant-based fiber, making it best suited for the summer. It is also inelastic and what ever imperfections you have in the knitting, it will stay "frozen in time" even after blocking, so take care your gauge remains consistent throughout! However it is even stronger and more durable than cotton and has an incredible drape and shine. It would work very well as a summer top with lots of positive ease or as a summer lace shawl.

Silk

Like Blueface Leicester, silk has lots of drape and shine. It fact, it is the master at drape and shine and is incredibly luxurious. But like linen, any irregularities you have in your knitting will show up. However, it is perfect for lace shawls. If you want to make something that would hug the body, again find a wool blend, preferably merino wool.


Hopefully you found this article informative! When in doubt though, always ask for help at a Local Yarn Store or contact the yarn maker directly. They are very well acquainted with the yarns they work with, and can give you specific recommendations.

5 Beginner Knitter Mistakes

I don't know what is more annoying about starting up a new hobby: the lack of skill to produce something satisfactory or the fact that I have no idea if what I'm doing is correct or completely wrong.

Taking up knitting was no exception. During my first months of knitting I made all kinds of errors that would result in a less than pleasing product. Thankfully the internet was there to correct me. So if you recently discovered the magic and addiction of this wonderful craft, here are some mistakes to watch out for and how to avoid them!

1. Not Doing a Gauge Swatch

 If I was going for the oversized sweater, this would have been ok.

If I was going for the oversized sweater, this would have been ok.

Ok, most likely even those just starting out in knitting have heard of doing a gauge swatch or at least have seen the word. And more advanced knitters will probably roll their eyes at this one because they have heard it time and time again. But I'm going to repeat it here: if you are going to attempt a fitted garment or accessory (such as a hat), you have to do a gauge swatch.

If this is your first time hearing this term, here's a quick rundown:

Gauge refers to the number of stitches and rows a knitter or crocheter makes per inch using a certain yarn and needles or hook. Gauge varies from person to person, so it is very important to make sure you are achieving the gauge of your pattern. Your gauge determines the size of your finished piece.
— Lionbrand.com

Take note of that last sentence. Gauge determines the size of your finished piece. 

I once took on the task of knitting a hoodie for my husband. This was my first time knitting a garment piece and I had been knitting for about five months at this point. I had seen the words gauge here and there but never really payed any attention to it. The pattern notes highlighted to make a gauge swatch but I ignored it. I started knitting.

And knitting. And knitting. I knit the large size (for my husband's small-medium frame), because I had found out over the months that I knit tighter than most (meaning I have to go up a needle size in order to achieve recommended gauge in most patterns). And not surprisingly, my sweater was much too big (even bigger than the large size). 

However I didn't learn my lesson. I frogged the entire project and started over knitting up the medium size. Without working a gauge swatch. Again. That sweater remains unfinished to this day.

2. Thinking Yarns in the Same Weight Category are the Same

 Pictured: flowers and four different types of fingering weight yarn.

Pictured: flowers and four different types of fingering weight yarn.

Not all yarns are created equally. For example, Cascade Yarns 220 and Lily Sugar'n Cream are both worsted weight yarns. However Cascade 220 is 100% wool and Sugar'n Cream is 100% cotton. You would use these yarns for different projects and for different seasons. And most notably, these yarns knit up differently. If you were working a pattern where the designer used a 100% wool, worsted weight yarn with a 100% cotton yarn, your finished object will look different from the original sample. Textured, cabled and lace stitches will vary in appearance and even the drape and the "hold" of the finished projects will differ.

Look through a popular pattern's project page on Ravelry and you will see a variety of different yarns knitters used for their projects. Take note of the yarns and compare the results. 

If the recommended yarn is out of your price range and you want to find a comparable substitute check out this website, YarnSub first. They have a large database of both major and lesser known yarns that can help you get started.

3. Not Blocking

This is probably because we've heard horror stories about throwing wool sweaters in washers and dryers and discovering that they shrunk and felted. And even more frightening, this process can not be undone. So why throw your hard work into water?

It's the temperature of the water that determines the success or failure of the blocking process. Tepid water will not cause the micro fibers in the yarn to felt. In fact, it will do the opposite in some cases. In animal based fibers, it can loosen up the fibers, even out the stitches and smooth out the sides.

Blocking is highly recommended for projects with any lace in it, as the water opens up the stitches and you can pin the project to really highlight the pattern. 

