Few online communities are as welcoming and open to beginners as those devoted to the ancient craft of knitting. In order to promote an appreciation and love of the utilitarian art, they provide thousands of free patterns for personal, charitable, and occasionally commercial use. Ranging in skill level from the very basic to the masterful, they all provide an excellent service for those seeking to personally craft their own wardrobe and home, give a highly personal gift, or donate to a beloved charity.
1. Ravelry : Ravely easily exists as the most bustling knitting community on the internet, where hobbyists and professionals alike gather to share their projects and experiences, show off their yarn stash, and – of course – post knitting and crochet patterns. Every skill level of every possible project imaginable can be found on the 500 pages dedicated solely to completely free instructions. Even more are available directly from the designers for a fee. Smaller special interest groups have sprung up within the larger site as well, making it even easier to look for patterns conforming to highly specific needs and interests.
2. Knitty : A free online magazine devoted solely to knitting, patterns sit nestled alongside tips, tricks, and stories. They can be found either by type or by columnist and cover a wide variety of personal styles, from understated classic cardigans to flashy and fun rockabilly skirts. All patterns are ranked with a quirky system lining difficulty levels up with a corresponding degree of spiciness.
3. Daily Knitter : Comprehensive without veering too far into dizzying overstimulation, the Daily Knitter offers up a staggering array of patterns for clothing, accessories, housewares, toys, and novelties alongside a directory of local yarn stores and quick tips for those stuck on a stubborn or unwieldy stitch.
4. Elann.com : Not only does Elann.com provide an excellent and broad spectrum of pattern types and styles, but it also sells the discount yarns to go with them as well – up to 84% off luxury and designer brands. In addition, the site allows users to swap out unwanted skeins from their stash with other knitters as well as chat about related topics.
6. Vogue Knitting : High fashion meets handicrafts at Vogue’s knitting website. Inspired by seasonal runway trends, their free patterns allow knitters to sport chic designer styles for only the price of yarn and needles. Additional patterns can be bought through their shop, with the most expensive holding a $7 price tag.
7. Knitting on the Net : Run by The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting author Barbara Breiter, Knitting on the Net hosts free patterns in addition to a stitch dictionary to assist and inspire those wishing to create their own. She also provides a comprehensive glossary to explain all the terms and techniques she uses in all her designs.
8. Free Vintage Knitting : For knitters interested in selling their wares but weary about the copyright and legality issues associated with patterns, everything featured on Free Vintage Knitting has already passed into the public domain. They are free for commercial use and do not require royalties. As a result, however, all the available patterns are limited to much older fashions. Those seeking something more contemporary would not find much to satisfy their aesthetic.
9. Crystal Palace Yarns : Like many yarn companies, Crystal Palace Yarns supplies consumers with complimentary patterns specially tailored to flaunt the texture and quality of their merchandise. However, it is entirely possible to switch out the recommended yarn with one from a different brand provided it is of the same weight and gauge. Crystal Palace provides a generous amount of projects with a heavy emphasis on clothing.
10. Lion Brand Yarn : One of the most trusted purveyors of reasonably priced yarns, Lion Brand offers over 2,000 free patterns featuring their respected products. Their highly specific search criteria allow users to find projects based on skill level, yarn type, and what they are interested in making. Some designs can only be accessed with a free membership.
11. Knit Picks : From the elegant to the kitschy, Knit Picks provides free patterns as well as designer exclusives for $1.29 for a PDF file and $2.99 for a printed version. They also sell kits for sweaters, scarves, ornaments, and other projects that contain absolutely everything necessary for completion.
12. Knitting Knonsense : Dishcloths, potholders, and afghan squares stand as one of the easiest projects for beginners and quick, personable gifts for the most advanced. This site focuses almost exclusively on squares with geography, animal, holiday, letter, and number themes.
