Christmas Crochet Pattern Writing

The journey of pattern writing continues....

It's been nearly two months since I made the decision to start writing my own crochet patterns and sell them on my Etsy shop Mindful Stitch . There are three new and unique patterns available now;
  1. 12 days of Christmas Garland - This includes all a motif representation of each of the 12 days of Christmas, plus how to construct a garland with the decorations.
  2. 10 Christmas Decoration Motifs - This patterns includes a variety of Christmas decorations from Father Christmas to a Snowflake.
  3. Alfie the Elf - Alfie the Elf is the latest Mindful Stitch character. Pattern also includes how to make a jacket and hat.
 Ok, so now that I have explained the what I would like to talk a little more about my technique/process for pattern writing and how that has changed over time.

I will discuss the process for the pattern 12 days of Christmas first, as this was definitely the most challenging. Firstly, it was hard to determine how I would represent each of the 12 days of Christmas. Would I go crazy and make 12 pieces to the twelfth day - no, but there's nothing to say with this pattern that you can't. How much detail would include? I decided I did want quite a bit of detail but not too fiddly to make.

For some reason her true love likes to give a variety of birds/poultry as gifts, so this was another thing I had to spend time designing to ensure that there were obvious differences between for example the turtle doves and the calling bird. I tried very much to make the birds an accurate anatomical portrayal but honestly that's very difficult at the scale I was working at. Plus I don't think anyone really knows truly what these birds look like but only the Christmas versions. So the odd one out , not really that odd, is the turtle doves. There are two turtle doves yes and there's two reasons. One to differentiate the turtle doves from the calling bird and two because there is that famous moment in Home Alone 2 when Kevin is given the turtle doves and then gives them to the bird lady. Do you know the scenes that I am referring to? Anyway, it may be my age because I grew up watching the Home Alone films, but that is the second reason why there are two turtle doves and not one like every other motif.

I think that for every motif I had to undo the motif at least once and start again. This is where a complicated design can make my note book a real mess and difficult to understand at the end. So for this reason one of the changes that I have made is to write in pencil first then once I have the final design go over it in pen! Sometimes I had to reference photographs of for example a swan to get the details right and other times there were not definitive answers to what something was, eg a french hen, so this is when it becomes a mix of my own imagination  plus trying to stay as accurate as I think is correct! But it was with the french hen in fact that I realised how the seasonal image of something can be more familiar than the natural one. It's all about those select important details that suggests to us the object.

Turtle Doves
12 Days of Christmas Garland
It occurred to me that I would need to include how to construct the garland. Something that sounds so simple but it is not until I am in the step by step typing up of the pattern that all of the steps actually come to the surface. I remember at school learning how to write instructions, starting each step with a verb (doing word as we used to call them haha). I kept this in mind, but it became obvious that I needed a thesaurus to make sure that I was picking the best possible verb to describe the action. Why am I mentioning the garland construction here? because most of the pattern writing process in in abbreviated crochet terms, so it is a contrast when you have to write well formed sentences! But it actually not that hard...although everything is in English it's a little bit like changing dialect.

Reindeer Decoration

The Christmas motifs was the first out of the two garlands that I made and it was very satisfying, like the 12 days motifs, to know that I had been able to create from imagination plus from technical comprehension, all of these different shapes with details. Again by using a scale for the motifs I had to be selective. For example the father Christmas and reindeer would have been incredibly fiddly to achieve the details of the traditional motif.

10 Christmas Decoration Motifs

Alfie the Elf
Alfie the Elf is something that I really am proud of. I unpacked and put up my Christmas decorations incredibly early this year, because I felt festive but also so that I could use the tree as a background in the photographs for the decorations. In there was a crochet angel that I made 3 years ago when I first started crocheting. It was an angel that I had made up myself, so I could design but I couldn't tell you what or why I had made those decisions. I put the angel and Alfie the Elf next to each other on my window sill and the progress in my ability really made me feel like a 'proper practitioner'. Yes, I may not ever be in the know about everything to do with crochet (that's almost impossible for any topic right?, plus boring) but to see that the direction I have taken in my practice has given me the technical and physical ability makes me very happy.

Sometimes I see other people's characters that they have created and I can seem a theme in there characters, the same facial expression or scale, and I think that it was I need to start thinking about in the new year. They will still be unique to my style and you'll be able to see a bit of me in them, but in terms of directing the brand and not just being an emotive artist, I would like to create a series of... tbc.

1 comment

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