4. Thinking That Blocking Will Solve Everything

On the flip side, while blocking can take your project to the next level by giving it a professional look (I've had many non-knitters and knitters alike look at my work and declare how "perfect" the finished results were), blocking can not solve everything. Any major mistakes in the pattern many actually stand out and while the gauge can change slightly (especially after aggressive blocking), you can not add or subtract inches to a piece due to a miscalculation in gauge (or failing to do so).

I was once commissioned to knit a formfitting garment. Once again, I didn't measure gauge (this was around the same time I was knitting my husband's sweater). My stitches per inch were correct, but my rows per inch were not. And up until that point, I had been blocking shawls which are blocked differently from garment pieces. Once I finished the piece according to the pattern, I figured I could aggressively block the piece to the final measurements (I did not want to have to frog the piece, as I had done so many times). This aggressive blocking was to add two inches to the body of the pullover but once the yarn dried, I encountered something that I call "snapback". For every two inches you try to aggressively block a piece, once off the needles and having been worn for a while, it will recede back about an inch. 

While I was lucky that the FO fit in the end without too much trouble (my first seaming attempts had to be re-done several times), the amount of stress of trying to get the garment to fit made me reconsider my career as a knitter for a while. Thankfully I learned my lesson and now I always knit a gauge swatch and frog my work if I'm not happy with the result. Blocking might seem like magic, but even it has its limitations. It's up to you, dear knitter, to decide whether the risk is worth it.

5. Not Attempting a Project Because You Think It Is Higher Than Your Skill Level

I think this is a mistake that everyone makes, no matter their knitting level. Don't let you hold yourself back from trying to knit a pattern that may seem to be out of your comfort level. Doing so is a disservice to yourself. The internet is full of resources and tutorials that you can look up. Practice! Ravelry has plenty of forums and references to look to if you are stuck. In some cases, you can even contact the designer directly if you are stuck! So don't not try a pattern because you think it might be out of your range. As Shia LaBeouf says...

Thank you, Mr. LaBeouf.

Maximizing Social Media Interaction

Kia ora knitters! You may have noticed some changes around the website, most notably on the landing page. After reflecting on this past year, I'm expanding my brand to include "mentorships" for aspiring designers, consults and collaborations for current designers, yarn makers and any other independent crafter or blogger. This came from my already one year experience of running this website and acting as mentor and resource to knitters needing advice. While I am still developing this program, this is my official announcement to the knitting community that I am available to help you on any topic that you need - just shoot me an email! As of now, this service is free so please feel free to take advantage of this opportunity!

As part of this expansion I'm also going to be making some changes to blog posts. Every week will feature a set type of posts. Motivational Mondays, which will feature some patterns from Ravelry that popped up over the weekend. I'll continue having a post dedicated to "Let's Chat" topics on Tuesday. Thursdays will be my biggest change: I'll be writing informative articles or tutorials about knitting, design or business acumen. Guest posts are very much welcome and encouraged! Other blog posts such as WIP Wednesday, FO Friday, sneak peak and pattern releases will be posted accordingly when they come up. 

And I'll be making a few changes to my IG account to. FO Friday images from followers will be featured on my Facebook and Pinterest account. You may start seeing a shift in the type of content I share on IG but that will be a more gradual change.

And now that the big announcements are over, let's move onto... Maximizing Social Media Interaction (FB and IG).


I used to work as a PR manager intern pre- and post-college for a while for several different companies (each for about a term, the turnover rate was pretty high) but I think I've learnt the most about PR and marketing from running my own independent design brand and from mentors in the knitting community. After making some personal changes on how I use social media such as Facebook and Instagram, I'll be sharing some tips on how to get the most interaction from your followers, regardless of how big or small your following may be. Please note that these are just general guidelines and will not guarantee immediate success every time. It is still up to you to put the work and effort into it!

#1 Find When Your Followers are Most Active

Most people would assume that followers are the most active over the weekend, since they're not at work. This isn't always the case. Check out your Facebook Pages "Insight" tab to see when the majority of your followers are online and make posts around that day/time.

 My page's Insights -> Posts view

My page's Insights -> Posts view

As you can see, my followers are most active on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday either early in the morning or late in the evening, so I try to post my content accordingly. Sometimes I experiment to see what follower interaction during different hours (such as in the evening and during non-peak hours) and sometimes it works, other times it doesn't. Be sure to check on this tab often as your follower activity can shift and you will have to evaluate your scheduling times!

