The Design Diaries: Writing the Pattern

  The important starting elements

The important starting elements

My Boat Race hat project is now at that critical stage where things can really go off the rails for me: writing the pattern. The prototypes are done, I've got several pages in my notebook covered in notes, and it's time to sit down and translate those scribbles into something semi-coherent that I can send off to test knitters and my tech editor.

I really enjoy writing patterns. In many ways, it's very similar to writing a scientific paper (as I suggested in my recent interview with Kate Atherley on the most recent Yarn in the City Podcast). There are very distinct pieces that need to be included for both types of writing to work well.

  The important pieces of the writing

The important pieces of the writing

Kate talks in depth about the essential pieces of a knitting pattern in her new book, Pattern Writing for Knit Designers (which I think should be required reading for everyone who even begins to jot down patterns on the backs of Starbucks napkins), but the basic premise is: tell people why they want to knit your pattern, tell them whats interesting/challenging/exciting about the pattern, tell them what materials they need, tell them how to do it, and tell them how to end. Pretty simple, right?

Here's where I get in to trouble: I've got the prototypes, I've got the notes, I've got the pieces ready to go (if only mostly in my head), and I sit down at the computer and I...faff on the Ravelry forums, or check to see if I've gotten any new and exciting email in the last five minutes, play a few rounds of Frozen Free Fall, text Allison to harass her, hop on Twitter to see who's in a righteous outrage at the moment, check some pretty pictures on Instagram...

You can see where this is going, right? Pure, unadulturated procrastination. And I have to admit, right now I am procrastinating not only on writing these hat patterns, but also on writing a scientific paper, so my procrastination instinct is not limited (sadly!) to knitting patterns!

Here's where you all come in: I am, in this blog post, publicly announcing that I will use this weekend to write up these two patterns, with the goal of sending them to my fabulous tech editor at the beginning of the week (I don't know if she reads the blog, but if she does: consider yourself warned D!). And I give everyone reading this permission to call me out if I don't post some kind of update on this project by Tuesday morning.

I'm ready for some real pattern crafting this weekend. See you on the other side!