Crochet Pattern Writing

I get asked a lot how this....

Dragon pattern beginnings from my pattern notebook

... gets to this...

Finished dragon

And after thinking about it for a while, I decided it would be fun to work through the pattern-writing process in my blog... so grab a nice hot mug of tea and let's see what there is to see!

I usually start a new design with a vision already in mind of what the final piece is going to look like. Sometimes (like with my dragon here), I sketch the design in my pattern notebook... sometimes not.

I've always been visual person. I remember taking those tests in school where you looked at a flattened shape and then had to figure out what it would be in three dimensions. For example, this one on the right becomes a cube. I always scored perfect -- no matter how complex the shapes were. It's just something that has always been second nature to me.

When I started designing my first amigurumi, I guess the part of my brain that handled all those three-dimensional shape tests kicked on. Not only do I see simple shapes in my designs, I see them three-dimensionally. In my mind's eye, something like my dragon looks more like this...

The shapes that make up a dragon
One a piece is broken down into its primary shapes, I start working out how the shape is going to come together in yarn. For example, I talked a bit about how a sphere is shaped back when we did the pumpkin patch crochet-along... here's an excerpt from that:

To visualize 3-D shaping, look at it this way... imagine that you're supposed to sculpt a sphere with pancakes. You have at your disposal a limitless supply of pancakes in assorted sizes, but that is all you are allowed to use in your sculpture.

Pancake number one would represent the foundation of your sphere. It will also be the smallest pancake in the entire sculpture.

To make the sphere begin to get taller and keep the sides going outward, you begin adding larger and larger pancakes to the stack...

See how the stack is getting a more spherical shape?

Now, if we just kept stacking larger and larger pancakes on top of each other, our sphere would probably turn out more oval-shaped than spherical. So, to get the height we need, we're going to have to use more than one pancake of the same size... like this:

Ok -- now think of the rounds in your pattern as those pancakes. Each time you make a larger round, you are adding a larger pancake to the stack. When you repeat the same size round a couple times, you're adding height.

See how that works?

If you think about the shapes in your piece in this way, you can turn yarn into anything.

Next time, I'll talk about how I take notes when I'm designing. In the mean time, I hope you found this helpful!


  1. that's great!!! I have a visual mind too and I love how you have explained!!! congratulations!

  2. Love to know more! Always wanted to give this a go!

  3. Whoa this is so interesting! I totally don't think like that. Thankx!

  4. I am so glad that i found your blog, it is so great to find another person who thinks like me :)
    I love to se your new amigurumi they are so inspiring :)
    Best regards