It had to happen sooner or later. You have been crocheting for a while, working to improve your skills, making a few subtle changes to the pattern when needed, and eventually your confidence grows. You scour the internet for the perfect pattern for that beautiful yarn you have been hoarding. Looking online you see so many great designs but nothing is quite right. None of them strike the chord. Eventually you ponder…do I have what it takes to design my own pattern? Of course you do…why not?
For me the yarn often inspires the pattern. It might be the color, the fiber content, the yardage, or the yarn weight. Perhaps it is the season, the holiday, or or some other upcoming event that determines the next make. Whatever the motivation is that jump starts the desire, or need, to design your first project, it all comes down to the yarn.
Is it the best yarn for the project? How will the fabric drape? Will it wear as it should? Will it be easy to launder or will it require special handling? How will this yarn swatch? Which hook will be required to reach gauge? Is there enough?
In May while on a road trip with my daughter to Glacier National Park and Flathead Lake, I was fortunate enough to be able to visit several Montana based yarn dyers and local yarn shops. While shopping at Camas Creek Cottage in Kalispell Montana, I picked up some Big Sky Yarn. The colors I chose, Blacktail and Ocean Breeze, were inspired by the lakes, rivers, and streams that are abundant in the region. There were various shades of rich blues, aqua, teals, and greens. I knew at that time that I wanted to make a scarf for winter. I bought two hanks and went online to find the perfect pattern. The problem, there were no patterns that really spoke to me. None that gave me the design vibe I had envisioned.
I knew I wanted a pattern with some movement and that would also mimic the many rivers I enjoyed while in the area. I wanted the scarf to use a stitch pattern that I have never used before and soon went onto YouTube to search for further inspiration. Eventually made my way to Bag-O-Day Crochet. Crystal had a cowl tutorial showing a variation of millstone stitch. Although she had done her cowl/infinity scarf in the round, I felt confident that I could use it for my Flathead River Scarf. I was excited to get started but it would have to wait until I returned home to Wyoming.
Once home and settled back into the reality of life, I was finally able to get to work on my first crochet design. I watched the video again and realized it wasn’t quite what I wanted. The undulating waves of the pattern were what I wanted but I felt it needed something more. With a little research, it didn’t take long to realize that the millstone stitch is also known as the brick stitch. Who knew? As in all crochet, there are multiple ways to do various stitches.
I remembered I had recently purchased The New Crochet Stitch Dictionary, by Nele Braas and Evelyn Hetty-Burkart. It was a new acquisition and I was excited to find the perfect stitch for my scarf. After perusing the book, I found stitch 344, Gentle Waves. It appeared to be another version of the millstone stitch. This one had a longer stitch repeat and two rows of single crochet between the main ripples. I liked the look of the two single crochet rows and how it seemed to separate the undulating waves a bit more. Imagining this would allow the contrast yarn color to stand out a bit more. I was liking how this was coming together.
Learning As I Go
I had balled the two hanks, grabbed a few various hook sizes, a project tote, and sat down to begin work on the scarf. After a bit of trial and error with swatching and color placement, soon realized I needed a third yarn color. Two balls were not going to be enough yardage and I felt the design needed another color between the waves. Wanting to alternate the tonal green with the variegated blue-green yarn, it needed a third color for the single crochet rows.
I went online and found a lovely teal from Sweet Mountain Crafts, a local indie dyer and maker based in Cody. I had been wanting to try her DK yarn and this was a perfect addition to my small batch indie dyer inspired scarf. The three colors work wonderfully together. Almost like they were meant to be! I ordered online. Fortunately she is local and was willing to meet me for delivery and soon I was back working on my project.
Really wanting to personalize the scarf as much as possible, and being I am not a huge fan of treble crochet, I decided to omit them all together. I also didn’t want the longer stitch row repeat so I shortened it up a bit. Knowing three hanks would be more than enough, I even decided to add fringe to finish off the project. First time for fringe! I don’t want to give away all the pattern details but let’s just say I am very happy with my first finished pattern design.
Wrapping It Up
My scarf is complete. It was a fairly easy make and took but a few days to complete once I got the kinks worked out. It took much longer to research and plan than it did to crochet.
Now the hard work begins. I need to finish writing the actual pattern. Thankfully I took notes along the way and have my new design nearby for reference. I love the way the Flathead River Scarf turned out. The colors are great together, the fabric is soft next to my skin, and it is beautiful! Not bad for my first design. No doubt this just the beginning of my crochet design career!