Cory’s post on pattern writing is here.
I usually do quite a bit of my pattern writing before actually beginning to knit my design. I’ll write out rough instructions, and even make some quick charts in Excel before I start to knit. In this way, I’m often my first test knitter – I will follow my written instructions and add and clarify as I go along. Sometimes I change things from my original vision, and I edit the pattern to reflect those changes as I knit. I do most of my pattern writing in Word, and charts in Excel.
A difference between me and other designers I know is that I do all my pattern writing on the computer, sometimes with the help of my cat Pan:
I usually work from an electronic copy, and rarely print things out unless there’s a large chart.
Once I’ve knit my version and written the pattern to go along with it, I move on to test knitting. After having a pattern test-knit, I’ll go back and make changes to reflect any issues that the test knitters had – whether that’s making corrections or just clarifying instructions.
I find sometimes that things that seem clear to me are not always as clear to my test knitters. This is probably because I know what the finished object is supposed to look like and how the construction works! Having a pattern test knit is one of the most important parts of the design process.
Then I will go back and make my charts (if any) look pretty. I still like to chart patterns in Excel, but I use a knitting font that will make standard chart symbols instead of trying to use normal letters and characters.
And finally, photography and layout! Good pictures are very important, since they’ll often be the reason someone chooses to knit your pattern! I’ve been lucky enough to have a few friends with nice cameras help me out with my pattern photos. I do my layout in InDesign. My friend MJ helped me come up with a template, so I use that to put my text, charts, and photos together. It’s flexible, so I can adapt it to suit any pattern I design.
After that it’s time for the release into the world at large. Exciting, but a little scary too.