How to Find Free Crochet Patterns

My sister-in-law has taken to crochet and I couldn’t be happier! Being a novice, she asked me for advice on where she can find patterns. Personally, I don’t recommend that a beginner buy patterns. If you’re a beginner, I recommend you work with free patterns because it will allow you to see which stitches are going to be used (do you recognize the stitches used?). You’ll also get a chance to read the instructions (do they make sense to you?). Lastly, you’ll get an idea of which supplies you’ll need (do you have the right size hook? Do you have enough yarn?). Plus, if you’re barely starting out, use your money to build up your hook collection or yarn stash first. 🙂

So where can one find free patterns? Thanks to modern-day technology and the abundance of information, free patterns abound! Here are a few of my favorite hunting grounds…

Online Directories:

  • Crochet Pattern Central. I have lost track of how many hours (yes, hours) I have spent on this Crochet Pattern Central’s online directory. Projects are sorted by categories to help make your search a little easier. Ultimately, you’ll be able to link to the page where the pattern is housed. The only downfall is that you only have the name of the pattern to go off of, so you might spend some time clicking on multiple links before you find something that’s close to what you’re looking for.
  • All Free Crochet. Similar to Crochet Pattern Central, All Free Crochet has patterns sorted by categories. Once you’re in a category, you can sort alphabetically, or by most/least recently added. Plus, you’re able to see a picture of the project in the results. Another great thing, is that this website offers a “Tutorials” link which is always helpful for beginners.
  • Craftsy.com and Ravelry.com. Online social networking communities are great places for fiber artists to collectively share their patterns. Some patterns might come with a small fee but there are plenty of free patterns available as well. On Craftsy, you can sort by craft type (so, crochet); then you can sort by difficulty. If you do an additional sort by lowest price, the free patterns will be listed first.  On Ravelry, you’ll have to create an account before you’re able to search for patterns.craftsy screen shot 122013

Yarn Brands
Many yarn companies, have their own websites and host their own free patterns. My favorites include those by Red Heart, Lion Brand, and Yarnspirations.com. The last one is a unique one because it’s the collective home for yarn brands Bernat, Caron, Patons, and Lily Sugar ‘n Cream. The great thing about Red Heart and Lion Brand is that they also have apps you can download so you can search for patterns from your smart phone device.

Youtube
One of the great things about searching for patterns on Youtube, is that many designers will post videos to show you how to crochet a project – great for the many of us who are visual learners. Two of my favorites include Maggie Weldon’s channel and Crochet Geek by Teresa Richardson.

Fellow Bloggers
There are so many of us out there and a lot of us like to share what we do and will gladly offer free patterns. google searchSearching through Ravelry, Craftsy, and even Pinterest, you’ll find that a lot of those patterns are offered by fellow bloggers. Another way to find them and their free patterns is by doing a Google search; no, really, just Google them. A search such as “free crochet pattern baby booties” will give you many results, most of which will lead you to a blogger’s page.

Where are your favorite places to search for free patterns?

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I’m in Love with the Shell Stitch

I probably first used the shell stitch when I was pregnant with my boy – I made him a pair of mittens and a coordinating sweater. Yet, I want to say that I first fell in love with the shell stitch when I came upon Crochet Dynamite’s Shell Stitch Business Card Holder. I needed something small and cute that I could use to keep my preferred customer cards – primarily, my Bibo Coffee Co. punch card. This pattern was perfect! Inspired, I put my own spin on Crochet Dynamite’s pattern for my very own card holder. Shell Stitch Card Holder

Then last week, while browsing through Pinterest, I found a pin to The Diplomatic Wife’s Wine Glass Cozies. A coaster and a cozy in one? Brilliant! However, I wanted a cozy that could show a little bit of flair without being over the top. I couldn’t help myself and went with a shell stitch. The bottom (the coaster part) is single crochet in the round so that the shell stitch is really only on the visible (top) part of the cozy.IMG_7856

Then, in an encore presentation, the shell stitch came up again over Christmas holiday with my in-laws. I had a skein of Sheep(ish) by Vicki Howell that had been begging me for over a year to turn it into something beautiful. So I decided to make a hat for my eldest niece. Even though I start with double crochet stitches in the round for the crown and end in single crochet stitches for the brim, the shell stitch is definitely the star of the show. Girl's Shell Stitch Hat

And so my love affair is sealed as I’m sure it won’t be the last time this stitch appears in one of my creations. Do you have a special stitch (be it basket, crocodile, bobble, or other) that you find yourself drawn to more than others?

Knitting with a Crochet Hook…Kinda (Part 2)

In my previous post, I showed you what I was able to create with a knook. Here is a summary of my experience using a knook for the first time…

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Practice Swatch

In the beginning:
– The foundation chains are stitched the same as with regular crochet.
– The first row is worked a lot like tunisian crochet. You insert the hook, yarn over, and pull up a loop; repeat until the last chain. The instruction booklet and video tutorials make it a point to caution you about not doing a crochet yarn over since a knook yarn over is different. This especially becomes important when you do the knit and purl stitches.
– I have having a very difficult time getting the stitches to look even. I realized that this was also my problem when using regular knitting needles. So I did a swatch to practice the stitches. Once I was more confident with holding the knook and thread, I went back to the cozy pattern.

During:
– I tend to crochet with aluminum hooks so the feel of the wooden knook was a little odd to me. The knook wasn’t sliding well between stitches. Then I remembered a trick I had read: run the hook through your hair, as close to your scalp as possible. The natural oils in your hair are supposed to help – and wouldn’t you know, it did!
– One of my “a-ha” moment revolved around how I hold the instrument. When crocheting, I hold the hook like a pencil. Yet when knitting, I hold the needle like I would a knife. This further helped me understand why I was having such a difficult time getting even tension with my stitches. Somehow, having this realization helped me gain more confidence in my knooking. To humor myself, I tried to hold the knook like I do a hook and it felt awkward.
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In the end:
Let’s start with the pluses…
– I enjoyed using my knook. I found it a lot easier to control the yarn with one hand and let my other one do the stitches (like crochet) without having to coordinate the use of both of my hand to complete a stitch (like in knitting).
– You can’t tell the difference between a product that was knitted and was that one knook-ed.
– I still love crochet very much and will more than likely keep preferring it over knitting. At least now, I feel that I have a “cheater” method if I happen to fall in love with a knitting project.
– Leisure Arts, the creators of the Knook, have great instructional videos on YouTube. When the written instructions got a little fuzzy, I was able to go online and find the tutorial video to go along.
And the minuses…
– I wish there was a way to purchase different size knooks without having to purchase an entire kit. Perhaps if we help spread the word about the knook, Leisure Arts will sell individual knooks and not just kits? 🙂
– If you’re not careful, you will lose stitches and if you don’t have a good grasp of the basics of knitting, you will be in a world of hurt trying to pick up your stitches. With this in mind, if you do wish to purchase a kit, I would recommend you spend a little more and get the Knook Expanded Beginner Kit. Not only will you get more hooks but you’ll also get chord clips and those alone will be a lifesaver.

Do any of you have experience using a Knook? If so, what kind of projects have you completed with it?

Photo Credit: Crochet Hook Holding by Boys Can Crochet.