For many, this may be the most daunting part of the whole designing process. How do I get my ideas into a form that someone else can not only read, but successfully make the garment.
My first suggestion, start small! Don't take on a cardigan pattern as your first pattern, maybe a hat or baby item. Something that is a page or two of written instructions without too many places to go wrong.
My very first pattern was Basket Weave Baby Blanket. It is a very easy project with no shaping. You cast on a certain number of stitches, work a pattern for a certain length, and cast off.
Second, use a spreadsheet. A spreadsheet is an invaluable tool to help with working out the math. Here's a sample for a simple hat.
Using simple calculations in the spreadsheet allows you to see the information you need for your pattern. For instance, calculating how many stitches to cast on for your hat. This would be Desired Circumference * stitches per inch. If I use a formula, I can then change my gauge and the numbers will automatically change based on the gauge I am using.
Third, use a document program. I use Word but you can use any document writing program you are comfortable with. Using your own style, write out your pattern in knitting terms. For example ...
Using US5 16" circular needle, cast on 56 (70, 84, 98, 112) sts. Join for working in the round being careful not to twist. Place marker.
Rnd 1: *K1, P1; Repeat from * around.
Repeat this rnd until ribbing measures 2 inches from cast on edge.
Next Rnd: Work chart 4 (5, 6, 7, 8) times around
Repeat this rnd until hat measures 5 (6, 7, 8, 9) inches from cast on edge.
Fourth, use formating. Format your document to make it pretty. It is very helpful to look at lots of other free patterns on Ravelry (and the web) to find a style you like. Which font, layout, pictures, boxes, etc. will you use.
Fifth, create a pdf. If you plan to publish your pattern to Ravelry then you will need to convert your document to a .pdf file. This is easy ... search the web for a free pdf converter (there are many to choose from) and submit your document. The will either email you the .pdf or you can download it from their website. Don't forget to look at the pdf to make sure all your formatting looks good.
Finally, publish your pattern. Put your pattern on the web so others can share in your victory!!
Next week, what about Marketing ....