Updated July 23, 2016 to add sites suggested by readers. Keep em’ coming!
Even before I started designing, I would sit down and browse the vast Internet for knitting stitches. This would occur most frequently if I wanted to knit a scarf. I spent way too much time searching for just the perfect stitch pattern before I cast on, often something reversible.
As a general rule, I think ALL of the free online catalogs of basic knitting stitch patterns could benefit from a technological makeover. The sites are largely clunky and challenging to browse. Many of the swatch photos could use a brush up. Some of the better organized sites that have done a reasonable job keeping up with website technology have limited stitch offerings.
Alas, the world is not perfect. Clunky or limited as they may be, these free websites are better than nothing. I often use these sites as sources of inspiration for new designs. When it comes to stitch patterns, my personal philosophy is similar to travel. Just like I don’t like to visit the same country twice (the world is so big…I want to see somewhere new!), I like to try different stitch patterns for each new project.
The universe of possible knitting stitches is also vast.
I recently invested in a couple actual books of knitting stitchtionaries after renewing the library versions five thousand times. I love my new books and plan to share them soon. In the meantime, here’s my list of free websites, for your convenience. These sites are easily available on Google, but here they are consolidated in one spot.
If you know of additional free online knitting stitchtionaries, please share site names or links in the comments. I will update this post to include them as websites come to my attention. I assume their must be some non-US sites that might have charting, even if my Russian/German/Japanese, etc. is non-existent.
Pros: This is a newer site and thus a little more modern and easier to use. Able to visually browse and sort by category. Good photos and new. New swatches are still being added regularly.
Cons: There are a limited number of stitch types, although I understand there are plans to expand shortly.
Pros: This site probably offers the greatest number of stitch patterns to browse. Sortable by column and row count or stitch type. Best for browsing visually.
Cons: Clunky site. So-so photos.
Pros: Better photos than a lot of the other sites. Sorted by stitch type.
Cons: Limited numbers of stitch patterns.
Pros: Stitches are sorted by stitch type.
Cons: Clunky site. So-so photos. Not a ton of stitch patterns, but sometimes less is more when you are trying to make a decision. You have to click through patterns one by one and can’t browse visually.
Pros: They have some cable stitches I haven’t seen before with fun names (Hugs and Kisses, Tower of Song). Although, then again, I don’t get out much.
Cons: The list is clunky and doesn’t support visual browsing. You have to click through the list one by one.
Pros: Set up to support visual browsing. Better photos.
Cons: Very limited selection of stitch patterns.
Pros: Respectable photos. Stitches are often hyperlinked to instruction videos and/or patterns, which is nice.
Cons: Clunky site. As with some of the other sites, the list doesn’t support visual browsing. You have to click through the list one by one.
Pros: Good photos. Patterns are written and some even have videos. Well organized by category and able to visually browse.
Cons: Limited inventory. Not charted, if that’s your thing.
Pros: Respectable photos. Most patterns are written and charted. Able to visually brose by category. Photos of backside of stitch also, which is a first.
Cons: Limited selection, but enough to make it worth a peak. (This is definitely one of the better sites…I hope they invest in expanding a bit.)
Pros: This is a Russian site a reader emailed me about. There are a lot of uncommon stitch patterns not typically seen. Organized by category, I think (I don’t speak Russian), so fairly easy to click around and see what surprise awaits if you are in the mood. The site includes a free translation toolbar, although I did not try it. Although instructions are in Russian, many of the stitch patterns are charted and thus “readable.”
Cons: Not all are charted. The foreign language aspect may overwhelm some.
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