6 Easy Ways to Find Knitting Patterns
Before getting into the list, I just want to say, hi friends! I have always found blogging so daunting, but I came to a realization recently that kind of blew my mind and changed my perspective.
Instagram, the main place I share my knitting pursuits, is a type of blog. The caption is a wee little mini blog, and the story highlights are the archives. And even better, hashtags make it so easy to find and follow blogs you like. Anything you are looking for, you can find it here.
So since I have no trouble writing Instagram posts, I'm going to take a crack at blogging and transform some of my most popular Instagram topics into what I hope will be really useful blog content for you.
Why are we talking about alternative places to find patterns?
Ravelry, as you may know, has gone from being our most loved and most popular resource, to a divisive issue. The changes to their graphic design this past spring resulted in many users reporting serious health issues after using the new website. The response was disappointing, considering that we have come to expect Ravelry to put inclusiveness and community at the forefront of their decision making. Many of us have felt forced to choose sides, and many of us had no choice at all.
Designers like myself are at a loss. We have begun offering our patterns on alternative sales channels, but without a reliable central database, how will crafters find us? Many pattern designers who needed an alternative place to sell have created shops on their personal websites, Payhip, and Etsy, but of these options, Etsy is the only one that allows you to browse search results. Still, it is a little cumbersome to narrow down relevant results, even when using lots of keywords.
Here are a few places to I love to look for new patterns to try:
Ribblr is a new pattern database that includes free and paid knitting, crochet, and sewing patterns. I was fortunate to be involved in the designers' beta testing and try out all of the features. The patterns are uploaded into Ribblr's template so they become "interactive", including the charts, allowing you to mark your progress as you go. Your pattern library is also accessible on their app. Patterns can also be downloaded in PDF format if you prefer to be able to print a hard copy. For those looking for a browsable and searchable database, Ribblr delivers.
Pinterest is sometimes mistaken as a social networking site, but it is actually a powerful, image-driven search engine that DIYers and crafters have embraced when seeking inspiration. The needlecraft specific search filters that we enjoy on Ravelry are not present here, but keyword searches are very effective. Savvy designers know that creating pins with the right keywords will help crafters find their patterns.
Hashtags on Instagram and groups on Facebook are great places to browse for designers and patterns you haven't seen before. Try following hashtags like #knitdesign or #knitdesignersofinstagram to see what's new, or #testknit to help a designer test out a new design (for free!)
Reddit also has r/knitting where community members share their finished objects, resulting in lots of design inspiration. The RavBot automatically scans for Ravelry page information and adds it to posts so you can find out all the pattern details without having to search for it yourself.
Following hashtags and designers you like is a great way to see what's new, but know that due to the algorithm Instagram uses, you won't see every new post in your feed. It's a good idea to subscribe to a designer's email list, or check out their stories, to make sure you don't miss anything. Many designers also have bonus offers for their email subscribers, such as discounts on new patterns, early releases, and test knit opportunities.
Yarn Company Websites
So many yarn companies offer patterns directly on their sites, and many have huge, searchable collections of free patterns. Several yarn companies commission new patterns from little freelance designers like me, so this is one situation where you can feel good about shopping from the big guys. Here are some great places to browse:
Lion Brand (many for free)
Biscotte Yarns (many for free)
Brooklyn Tweed (mainly paid)
Knitpicks (many paid)
Sorry not sorry, of course I'm going to plug my project! The Accessible Patterns Index is something I've talked about before. The site design is tailored to a specific audience, but if you are no longer using Ravelry, we are indexing many of the same patterns there, and linking to designers' personal webpages, Etsy, and Payhip shops as sources whenever possible. Since there's no way to search for shops on Payhip at this time (but you can Follow shops you like), the Index is a way to find designers who are listing their patterns in alternative places.
Do you have a favourite place to search for patterns that's not listed here, or a Payhip, Etsy, or personal shop of your own? Share your links in the comments below!