I don't know how many times someone has looked at my work and said to me, "Wow, that's so amazing. I wish I could design my own crochet patterns, but I could never do it. I'm just not that talented."
Not true! Designing doesn't require a Talent - some mysterious gift that allows crocheted creations to spring from the fingers fully formed - it requires skill. Aren't those the same thing, you might wonder? Fortunately they're not - please allow me to explain the distinction. Talent is a natural or instinctive aptitude for something, whereas skill is defined as proficiency gained through training and experience. Certainly talent assists a designer, but what is essential is a willingness to work at it. The dependence on written patterns is a new phenomenon in the history of crochet - in fact, no written patterns were available at all until the 1840s. Before then, if a crocheter wanted to make something new, they had three options. One: look at crocheting that someone else had done and try to copy it; two: look at something not crocheted and try to make a piece of crocheting that imitated its structure, or three: make it up.
These options are still open to crocheters today. Although it may seem easier to simply follow step-by-step directions provided by someone else, it isn't very difficult at all to begin designing your own creations. All that is required to begin is a little basic knowledge of how crochet behaves and an idea of what to make. This is the way I was taught to crochet, and the way my mother still works (she won't touch written directions). If you've ever worked like that, then you're well on your way! Even if you've been following patterns the whole time you've been crocheting, you have a bit of a head start. Although you may not realize it, by following the directions of other designers, you've been learning how they solved design problems and created specific shapes.
With this in mind, please join me and get ready to create with my new tutorial series: How to Design.