13. KnittingHelp.com : Though better known for their highly informative instructional videos, Knitting Help.com does dedicate a portion of the site to free patterns as well. Most of their offerings focus on clothing for women and children.
14. Bernat : Another yarn company advertising their products with enticing complimentary patterns, Bernat even includes an option allowing users to visualize finished projects in a different color yarn. However, the site requires a free membership in order to access the instructions.
15. Caron : Offering free patterns to accompany their various lines of yarn, Caron proudly supports Friendshipshawl.org and Rwanda Knits. They also feature free, stylish, and attractive XXL patterns for women whose body type oftentimes goes overlooked when it comes to fashion.
16. Knitting-and.com : A colorful, eclectic site, Knitting-and.com provides dozens of fun, quirky, and creative patterns, stitches, and color charts. Author Sarah Bradberry also hosts a helpful wiki for readers as well as a comprehensive list of charities in Australia who accept knitted and crocheted items for donation.
17. FreePatterns.com : Catering to crafters of all kinds, FreePatterns.com offers instructions for projects of varying styles and difficulty levels. They carry an especially generous selection of both knit and crochet afghan patterns appropriate for almost every interior.
18. Knitting for Charity : While their patterns can be knit for personal or gift use, the main emphasis of this site lay predominantly with items requested by charitable organizations. They also provide information regarding nonprofits accepting knitted or crocheted goods as well as listing what each one needs most. Featured charities run the gamut from providing caps for chemotherapy patients to scarves and gloves for mariners.
19. Craftbits.com : Focusing more on a funky, quirky aesthetic, Craftbits.com offers knitters and other creative types the ability to rate their patterns, leave comments, and even enter contests to win supplies. Aside from Ravelry, they seem to carry to best selection of knitted novelties and amigurumi toys, mostly involving some sort of food or treat.
20. Yarn Lover’s Room : In addition to hosting their own knitting and crocheting patterns, the Yarn Lover’s Room also serves as a directory where users can submit free instructions from elsewhere on the internet. The site posts antique patterns as well, though with the restriction that they be used only for personal, gift, or charitable purposes.
21. Hello Yarn : Most of the patterns on Hello Yarn involve complicated fair isle and cabling techniques, so only the adventurous should venture here. However, those advanced enough to brave the skull cable or snail mittens will find themselves handsomely rewarded with lovely items in the Norwegian and Aran traditions or inspired by contemporary geek culture.
22. About.com: Knitting : The blog on the knitting portion of About.com thoughtfully offers suggestions for patterns based on the time of year. October brings Halloween and breast cancer awareness projects to the forefront, though knitting patterns for other holidays are still available year-round. This site focuses almost exclusively on accessories, housewares, afghans, and baby items as opposed to clothing.
23. DROPS Design : Run by Garn Studios in Norway, DROPS boasts patterns in 10 different languages in addition to selling almost 30 unique varieties of yarn. Most of their featured designs draw their inspiration from diverse sources, though they most frequently blend sensual catwalk fashions with traditional Scandinavian motifs.
24. Purple Kitty : Featuring an eclectic mix of knitting, crochet, and cross-stitch patterns, Purple Kitty reprints site all content with permission from Coats & Clark, Inc. Their free pattern squares serve as an intriguing – if not downright stunning – starting point for those desiring to design their own projects.
25. p2 designs : p2 designs places heavy emphasis on charity knitting projects, offering patterns mainly for chemotherapy patients, toddlers, babies, and premature infants. They provide an impressively long list of charities, mostly involving the care and support of children and displaced families all over the world. Any pattern not related to a charity must be purchased through their website.
Regardless of the intended recipient, a hand knit item always makes for an excellent gift for any occasion or a gracious, thoughtful donation to a charitable cause. Crafters no longer have to scour endless stacks of books and pamphlets in order to find the perfect pattern. With these websites, it is possible to quickly, easily, and – most importantly – painlessly find something appropriate for everyone from a finicky teenager to a classy grandmother to a shivering homeless man.