The Designing Process - Part Two: Planning and Supplies


Welcome back to The Designing Process series where we talk about the procedure of designing your own crochet patterns!

Last week I talked about where to get ideas, how to get inspiration, and what to do next. If you've just discovered this series, check out the introductory post here and part one here.

This week we're going to talk about the next step: planning and getting supplies!


Maui Beach Tote, a pattern I designed for Crochet Spot

Assess the Idea

So you have an idea and you want to know what to do next. Take a look at your sketch and assess the idea. What is it about your idea that you like most? What do you want to pay special attention to and what is it that you want your finished project to look like?

Some years ago I had sketched out an idea for a drawstring bag where the stiffness of the material made for a hardier design. Recently I remembered the sketch when I was looking for a project to make for Crochet Spot and decided to create it. It is called the Maui Beach Tote (find pattern at Crochet Spot or purchase your own at Ginger Peachy Store!). In starting I first took note of the main distinctions I would need so that this wouldn't be "just another" drawstring bag.

First of all, I knew I wanted the stitch choice to emphasize the look of strength and hardiness. I chose a simple pattern where one row is worked in single crochet and the second is also worked in single crochet but worked over the previous row so that the material has a great texture and a sturdy feel. I had used this briefly for my set of nautical coasters some time before when I wanted to imitate the look of coiled rope. (See it here!)


Second, I wanted a yarn that would complement my stitch pattern and work well for summer. This meant a yarn with little to no frizz so I went looking for a cotton or cotton mix. I did a little research and learned of Bernat Maker's Home Dec which is a cotton/rayon mix that looks more like t-shirt material than the average 4-ply fiber. I loved the look it gave to other's projects and knew it was just the yarn I needed to get the right effect.

Thirdly, I wanted a round bag, or rather a cylinder. So I knew I would need to work the pattern in the round first, which would take some testing.

And lastly, I wanted twisted cotton rope for the straps.

So take into account the specifics you are aiming for and make the decisions that will give you a result closest to the one you want.


Supplies for the Job

Now it is time to go beyond the level of the "idea" and begin the level of "creation". You know what you want, now to get it.


Yarn

Because yarn is such a basic factor in crocheting, that is normally where I like to start. What you decide to use may alter other aspects of your ideas, so I recommend start there.

There is a lot to consider in choosing yarn: size/weight, fiber, brand, style, and color. Don't let this daunt you, you can always stick with what is familiar. But don't be afraid to try something new every now and then.

Quantity is most important when you have chosen the yarn you want to use. All yarn crafters agree, buy as much as you think you will need at once to ensure the same dye lot as well as that you don't run out mid crafting. However, knowing how much to buy is something that takes a lot of experience, and no one can really know just how much they will use. I recommend erring on the side of caution and buying a little more than you think you will need. This is frankly essential, because you never quite know how many times you might have to begin a project and then rip it out and try again. With a fuzzy yarn, there are times when I have worked it so much that I simply cut away the used yarn and begin with fresh. But these are usually rare circumstances.


Hooks

Deciding upon the hook size should come next. On the yarn label you will find suggested hook and needle sizes which in my opinion are often larger than I would personally suggest. However, it's a good place to start, and from there you can begin swatching to see if you need to go up or down a size or more.

Choosing the right hook is essential for a satisfied drape, so don't underestimate this step.


Additional Material

After the yarn and hook, consider what else you will need. For example, I wanted to put a liner in my Maui Beach Tote so I made sure I had a sufficient amount of fabric and all the things that I would need for sewing.

For amigurumis, you may want special eyes, stuffing, felt, and anything else to achieve your design.

Sometimes the extra materials is what makes your project go from nice to adorable. Choosing the right elements is like putting a spotlight on the diamond necklace in the jewelry stores window. It highlights and grabs you attention.

Where to Get Supplies

This is hardly a subject most crafters need help with. Local craft stores are the optimal choice for your crafting needs. However, you may be like me, who's closest craft store is not so local. This is where online buying comes in really handy. Most of my supplies these days I have ordered from a handful of my favorite craft stores: Joann's, Knitting Warehouse, and Knit Picks for yarn, Hobby Lobby and Michaels for everything else.

There are a few letdowns to ordering, obviously. Getting color right is the most frustrating for me. For my bag, I wanted a bright yellow fabric but when I received it I realized the yellow was more dull. It worked out anyway in the end, but color, proper size and quantity are very important things to check when deciding to order you material.


I hope you have enjoyed what you've read! Let me know what you think or any questions you may have in the comments below or on any of my social media accounts.

Thanks for reading part two of The Designing Process series! Come back next week to learn about starting the project!

See other posts in this series:

Intro: Crocheting from Scratch
Part One: Developing an Idea

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