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How to Find Free Beginner Knitting Patterns on Ravelry
This article will walk you through a Ravelry pattern search. I recommend following along on Ravelry.
You'll need a Ravelry account if you haven't already created one. It's free and easy, and you won't get emails.
How to select for easy
(1) Click on the "patterns" tab.
(2) Under "personalize" select "knitting" (the arrow). Then click on the circled link, "pattern browser & advanced search."
You will see thumbnails of pattern photos. They're sorted in order of current popularity—that is, which ones have been clicked on the most today—also known as "hot right now."
(3) Next we will filter for the easiest knitting patterns. At the top of the left column, click on the drop-down menu labeled "Jump to a filter:"
Select "Difficulty." That filter will jump to the top of the column.
("Used filters" shows "Craft," because you selected "knitting" before you got to this page.)
(4) Now click on the check box next to "1 - easy." The page will refresh and you will now only see "Easy" patterns.
Do NOT click on "unknown." "Unknown" simply means no one has rated the pattern yet. Most of the patterns under "unknown" are probably new; some of them may be easy, but many of them might be quite difficult.
This rating system is subjective—people evaluate patterns they've knit, and Ravelry averages those numbers to come up with this rating. Not everyone will agree on how easy a pattern is. However, you should be able to find a pattern you can handle using this method.
Best of all: Free!
(5) Go back to "Jump to a filter" and this time select "Availability," then click the box next to the word "Free."
There they are! All the free patterns in Ravelry that are rated as easy!
Click on any of these, and you will find a link to the free pattern. Sometimes they're PDF files that you can save to your computer, and sometimes the pattern is just published on someone's blog (you'll have to print those, or copy them to Evernote.]
Extra credit #1
You've got the basics now! But here are a few more handy techniques.
To see the easiest patterns first, go to the "Sort" menu and drop down to "Difficulty (easiest first)."
Extra credit #2: Narrowing the choice down further
Following the above steps calls up a hodgepodge of all types of patterns. However, in Ravelry there are many more ways to narrow the choice down; if you scroll down you will see them in the left column. I'll just walk you through one of these possibilities.
Let's say you want to try a dishcloth pattern. (Many knitting teachers recommend dishcloths as a first pattern—they take a lot less time than a scarf!)
Use the "Jump to a filter" menu again, or just scroll down to "Category." Here, the yellow file folders mean that there are sub-categories within each category. Dishcloths fall under "Home," then "Cleaning," then "Washcloth / Dishcloth."
You may be surprised how many dishcloth patterns there are!
Extra credit #3: Christmas knitting patterns
There is also a search field so that you can search for any keyword (first arrow in the illustration). As an example, type "Christmas" in the field and click "search." Now you see Christmas-related dishcloths.
Notice that all the search terms you have selected show up in green bubbles across the top of the page. You can clear any of them just by clicking the word "clear" in the bubble (second arrow in the illustration).
Leaving "Christmas" in the search field, if you clear "category: washcloth," you'll see all the easy & free Christmas knitting patterns.
So much more to explore
I'm sure it was obvious that there are many more options within Ravelry. The purpose of this tutorial is to get the beginning knitter started.
Ravelry also has a wiki of instructions for all its various functions.
I hope you find just the kind of pattern you want!
[Screenshots marked up using Skitch, an Evernote app]