I’m currently on the hunt for a perfect pattern to use with my hand dyed yarn, although so far my search has proved fruitless (more effort may be required). As I’ve been browsing the plethora of patterns out there, I’ve been contemplating whether or not to buy a pattern. I tend to work from a selection of both bought and free patterns, depending on the project, and it made me think about how I choose. Lots of questions and thoughts whizzed through my mind, so I decided a blog post might help me out.
Things to consider
- Free patterns can be very handy, and there are loads of them about if you’re willing to search to try and find ‘the one’. (Especially good if you’ve blown all of your money on yarn!)
- They’re a really good (and cheap) way of trying out something new to find out if you like it. E.g. if you’re trying amigurimi for the first time.
- How well written is it? Some free patterns can be really good, for example Attic24 patterns are especially well written and have useful photos. Others are not so carefully written and can lead to confusion, frustration and disappointment. They are worth reading through before trying out, just to check, before making them with your finest yarn purchase. (This is not intended to be disrespectful to the writers of free patterns; I’ve shared some of my own, but sometimes we write things the way we see them and others interpret those instructions differently.)
- How much will you use the pattern-is it for a one off or something you’d like to repeat? For example, the mermaid tail pattern I bought from Etsy has been used 5 or 6 times now and gave baby up to adult sizes, meaning it has cost about £1 per use so far.
- How much pattern do you get for your money? How many sizes/options are included? Is it a really complicated pattern which justifies paying a higher price?
- What kind of recommendations does it have? (Before paying, read reviews and comments to get an insight, I’ve never been disappointed with a paid pattern, at least in terms of how well written it is, but I always choose carefully.)
- Is there any kind of follow up support? E.g. an email address, forum links, videos. This is especially useful for trickier or larger patterns.
- How well known is the designer? (This isn’t something that worries me too much, but if you’re paying it can be reassuring to buy from a well known name. Personally I am willing to give any designer a chance, based on the reviews and how much I want to make that pattern.)
- Is the pattern written for the type of yarn you want to use? I’ve been caught out like this, which was my own fault for not checking, and then had to buy more yarn so I could use the pattern. Obviously this was completely devastating…
I haven’t even touched on video patterns as I don’t tend to used them. I do, however, find videos useful for learning individual stitches or new techniques. There are tonnes of videos about for patterns for making nearly everything!
I’m happy to pay for the ‘right’ pattern, especially if its just how I pictured the thing I want to make. I also use free patterns if I’m just making a quick and easy thing that doesn’t warrant paying, e.g. a simple scarf.
Do you prefer free or paid patterns usually? How much are you prepared to pay for the ‘right’ pattern? Which sites are your favourites to find patterns on? How much of a compromise are you prepared to make when deciding whether to use a free or paid pattern? And last of all, what would you make with 100g of hand dyed merino yarn?