How to create a pattern – Part 9: From base pattern to child pattern

In Part 2: How to create a pattern – Part 2: What is a base pattern and what is a child pattern I briefly touched on the subject of differentiating between base- and child patterns.

To summarize:

  • A base pattern is a structure on which many new patterns can emerge.
  • A base pattern consists of 2-4 steps, and no more than 2 different shapes.
  • A base pattern can be used by anyone to create more child patterns.
  • The name of the base pattern will be the family name. It’s important to keep it short!

When does a variation of a base pattern require a step-out:

  • It is too difficult for a new tangler to figure out how to draw the variation.
  • The variation is extremely beautiful and requires it’s own name. And here you have to trust my judgment. Sometimes I find a child pattern inspiring and worth sharing, sometimes I don’t think it’s necessary. When in doubt, ask before creating a step-out.
  • A shape has been replaced or added. When a circle is replaced with a spiral, it might not be necessary to create a new step-out. The change is not so drastic. Replacing a circle with an S-Shape however, might result in a completely different pattern.
  • The distance between shapes from the base pattern has changed.
  • The size of the shape has been changed and the base pattern might require additional guidelines.
  • The underlying grid/frame has changed.

Examples can be found in Part 7: How to create a pattern – Part 7: Creating variations

After you have created a base pattern, you can now go ahead a play some more to create a child pattern.

Draw your pattern a few times like shown in the example below:

Creating variations

Try to exchange shapes. We apply the “What if ..” method again.

What if … I replace the straight line with a C-Shape or an S-Shape? What if I exchange the circle with a drop? What if I replace the vertical line with a drop? What if I change the size of the circle?

I can go on for hours!

From the results of the “What if ..” exercise, you might create multiple child patterns, and sometimes even new patterns.

Back to Nicole’s play page:

Play Page by Nicole Dreyer 6

Why do these variations require a new step-out?

  • No 6 – Folded is one of the techniques that produce amazing results, but when looking at the pattern variation, a new tangler will be very intimidated.
  • No 13 – The result after adding Feathering is borderline. Before creating a step-out for this, the designer has to check the patterns to see if a similar one already exists. If the design is really unique, a new step-out can be created. In this case, I would not accept it as a new variation that needs to be posted on the website, because we have multiple patterns that are very similar to this one.
  • No 14 – Any seasoned tangler can see how this has been done, but not a beginner. It is also very interesting because with clever shading the end result can be very inspiring! This child pattern also allows adding different fill options, which in turn should be displayed as variations on the step-out.
  • No 20 – Simple, but effective! Again, with clever shading, this will be a nice child pattern. I would recommend to play some more with the basic idea and add line weight to make the difference between the base pattern and this child pattern more visible.
  • No 21 – Nicole changed the shape from a circle to a C (or half-circle). Easy enough to do, but she also used the Expand technique on the C-shape, plus line weight.  The result is totally different from the base pattern.

Especially when you exchange shapes of the base pattern, the variation might need to be shown as a child pattern! But always check the website to see if a similar pattern exists!



Commonly asked questions:

    • I created a base pattern. Can anyone make up child patterns from this base pattern?
      YES, they can! Base patterns are actually made for this purpose and I encourage people to play with base patterns! The pattern does not belong to you. The drawing of the step-out and the artwork are yours and protected by copyright law, but anyone is allowed to redraw this pattern. The reason why you asked to have your pattern published on the website should be, that you want to inspire others. For this reason alone, you should be proud if someone is using the base pattern to create a child pattern from it. While you were playing around with shapes, you probably also came up with simple patterns that have been stepped out already. The same might have happened to another pattern designer.
    • I created a pattern, but I can see that a base pattern already exists. Can I still create a new pattern and have it published on the website?
      YES, you can! All I am asking is to use the family name of the base pattern. Please do not give me examples of previously published patterns where this rule was not applied to. If I had known back in 2016 that this website would grow so large, I would have thought this through properly from the start and implemented the rule straight away.
    • I played with an existing base pattern and came up with a great new child pattern. Should I create a step-out for it?
      First, ask if this pattern is different enough to justify to have a step-out.
    • Do I always have to draw the steps again for the base pattern?
      YES, you have to. The templates are referred to everywhere on the internet. Pinterest is a good example. Each pattern or child pattern listed on the website has instructions that can be followed without the need to look at any other pattern.
    • I played with a pattern and came up with a page full of variations. Do I have to create a step-out?
      NO, you can play as much as you want and build up your own library. Playing with patterns is fun. Seasoned tanglers or people that practice CPT (Creative Pattern Tangling) create patterns all the time. Just keep in mind that one of the variations might be stepped out by someone else in the future. Anyone can come up with the same idea without having seen your play page.
    • Will you always tell me what I should do to my step-out?
      YES – if you want this pattern to be published on pattern-collections, I will always give advice. At the end of the day, it is your pattern and your decision on how to present the pattern. I give advice only! I am not telling you that you MUST do as I suggest! As long as the rules are met, your pattern will be published even if you don’t show 5 variations for example.
  • That’s all I can think off right now 😉

    After your first pattern has been published, you can continue onto the next part:

  • How to create a pattern – Part 10: The scale of your step-out and how to submit your pattern
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