Crochet bloggers. You download their patterns, subscribe to their newsletters, and wait excitedly for their latest design to release, but who are these enthusiastic, yet somewhat elusive people who design your favorite crochet patterns, and what really goes on in their minds behind the scenes*? Join me for a witty, yet warm and thoughtful look into the secrets of just what it takes to be a crochet designer, and some of the hurdles we face.
1. We’re real people too, just like you.
We have families to look after, school activities to attend, and bills to pay, etc. A few of us even have serious health issues that require some extra time to deal with. If we don’t respond to your question right away, it’s probably because we’re cooking supper, folding laundry, or plunging a toilet (ick). We could also be sleeping (this actually happens occasionally, when we run out of coffee/tea or pattern inspiration).
2. We don’t just get to sit around and play with yarn all day (even if that’s what our Instagram accounts imply).
Sure, playing with yarn is a big part of what we do, but we’re also busy figuring out how to work with the ever-changing social media algorithms, so you don’t miss out on the awesome crochet patterns we’ve created for you, and tending to the needs of our families. (We secretly wish there was a lot more yarn involved in the latter.) (See #1)
3. Unfortunately, we don’t have time to customize a pattern for you.
Crochet pattern writing is a long and somewhat complex process. While most of us are happy to answer questions about our patterns, we don’t have time to completely rewrite/rework a design because you don’t care for the way it looks, or can’t get it to work. (See #1, #2, and #12)
4. We have feelings, and agonize over not being able to help or solve each individual issue you’re having with a design.
Most of us got into this biz because we love people and want to make others happy through our creative endeavors. When we’re not able to solve your problem or make you happy, it affects us. Fun fact: did you know creative people also tend to overthink? This is the kind of thing that keeps us awake at night!
5. Math isn’t always our strong-point either.
See a garment in only one size? It’s either a time issue (again, see #1, and #2), or a math issue. 😉
6. We’re big fans of other designers, just like you.
We admire other designers work, and “fangirl” over them—even if we know each other/work together. We may keep cool on the outside, but when a favorite designer compliments us we turn into the equivalent of bouncing, wiggling puppies on the inside.
7. We love it when you show us what you made with our patterns!
Poor lighting, uneven stitches–it doesn’t matter! The fact that you took time to sit down and make something we designed is a huge honor, and makes our hearts sing. (See #9)
8. There’s no such thing as putting together a “quick video”.
We wish things were different; really we do (since many of us are visual learners too). It takes time to get our desk, lights, and camera equipment set up to record, then it takes another 2-3 hours to make the item (if it’s something small like a hat or scarf), and another 2-3 hours, minimum, of time to edit and put the video together. (See #1 and #2)
9. We enjoy seeing you get creative!
Many of us run crochet-related Facebook groups, with the hope that you’ll join and show off what you’ve made, whether it’s one of our patterns, another designer’s pattern (see #6), or something original you came up with! Don’t be afraid to share what you’ve crocheted, simply because there may be some imperfections. Just like you, we had to start with a slip knot and chain stitch. (I still have an old swatch I made when I was 12. It’s not pretty, but it does show how far I’ve come!)
10. We feel sick when we see our patterns and the associated images copied and pasted in their entirety on other DIY/crafting sites.
Yes we know it’s the internet, and dishonesty abounds, but seeing other sites steal our hard work, and promote it as their own, hurts. Please note this does not include pattern review sites like AllFreeCrochet, or FaveCrafts. They are legit and work with us. We love them! If you’re a fan of our work, please always direct people to our patterns via a link.
11. Website/video ads are how we make money on free patterns.
Yes, ads are annoying, but, the ads you see on our blogs are the main source of income for most of us. We promise they aren’t there for the sole purpose of annoying you. They are how we are compensated for the free patterns that we design. If you really can’t stand them, many of us offer printable, ad-free copies of our patterns on Ravelry, for a small fee (less than you’d spend on a cup of coffee!).
12. It often takes us days, or weeks to write a pattern.
Think we sit down and pound out a pattern in an afternoon? We wish! Think again. While we rejoice when a design does come together in a couple of hours, usually the process is a lot more complex, and time-consuming, especially if there are multiple sizes, or intricate stitches involved. How do we survive? Netflix and coffee. (See #11)
13. We include materials and gauge information to help you get the best result.
Before you begin, spend time looking over what materials are needed. Make a gauge swatch to match what the designer calls for (we all have different tension). It may be possible to use #3 yarn on a chunky cowl, but your end product will be quite a bit different than what we originally designed. Love it, great! (See #9) Hate it? Please read this point again (then see #4). 😉
14. Knowing how to read a pattern is important.
Not all of us have the video equipment setup, or time to put out a video tutorial. If you struggle with pattern reading, there are some excellent articles on how to improve. Don’t believe the saying “old dogs can’t learn new tricks”! (See #8, then see #1 and #2, and #13)
15. We run on nice messages, compliments, and comments!
In the internet world, where not everyone is on their best behavior, it is refreshing to hear words of kindness. It may seem cliché, but we really can go for days on a few sweet compliments (and a couple of mugs of coffee or tea). (See #4)
16. If you want to support us, share our work!
Comment, share pics of finished projects in groups, save our crochet patterns on Pinterest and Ravelry, etc. The more people that comment, share, and like, the more people see our work, visit our site, and discover our patterns! (See also #11) We appreciate these random acts of kindness from the bottom of our hearts.
17. We make mistakes (and you might too).
We’re human. We have a million and one things going on. Most of my patterns are written “*sc, ch 2, sk st, correct child for fighting with his brother, sc in next stitch, ch 2, skip stitch, sc in next stitch, listen to detailed story about Lego Minecraft/novel interest of the week, accidently chain 3, tear out a stitch, forget where I’m at/what my stitch count should be for the row* Repeat * to * 25,168 times”. Chances are, if your favorite crochet designer is a mom, this is likely similar to how her design process goes too. Many of us have had a second, or third pair of eyes go over our designs before they are released, but if you think you notice a mistake, gently pointing it out to us will get you further than starting with “I’ve been crocheting for 40 years, and…” Often, after looking at the instructions again closely, you may come to find it was only something you misinterpreted, and not an error. There are hundreds of ways to write or format crochet patterns, and even the most experienced crocheters may have to learn to read different pattern styles! Either way, please find the generosity in your heart to grant us some grace too. <3 In our heart of hearts we really want you to have the best crocheting experience possible—it’s why we became designers!
And finally, if you want the deep-down, and dirty truth: We love and appreciate your loyalty and support more than we can say–it’s what we thrive on! If you get nothing else out of this post today, I want you to take this away. Without your enthusiasm and energy we wouldn’t be where we are at, and your pattern binders would have a lot more room in them. Respect us, realize we’re people with limitations, just like you, and we’ll promise to keep you neck deep in patterns for years to come (you’d better go invest in some larger binders!).
If you appreciate what the crochet blogger community is doing, why not stop by your favorite designer’s blog, or Facebook page, and leave them a note letting them know how you feel. Then share one of their posts on your wall. It may not seem like much, but it’s sure to make them smile.
Want to improve your craft? Click here to learn about the 7 things that successful crocheters do differently than you.
*These are generalizations and all points may not apply to each and every designer individually, but I talked with a wide enough swath of the designing community to feel confident in saying there are at least a few of these that really resonate with each of us.
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