Today is the FIRST day of the rest of your life!

Thursday, March 11, 2010



I am in the process of doing a lace pattern. Although I grew up on making doilies, it has been quite a long spell since I've done intricate patterns in thinner yarn. I did do a fillet pattern, but those are straight forward and you use charts. Yes, I've also made shells, but those are rather mindless after you do one row.

I was having trouble from the beginning of this particular pattern and could not figure out why it kept being so complicated. I thought it was the end for me....I would never be able to make something lacy and pretty for myself or anyone else.

Then the light went on! It wasn't me - it was the pattern. It was written for those who may not have been intimately aware of crochet techniques and protocol, i.e. the novice crocheter. So, instead of reading each line which was taking me forever, I sat down and re-wrote each row. The pattern has a 3 row repeat, so in essence I only had to write those 3 rows.

Below is a sample of how it was written, and then how I re-wrote it. You might want to try your hand at doing this when it comes to complicated patterns. I find it is better to read the pattern row first and then read and crochet. After I understand how it is written, then I can re-write it to suit myself. 

In this particular case, each chain is considered a stitch. There are no single crochets in the long "chain", but there are sc in "a" chain. The problem with the instructions is that one time it would indicated to skip a ch & skip a sc. The next time it would only say to skip the first sc. As the sc came after 3 chains, that meant you are skipping four stitches even though it doesn't say when you re-write the instructions if you don't look at your work you are liable to write "skip one stitch" and in reality you are to skip four.

This is one row from the pattern:

Row 5: Ch6, turn; skip next sc and next 2 chs, sc in next ch, sc in next 3 sc and in next ch, ch 3 *skip next sc, dc in next sc, ch 3, skip next sc and next 2 chs, sc in next ch, sc in next 3 sc and in next ch, ch 3; repeat from * across to last 2 chs, skip last 2 chs and next sc, dc in last sc.


Ch6, sk3, sc5, ch3, sk3, dc, ch3, sk3, sc5, ch3, (sk3, dc)

That is soooooo much easier to read when you are in the process of repeating rows. And it is easier to see the pattern and understand the repeat process of each row - therefore easier to see your mistakes.

So next time you find your are faced with a mountain to climb in a intricate pattern, dissect it into doable rows, writing it the way you understand it, and in your own shorthand. Life will seem much calmer and easier at the end of your hook!


  1. The pattern writer sounds like me . . TMI . . . but I am alwaqy scared that the reader won't understand . .but they should . . oh well . . .back to perusing my blog lists

  2. interesting idea, very good. What I do, if I can't seem to understand a written pattern, I draw it in a diagramme or chart, so I can actually "see" the stitches used and how it should look, without actually crocheting it. It helped me a lot when I was making up this one vintage, written pattern, doily. After I "saw" how it should look, it was easy.
    As you see, everyone has their own, unique, way of doing things! :)