Patternfish: a new online knitting pattern site

Having just made my first purchase from Patternfish, it seems like the time for a review.

There are some wonderful free pattern sites out there – Garnstudio and Knitty are the two I visit most – so for a site to succeed which is based on pay-for-patterns it needs, well, something extra.

One of the things I already love about Patternfish is that it cares about ambience. It wants to provide, to quote from the site: a calm, beautiful place to browse and pick and choose. No ads, no discussion groups, message boards, forums. Just a ambient environment to look at patterns. That on its own is enough to buy me, but let’s look at some specific considerations.

(1) Variety
Patternfish has a wide variety of patterns from ‘old’ patterns – if we may think of the 1990s as old – to some of my favourite comtemporary designers. Let’s not forget the site is brand new – still in beta testing – but already has well over 1000 patterns available.

(2) Search Option
You can search by type of pattern, gauge, style (eg circular, straight) and level of difficulty. Advanced search options include name of designer, yarn, technique and even neck style. Want a sweater with a gauge of 22st and no sewing? Patternfish has a couple of options for you at the moment.

(3) Commentary/information
Each pattern has a well-written, useful commentary. For example, this exclusive pattern to Patternfish:

is described thus:


Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton for Hamilton Design
Belinda
EXCLUSIVE

An exquisite, and exquisitely simple, piece that you can wear on its own or layer in any way you please. The elegance of the easy wide rib shows off the handdyed qualities of the yarn perfectly. There’s some waist shaping within the rib– you can see it at the garment’s side in the photograph– but otherwise the construction is as simple as you see. The armholes are perfectly cut and the neck not too low; all edges are self-finishing. The only post-knitting work is sewing the side and shoulder seams. Exclusive to Patternfish in English.

The commentary is both useful and enticing – I couldn’t resist adding this one to my purchases. At the same time complete technical detail is provided such as sizes, whether or not schematics are included, whether there is sewing required and so forth.

(4) Storing your patterns
I only discovered one of the great features of Patternfish after I’d purchased my first patterns: it isn’t one of those sites where you get a few hours to download the pattern whereupon the link disappears in a puff of smoke. Your patterns all remain on Patternfish in your pattern stash! How great is that. Already this year I have on a couple of occasions bought a .pdf pattern, clean forgotten I’d bought it and then bought it again. This is one site where I will always know exactly what I have. Brilliant.

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