Choosing a pattern.
Choosing a pattern to knit or crochet is the easy part! Well, it is, but the choice is HUGE! There are literally hundreds of sites which sell or offer free patterns to buy or download; so even if you know what you want to make, say, a cardigan, where do you go next?
I would always suggest looking at a reputable site like Ravelry or LoveKnitting as these patterns are checked, tested and from reputable sources. Magazine patterns are also carefully tested before publication. So all your time and effort making something will be worthwhile and the pattern will work. Some patterns, especially those from well-known designers, use their own brand of yarn, and so substituting a different yarn can be difficult. A tension square is vital! Also be aware that American crochet sites use American terms, so you might need to “translate” to UK crochet terms.
Have a think about the shape of the garment you want to make. If you are making a cardigan, for example, choosing a pattern which will fit you and suit you is important too. Some patterns have a schematic, a little diagram with measurements of how the finished garment will size up. So for example, that cardigan pattern you love, even in the smallest size is still going to be too baggy for you and the sleeves too long.
Remember, (and I hope I’m not being rude saying this…) the picture on the pattern, in that yarn, on that model, is not necessarily how you must do it. Think of the shape and design rather than be swayed by the colour of the yarn and the lovely photography. (Most knitting or crochet would look fabulous on a top model!) Your garment, with the pattern you choose, with the yarn you love, will be unique to you. That’s what I love about hand made things.
Now, the complicated issue of copyright.
Most patterns are copyright. (C) This means that you can usually only make a copy for your own use, e.g. to take in a knitting bag rather than the original. You cannot duplicate the pattern for friends, even if you give the pattern to them, it’s not your design to give away or sell. You can store patterns digitally, as a download, but again, you should not share electronically or otherwise. Some patterns allow you to make and sell the project, but it is always worth checking with the designer, and if it doesn’t say on the pattern that you can, don’t assume.
Realistically, the chances of being caught sharing or plagiarising patterns are slim, but the fines are large if you do. I think of it in a more real way; the designer has spent a lot of time creating that pattern and for some, this is part of their livelihood. If you share their pattern, you are taking a bit of income away from them. If we all shared patterns we had bought, that would mean a lot of lost income for the designer. (It can take me several months from initial idea to finished pattern with sample, so £3.50 for a pattern is quite good value for all that work!)
I think choosing a pattern is the fun part! Do you do it when you have the yarn, or before? I do both, mainly because if I see some Gorgeous Yarns I can’t resist them! (I have a large chest of drawers that will bear me out!) I like seeing patterns from new and small designers, and seeing their ideas. It’s all part of being this wonderful yarny community.
Bye for now,