Instagram doesn't have such tools, but you can use Iconosquare.com to get a look into your insights. Iconosquare can tell you what day and what time your followers are more likely to be online.

#2 Facebook Prioritizes Original Content, Starting with Images

Don't post just text and links. While sharing posts from other pages is a nice gesture, it too won't reach a lot of people. What does? Original images. Facebook places high priority on original content so be sure to post your photos! Square images also fit better into the space so be sure to crop it. You can put your blurb in there as well, but put any links in the comments section. If you want to announce that you have a new blog post, use an image + text introduction as the status then put the link in the comments. You'll get better reach that way. 

#3 Facebook Tip: Be Human and Personal

While I like to post nice, "professional" and clean photos, sometimes followers get intimidated or tired of it. They want to know that the person behind the screen is a fellow human being and not some robot. So I will post unedited photos of things that are happening around me (that are knitting related in someway) that is cute, funny or spur of the moment. Those images usually involve my kitten up to no good. And these posts usually get lots of likes and comments. 

I find that my "personal" IG posts don't get as much likes in comparison to WIP, FO and yarn photos.

#4 Interact with your followers

In the image caption ask them questions. Encourage them to interact with you!

Every Wednesday I post a new topic in my Ravelry forum that people can join in on. I pose the same question on my FB and IG accounts so people can chime in and if they want to get entered into my Ravelry giveaways, they can do so if they wish. Reward that extra participation when you can!

Another type of interactive post that followers love is when you share their works. Every Friday I post an FO pic that a knitter has finished and present it to my followers with tons of praise. Even if their photography isn't the best, both they and your followers will still very much enjoy it.

#5 Experiment and Practice

I'm still learning how to use FB and IG to their fullest potential but the small changes I've made already have helped me see good results. Take risks, experiment a little, try new things. It can't hurt you and the results are worth it! One week I posted a variety of images and posts at different points of the day spanning the entire week to see which ones hit the most people. Was the high engagement due to a post that people just really liked? Or was it just the right time? 

It should go without saying that good photos get high engagement so if you are struggling to take good photos, just practice, practice, practice. I'll be writing up some basic photography articles in the upcoming weeks to help you out!


If you want a more in-depth and one-on-one workshop on learning how to use Facebook Pages to its advantage, I highly recommend contacting Lucinda Iglesia of Mont-Tricot. She can provide workshops on this topic over Skype (that's where I learned a good amount of these tips) for a good price. Just send her a message if you're interested!

Knitting 101: How to Write a Pattern (Or How I Write Mine)

With the growth of my brand, I've been getting emails from knitters of all levels, mostly at the beginning stages of designing their own patterns, seeking advice on various topics: social media how-to, pattern writing basics, collaborations, etc. However the most common question I get is "Where do I start for writing a pattern?" so that will be the focus on this post today. I'm going to address this topic assuming you, aspiring knitter, already have a design or sample in hand. If you want to learn how to design a pattern, well... I guess that would be a post for much, much later. 

Please note that through out this tutorial you may seen some things listed here that sometimes I forget to follow or do (especially on measurements). It happens and I'm learning myself! ;-) 

These tips and guidelines are things I have learnt from other knitters during test knits and feedback from knitting publications.

First, let's start with the basic layout of the pattern:

  • About the Pattern
  • Stitch Abbreviations
  • Pattern Stitches or Stitch Guide
  • Pattern Instructions

About the Pattern

First things first, you want the title of the piece, your name and photo(s) of the piece.

Write the pattern romance in this section; inspiration behind the project, features of the design, and other notes that will make knitters want to knit this! I usually include pattern notes - tips that the knitter would find useful, eg. order of construction, here as well. Sometimes the pattern notes can be put right before the Pattern Instructions. 

Needle: List needles in ascending order in both US and mm sizes. Include length of circular needles and “or size needed to obtain gauge”, if gauge is crucial to the project.

Yarns Used: Yarn Company name Yarn name (common yarn weight name; fiber content; yardage/weight per put-up (skein or ball, as appropriate): number of balls/skeins, color and color number (if available). Ravelry is super awesome for already providing this format for you. Just copy and paste!

For example:

Woolfolk TYND (Fingering/4 ply; 100% Merino; 223 yards/50 grams). 3 skeins used, color 3.

