Author Archives: avidhooker

What Professional Hookers Really Want!

So, it’s looking like writing pattern reviews will be a little difficult during the busiest time of the year.  The cooler weather and the holidays fast approach and I’ve had a sudden influx of orders.  This is great for me but not so great when I get a request for an item that I’ve never made from a particular designer before.  Why is that no so great?  I’ve got an order, right?  Well, it can be a real bummer when I find out, after struggling and cursing and frogging and cursing some more, that the pattern is so poorly written that I’ve just wasted precious time I could have used to actually complete an order and have it shipped out.

Too often in the last month, I’ve come across patterns that are completely useless to me.  More often that not, I end  up revising the pattern myself and hope for a close resemblance to the actual pattern photo.  Yes, I know.  We’ve all come across these patterns at least once if we crochet for family and fun and more than once if we crochet for profit, but what makes this most surprising to me is that the patterns I’ve had the most trouble with lately have come from the ‘big name’ designers.  I won’t mention any names but if you are a serious crocheting maniac like me, I’ll bet that the first two or three that pop into your head is the first two or three I am also thinking of.

Since I try to be as positive as possible on this blog, instead of ranting about what I’ve come across, I will just supply my Hooker’s Wish List which is a list of what I’d like to see from all designers.  I believe you will be able to identify with at least one and possibly more of my wish list items.  I’d love to hear what you’d put on your own list so please leave a comment if you want to sound off.  So, without further ado, here’s my Hooker’s Wish List:

1. I wish every pattern included every size from newborn to adult.  I’m not a fan of having to purchase two different patterns for the same item if I want to make it in all sizes.

2.  I wish every pattern used increase stitches to change the size of the item and did not just change the hook size.

3.  I wish every pattern was sent through an intensive testing by several testers before being released.  So many errors could be avoided by simply taking the time to allow a fresh set of eyes and hands, or preferably several fresh sets of eyes and hands, have a look and a hook before the pattern is put up for sale.  It may take extra time to get the pattern released but just think of all the emails you won’t have to answer about pattern errata!

4.  I wish every designer would understand that only the written patterns and the photos advertising the patterns are copyrighted to them, not the finished item.  I will not purchase a pattern if it ‘disallows’ sales of the finished item which brings me to my next wish.

5.  I wish cottage licenses were illegal.  Yes, I’m radical.  Make those suckers illegal.  Why should someone continue to profit from my labors and limit the number of items I can sell?
And that brings me to my next wish yet again.

6.  I wish all designers would very clearly disclose their policies on finished items in their listings wherever those listings are sold.  There is nothing worse than purchasing a pattern only to discover that you are not allowed to sell it on the internet or at all.  I’ve had to email a few designers lately to ask them if they allow sales of finished items because if they don’t, I don’t purchase, thank you very much.

7.  I wish that when I do find a problem in a pattern and have to email the designer, that the designer will get back to me promptly so that I can continue with my work.  I also wish for a copy of the revised pattern if changes have to be made and I don’t want to have to monitor the designer’s page constantly to learn of pattern errata.  I don’t always see every post from every crochet page I’m a fan of on Facebook.  I have over 800 ‘likes’ now!

So, those wishes aren’t too numerous or unreasonable.  At least not in my mind.  What about you?  What do you wish for?  Do you disagree with any of my wishes?  I’d love to hear from you!

And now, for closers, a shameless plug for my newest hat creation in my Hattie Hooker shop.   Check out my Super Groovy Rover helmet.  I may release the pattern for this one of these days!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/109578941/crocheted-super-groovy-rover-roman-style

And for those that don’t want to visit my shop, here’s a teaser photo:

Until next time, get your crochet on!

Dino Hat with Tail by Valery of This-n-That Boutique

The Dino Hat with Tail

REVIEW CHECKLIST

Standard Crochet Pattern Elements

  1. Is the name of the pattern and a photo prominently displayed at the top of the pattern? Yes
  2. Does the designer assign a difficulty rating to their pattern? No
  3. Is a gauge given and if so, what type of gauge (horizontal/vertical swatch, chain only, sized by a certain number of rounds, swatch of a portion of the pattern)? Yes, circular gauge (first 5 rounds)
  4. Is there an abbreviation key? Yes
  5. Are measurements or a size chart included? Desired circumference of the beanie portion only is given.
  6. Is a hook size given either by letter, number, or both? Yes
  7. Is a recommended yarn listed either by weight, brand, or fiber? Yes
  8. Is there information on how to contact the designer? Yes
  9. Is there a materials list (i.e. ribbon, buttons, etc.) if pattern includes extras? Yes
  10. Is there a photo or written tutorial on special or difficult stitches or techniques? No (no special stitches but you must have knowledge on sewing on parts)
  11. Are there stitch counts at the end of every row or round? Yes
  12. Does the designer signify if the turning chain is counted in your row count? No

