Have you ever wondered what goes into designing and writing a crochet pattern? It’s different for everyone, but I thought it would be fun to share my process with all of you. This is part 7 of a series of behind-the-scenes posts, where you can join me as I work through a new design.
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The main portion of the pattern is done, and I’ve sent out a testing request. Now it’s time for the finishing touches, including photography and other images.
Getting the shot:
I am NOT a professional photographer. I’m getting better with practice, but this is still sometimes a lot of trial and error for me. I usually take about 15-50 shots before I settle on a few I like.
On the dress form:
I was on a deadline for the finished pictures since this is a Christmas present, so I tried to take some pictures of it on my dress form. Unfortunately, my dress form is about 4 sizes smaller than the vest. I tried padding it with towels and a shirt to make it fit.
After an hour or so and several different configurations, it just wasn’t going to work. The image I used for testing was the best one I was able to get.
A helping hand:
Luckily, I have the most amazing neighbors and friends, 2 of whom are approximately the right size. With nearly no notice, and despite her busy schedule, one of them was able to help me out. Normally I like natural light, so we had planned to go outside. When I walked into her living room though, light was streaming in through a window and her tree looked so pretty, I knew it would be the perfect backdrop.
Editing the photos:
I took about 15 shots in front of the tree. When I got home, I found three shots I really liked, and cleaned them up in Photoshop. I’m not good with getting the lighting right in photos, so that’s the first thing I fixed. Then I cropped the image to zoom in on the vest, and blurred out the background. Here’s the before and after of one of the images.
Choosing a name:
Before I can make the collage images with the pattern name on them, I need to name the pattern. For this one, I looked through a list of girls names. When I found one that felt right, I looked it up on Ravelry and saw that it also felt right to about 15 other designers, so I continued down the list. Finally I found one I liked that was also fairly unique, and has some personal meaning as well: Eleanora.
Creating collage images:
I could create the collage images in Photoshop as well, but there’s a faster and easier tool called PicMonkey. On this site, I upload the photos and arrange them as desired. Then I add backgrounds, titles, a watermark, and other details. There are 5 different images I need to create for each pattern (though sometimes I cheat and skip one or two).
- Square: For the featured image on the post, Instagram, and on my Free Patterns page.
- Ravelry: Also a square image, but per Ravelry guidelines it can’t have any wording on it other than my watermark.
- Craftsy: Through trial and error, I found that the best aspect ratio for Craftsy, so nothing gets cut off, is about 290 x 220
- Facebook: The best aspect ratio for a shared link is 1200 x 627. I also use this same image for Twitter and Google+
- Pinterest: No set aspect ratio here, but it needs to be tall rather than wide. Sometimes I’ll just use the square picture for this one if I’m in a hurry or can’t find an arrangement I like.
Now that I have the better photos done, I will replace the photo on the testing request. This may help make the pattern more attractive to testers.
As I made the sample, I took quick photos of anything I thought might be useful later. For example, using the stitch markers to mark the increases and decreases. These process photos need to be edited / cleaned up in photoshop too. Finally, I create any charts or diagrams needed, using a free vector image editor called Inkscape. In this case, I’ll be making a schematic diagram showing some of the different measurements. I’ve been updating my grading spreadsheet as I go, so all the measurements now match the actual stitch counts. Now I can easily pull the measurements for the schematic from there.
All the imagery is now done, as of 12/23. After the holiday weekend, I will work on the tutorial links and descriptions. Once the testing is complete, the last thing to do is make the pdf version and publish the pattern!