In a world of social media, everything is online now. There are so many options, from free pattern blogs, to Ravelry, Etsy, and more. And I’ve explored all of them, extensively. I love crochet patterns, I have quite the collection! Just recently I purchased a pattern that left a sour taste in my mouth. It was for a garment, and let me tell you… The pattern photos were stunning and absolutely sold me on this design. I was so excited to make this item, that I immediately drove to my local Michael’s and bought special yarn. Expensive yarn. Lots of it.
I couldn’t wait to get home and start crocheting up a storm. When I printed off my pattern, and started the piece, I began to notice that things were just not working out right. This thing was becoming too long for its intended wearer. Much too long. And at one point, when I was reading Row 77: Repeat Row 77… I kid you not, I was ready to chop up this printed sheet into a thousand tiny pieces. I had found an error. A big one. And finding errors is fine, you can usually contact the designer and they will help you with a quick fix, but this combined with the sizing issue? I was so crushed! I had already opened and used my expensive yarn and had already put hours of work into my piece, just come to the realization that it was not going to turn out as great as that beautiful pattern cover photo I saw. Well, darn. How could I have avoided this? I chatted with some of my crochet friends, and here’s what we came up with! A list of 5 Tips that we wish we knew before we bought ‘that’ pattern. And we’re ready to share them with you!
#1 – Has it been Tested?
This is such a big deal. Huge, even. If a designer puts up a pattern, and you see zero projects made under that pattern, especially if it has been out for some time, chances are the design has not been tested. If you are unsure about whether the design has been tested, you can always send an email to the designer and ask!
At Happily Hooked magazine, we make sure each pattern published in each of our publications is tested by one of our expert pattern testers. Every pattern!
#2 – Has it been Tech Edited?
This is a big one. What does it mean to have something (a pattern) tech edited? It means that the pattern was looked over, and edited by a professional crocheter or knitter. A lot of designers may not have access to a tech editor, but the ones who don’t can most definitely ask their crochet designer friends to give the pattern a once over for errors and formatting. How can you tell if a pattern has been tech edited? If a designer has taken time to get their publication tech edited, they will credit the tech editors in the pdf of the pattern (usually). Any books, or major publications such as magazines, etc, 100% have been tech edited. Several times over.
Happily Hooked Magazine runs each pattern through the tech-editor before pattern testing, AND again after pattern testing.
#3 – Is the pattern from a trusted source?
You’re scrolling around on Pinterest, and you see this pattern for an adorable hat. You need to make this hat, asap. So you click through and find that it’s a free pattern on a blog. It’s a dream come true, right? Just be careful here, take a few minutes to look around. Is this the only pattern on the blog? Are there any comments from readers about the pattern? Is this an established blog that you’ve heard of before? All of the answers do not have to be yes, but at least a few would be better than none. It’s not to say that new blogs have bad patterns, it’s just a general tip to help you in your search for a great one.
#4 – Is the designer using Standardized Terms?
There is such a thing! The standard crochet terms can be found through The Craft Yarn Council online, and designers should take the time to make themselves familiar with these terms before publishing a crochet pattern. You can take a peek yourself if you need a brush up on any stitch terms, or if you’d like to check out something new! It will save you a lot of frustration and make your crocheting time more enjoyable if you have a pattern with no made up stitches!
Happily Hooked Magazine uses only standardized US crochet terms.
#5 – Is there any support in place if you need help?
A great thing to look into with any design is whether there is a contact person to get in touch with if you run into any of the problems that I listed above. Is there an email address? A Ravelry Contact? A support staff? Because sometimes, you just need to reach out!
A Happily Hooked Magazine subscription includes access to our Member’s Area groups. Our staff members are present in those groups every day, answering questions, getting to know our readers, and providing support.
I hope that you have a wonderful time in your search for crochet patterns. And there are plenty out there that are so amazing, you’ll be crocheting for a lifetime.