If you know basic crochet stitches and can read a crochet pattern, it's easy to create your own designs. Learning to design your own patterns can benefit you in many ways, whether you are trying to start your own crochet pattern business, or just creating crochet patterns to stitch and gift.
Use the pencil and paper to sketch the design for your crochet project. You may have to sketch several different ideas before you decide on the final project. If you have a more complicated stitch in mind, you probably want to create a chart in addition to the sketch.
If this is your first time designing a crochet pattern, start with something small such as a scarf or hat.
Determine the best type of yarn for your project. If the project is a shawl, for example, then you may want to choose a fingering-weight yarn that has a lot of drape. If the project is a tote bag, a sturdy yarn that holds its shape is a good selection.
If you are not sure what type of yarn to choose, stitch a few different swatches to see how the yarn looks when it is crocheted.
Choose a crochet hook to match the yarn. Most yarn labels have a recommended hook size listed on the label; use this hook size or experiment with other hook sizes if you do not like the recommended size.
Decide which stitch pattern or patterns to include in your design. You can use a basic single crochet, a more complicated shell stitch or other textured stitch.
Consult a stitch dictionary for inspiration if you can't determine which pattern to choose.
Crochet a sample swatch of the stitch pattern with your chosen yarn and hook. If you need to make any changes, make them at this stage while you are working with a small sample.
When you are happy with the sample swatch, measure the gauge to see how many stitches per inch the swatch includes as well as the number of rows per inch. Write these numbers down.
Refer back to your final sketch and determine the measurements. For instance, if you are designing a cowl, the measurements might be 36 inches long and 10 inches wide. If you are not sure how long and wide you want the item, measure a similar item that you already have to help you make a decision.
Calculate the number of stitches you'll need to begin the project by multiplying the measurement of the gauge swatch by the desired measurements of your sketch. For example, if you want the item to be 10 inches wide and you had 8 stitches per inch in the gauge swatch, multiply 10 by 8 to get a total of 80 stitches. This is the number of stitches you will need to chain to get a width of 10 inches.
Repeat Step 8 with the gauge row measurement and the length. For example, if you want the item to be 36 inches long and you had 4 rows per inch in the gauge swatch, multiply 36 by 4 to get a total of 144 rows. This is the number of rows you will need to crochet to get a length of 36 inches.
Begin crocheting using your sketch, using the optional chart as a guide. As you work, take careful notes. Record any changes you make as you go. Remember that you may need to rip back or start over several times before the item looks the way you'd like it to.
When you are happy with the final project, use your notes to create a pattern. Use the Yarn Council of America's standards and guidelines to help figure out the appropriate formatting and stitch abbreviations.
Ask another crocheter to test the pattern for errors. Make any changes necessary to ensure the pattern is clear and accurate.