Which Pattern Formats Do You Work From Most? Which Do You Prefer?

We’re curious: Which pattern format(s) do you usually work from? Do you have a strong preference for one particular format over another? Do you grudgingly use a pattern format because the pattern is ONLY available in that format instead of another format you’d like better?

I’ve started a new poll that covers the basics of which pattern formats you usually work from. Please feel free to comment and add any insights you care to provide regarding the answers to the other questions I’ve asked above on the topic of pattern formats. Your comments are welcome!

If you have the time and inclination to comment further, we’d also love to know WHY you prefer the pattern format(s) you use most.

As for me, I work from both digital and physical patterns — but I really prefer physical patterns.

I enjoy physical patterns because I suspect that working on anything at all on my laptop could be the cause of eyestrain (my eyesight isn’t that great) and because I don’t enjoy trying to figure out how to rotate charts on my laptop (when that is necessary — it isn’t always — usually just when the charts are printed sideways in the book due to space constraints).

I also really enjoy physical books — holding them, looking at them and turning their pages.

AND I also prefer physical patterns because I suffer from “out of sight, out of mind” syndrome. If a pattern is right there on my bookshelf, hanging around, I remember that I wanted to knit or crochet a project from it. If it is saved somewhere on my hard drive, I am prone to forgetting it is there.

Now it’s your turn. Which pattern formats do you prefer? WHY? I’m looking forward to seeing your answers and your comments!

Which Pattern Format Do You Usually Work From? (Choose All That Apply)

You're invited to leave a comment elaborating on your answer. Thanks so much for voting, and thanks in advance for any additional comments and insights you share with us. We sincerely appreciate your interest in our poll!

Update 10-25-2018 — I’m updating this post to answer a reader question I received by email regarding the differences between physical and digital patterns. If you have the same question, read on for clarification.

Hi Amy!
This may sound like an extremely stupid question, BUT…
What do you mean by digital or physical patterns?
THANK YOU!
I love all things crochet, even tho I have a really hard time reading patterns, I love to do simple things, i.e., granny square, simple single, double, or triple crochet blankets, etc.). Even tho I can’t physically do ALL the patterns you share, I really love looking at them!
THANK YOU!
Susie 🙂

My Response:

Hi Susie,


It’s not a stupid question at all! In fact, please forgive me for not explaining this more clearly before I introduced the poll! Now that I think about it, I’m going to guess that a LOT of people probably have the same question.

Physical patterns = tangible patterns that exist in physical space. You can hold them in your hands and touch them. You can highlight on them with a highlighter or make notes on them with a pen. These include pattern books, craft magazines, the patterns you get on yarn labels, etc.

Digital patterns = intangible patterns that exist somewhere in the digital world — frequently they’re saved as digital files on computers, laptops, tablets, cell phones, or digital readers like Kindle or Nook. You use one of these patterns by opening the file in a digital reader or a piece of software like Adobe’s Acrobat Reader. In some cases, you might be able to print out the pattern to make it a physical pattern you can touch, fold, make notes on or highlight. In other cases, like with patterns available for the Amazon Kindle, there isn’t any obvious way of making a physical printout. You’d probably use the pattern by turning on the reader and working from that.

Does that help?

23 thoughts on “Which Pattern Formats Do You Work From Most? Which Do You Prefer?

  • October 25, 2018 at 11:12 am
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    Oh, yikes. I owe y’all a huge apology. I forgot that my blog software automatically closes comments after 24 hours. Thanks to those of you who emailed to alert me to the issue. If you tried to comment and couldn’t, that is why. I just re-opened comments in case any of you have insights to share.

    Reply
  • October 25, 2018 at 11:13 am
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    I received the following comment by email:

    I prefer digital patterns through Ravelry because it’s convenient for me to have access to all my patterns in one place — and no clutter! But I do sometimes use some patterns in other formats if there’s a project I really want to make and it isn’t on Ravelry.

    Reply
  • October 25, 2018 at 11:19 am
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    Here’s another comment I received by email:

    I couldn’t comment on your post but wanted to let you know I never met a pattern I didn’t like! I collect them all — digital and physical both. If I’m knitting or crocheting in public, I usually bring my tablet so I can have a whole bunch of patterns without having to carry heavy books with me. If I’m at home, I look through my library of craft mags and books first. I subscribe to several magazines and they are one of my best sources of inspiration. I also buy vintage mags on ebay when I find decently priced lots of them for sale.

    Reply
  • October 25, 2018 at 11:20 am
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    One more comment that came through via email:
    Hi, I took your poll & looked for place to comment but I could not figure it out. Sorry I still use a flip phone, no texting or “smart” stuff. I like to look at picture of finished item then read through directions to see if I can do or want to do. I am self taught X45 years- some things I know I can do, others not always understanding patterns as written. Have made things free hand because I could not understand patterns written, but prefer pattern to follow. I make afghans for newlywed & all new babies. Try to make gifts for the kids & others for the holidays but too many now.
    I enjoy your site & patterns very much.
    Thank you for what you do & for asking for input.
    Have a blessed day!

    Reply
  • October 25, 2018 at 11:23 am
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    THANKS to all of you who have voted and commented so far! I appreciate the insights you’re sharing. Please keep ’em coming! I’m finding them really helpful.

