There are so many things to consider when choosing a pattern: yarn, needles, quantity, fiber, drape, feel, softness, colour, the list is pretty endless! Sometimes you just know what you want and acquiring said items is a simple task. I want a teal sweater in a DK weight and it’s on some 4mm needles, simple. Other times, it’s just not as clear! This is when I most enjoy being able to turn to Ravelry.
While I’m sure most of you are on, or have at least heard of Ravelry (if not I seriously recommend you check it out!), I have some tips on using it to your full advantage. It’s not just a place to organize your knitting life and search the wide world of patterns, it’s also an informational gold mine! If you have already chosen your dream pattern your first stop is to check out some finished objects to get a better idea of how your finished project will work. Ravelry is a collective site so you aren’t just sharing your projects with your buddies, its with everyone. The more projects you can see, the better idea you’ll have of how the knit will turn out. I’m always happy to be able to see a knit in a larger size, sometimes things just don’t size up well and others times the pattern looks just right in a larger size too.
Checking out other finished items is also a great way to help you choose your yarn. If a pattern is popular you can see how it looks in a smoother yarn, a fuzzy yarn, something bright or something dark. It’s not the only thing to take into consideration but it’s a good start. Once you’ve perused the yarn choices and pictures it’s time to move on to the comments and notes. You can filter projects to see only the ones with comments (or even just the ones with comments other people have found helpful). This will tell you what other people may have thought about a pattern or yarn or combination. The more information you have about a pattern the better. You can also check out any modifications people have made, maybe they are the exact modifications you are looking for!
All of these ideas are particularly helpful if you are starting a big project like a sweater. They are a lot of work so a little research is a good place to start!