A crafter can never have too much yarn, too many patterns, or too many websites on which to waste hours and hours thinking about yarn and patterns. Which is why we have online stitch libraries. These are collections of patterns, motifs really, that have been organized by helpful souls and available for free.
Need a simple but pretty pattern stitch for your next baby blanket? Or maybe an easy bit of colorwork for a scarf? Or do you just like to look, surf, and get inspired? For me its YES to all of that. More often than not I’m browsing stitch libraries the way I browse cookbooks. I never know what I might find.
So today I’m sharing two of my favorite stitch libraries. These are maintained entirely by volunteers and made freely available to us greedy crafters. But before we start our browsing, I’m including a few words on how to use these patterns.
These are not patterns in the way of make-this-hat pattern. These are more like old fashioned stitch sampler patterns. They are written up in a generic sort of way so that you, the crafter, can use them for whatever you’d like to make. You decide how wide, how tall, what yarn, which hook, and so on. This is how our grandmothers made pretty much all their stuff.
Most of these stitch sampler patterns start with instructions like “cast on a multiple of 4 + 2“. Here is how you would handle that:
- come up with a number that can be divided by 4 (like 16, 20, 24, 28… and so on)
- cast on that amount
- then cast on 2 more
One more example. “chain a multiple of 9 plus 3“.
- come up with a number that can be divided by 9 (like 18, 27, 36, 45… and so on)
- chain that amount
- then chain 3 more
When I get started on one of these patterns, I do a little test. I’ll cast on/chain a small amount of stitches that meets the requirements of the stitch pattern but is in the neighborhood of 20 stitches. Then I work it up for a few inches. I want to see how it goes, how wide it is, and how it looks in the yarn I’m using with the hook/needles I’m using. Then I rip out and start “for real”. Practice never hurts!
Knitting On The Net is a wonderful site maintained by Barbara Breiter, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting and Crocheting Illustrated. Part of her website is an extensive Stitch Library organized into eight broad categories. Each pattern has a name and some of those names are familiar. You’ll recognize plenty of these stitch patterns from other places I’m sure. But some of them are pretty unusual, like Pavilion.
isn’t that lovely? I use this stitch library because the author (Barbara Breiter) has obviously made each sampler that she includes in her library. She is not merely lifting a pattern from somewhere else and re-posting it. I’m not going to promise you that this library is error-free, but its better that many (MANY) others out there.
If you poke around on a bit on her site (and why wouldn’t you???) you’ll find lots of other free goodies to keep you happy and avoiding your real life responsibilities. There is a nice knitting term glossary. There are LOTS of free patterns, and these are make-the-hat patterns. There are over thirty hats patterns in fact. You’ll also find socks, shawls, mittens, and so on.
One more thing before you head over there: you’ll need to use printfriendly.com. That third party site will take any webpage and turn it into a pdf file for you.
Visiting this site is like going to visit that wonderful great-aunt of yours in her old rambling home. Its a huge place stuffed with fascinating and beautiful things and you will get so turned around that you may never find your way back out. Its not well organized. Its difficult to find that any one specific thing. It has so many lovely patterns to teach you that you’ll forget whatever it was your looking for in the first place.
What could be better right?
I’ve been using this site for quite a while and I’ve got some tips for you. I don’t want to imply any criticism of the site or its author. My own web design skills are rudimentary to say the least (I took me 45 minutes to get the drop-down menus on the top nav bar working around here and I was THRILLED with that accomplishment.) MyPicot has oodles and oodles of original content, often in graphical form. That can’t be an easy task. if I had to keep all of those pages organized and in working order I’d probably be weeping in a corner.
So here are some helpful navigation tips for a great stitch library that is worth some extra effort:
The bottom of each page, any page on that site, has the better navigation menu. Use that in favor of the clunky graphics up above.
Some of the stitch patterns have photo tutorials but not all. Some will refer you to a download link. That link can be awfully hard to find, especially if you’re using a mobile device.
The download link is near the bottom and should pull up a pdf file for you.
Poke around and you’ll see stuff that is nowhere else on the ‘net. Some of the stitch patterns, like this way of making the applique hearts as you make the stripes underneath, are original designs. At least I think they are. I’ve haven’t seen it anywhere else. And all the patterns are free.
There is one more gem on this site and if you use nothing else, you’ll probably use this: the Crochet Symbols and Terms page. Its extensive. Its includes step-by-step instructions for each stitch, the standard symbol for that stitch as it appears in graphical patterns, and its name in both UK and US terms. Simply wonderful.
I hope I’ve lead you down the path to crafting independence. That’s what stitch libraries are, independence from other people’s patterns. They are also lovely ways to pass hour after hour just browsing. But you’re already doing that aren’t you?? I knew it. No one is actually reading the last of this post because they are off looking at free patterns!
That’s okay. All part of my evil plan.