Monday, March 2, 2015

some behind the scenes thoughts on being a crochet designer

(if you are new here, this is part two of a series I'm doing, which talks about the REAL life of a crochet designer! Part one is here)

Do you dream of becoming a designer? Do you think it would be fun? A great way to earn some money and stay at home with your kids?

Do you think it's really that simple?

Do you think you just have to pick up some yarn and a hook, and start chaining?

Designing - and being serious about designing - is a lot more than just picking up some yarn and a hook.

I think there's three major parts to designing - finding an idea and picturing what the finished item is going to be and look like (I think that's the easy part), making the actual item and writing how to do it, and the last - most important part - is actually making the pattern presentable.

 I'm not talking about fancy photos and text, though that's important too; I'm not talking about adding a chart or a schematic, those are important parts of your finished pattern too. I'm talking about all the little stuff - not writing "scrap of blue yarn" but writing "five yards of Red Heart Super Saver, color Blue Suede" and including yardage, meterage, fiber content, ounces and grams, etc.

Including exact gauge info, final measurements (I'm appalled by how many patterns I see consistently published on Ravelry that do not include either gauge or final sizing measurements. I'm even more appalled when I see things like socks that state "exact gauge doesn't matter". It's socks! Of COURSE gauge matters!)

Of course, there's a lot more to being a designer than just that - there's things like social media, and running a blog and a ravelry group and having a twitter page so that you are available and accessible, and things like offering pattern support. Boring things like actually listing your patterns for sale - and if you want to make any money, that means you are listing your patterns not just on Ravelry and Craftsy, but Etsy, love of knitting, patternfish, etc.

To me, being a designer also means giving back - it's one of the reasons why I regularly contribute to Crochetvolution. It's an online magazine that's been strong for a while now - and I only get paid $25 every time I'm featured, along with a banner ad that in theory draws attention to my Ravelry paid downloads. One of my designs went rather big (Snowdrop, featured in the spring 2012 issue) and is my second most popular pattern to date, and is still regularly being made by crocheters throughout the world, and has been translated into several languages by fans (thank you ALL so so much!). I'm so grateful to Crochetvolution for that opportunity, that I'm happy to try to give back.

As an individual crocheter, I did a lot of charity crocheting. My time is so much more limited now, and my crochet is a job now and not a hobby, so I just can't do the piles of afghans, shawls, scarves and hats for groups like I used to. So, my way of helping, is to periodically offer free patterns, specially for charity. Not all designers do this, of course, and I'd imagine most designers don't consider this important, but it is to me and it's something I plan to continue doing for the rest of my design career, however long that may be.
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