This is a third of the series of posts on how to develop your own crochet pattern. In this article I am going to go over some details on the DESIGN phase of the process. Before you dive into the post I would highly recommend you to read the previous articles (in case you haven’t done so already) as I build up from information included there.
Introduction to EDD method is included the ‘How to make crochet pattern‘ article.
Overview of the Exploration phase is laid out in the ‘Crochet pattern making‘ post.
In the first article I introduced EDD method for developing your own crochet pattern. I explained briefly the three steps in the process – Explore, Design, Develop.
In the second article I explained what the Exploration step entails. We used a snowman as an example and in this article I will continue with using this character as a prototype. Let’s call him Billy for now 🙂
Based on our research we know already that our snowman is chubby and cute. It’s off-white and consists of two spheres. As attributes our character wears a winter hat and a scarf. Both red and white. We are considering adding some tiny feet as well. Billy feels soft and warm, is huggable and cheerful.
Now that we know the character and its features we can go ahead and start the design phase.
I typically start with determining target size and materials needed. It is my own preference to keep toy size within a range of 25 to 35 cm (10 to 14 inches). It’s really up to you. Size/dimensions are definitely more crucial to figure out for any apparel or home décor stuff. Determining size of the item will affect yarn quantities you’d need to get.
Piece of advice – don’t rush into buying yarns and accessories until you finish the whole design process. That is because I can guarantee you that things come up all along the way and there is a high chance you’ll have another brilliant idea, which may affect supply list needed.
Once I make a decision about the size, I’ll go to look for a perfect yarn. Here one note – perfect match comes with experience. After years of working with different materials I am able to predict which fiber composition would work well (well, at least most of the times 🙂 ).
Before COVID era, I would typically visit local DIY stores just to explore the materials. Once I decided on a perfect match I would then go on and order those online – that is because in most cases you can get stuff cheaper on Amazon, eBay or any other online stores. Nowadays, of course, it’s more complicated but you can try to refer back to the materials you used already for other projects.
For Billy, I would go with a mix of wool and cotton. Those types of yarn are soft as wool but retain smooth look and structure as cotton. My first choice would be Drops Cotton Merino. I used this one for other projects, so I know already what to expect. For nose and face embroidery I would go with pure cotton, something like Katia Amigurumi.
Lastly, for hat and scarf I would go with wool or alpaca. It would give us that cozy ‘wintery’ feel.
Spend some time figuring out colors for your project. Check my blog post on yarn colors mixing and matching, if you’d like to get some more insights.
By now, you already know your target size and have chosen the yarn type. Now it’s time to estimate the quantities you will need. This step may be easier or tougher, depending on a type of the project.
In our case it should be fairly straightforward. Knowing that the body consists of two spheres and having the target size we can calculate sphere surface area. Using gauge given on a label or yarn description you can now estimate the yarn quantities needed.
Of course, for more complex items this estimate will be trickier. Whenever I don’t know how to approach this, I would refer back to the projects I completed in the pas and would try to extrapolate the usage onto the new project. Of course, this approach isn’t infallible, but you have to start somewhere 🙂
Here one hint. Add some 20% to what you have estimated. Even if your calculation is spot on, chances are you are going to waste some yarn upon development phase. Trust me! Been there, done that 🙂
HOOKS & ACCESSORIES
Fortunately, this step is simple. Recommended hooks for the yarn you have chosen are given by manufacturer on a label. Small piece of advice – for toys and amigurumis you may want to use smaller hook. That way the stitches will be more condensed, and the toy stuffing won’t shine through.
As for accessories – remember, small things matter and those little additions can make your project stand out. Whenever I need any types of buttons, pins or any other accessories I usually spend some time searching through online stores. Understanding importance of those I need to make sure I found a perfect match.
SHAPE & COMPONENTS
In the process of developing your own crochet pattern, I strongly recommend drawing. Yes, draw your character or any item you plan to make. Drawing skills are not important here. It doesn’t really matter if it looks good or bad. Drawing helps you feel the shape and understand the parts. It helps you figure out components and project details.
While drawing, you have a chance to rethink the approach. After sketching Billy multiple times, I decided to try to make it all as one piece. I just think that crocheting two separate spheres and then sewing them up together may not look very neat.
Instead, I will create some sort of 3D ‘8’ shape which should come out really nicely.
Hat is pretty standard, so is scarf. I decided I will also add small feet – simple, U-shaped pieces in red. Nose should be a tiny orange cone.
At this stage I realized that Billy also needs hands. Yes, such things happen. I seem to have missed it somehow before (duh!). Since they should look a bit like tree branches, I should also add toy shaping wire to the accessories list.
And this is basically it.
By now we should know what we need and how to develop your own crochet pattern. Note that I use the very same method when making my own projects. Some of my amigurumi patterns are available on this blog, some you can get from my Etsy shop.
Stay tuned for the next post on the Development phase.
P.S. Visit my Etsy shop to check out my patterns!