Everyone loves free knitting patterns. It’s probably the most popular knitting related search out there. Fortunately, there are a LOT of choices available now. The following list is of some of my favorite sites that will let you download free patterns at the drop of a needle. The list is in no particular order and each site has it’s good and bad points to consider.
One of my criteria is that patterns should be easily printable. Usually, that means in pdf format. Some indie designers don’t make it that easy to print out their patterns. The sites that made it onto this list, all provide patterns in the pdf format.
I also like a large selection of patterns and designers, with a slant toward the more professionally edited and formated patterns. Knitting magazine publishers tend to be great at this.
- Knitty.com This is one of my favorite sources of knitting patterns. Technically, knitty.com is an online knitting magazine. You can find some good informative articles in addition to the patterns. You’ll find a wide variety of projects and even some projects from big name designers, all FREE! Best of all, every pattern has a difficulty rating right at the top, so you can move on quickly if it’s beyond your current ambitions. The search function is a little awkward, but it works well enough and I love the variety.
- Interweave.com Another publisher of knitting magazines and books, Interweave offers a limited selection of free downloadable knitting patterns, too. These patterns are all professionally formatted and written, something you don’t always get with free patterns. If you join their membership program, Interweave+, you’ll have access to over 3500 knitting patterns, as well as crochet, beading and other patterns.
- Lionbrand.com This is probably my most unlikely favorite. I confess, I’m not a fan of lion brand yarn because they mostly use synthetic fibers, but their pattern collection is outstanding! I particularly love their kit builder tool. If you want to use their yarns, it’s extremely convenient. Even substituting in other yarns, it helps to have the yardage figured out for you.
- Knitpicks.com This site is an all around resource for knitters and crocheters, carrying yarn, needles, and a variety of related paraphernalia. So, of course, they also offer free and paid patterns from independent designers as well as from their own published collections. If you do download a free or paid pattern, make sure you sign into your knitpicks account first! If you do, any pattern you download will be kept in your “pattern library” so you can easily find it in the future.
- Ravelry.com The big kahuna of online knitting communities, Ravelry offers free and paid patterns from independent designers, too. Note: If you’ve had trouble with Ravelry’s big update, they’ve made some changes as of 2021 that are supposed to reduce the graphics problems. (For what it’s worth, a Psychology Today article suggests that the new Ravelry design was never the problem. Your call.)
- DROPS design by garnstudio.com has over 8,000 knitting patterns!! I think that’s the biggest free online collection I’ve seen. They are a nordic company that translates their products into 17 languages, including American (& Canadian) English and British English – DROPS treats them as 2 different languages because the terminology used in knitting and crochet patterns is different in each.
- VogueKnitting.com If you’re looking for stylish free knitting patterns, this is probably your best bet. There is a wide range of techniques and projects, from the brioche stitch Amber Leafy Coat to the tiny and easy Bow Hair Clips. The free collection is relatively small at under 400 projects, but still inspiring.
- Free-KnitPatterns.com is affiliated with Annies catalog. You will be required to join in order to access over 600 free patterns, but membership is free, and unlike some other sites, you can easily choose which emails to get, or none at all, so your email box won’t end up full of junk.
- PlymouthYarn.com A purveyor of good quality yarns, Plymouth Yarn also offers a large selection of free downloadable patterns on their website. Like most of the other sites listed here, their patterns are available in pdf format.
There you have it, my 9 favorite free, downloadable knitting pattern sites. For transparency, I have tried to note any connection between a site and a parent company, but I may have missed one or two connections.
Some sites that may seem obvious aren’t on my list. I’m not a fan of synthetic yarns. I strongly dislike cheap yarns. I find them unpleasant to work with, so in spite of their affordability, I avoid sites that promote only or mostly synthetic yarns. Many cheap yarn manufacturers have sites with plenty of free patterns for downloading, but I’m not familiar with what they have to offer so they didn’t make the list. I have made one exception to this rule, Lion brand yarns. The exception proves the rule, right?
Which are your favorite free pattern sites? Or your least favorite? Why?