Subjective Crochet Pattern Elements

  1. Is the pattern uncluttered, orderly, nicely laid out?  Does the designer give directions on where to find the next step if there is a break between sizes or there are pieces to crochet and sew on?  The pattern is uncluttered, is worked easily in the order given, and is nicely laid out.
  2. Is the font easy to read?  Are stitch counts that are laid out in parenthesis to signify different sizes highlighted in different colors or placed so that they are easy to follow? The font is easy to read and all stitch counts are in parenthesis at the end of each row.  This pattern is for a newborn sized only photography prop so questions pertaining to different sizes are not applicable.
  3. Does the pattern writer have a ‘friendly’ writing style?  Do they add a personal flair?  Does their tone encourage you to seek assistance should you run into a problem? Yes, the pattern designer is very inviting and encourages you to contact her with any questions or comments you may have.
  4. Does my finished item look the same or similar to the designer’s photo? Yes, very similar.
  5. Are there adequate, too many or too few photos showing special stitches, parts placements, etc. and are these photos clear?  Are they labeled with an explanation? There is only one photo of the product included in the pattern.  More photos could have been included on spike placement which would change my rating of this pattern from easy to beginner (more customers for the designer!)  The photo of the finished product that is included is a nice clear professional shot.
  6. Are special instructions such as “do not turn” or “slip stitch into second stitch of your turning chain” included and are they used consistently? This pattern uses the Magic Circle to begin the hat and the spikes and a link to a video tutorial is given.  However, the designer does not give you an alternative way to start your work.
  7. Is the pattern clear and concise, free of run on sentences and unnecessary information? The transition from the tail to the edging of the hat was redundant (telling you to turn your work in the last row of the tail and then again telling you to turn your work in the edging section), there were a few places where punctuation was missing or should have been used, and although there was no unnecessary information, I just felt like some of it could have been condensed down a bit but that may be just a personal preference for brevity.

Verifiable Elements

  • Using and matching the gauge (not the hook size) the designer gave, did the finished piece measure the same or very similar to measurements given? Yes, my beanie section matched the designer’s hat circumference and height.
  • Were typos or misspellings found in the course of working the pattern?  How many? There were no misspellings but there were a few places where punctuation was used incorrectly or was not used at all.  There were not enough errors to make it annoying, even to this Grammar Warrior (I was dubbed with that name a few years ago by a fellow ham radio operator). 
  • Does the designer allow sales of items made from the pattern?  Are there any restrictions? Yes, she does allow sales of your finished products and requests that you link back to her shop.

Pre-Purchase Information

  • Where was pattern purchased (Ravelry, designer’s personal website, Etsy, etc.)?  This pattern is, as of today’s date, unpublished and it was sent to me personally by the designer, who is a fan of my Facebook business page.  She will be offering this pattern for sale in the near future I believe.  Previous to her contacting me requesting a review, I had no affiliation with her other than the fact that she was a fan of my page.
  • In the sales description, does the designer give enough information to help you make an informed buying decision?  (Do they list the sizes they include in the pattern, the hook size, yarn recommendation, difficulty level, etc.?) Not applicable to this pattern as it is not currently published.
  • Is the tone of their advertising friendly and inviting? Not applicable to this pattern as it is not currently published.
  • Do they provide good quality photos of the finished product?Not applicable to this pattern as it is not currently published.

Synopsis

When I was contacted by the very lovely person who wrote this pattern, she stated that her dino hat with tail was one of the best selling items in her shop.  I can see why!  It is adorable!  I think that Ms. Valery Cagney has done a wonderful job on writing her first pattern and I hope that once you all finish reading this blog that you will head on over to her Facebook page and give her some encouragement to get this pattern published for sale to the masses.

