Design Evolution

Have you ever wondered what the process is from conception to publication of crochet designs?  I hadn’t really thought about it much until 3 years ago when I decided I’d like to try selling some of my designs to magazines.

Photo from DRG Publishing

My most recent published design, Plum’s the Word Shawlette, is available now on the Crochet! website as a web Extra to their Winter 2011 print edition.  You can see more details on page 79 of the magazine, or if you are a digital subscriber go to

The beginning of this design was born during my family’s Spring Break road-trip in March 2011.  As always for a road trip I made sure to pack one of my suitcases full of yarn, hooks and stitch dictionaries. One of the yarns I had packed was Premier’s Alpaca Dance. 

As I have freely confessed many times, I have a bit of a thing for unusual yarns (sometimes called “novelty” yarns).  If it is fluffy or sparkly it is very likely to catch my eye.  I am particularly fond of soft fluffy yarns.  Though they can be a bit of a trial when having to frog back stitches (I have a few helpful hints in this post on working with these types of yarns).

When I design with yarns like that I want to use stitch patterns that are less likely to cause grinding of teeth. So I knew I wanted something that allowed the majority of the stitches to be worked into chain spaces instead of actual stitches.  Using a big hook is also helpful. 

I worked my swatches with my Laurel Hill M and L size hooks, deciding in the end that I was happiest with the swatch I had made with the L hook. 

I had been looking at the popularity of ruffled wraps, and started playing with Hyperbolic Planes as I swatched.

Because the fluffy yarn has a lovely halo effect, I knew that a lacy open stitch pattern would look very delicate and still make a warm fabric.  Ideal characteristics for a feminine scarf or shoulder wrap. 

Since this was a fairly small project idea, I decided to work a larger swatch to check my increase calculations and made an actual shawlette. 

This photo was one I included to show the shawlette in my proposal for a “Fluffy Ruffles” Shawlette/Scarf to Crochet! Magazine.  I also used Universal Yarns’ Swiss Mohair to create a swatch of the stitch pattern as another suggested yarn for this pattern.

When the editors reviewed my proposal they thought the lighter weight yarn would be a better match and they wanted to use the design in the “Winter 2011” issue of the magazine.  I finished the final sample in the chosen yarn and wrote up the pattern, then sent them off to the magazine staff at the end May 2011.

After that my focus was swatching and working on other design ideas.  I was excited when my CGOA copy of the Winter Issue came in the mail as I  remembered I had a design in it.  But when I looked at the design names I didn’t see “Fluffy Ruffles”.  Then I spotted the information and photo on page 79.  My design now had a new name, and was one of the Web Bonuses available to Crochet! readers.

And that my dear readers is my part of the story of  design evolution.

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