Yardage: If pattern has multiple sizes, provide yardage for each size.

Gauge: Measure stitches and rows/rnds over 4 inches/10cm and specify pattern (St st, stitch pattern, color pattern, etc.) and needle size used (e.g. larger/smaller). Include multiple gauges if more than 1 pattern stitch is used in project (optional; include this if the gauge is crucial).  

For example:

Gauge: 20 sts and 28 rows per 4”/10cm in St. st. in larger needle. Save time and check gauge.

Other Notions: Stitch markers, stitch holders, cable needle? Any materials outside of yarn and needles are listed here.

Final Measurements: Include measurements after blocking the piece in inches (and centimeters). For patterns with multiple sizes, include the sizes, final bust measurements (and other measurements you deem necessary) and the amount of ease. Also note which size the sample was knit in.

For example:

  • Sizes: xs[s, m, l, xl, xxl]
  • Final Measurements: Bust 32(36, 40, 44, 48, 52] inches. Model is wearing size S with 4” of positive ease.

Stitch Abbreviations

List all of the stitches you use in the pattern here. You don’t want to write out “knit 1, yarn over, knit two together” in full through out the pattern. You can view a list of standard abbreviations here or in the pattern template download at the end of this article.

Pattern Stitches/Stitch Guide

Special stitches/stiches repeated in the pattern. These should specify Rows or Rnds. Give stitch multiples if necessary. Charts of pattern stitches may also be needed, especially lace. You can add the chart here or at the end. It helps to have all the pattern stitches listed here so you can just simply refer to it in the pattern. 

For example:

Mesh Pattern

  • Row 1 (RS): Sl wyif, p1, k1, [k2tog, yo, k2] x 7, k2tog, yo, pm, p1, pm, [yo, ssk, k2] x 7, yo, ssk, k1, p1, k1. 
  • Row 2 and all WS rows: Sl wyif, k1, p until marker, sm, k1, sm, p until last two sts, k2. 
  • Row 3: Sl wyif, p1, [k2tog, yo, k2] x 7, k2tog, yo, k1, sm, p1, sm, k1, [yo, ssk, k2] x 7, yo, ssk, p1, k1. 
  • Row 5: Sl wyif, p1, k3, [k2tog, yo, k2] x 7, sm, p1, sm, [k2, yo, ssk] x 7, k3, p1, k1. 
  • Row 7: Sl wyif, p1, [k2, k2tog, yo] x 7, k3, sm, p1, sm, k3, [yo, ssk, k2] x 7, p1, k1.

Pattern/Pattern Instructions

Now for the big stuff. I can't pretend to know everything there is to writing a perfect pattern but here are things I try to keep in mind.

  • Always start with the Cast on. If there are multiple colors or needles, note which one to start with. It's a pretty easy one to miss. Don’t forget to note when to switch needle sizes.
  • Be friendly, simple, clear and concise. However, if you feel like a lengthy explanation is needed or you think a knitter will have difficulties with a stitch, make note of it in the pattern notes or include outside links to tutorials.
  • Include stitch counts for every increase and decrease (sometimes I make a table with all of the st. counts at the end of the pattern).
  • Capitalize the first letter of the row/rnd and use periods at the end of every instruction and sentence (look at pattern stitches for an example).
  • Add section headlines to help guide the knitter.
  • Use X[X, X, X] format for stitch counts and inches knit. Sometimes I also add in how many rows such be worked, according to gauge.
  • Bind-off stitches or place on stitch holder.

Finishing

Included here would be weaving in ends, blocking pieces, sewing pieces together, adding borders, fringing, etc.

Graphics

  • Include Charts/Key for any complicated stitch patterns. I use Stitch Mastery for my charts and key.
  • Include Schematics with measurements for sizes.

I believe this may be the section that most people refer to when asking "How do you write a pattern?". I hope this guide has helped but also, don't be afraid to refer to other designers' work to see how they write. Don't copy them word for word of course, but use it to learn and understand how to use knitting jargon. 

I've included a pdf file of the pattern layout that you can download to refer to when you are writing your patterns. It may not be the most comprehensive guide on the internet, but it's a start. If you are planning on selling your patterns and are unsure about clarity and errors, get it test knit! There are always test knitters who are willing to help, such as this forum on Ravelry specifically for that task!

If you have any questions about this article or would like to request another tutorial, leave a comment or shoot me an email at fdanoy@arohaknits.com!