There were really very few things that I found that I felt needed a bit of improvement.  The pattern is designed for use as a photographer’s prop and is offered in a newborn size only so that eliminated the need to further organize the pattern into different sizes.  As stated above, I found one section that was a bit confusing because of a redundant instruction but if you are a novice to expert crocheter, this would be a minor error that you would automatically know to overlook.  If that and two other things were fixed in the pattern, I would rate this pattern as a complete beginner’s pattern instead of an easy pattern.  The two issues to be addressed to make this a beginner’s pattern is the need to give an alternative to the Magic Circle method and to add a photo tutorial on sewing on the spikes.  I think that the designer would want to appeal to the complete beginners to boost her sales of the pattern and just imagine the feeling that the crocheter would have completing something this darned cute!

Yes, everyone ‘should’ learn how to use a Magic Circle because honestly, I think it makes the work look neater, but there are those that have a difficult time learning the technique for one reason or another so they are happy enough to just work the correct number of stitches in the beginning chain.

So, I’m not sure how Valery sews her spikes on but I thought you might be interested in seeing how I did mine.  Yes all you diehard crocheters out there, there are some uses for knitting needles which you will discover when you click on my pictures.  Oh, and don’t do what I did and ignore her specific instructions on where to place the spikes – like not in the join between the hat and the tail.  You will end up like me and have to pull out the stitch ripper.  Here are the photos:

Valery, thank you so much for sharing your unpublished pattern with me!  I enjoyed creating this precious little photography prop very much and I will be sending my sample on to my photographer so I can list these  up for sale in my own Etsy shop.

Folks, please give Valery a shout and show her some fan love on her Facebook page over at This-n-That Boutique.  Here’s the link for ya: https://www.facebook.com/Thisnthatboutiquefans

Until next week, get your crochet on!

Overalls by Darling Derriere Designs, Crochet Pattern Review

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Overalls by Darling Derriere Designs, Crochet Pattern Review

Standard Crochet Pattern Elements

  1. Is the name of the pattern and a photo prominently displayed at the top of the pattern?  Yes, both the name and a photo is prominently displayed at the top.
  2. Does the designer assign a difficulty rating to their pattern?  No, not in the pattern.
  3. Is a gauge given and if so, what type of gauge (horizontal/vertical swatch, chain only, sized by a certain number of rounds, swatch of a portion of the pattern)? Yes, chain gauge.
  4. Is there an abbreviation key?  Yes.
  5. Are measurements or a size chart included? No measurements but designer lists sizes by age and weight.
  6. Is a hook size given either by letter, number, or both? Yes, by letter.
  7. Is a recommended yarn listed either by weight, brand, or fiber? Yes.
  8. Is there information on how to contact the designer? Yes.
  9. Is there a materials list (i.e. ribbon, buttons, etc.) if pattern includes extras? Yes.
  10. Is there a photo or written tutorial on special or difficult stitches or techniques? Not applicable to this pattern.
  11. Are there stitch counts at the end of every row or round? Yes.
  12. Does the designer signify if the turning chain is counted in your row count? No.

Subjective Crochet Pattern Elements

  1. Is the pattern uncluttered, orderly, nicely laid out?  Does the designer give directions on where to find the next step if there is a break between sizes or there are pieces to crochet and sew on?  I found the pattern to be uncluttered, easy to follow, and nicely laid out.  Each size has its own section and the main portion of the pattern, in this case the overalls minus the pockets and suspenders, has its own section.  The designer does not tell you at the end of each size where to go to find the information to add the suspenders or pockets but it will be obvious that you must scroll down.  There is an entire section on finishing details at the end of the pattern.
  2. Is the font easy to read?  Are stitch counts that are laid out in parenthesis to signify different sizes highlighted in different colors or placed so that they are easy to follow?  I found the font easy to read, there is good spacing between the sections, and stitch counts are given in parenthesis at the end of every row.
  3. Does the pattern writer have a ‘friendly’ writing style?  Do they add a personal flair?  Does their tone encourage you to seek assistance should you run into a problem?  The designer’s writing style is quite user friendly and is clear and concise.  Her tone is also friendly and she invites you to contact her with questions and encourages you to share your photos of your finished product with her. 
  4. Does my finished item look the same or similar to the designer’s photo?  Yes, the shape of my overalls came out almost exactly the same as hers.  I ended up making two sets and photos can be found further down in this blog post.
  5. Are there adequate, too many or too few photos showing special stitches, parts placements, etc. and are these photos clear?  Are they labeled with an explanation?  There is an adequate number of clear photos that are labeled with explanations as to pocket placement, finishing the suspenders, etc.
  6. Are special instructions such as “do not turn” or “slip stitch into second stitch of your turning chain” included and are they used consistently?  There are no special stitches or techniques required to complete this pattern.
  7. Is the pattern clear and concise, free of run on sentences and unnecessary information?  I found all instructions to be complete and clear with no run on sentences or unnecessary information.

