Often we fall in love with knit and crochet patterns based on completed projects we see. Sometimes, however, the project isn’t quite to our liking. Learning to see through projects to what they could be when adapted will increase your options.
Case in point, my sister wanted a sock monkey ski helmet cover. Up to this point I had only crocheted a sock monkey hat. Rather than wait for a pattern to appear online, I used the basic directions for the sock monkey hat and adapted it where it needed it. Since I was making one for her husband as well, I decided to make them Mr. & Mrs. Sock Monkey. Simple adaptations in the form of eyelashes and longer stranded pom-poms feminized it. Adaptations in the form of increased rows and sizes of rows helped them fit on the helmets. I also decreased around the brim so it would naturally hug the helmet and stay on.
A simpler adaptation to make is changing color. It is amazing how different a project looks when done in a different color. For Christmas I made five ponies from the same pattern. I hate to say it but some of them were cuter because of the color of yarn! The more colorful ones reminded me of the “My Little Pony” toys. I also made other adaptations based on recipient request. One pony became a unicorn. Another a Pegasus. For the Pegasus, I followed the directions for the wings of a dragon. This simple change saved me lots of time in trying to create a wing pattern. The horn I had to made on my own.
I hate to say that the color can make or break the project, but it is true. There have been times where the project I made just didn’t work for me because of the colors I chose. It’s a little disheartening when you spend so many hours on the project!
Making adaptations is easier to do when you have experience making similar projects. I made a Max doll from “Where the Wild Things Are” for my nephew. There were a few aspects of the original pattern I didn’t like. Because I had made a similar sized doll before, I used the leg construction of the other doll to make the legs for Max. I also made a different crown because I didn’t like the one in the pattern. Minor adjustments to the eyes, nose and hair, and I was much happier with the doll.
I followed the entire pattern for the giraffe project (below) except for the spots. It called for sewed spots. I wasn’t sure I would do them adequately so I crocheted each spot. In the end it was probably the longer/slower way to make the spots, but I was happy with the result. It was a minor change, but had a significant impact aesthetically.
Adapting patterns may require extra time and reworking of various sections, but they can be well worth the effort. Give yourself plenty of time to play with the pattern and don’t be afraid to experiment with color. You may not like every change you’ve made, but that will add to your knowledge of the craft and help you make future decisions.