Transforming a Crochet Pattern from Great to Fabulous

Last week, Toni told you about the elements of a successful submission to Interweave Crochet>. This week, I'll give you a little behind-the-scenes peek at what can happen to a submission after it's accepted.

Sometimes we accept submissions, then make a few changes. Maybe we tweak the collar on a cardigan. Or add a detail. Or subtract a detail. Or we might turn a scarf into a shawl. Or a shawl into a scarf.

And sometimes, we make bigger changes.

When Sharon Falkner's Tunisian entrelac submission came in, we knew from her swatch that we had something special.

In Sharon's submission packet (over at the left there), if you squint a bit at the image above the swatch, you'll see a picture of the finished sample project and a sketch of the design (good job, having both in the submission packet!).

Look and you'll see that it's … a neckwarmer!

It's a pretty swell neckwarmer, but we felt that great design could become something fabulous. (I should note here that we might not have been so taken with it if we didn't have the swatch to pick up and examine. The Tunisian entrelac technique is intriguing to look at in its real entity.)

So I contacted Sharon and asked her if she'd be interested in making a ruana.

Here's her response:  "I thought, sure!  Now what's a ruana?  So I googled it to find out," she says, "It was a little daunting to think of it 'growing' from a little neckwarmer to something that ended up the size of an afghan! That was the first challenge."

Sharon stepped up to the challenge, and as a result, her very first submission to Interweave Crochet graced on the cover of the Winter issue. 

Interweave Crochet But there was some heavy work in between.

In addition to changing the garment construction, we changed the yarn. The neckwarmer called for a bulky yarn, good for a small piece of Tunisian entrelac, but too bulky for a large garment (again, we could tell the heft of the yarn from the swatch—love those swatches!). We selected Universal Wisdom Limerick, a superwash merino single-ply, a DK (double-knitting weight) with great color change for a fluid change of color without having to change yarns (and weave in ends).

“When the yarn came,” Sharon says, “I immediately tore it open and started making huge swatches to find the right hook size for the yarn, the right entrelac square size, the right drape to make it a wonderful, wearable piece for any size/shape woman.”

Through this early process, Sharon and I were in close contact, as she sent photos of different swatches for feedback.

“I think I spent close to two weeks swatching, calculating and experimenting before sitting down to actually start,” Sharon says. “It’s one of those things where sometimes a little practice in the beginning makes the end easier. I was able to write the basic tier instructions in that time as well. Then it was just a matter of making the full-size piece and fine-tuning the pattern as I went.”

As you can see, the time spent at the outset swatching and consulting resulted in a really fabulous garment.

We don't revise every submission so drastically, of course. Some accepted submissions are created just the way they are submitted. But sometimes we are drawn to make a good thing even better.

Our best advice to you is to submit your best designs. Note that your best design does not need to include every innovative thing you know about crochet. It's best to focus on one technique—maybe a clever pattern with simple finishing. Or a simple design with clever finishing. But not both. Let the hook meet the yarn and see what it creates.

We look forward to seeing your designs!


P.S. Starting on Tuesday, January 19, you'll find brand-new look on! Look for more details about our new site in next week's CrochetMe More enewsletter!

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