Verifiable Elements

  • Using and matching the gauge (not the hook size) the designer gave, did the finished piece measure the same or very similar to measurements given?  I ended up making two of these sets of overalls because I was making them for a client to give as a baby shower gift.  The client requested a 3 to 6 month size set so using the chain gauge given and the hook size given, I made the first set using the 3 to 6 month sized pattern.  I used Lily Sugar ‘n Cream worsted weight cotton yarn in a denim color.  The first attempt gave me a set of overalls that would fit a newborn instead of a 3 to 6 month old.  I made the second set with a hook size that was one size larger than the recommended size (which originally matched her gauge) and I used the 6 to 9 month pattern and this gave me a set of overalls that were more comparable to a 3 to 6 month pattern.  Since this pattern is crocheted flat and then the side seams are sewn together, I would have had an easier time if the designer had provided me with a full horizontal and vertical swatch gauge rather than just a chain gauge.  When working on a flat piece, your vertical tension can differ quite a bit from someone else’s tension and interestingly enough, I recently learned through a pattern testing group that sometimes even the brand of hook that is used can affect the vertical gauge.  I use Susan Bates hooks but testers of a different diaper cover consistently found that their gauge was easier to match the designer’s gauge when using a Boye hook.  It was also difficult to tell exactly how large the overalls were supposed to be since there were no measurements listed on the pattern but I knew from experience and from taking my own measurements that the overalls were not correct in their sizing.  The pattern is still very, very good and I believe that an email to the designer requesting her to do a swatch for gauge would probably get you the information you need or you can measure as you go along if you know how large a diaper cover should be for the size you are making.  You can find standard measurements for non-crocheted diaper covers online by doing a Google search.
  • Were typos or misspellings found in the course of working the pattern?  How many?  I did not find any typos or misspellings.
  • Does the designer allow sales of items made from the pattern?  Are there any restrictions?  You may sell your finished items without restrictions.  Designer does request that if you sell your finished product that you sell it for at least the amount that she sells her finished item for.  At the time of this writing, hers are listed at $24.99 plus shipping.

Pre-Purchase Information

  • Where was pattern purchased (Ravelry, designer’s personal website, Etsy, etc.)?  I purchased this pattern through Etsy and received it along with a couple of other patterns within 24 hours. 
  • In the sales description, does the designer give enough information to help you make an informed buying decision?  (Do they list the sizes they include in the pattern, the hook size, yarn recommendation, difficulty level, etc.?)   The designer lists difficulty as easy, gives you a list of sizes included, hook size, a yarn recommendation, and basic crochet stitches involved.
  • Is the tone of their advertising friendly and inviting?  Yes, the tone is very inviting in her listing.
  • Do they provide good quality photos of the finished product?  Yes!  Very cute model!  

Synopsis

This was a very enjoyable pattern to crochet.  It was very straightforward, easy to read, well laid out, and error free for the sizes that I did make.  I only wish that the gauge would have been a vertical/horizontal swatch because that would have saved me quite a bit of time.  When the piece is laid out flat, it is really hard to just look at it and tell if the size looks right but it becomes obvious once you stitch the side seams up.  Still, this would not discourage me from purchasing another pattern from Darling Derriere and I think that I will simply email her and ask her if she can provide me with a swatch gauge so I can get a better grasp on the pattern for the next time I make it.  Here is a photo of the two sets side by side:

Overall pattern by Darling Derriere, finished products

The other thing that I did differently the second time around is to apply the yellow pocket stitching directly to the pocket before I sewed the pocket onto the overalls body.  The designer tells you to sew the stitches directly onto the pocket while sewing the pocket to the overalls and leave the top open so that it is a true pocket.  That does work fine but you can see the yellow stitches on the back side of the overalls.  That is not really a problem when the baby has them on because you cannot see that; however, if  you are selling them, top stitching the pockets with yellow and then sewing them down to the overalls using the same color as the main body gives a more professional appearance.  Here are a couple of examples:

Darling Derriere Overalls, back side pocket stitching

Darling Derriere Overalls, side by side comparison of pocket stitching

My difficulty rating: easy.  I do not recommend this for a complete beginner due to sizing issues.

