How to Search for Free Beginner Crochet Patterns on Ravelry
It might be easiest to follow along on Ravelry as you go through this article.
If you haven't already created Ravelry account, you'll need one. It won't cost you anything and you won't get spam.
Selecting for easy crochet patterns
(1) At the top of any page within Ravelry, click on the word "patterns."
(2) You can make it show only crochet patterns by clicking on the word "crochet" under "personalize." Then click on the phrase "pattern browser & advanced search."
The page fills with pattern photos that you can click to access each pattern's page. The default sort order is "hot right now"—that is, in order of current popularity (clicked on the most today).
(3) It's a separate step to find easy crochet patterns. Click on the drop-down menu labeled "Jump to a filter:"—located in the top of the left column.
Pull down to select "Difficulty," which will then jump to the top of the column. ("Craft" shows under "Used filters" if you selected "crochet" in step 2.)
(4) Click on "1 - easy." When the page refreshes, you will see only "Easy" patterns.
I don't recommend clicking on "? - unknown." This will bring up patterns that no one has evaluated yet, so there's no simple way of knowing how hard they may be.
Ravelry derives these ratings from the evaluations of members who have crocheted the patterns, so it's a subjective number. The more people have evaluated a certain pattern, the more accurate the number will be.
(5) Select "Availability" under "Jump to a filter" (or just scroll down to it), then select the box next to "Free."
There they are! Every crochet pattern in Ravelry that's both free and easy!
Click through any of these to the pattern page, which will tell you how to get the 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 can print those, or copy them to your computer.)
You've got the basics now!
Try some more?
Here are a few more techniques that I think would be especially handy.
To have Ravelry sort the pattern thumbnails according to how easy they are, pull down the "Sort" menu and select "Difficulty (easiest first)."
Crochet dishcloths are good for beginners
You can just browse through random types of patterns for inspiration, but in Ravelry you can narrow the choice down even more with the various tools in the left column. Here are a couple of possibilities.
Maybe you want to try a dishcloth pattern. (Dishcloths take a lot less time than a scarf, so many crochet teachers recommend as them a first pattern.)
Scroll down to "Category," or use the "Jump to a filter" menu again. You see yellow file folders next to some of the category names—that means it has sub-categories. Dishcloths fall under "Home," then "Cleaning," then "Washcloth / Dishcloth."
Christmas crocheting projects
There is also a keyword search field (first arrow in the illustration). For example, type "Christmas" in the field and click "search." Now you see only dishcloths that have "Christmas" in the title or tags.
Notice the green bubbles across the top of the page? Those represent all the active search terms. Just click the word "clear" in the bubble (second arrow in the illustration) to eliminate that term.
If you clear "category: washcloth" (while "Christmas" is still in the search field), you'll see all easy and free Christmas crochet patterns.
That's just the beginning!
I'm sure you noticed that Ravelry has many more options. I'm just trying to get beginning crocheters 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]