    Reply
  • October 25, 2018 at 5:01 pm
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    Amy I like digital sometimes but rather have an email on patterns etc as a lot of times tablets or computers go down or ya lose everything I do like watching videos but like directions that you can print out
    Also when ya can send to email as so many things
    Says twiter or Facebook I don’t do that

    Reply
    • October 27, 2018 at 1:42 pm
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      Pat, thanks so much for the helpful comment. I really appreciate it.
      Yes, I know what you mean. Keeping everything backed up gets to be a real challenge, doesn’t it?
      I’ve duly noted your wish to have easily printable pattern directions and will work on making them available in the future.

      Reply
  • October 26, 2018 at 11:27 am
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    Hi Amy. Welcome back. I have missed you and your patterns. I have printed so many of your patterns and now would appreciate patterns that I can print.I rather crocheting but can also knit. Thanks so much.

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    • October 27, 2018 at 1:40 pm
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      Hi Shirley! Sorry it has been so long between newsletters lately. I’ll try not to let that happen again.

      Thanks so much for your helpful comment regarding wanting patterns you can print out; I really appreciate it. I will work on making more of my patterns easily printable in the future.

      Reply
  • November 3, 2018 at 3:49 pm
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    I use patterns that I can download and print off as well as saving to my pc or Flash drive for using at a later date. I would rather have patterns I can print off. I rather do crochet than knit as I have tried knitting and it just doesn’t work well for me. Thank you Amy for all your wonderful post’s and patterns.

    Reply
    • November 3, 2018 at 3:53 pm
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      Gloria, thanks so much for your comment. That’s helpful to know; I appreciate your feedback.

      Reply
  • November 3, 2018 at 4:17 pm
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    I like and use patterns that I can print if I need to. I like charted patterns more than the written pattern with so many abbreviations. I can enlarge them if I need to, some I’ve had are so tiny and hard to read.

    Reply
    • November 3, 2018 at 4:22 pm
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      Thanks for the comment, Maria. I appreciate your feedback! I know what you mean — my eyesight isn’t the greatest, and I definitely appreciate having large charts, too. Enlarging the charts — that’s a great tip!

      Reply
  • November 3, 2018 at 5:30 pm
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    I have TONS of pattern books, but I find myself searching online for patterns instead of going through my books. Finding a pattern online and printing it out is SO much easier than going through books and books and more books! Someday I’ll go through my books, take a picture of the patterns I want to keep, save them on a thumb drive, then donate the books.

    Reply
    • November 3, 2018 at 5:46 pm
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      Thanks for the comment, Marilyn. Those are interesting insights you’ve shared. You aren’t the only one who has been frustrated at times with looking through one zillion books and / or magazine back issues. In my case, it’s usually because I’m trying to locate a pattern I KNOW I have, but can’t seem to find. In the case of magazine back issues, Ravelry’s database can be super helpful for figuring out which issue to look in for those elusive patterns.

      But I do love my books and mags — a LOT! And I’m glad we don’t have to choose just one way of locating patterns. 🙂

      Reply
  • November 3, 2018 at 6:26 pm
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    Being of a certain age (well over 21) I only use printed patterns. I either pull /print them off the free websites or buy a pattern at my local yarn shop. I don’t think I could be bothered to refer to a digital only pattern all the time – possibly because my computer skills are none too good and, knowing my luck, I’d probably delete pattern

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    • November 3, 2018 at 8:15 pm
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      Judith, those are great insights. Thanks so much for the comment!

      Reply
  • November 3, 2018 at 7:47 pm
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    I definitely prefer the physical patterns, finding them much more portable. I do like the patterns in magazines, and I do own some pattern books/booklets, but since some styles can and do change, I find the magazines more current than books. But, as the styles also come and go, sometimes the books can resurface! I enjoy the patterns available via the internet, mostly free but I’ve been known to indulge in a paid pattern, but I really prefer to have a printed out copy than trying to work from a screen. My other source of patterns – from my own head! Especially crochet – I design a lot myself, and jot down notes, which I use for making more or for refining/editing should I need to adjust something that didn’t work 🙂

    Reply
    • November 3, 2018 at 8:17 pm
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      Anne, thanks so much for the detailed comment. I appreciate all the helpful insights you posted.

      Reply
  • November 3, 2018 at 11:23 pm
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    I prefer physical patterns because I can check off when I finish a row. I can also make notes I need to remember. It’s hard to do that with a digital pattern if it’s not printed.

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  • November 4, 2018 at 9:00 pm
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    Thanks for the comment, Sharon. I agree; that’s another aspect of owning physical patterns that I find appealing. If I am going to highlight or write on a pattern from a book, magazine or yarn label, I try to make a photocopy or printout of it first so I don’t ruin my original. I appreciate your feedback — thanks!

    Reply
  • November 9, 2018 at 11:48 am
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    Hello Amy, I’ve been a fan of yours for decades. Thought you should know.
    I consistently use tangible patterns, books magazines, I make a copy so I can write on them. I’m not in with the jet-set yet of smartphones or tablets. I have a computer and if I see a pattern on line (Ravelry or the gazillion other places) I will print it out and work from the pattern. I will say this, if it is hard to print out or takes more than 3 pages to print, I will pass on that pattern no matter how nice. Why? Because there are others that I can get instant gratification and start crocheting right now! lol. Also I work on multiple projects at the same time and that pattern hook and my notes are all in the bag with the project. Grab and go. Thanks

    Reply
    • November 9, 2018 at 10:02 pm
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      Hi Victoria! Thanks so much for the helpful and interesting comment. Also, please know that I really appreciate your interest in my work!

      Reply

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