The pockets are what make this piece stand out and it was the first thing that my customer noticed when I hand delivered the set to them.  They were delighted that the little pockets were actually functional.   A photographer could pop a little red patterned handkerchief in the front pocket for an extra cute affect.

Darling Derriere’s Overalls, pockets

If you would like a copy of this pattern, please visit Darling Derriere Designs here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/DarlingDerriere?ref=seller_info

I hope you have enjoyed my first review.  If I missed anything or if you have any comments or questions, fire away!  I’d love to hear from you!

Darling Derriere Designs, Overalls Crochet Pattern

The Ratings Measuring Stick – Part Two

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Today I want to talk for a minute about my husband.  No, my husband does not know how to crochet but he is one of those people you would call an “analytic thinker”.   To my complete and total surprise, he has taken a very keen interest in this blog and what it is intended for.  We have spent a few evenings sitting on our back deck discussing what information I want to include, whether or not I want to assign actual number or star ratings to patterns, who my target audience really is, and what my real goals are.  His best question to me yet came last night.  “Who are you writing to?  The designer or the people who buy the patterns?” Well, obviously I want to review patterns that fellow crocheters buy and NOT the designers themselves but I suppose I had strayed a bit off that original path because there are so many things that are purely a matter of personal preference.

Think about gauge for a second.  I believe, and I think most crocheters would agree with me, that gauge is a required element of a good crochet pattern.  However, there are a few different ways you can find the gauge of a piece.  You can do a vertical and horizontal swatch, you can simply chain a certain number of stitches, you can crochet the first 4 or 5 rounds of a pattern and then measure, or maybe you can crochet a section of that pattern that has a specific stitch pattern.  Do you see where I’m going with this?  My question was then, which method is the best method?  That is entirely subjective.  What I like may not be what you like.  So it would be very hard for me to place a rating star or number on a pattern based on my personal preferences and expect you to just take it as gospel truth.

So here is what I’m going to do.  I have created a template to use for all patterns I review.  There are concrete, verifiable elements on the template and there are subjective elements on the template.  I will give the straight dope on the concrete, verifiable elements without any bias to what I prefer.  Anything else on the list that is not concrete and verifiable is considered subjective and you will get my personal opinion on those things.  I would hate for you to base your decision to purchase or not purchase based upon subjective comments only.  Your style may not be my style.  My hope is that the concrete items will be your calling card as to whether you want to buy a pattern or not and all the rest is lagniappe (our fun Louisiana word for extras).  I also aim to provide you with full disclosure of my association with every pattern – where I purchased it (if I can remember), whether I have crocheted other patterns by this designer, if I personally know the designer, if the designer specifically asked for a review of their pattern, etc., so that there is no feelings of bias or inclusion.  I do not endorse any pattern designers and make a profit from that endorsement.

To recap before I put my first review up, which will be by the weekend –  I will give you the straight answers on the concrete questions that can be verified, I will give you my own opinion on additional items, and I will most likely give the pattern my own personal score in the form of a letter grade like you get in school.  I briefly considered using the letter grade scale from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry but I hesitate to designate a pattern with a T for Troll should I have the unfortunate chance to come across such a pattern.  (By the way, I was placed in Gryffindor by the Sorting Hat on Pottermore!  Geaux Gryffs!)

I have created a separate page for my template which you can find by clicking the tab called Standard Checklist Template at the top of my blog page.  Until the weekend, get your crochet on!

250 Fan Giveaway! The pot has been sweetened!

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Before I post part 2 of my pattern review measuring stick and then post up my first review, I wanted to tell you about the giveaway on my business page.  The pot has been sweetened this morning with the addition of 5 free patterns (pattern packs not included) generously donated by Crochet By Jennifer.  If you have never purchased one of her patterns, now is a great time to look them over on Ravelry or on her fan page and see all the beautiful designs she provides.   To enter the contest, all you have to do is become a fan of my page, TumbleDownz, and my two sponsor’s pages, Funtography by Toni & Niki and Crochet By Jennifer.  There is a Rafflecopter giveaway icon in the menu bar under my Facebook timeline to enter.  Please drop by a give us all a shout!  We’d love to have you on board!!

