I am so excited to have a guest post for you today from crochet designer Linda Skuja of Eleven Handmade Crochets. I absolutely love Linda’s crochet designs, which I think are truly contemporary high-fashion looks. And in this guest post she talks about a topic that’s of great interest to me, which is the idea of relying on your crochet pattern designer for support when you run into difficulties with a pattern.
About Linda Skuja and Eleven Handmade
Before digging into her guest post, let me tell you just a little bit about Linda. Actually, I’ve mentioned her on this blog a few times before:
- In my post on Latvian crochet bloggers, I said: “Blogger Linda Skuja makes really beautiful crochet designs that are among my favorite of any crochet designer. She shares great photos of her work, along with other news and information, on her blog. This blog is bilingual with English translations of all posts.”
- I also highlighted her research project about crochet-related hand pain. I explained: “She is studying Design at the University of Pennsylvania and has an assignment to make a design that solves a problem; crochet-related hand pain is the unique problem she has chosen.”
- And last year I named her one of my top ten crochet heroes, saying: “If I could crochet like any crochet designer out there working today I would make the designs that Linda makes. A recent achievement I’m jealous of is that she helped a fashion designer create designs that were shown at New York Fashion Week.”
The Topic: Indie Pattern Support
What Linda talks about in the guest post below is a common question that I’ve seen come up in the pattern design world. When you purchase a pattern from an independent designer you often get the chance to interact directly with that designer, which is terrific. That means that if you run into confusion over the pattern, you can reach out and chat with the designer to solve the issue.
Some people never take advantage of this because they don’t want to bother the designer, which is unfortunate because that’s truly one of the benefits of purchasing directly from a pattern designer. On the other hand, some people take far tooooo much advantage of this and really pester designers with questions that are beyond the scope of what the designer is being paid to offer. It’s up to the designer at that point how to handle the situation and it varies a lot from person to person depending on their own needs, time availability, etc. Linda shares her opinions on the topic from the perspective of one designer, and I think that this is really valuable information! So here it is …
Guest Post by Linda Skuja
Forks Sweater Crochet Pattern by Linda Skuja
Recently an interesting discussion arose about one of the questions of the day Kathryn was posting on her social networks. The question was: “A pattern you’re working through isn’t working out. What do you do?”
There were 4 types of answers:
- Abandon the project;
- Rip out, and try one more time;
- Work the pattern in your own creative way;
- Search for help in online forums or at real life crochet-friends.
I, on the other hand, pointed out that you can always ask the designer for help if it’s an indie pattern.
But should you? It depends …
Here are some cases in which asking the designer for pattern support is and isn’t a good idea.
Asking the designer for help IS a good idea if:
- The pattern you have bought is made and published by an indie designer. An indie designer is the person who stands behind the whole process of that pattern – starting from design idea through publishing the pattern.
- You correspond to the skill level necessary for making the pattern. The designer can help you if you have bumps in your way, but he/she won’t teach you the skills that are indicated in the pattern as necessary skills.
- You want to ask specific questions about the finished item. For example, the designer will most likely be able to consult you about which yarns work best for the kind of item you are working on.
Asking the designer for help IS NOT a good idea if:
- The pattern has been published in a magazine or yarn company’s website. This means that the designer is being hired by the magazine/yarn company to make a pattern for them. It doesn’t count as an indie pattern. Although the designer has been behind some of the design stages (like design idea, making the item, pattern writting), the publisher has taken care of other stages of the pattern: tech editing, re-phrasing and formatting. Each designer has his or her own writting style and phrasing in their patterns, lots of times those patterns got re-written by publishers.
- You don’t have the skills necessary to make the pattern. Believe me, the designer will know whether you are just lost between lines or are underskilled. Of course, thumbs up for trying and giving yourself a challenge, but pattern help is not the same as crochet classes where you learn new skills. (Although every new pattern we go through is a new experience.)
- Someone you know (in real life or online) has gone through the exact pattern already. Sometimes it is easier to ask a person you already know. They can offer you support and tips in a friendly way. This may make more sense than contacting the designer directly if you have a reciprocal relationship like this in your crafty life.
I personally love helping my customers. I’m happy they are asking me for help, rather than just griping online that there is something wrong with the pattern. I admit that sometimes it is hard to keep track of all of my patterns, as I am releasing a few crochet patterns every month (the new pattern releases are always announced on my blog and you can get all of my latest news from my newsletter). But as long as the customer is clear in their request for information, I am usualy happy to help.
Here is what my ideal pattern support would look like; the customer would provide the following information in their request for help to make it easy for me to give them the support that they need:
- Which pattern are we talking about – preferably the original name of the pattern, not “that blue vest” which after few conversations will turn out to be the blue (or grey) jacket. We totally can skip those few conversations if you’re just clear about the name of the pattern you’re using.
- Where exactly you are stuchk. It helps a lot if you give me the number of the row and exact place (or line in the pattern) that doesn’t work out for you. This puts us both on the same page.
- Photos of your work help a lot! I can “read” stitches just by seeing a photo so it’s an even better way I can help you.
That’s all I need to know and I will be happy to help you out with the pattern.
Linda’s Patterns on Etsy
Drop Down Top crochet pattern from Linda Skuja
Linda also added at the end of her post:
“By the way – I am so happy Etsy is testing their instant downloads now. It just saves me so much time – leaving me more time for pattern support and creating new stylish crochet patterns. Check them out here.”
Note: the featured image at the top of this post is the Galactic Orbits Top crochet pattern.
QUESTION: Have you ever reached out to an indie crochet pattern designer for help with a pattern? What was the experience like for you? Answer in the comments below!