5 Tips to Pick the Perfect Pattern Every Time!
Do you have trouble finding the perfect pattern? Do you buy crochet patterns you don’t really need or can’t use? If that describes you, read on for some handy tips to choose the perfect pattern every time!
I can’t tell you how many times it’s happened to me. I see a crochet design that catches my eye and I fall in love with it. I really need to buy that pattern. I don’t take time to think about it…I just hit the “Buy” button.
Sometimes that new crochet pattern goes in a pile of pretty patterns classified as “I’ll get to this later”. My pile is very large and I’ve tried to organize it. Sure, that worked out…not.
Sometimes I jump right in and commit. I buy all the yarn, gather the supplies and get started. Something isn’t right, though. The design/pattern isn’t anything like what I expected. Or, I don’t like the way it looks. Or, even worse, I simply lose interest.
What went wrong?
Here’s how to pick the perfect crochet pattern that you’ll be sure to make into the perfect crochet finished object.
Tip 1 – Do some research.
Why is this important? Well, you want to be sure it’s possible to actually make the item and that it will be something you WANT to make.
If you want to make an exact replica of the original sample featured in the pattern’s photos, you’ll need to do a little legwork before making an investment in supplies and time. Here are some things to check:
- Can you get the exact yarn in that exact color?
- How much will the yarn cost? Will this fit into your budget or be wildly expensive to make?
- If you need to order the supplies (don’t forget about the extras), how long will it take to arrive?
If you’ll be using other yarn, consider the following:
- Does the yarn I want to use meet gauge? Does gauge matter for this project?
- Does the yarn have the same characteristics (drape, texture, fiber content) as the yarn used for the sample?
- Will this design look good in the colors you’ve chosen?
- How much yarn will you need?
Ask yourself some questions before you plunk down all the money for the project. If your answers are honest, you’ll be able to determine whether or not this is the perfect pattern for you.
Tip 2 – How long will it take you to make the item?
Let’s be honest. I’m not always in the mood to work on a huge project. And, I’m certainly not always in the mood to ‘challenge’ myself with new things. Sometimes, I just want something that I can mindlessly whip up.
It’s entirely possible that you’ll lose interest in a large project. Blankets, sweaters, etc. all require a commitment to get to the end goal. And, remember, things that have large pieces, like blankets, are horrible to work on during the hot summer months so pick a time of year when you won’t regret your choice.
If this is a gift, make sure you can get it done on time. I have been known to wrap up a picture if the project isn’t done on time. Nobody likes to do that, though!
If you’re interested in a seasonal design, do you really want to be pulling all-nighters to get it done? Give yourself enough time to complete it before the season is over. Let me remind you of what usually happens when you put it away with the intent of finishing it before NEXT season. That UFO (Unfinished Object) bin can get pretty full!
If you’re in the mood for a large project, that blanket may be the perfect pattern right now.
Tip 3 – Be objective about the picture you’re looking at.
The prettier the picture, the more inclined I am to hit the ‘Buy’ button. My favorite colors, something I’ve been wanting to try, looks great on the model – all of these are reasons I’m tempted to buy a crochet pattern. It’s so hard to be objective about what you’re seeing but it’s essential if you don’t want to be stuck with something you don’t like.
Remember, product photography is meant to make you drool over what’s being sold. That’s great if it’s something ready-made that you can return if you don’t like it. But, it’s a real pain if it’s a crochet pattern. You’re stuck, my friend.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What are you drawn to in the photo? Your first impression isn’t always the most reliable when making a long-term commitment. (Crocheting anything handmade IS a commitment.)
- Be realistic about who the design is intended for. If you’re my age and looking at crop top sweaters, you might want to move on.
- Are you drawn to the staging or the item itself? Look closely at the actual design to see it objectively. Block out all the staging.
- Does the item fit your lifestyle?
If you can be objective, you might just be able to find the perfect pattern.
Read to the end of the article to get your FREE resource!
Tip 4 – Be honest about your skill level.
This might be the most important tip in the whole bunch. I know I’m not always honest about assessing whether or not I have the necessary skills to complete a project of any kind. So many times, I say “I can do that” without thinking about whether that’s actually true. Are you like me?
When looking at a potential pattern purchase, see if a skill level is listed in the description. Many times a designer will include a skill level for a pattern so you’ll be better informed about their design. You’ll still need to look at the photo and description to make an objective decision. But, the listed skill level is a good start.
Don’t know what the skill levels mean? You can find a handy guide on the Craft Yarn Council website.
Here’s another, more detailed explanation from the American Crochet Association.
Remember, your skill level is NOT determined by how long you’ve been crocheting or how many projects you’ve finished. It IS based on the experience you have reading crochet patterns, working with stitches and incorporating various crochet techniques.
If there is no skill level listed, you can still use the photo and description to make a good choice. Here are a few things to ask yourself:
- Are you familiar with the stitches/stitch patterns used in the design?
- Do you know how to finish the project – seaming, blocking, etc.?
- What kind of shaping is required? How many pieces do you need to make to complete the project?
Answer these questions and you’ll be well on your way to matching your skill level with the perfect pattern.
Tip 5 – Stick with designers you know or respect.
Stick with what you know. If you’ve purchased from a designer before and you were happy with the experience, chances are you’ll be happy with this pattern as well. You know you like the written pattern so most of the battle is over.
Find designers whose style fits yours. You can usually tell from looking at a designer’s Ravelry page or Etsy shop if you like their overall style.
If you’ve never worked with a designer’s pattern, do some research. While a great reputation is a pretty good indicator, you still need to see what others are saying about the patterns. Be careful with reviews, though. Don’t just look for the 5-stars. Instead, read what people are actually saying.
And, last but certainly not least, check for free patterns on the designer’s website to see what the designer’s pattern writing style is. That’s always a great place to start your research!
Want more help trying to decide?
I’ve created a FREE downloadable resource that you can use every time you need to make a quick, informed decision. Just by going through the checklist, you can consider key points about each potential pattern, as well as make notes about future patterns, all in the same resource!
Click on the button below to get yours today!