The Ratings Measuring Stick – Part One

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Ok, so I’ve been thinking about this blog and how I was going to introduce my ratings method.  In the space of just the last few hours, I’ve had several changes of direction.  So, I think the best thing to do is to tell you what I look for in a good pattern and then tell you what I’ve heard from others on the subject.  If you add your own feedback to all of this, then I can compile a nice orderly list of what the majority of crocheters look for and then I can decide on a point system that would be understandable to all.

Here are my notes in the order in which they were written:

  1. Is the gauge given and if so, is it a full horizontal and vertical sampling (i.e. 14 dc and 9 rows = 4″) or only based on the length of a chain?
  2. Is the font easy to read?
  3. Does the pattern flow seamlessly from one part to the next or do you have to search for information?  Does the pattern give you direction as to where the next step can be found?
  4. Is contact information provided to reach the designer if you have questions or need support?
  5. Does the designer assign a difficulty rating to their pattern?
  6. Are there errors in stitch counts, typos, or misspellings?  How many?
  7. Is a hook size given?
  8. Does the designer state a recommended yarn either by weight, fiber or name brand?
  9. Once the item is complete, does it resemble or closely match the photo used for advertising?
  10. If a gauge was given (and you checked it!), did the item come out to the correct size?
  11. Are there adequate photos to explain more difficult stitches or how and where to sew on parts?
  12. Is there an abbreviation key?
  13. If there are special stitches, is there a clear explanation on how to execute them?  How about a picture tutorial?
  14. Does the designer restrict the pattern to personal use only, require a cottage license, request that you contact them first before selling any of  your items, or do they give you full permission to sell what you want?
  15. Does the pattern have a cluttered look or feel to it?
  16. Are measurements of the items provided?

Here is a synopsis of the feedback I got from a few fellow crocheters on what they expect to see in a good pattern and what they dislike as well:

  • Gauge – They have stated that they are amazed at the number of patterns they come across that does not list a gauge.  Many of the crocheters I discussed this with sell their crocheted items so it is crucial that a gauge be listed in order to get correct sizing.
  • Stitch counts – Amazingly enough, there are still patterns out there that do not list a stitch count at the end of every row.  Apparently there are enough of those types of patterns for this to be an issue since I also have that on my list which was compiled before I spoke with the group.
  • Measurements – Measurements and gauge go hand in hand.   When we speak of measurements, we want to know how tall a hat is supposed to be from top down to brim, or how wide a diaper cover is at the waistband, or what the rise of the cover is.  If your gauge checks out fine horizontally but not vertically, this could be a huge factor in getting the correct sizing.  More experienced crocheters can make adjustments by adding extra rows or changing hook sizes but without measurements and when you are thinking your gauge is alright because your swatch came up fine, you might find that the item you just made has to be frogged and adjusted because it’s too short/long/narrow/etc.
  • Typos and misspellings – Most people are not bothered by one or two typos or misspellings unless they affect the outcome of the finished item.  However, when there is a large amount of typos and misspellings, it can be annoying to many of us, especially those of us that are considered grammar and spelling sticklers.  It also gives the user the impression that the pattern designer just threw the pattern together and put it up for sale without bothering to have others test it and make corrections.
  • Sizing – This is two-fold.  A statement was made that it appears to be laziness on the part of the designer if they market a hat as being in multiple sizes but when you get the pattern you are given just one or two actual sizes and then told to change the hook size to make it larger or smaller.  The other issue mentioned was designers that break their child and adult sizes into two separate patterns thereby having the user purchase two patterns instead of one if they wish to sell the hat in every size.
  • Clutter – If it’s not necessary, don’t do it.  Rainbow colored fonts, single spacing, no division between sections, and pages of photo instruction are turn offs.

