The first reason is obvious. We are all shaped differently. Sometimes it’s necessary (albeit kinda scary) to alter a pattern to fit your specific form. Long arms? Big bust? Slender shoulders? Most patterns can easily be adapted to accommodate every figure. Consider how much time, energy and money is being invested in that garment - it is usually worth it to take a bit of risk in order to get a better fit in the end. And most mistakes are re-doable (the beauty of knitting and crocheting).
Some things to consider before casting on:
2. Choose your yarn.
3. Choose your pattern stitch.
4. Choose your tension.
All ball bands should provide an average sized needle or crochet hook to suit that specific yarn. My general (very general) rule is that you should use a slightly larger needle for scarves and shawls (not including lace shawls) to provide a nice drape. For hats and mittens/gloves, I usually go down a size from the recommendation because those are items that you want to be extra warm. (Note: I mean, up/down a size from what your yarn label recommends, not what the pattern suggests.)
5. Choose your size.
|Oceana Toque (with or without brim)|
- Check out similar patterns for inspiration (not to be confused with plagiarism).
- Always write down your process and keep an eraser, calculator and measuring tape nearby.
- Check and double check your math and stitch counts.
- Go with your gut - if it looks wrong or feels wrong, then it probably is.
- Get comfortable with frogging. I have reached the point where I can zen-frog. Just keep reminding yourself that it's all part of the process.
- Be patient - anything worth doing well takes time and practice.
- Give yourself credit – designing isn’t easy!
As a post script to the article I would like to add that making up a pattern exactly like the original (as many of us are wont to do as perfection is sometimes hard to improve upon) can be very difficult even if you use the same yarn and needles. Individual gauge, style, and dyelots etc. accounts for a lot of that. Any time you actually alter a pattern you are taking a risk. I am happy to help with any advice you need regarding one of my designs.