When our Yarn Doctors are out and about on our stands at craft shows, one of the regular questions that people ask is “where can I find patterns?”.
There are a number of answers including a wide range of knitting and crochet magazines, and browsing the pattern leaflets at your local yarn shop. Your local yarn store owner will no doubt have an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of patterns available, but if you still can’t find what you are looking for, another useful tool is Ravelry.com.
Ravelry, the online knitting and crochet community, has a database with over 400,000 knitting and 200,000 crochet patterns including patterns from books, leaflets and magazines. Most entries include a picture or several, yarn and needles details and where to find the pattern (for example the leaflet number or magazine edition, and whether it is available online).
You can just browse popular patterns on the site but several hundred thousand options would take a while, so Ravelry has created a range of filters to help you find what you are looking for.
To narrow down you search you can choose different types of pattern in terms of knitting versus crochet, clothing or other projects, size, and yarn weight etc.
You can also choose options such as types of colour work, whether there are lace or cables, and even styles of pattern such as written versus charts.
As you make your choices the range of patterns reduces until you have a manageable number to browse.
You can also use the search box to look for patterns using a particular yarn or brand or from a particular source.
For example in the screengrab below, you can see a search for UK Hand Knitting which has brought up images for our baby patterns. I could further narrow down my search by clicking to only search for patterns using 4ply and including preemie sizes.
I could also have searched for a particular yarn that I have in my stash to find patterns using it.
Once you have picked out a pattern you might want to make, you can save it to your “queue” – a list of patterns you like on your own account, which is very handy because it is easy to find the pattern again. Below I’m saving the particular UK Hand Knitting pattern I want to use – now I have the details for when I’m ready to buy and use it.
The queue function also comes in handy when you spot a pattern in a magazine or book, or even in a pattern selection in a shop, that you might want to make in the future.
For example, it can be very frustrating flicking through a pile of magazines trying to remember where you saw that perfect cabled sweater. But if you search for the sweater on Ravelry and add it to your queue it will be much easier to find it in the future (as long as you keep the magazine). And if the pattern isn’t yet in the database, there are straightforward instructions to help you add it so you, and others, can track it down again in the future.
It can take a little bit of organisation to start your queue but once you have it, it is easy to browse all the things you want to knit and find where to access the patterns.