Saturday, February 20, 2010

Free Crochet Patterns, Especially Old Ones

I have a decent collection of crochet patterns. My grandma left a collection, and some of my mom's knitting leaflets also include crochet patterns. After I learned to crochet, I subscribed to some crochet newsletters for a couple of years. I could crochet from this library until the end of my days, but there's that itch to see something new....Fortunately, I can indulge this without buying stuff, thanks to Websites like these:

  • Crochet Pattern Central is a great place to start. It's a curated link directory, and it's actively updated.
    Welcome to Crochet Pattern Central--an often updated online directory featuring thousands of links to free crochet patterns. Choose from 90+ categories, including clothing, afghans, doilies, baby items, bags and totes, potholders, toys, stuffed animals (including amigurumi), and so much more.
  • The Antique Pattern Library is the Project Gutenberg of the needlecraft pattern library. On their "Welcome" page, they say

    This ongoing project is an effort to scan needlework pattern books that are in the public domain, to preserve them, so we can keep our needlework heritage in our hands. These scans have been photoedited to make them more useful for needle workers, and to reduce file sizes. They are available, for free, to anyone who wants them, for educational, personal, artistic and other creative uses.

    Their collection of crochet patterns is awesome, especially for those who like working with fine gauge crochet thread, as opposed to yarn. I have a real fascination with crochet lace collars and nightgown yokes from about 1900 to 1940, and I've scored dozens of gorgeous patterns. Now, to develop my skills to that level....Be prepared, if you start downloading, for a time-sink, not because the website is slow, but because these collections are quite addictive. I'm unlikely to do purse netting, silk embroidery, or tatting, but you should see the awesome patterns I've got, just in case...

  • The Free Patterns page from Heirloom Crochet has some wonderful old patterns for free. There are also many vintage patterns are for sale, but I'm a little unclear on her business model.

I joined the knitters' social network Ravelry a couple of years ago, but found it disappointing. I didn't like the social interaction--I got flamed for submitting a very polite bug report, for heaven's sake, threats of violence and all. The tone of dialogue is just not my style--one of the newsletter feature writers calls herself "Auntie BubboPants." Whatever floats your boat, but not for me, thanks. However, in my hunt for free crochet pattern novelty, I did revisit Ravelry's crochet section, and found it much more to my liking. I think there are two reasons for this--one, the crochet community is smaller, and that means a better signal-to-noise ratio. That is, more crochet talk, less general conversation. The second reason I like it better is that I'm a novice crocheter, and Ravelry probably works better for novices than for long-time afficianados. There's just more new stuff for a novice to see there.

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