Now, while I was sitting here typing all of that up, other things popped into my head and then popped right back out.  Ha ha!  There are just so many things that make up a good pattern and there are so many things that can mess up a good pattern designer.  Part of designing, in my opinion, is also about turning your artistic talents off for a little while and applying  yourself to a little bit of technical writing.  Boring?  Yes, to me it is.  Necessary?  Yes, if you want to sell more patterns.  Crocheters talk.  Yes, we do.  It’s not meant to be mean or catty or demeaning to any designer out there but we talk to each other because we don’t want someone else to feel like we do – like our money was just wasted on a pattern we will never use because it’s too frustrating to wade through it.  Crocheting should be an enjoyable experience.  Why else would anyone do it, especially as little as it pays if it is your source of income.  (And if you are making a killing doing it, please pass the secret of your success on to me!)
And now I would love to hear your input.  What would you add or subtract from the lists above?  What is most important to you as a crochet enthusiast?  Let’s hear it in the comments section.  Ready?  Go!

Hello fellow crochet enthusiasts and pattern hoarders!

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I’ve been meaning to create a blog for quite some time now but I just couldn’t think of anything new that someone else wasn’t already blogging about.  There are plenty of folks out there blogging about the latest project they are working on.  There are quite a few that like to create their own patterns and post them up for others to enjoy.  Although I am continually working on a project of some sort, they come rapid fire.  I work the project, complete it, and it’s on to the next project.  I have regrets about not taking more photos of certain projects.  I didn’t generally take a lot of photos because to be honest, I’m not really the best at photography nor do I particularly enjoy it.  However, in deciding to write this blog, I am going to have to learn to love it just a little.  I’m also not a pattern designer.  Sure, I can pick up a hook and a ball of yarn and whip up a hat or a scarf or the like without a pattern and sometimes I do just that.  But that is where it ends for me.  The item will be a one of a kind because I do not enjoy writing out all the instructions needed to turn it into a pattern.  Call me lazy if you want but I find it much more enjoyable to have a hook and yarn in my hand than sitting there cursing my lack of technical skills when it comes to creating a PDF file for a pattern.

So, I buy crochet patterns.  Lots and lots of crochet patterns.  You could say it is an addiction if you like and if you crochet, you have probably experienced the same addiction.  I have not actually sat down and taken a complete count of all of the patterns I have purchased but at this point I would guess it is somewhere around a few hundred.  I have resisted the need to organize them all into the nice neat little folders I created for them AFTER I realized that my patterns were getting out of hand.  Now I will have to pay for it.  It will take me hours to locate and refile them into one central location on my computer.  I have them in email, I have them in my Ravelry library, I have them in the Downloads file on my computer, I have them in duplicate folders that need to be combined.  You get the idea.

By now you’re thinking, “Just why is she telling me all of these things? What does it have to do with crochet pattern reviews?”  Well, reviewing crochet patterns that I purchase will force me to organize those files and create a document for each pattern to write notes that will help me if I make the pattern again in the future.  It will also force me to take more photos so that progress of a project can be shown and hopefully that will help improve my photography skills (which would improve even more if I would just listen to what hubby says when he tries to show me how to use all the features on the camera!).  Finally, it will provide you, the reader with a little bit of insight on what I,  at least, look for in a pattern – and maybe you look for those same things or have ideas you want to contribute as well.

I also need to tell you this – I am terrified!  I have not been able to find any crochet pattern reviews.  I’ve found sewing pattern reviews, but not crochet pattern reviews.  There may be someone out there doing them and if there is and you know about them, please let me know so I can go check them out.  But perhaps the lack of crochet pattern reviews is due to people being afraid to comment on the design work of others.  Surely I’m not the first person in the world to think of reviewing crochet patterns in a blog?!  So, maybe I’m taking a huge gamble here.  Maybe I’m opening a can of worms that should just stay sealed in the can but anyone that personally knows me will tell you that I’m not one to back down from a challenge – well, most of the time anyway.

In closing this first blog post let me tell you what I plan to enforce upon myself for reviewing crochet patterns – a focus on the positive aspects of the pattern, first and foremost, then a thought on what I’d like to see added to make the pattern more user friendly, and finally a number rating based on several criteria which I will post in my next rambling.  I want this to be a positive experience for me and the designer, should they stumble upon the review.  I will not allow myself or others to talk poorly of a designer.  We can all use constructive criticism but none of us need to endure destructive criticism.  Hopefully a designer can read my review and also the thoughts of others and use that to implement new ideas or fix problems so that they benefit from the review.

In my next posting I will be providing you with the criteria by which I plan to review.  I am hoping that you will contribute as well by telling me what you look for in a good pattern.  You will probably give me  a few ideas that I haven’t thought of yet.  Until next time, get your crochet on!

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