Look at Pattern Adaptation from a New Perspective

The Issue

Have you ever seen a pattern that you enjoy, only to be turned away by a design feature you dislike?
It’s happened to me a few times. Typically, people move on. Continuing their endless search for the pattern that will be a ‘perfect fit’. How do we go about avoiding that? Make it your own with pattern adaptation!

If you like a pattern, do not be discouraged from using it because it’s not your ideal design choice. As we craft, create, and construct; that’s exactly what we do, make choices. Just as a baby blanket would be made with soft, hypoallergenic yarn. Whereas a dishcloth or rug may be made with a rougher more durable yarn. You wouldn’t want to tread on and destroy high quality alpaca after all.

A Solution

I recommend evaluating what you like about the pattern, and then what you think it lacks. Reverse-engineering what you want in a finished piece is a great way to make steps to creating something that is truly your own and fulfills every desire you have. You don’t need to hold on to the pattern as a rigid mainframe. I truly believe creating those little additions to patterns gives it a personal touch and works on flexing your creative muscles. When developing projects you should consider: How can I make this project suit my style? What level of complexity do I want my adaptation to have? Who will be using the project?

I have an example of a project that I’ve been working on if you’d like to see my process first hand.
I have been working on an adaptation of the Spring Shawl by HookedByRobin.
If you would like to check out Hooked By Robin’s pattern then please follow along with the tutorial below, or show her some love on her platforms!

What I Like

My initial thoughts on that pattern: eye-catching, easy on the eyes, and overall enticing to make. A masterful use of colors with a simple design is definitely my type of pattern. Additionally, I live in Arizona, which means it get very hot. A lacey design is perfect for adding a layer during an outing without sweating buckets. Hooked By Robin has presented me with a pattern that ticks a lot of boxes!
Right off the bat there is not a lot I want to change; something I especially recommend for beginners. Please, do not wear yourself out trying to reinvent an entire pattern, at least until you gain more experience. My two cents for the day.

What I Dislike

Hot take: I dislike triangle shawls. They require too much wrapping to wear, which can be stifling. Furthermore, you end up with either too much fabric in front or back (however you decide to style it). I prefer crescent, trapezoid, or rectangle shawls. Using those shapes creates a better drape over the shoulders and gives you greater coverage where you need it. Moreover, I will also be changing the hook size to be 5.5mm instead of 4mm since I want the finished product to be very flowy and open. It is also due to my choice of yarn. I will get into that more in the next section.

Pattern Adaptation in Action

After identifying the areas I would like to alter; I can make a plan to improve the usability with the user in mind. HookedByRobin calls for one repeat resulting in two equal side of a triangle. Dividing the shawl in half. I will add another repeat, which will give me a pentagon which looks more like three quarters of a granny square. Just I mentioned before, I decided to increase my hook size because I will be using one strand of Yarn Bee Feeling Gradient in the color## along with a DK weight white yarn. This makes it almost equal to using a worsted weight yarn. Coupled with using a 5.5 mm hook means I will have large eyelets for a lacey shawl. My chosen combo provides a comfortable, lightweight, shawl with a beautiful color transition.

As the famous Maltese physician said…

“There is no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns.”

– Edward de Bono

The Results

After implementing the plan I am left with a product fit for the user. It fulfills all the conditions without having to reinvent the whole pattern. Pattern adaptation also eliminates the endless searching for a perfect pattern. Every pattern is perfect as long as it achieves the purpose that you made it for.

Whether it be practical, to cheer someone up, or to remind them that they are loved. Using your creativity to shine a light on the darkness in the world is one of the most fulfilling things you can do.

So what’s the conclusion?

Never make small tweaks to a pattern and then call it your own. Always give credit to the creator who inspired you. I can speak from the little that I have built so far, a lot of effort goes into building a business. Don’t take any of that away from them because you wouldn’t like it if it happened to you. Use pattern adaptation to spread joy and creativity; not copyright infringements. Let’s work to not repeat the same patterns and make each peice unique. Just as every person is unique. Just as you are unique.

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