As a beginner knitter, I have searched for “free knitting patterns” to get a feel for stitches, directions and charts. Why would I want to spend money on a pattern that I can’t comprehend and knit once it is downloaded? For beginners, free is probably best to start with.
So is knitting something that is free worth it? Well, yes and no. Be careful where you find those free patterns.
A warning here is to try to find well known knitwear designers who sell patterns but also offer free ones. They care about their patterns because it’s a business for them. Offering free things could very well lead to purchases done the road.
Or, choose a free pattern that has already been knit a lot and has great reviews.
I do understand that starting out we beginner knitters have NO idea who the knitwear designers are. And where do we find reviews and comments on patterns?
This is where Ravelry – an online knitting (and crocheting site) can be a huge help. If you can ignore their politics, it’s an enjoyable place where I’ve learned so much.
My First Hand-knit Shawl Was a Free Pattern
My very first shawl was a free pattern from a designer who offered it with the stipulation that I sign up for her e-mails. The shawl was good practice for me, with wonderful directions, it and brought her a follower. Below is the Spindrift Shawl (a free pattern and my first shawl knit) by Helen Stewart. I still get her e-mails.
That is not to say that many free patterns work out just fine. Usually they are fairly simple and closely match other free patterns of the same type. Sometimes knitters just like to share something helpful with other knitters.
The Scrappy Bias Shawl (below) is one that gets a lot of knitter’s attention. It is easy knitting and fun. The Honey Cowl is pictured at the beginning of this page, and it is a free, one or two wrap, cowl.
For beginner knitters, using a free pattern can be very helpful. Usually they are simple patterns that give us good practice and cost nothing but the yarn. A great place to begin is with Tin Can Knits. I sure wish I had found them sooner in my knitting adventures. They have an excellent bunch of tutorials and a page full of free patterns such as hats, sweaters, mittens and more, for all ages and sizes. Below is my Playdate Cardigan.
One very good place to start, if you want clear knitting directions, often with video tutorials, is Purl Soho. They sell beautiful yarn, and offer many types of patterns for free! It is one of the first places I found for free things when I began searching. From simple hats and housewares, to sweaters and ponchos, this is an awesome site for free designs and helpful insights.
Beware that some of their pattern stitches are quite advanced, and those wraps and blankets can take a long time to knit.
One place to also find more advanced free patterns (as well as the more simple) is the Espace Tricot collection. They offer a slew of free patterns of all types. The sweater below is one I recently knit.
In closing, I suggest being careful where the free patterns come from. If you begin to knit something that looks good and get toward the end and hit trouble, you’ve wasted lots of time. But, many free patterns are definitely worth knitting.