Tips for Printing Out Crochet Patterns or Reading Patterns Online

In one of my recent link love roundups I shared a post from CraftGossip in which blogger JD asks about the pros and cons of using eReaders as a crocheter. I don’t use Kindle or anything like that but I do sometimes just read crochet patterns online … more often, though, I tend to print out the patterns and there are pros and cons to that. I thought I’d share some tips on the topic today.

Pr0s and Cons of Printing Crochet Patterns

I don’t follow crochet patterns to the letter all that often but sometimes I do use the patterns as inspiration or as a guide to getting stitch numbers correct when I’m making something. And with so many great paid and free crochet patterns out there I certainly do use them sometimes. When I do use them, it is pretty common that I will print them out.

The benefits of printing crochet patterns include:

  • The pattern is then easily portable. I can read it while crocheting in bed, take it with me to crochet at a house where I’m petsitting or travel with the pattern. A few pieces of printed paper can go with you just about anywhere whereas some of the more advanced technology isn’t as convenient.
  • I can easily make marks on the pattern. I can make notes to myself about where I’m at in the pattern, what I’ve changed as I’ve adapted it, etc. I am aware that there are ways to do this in some of the eReaders but I find it especially simple to do it just on a piece of paper. One thing I like is that I can print out two or three copies to mark different changes for different adaptations I’ve tried.
  • You can make the text as large or small as you want. If you need a large font to read the pattern more easily then you can do that for yourself. I should note that you can zoom in on mobile devices as well, though.
Some of the drawbacks I’ve found to printing out crochet patterns as opposed to just reading them on my computer include:
  • The cost of computer ink/ toner as well as paper. Plus there is the environmental waste to consider of this aspect of printing out the crochet patterns. The Ink Industry Blog has a great infographic showing the life cycle of a toner cartridge that can give some perspective on this.
  • Sometimes I forget where the pattern originally came from. If I want to find it again online or get more details then I need to do some searching. Usually it’s not too hard to figure out but sometimes it’s an annoyance.
  • Multiple-page printouts sometimes get disorganized. I have been known to lose pages and mix them up in the past, causing myself serious frustration in trying to follow a crochet pattern!
  • Reading printed out crochet patterns reduces computer eyestrain. I am on my computer for a large percentage of each day. When I’m crocheting I don’t want my eyes focused on a screen of any kind.
  • Some people use printing to share copyrighted crochet patterns with others. If a designer is asking you to pay for a crochet pattern then be sure to respect that and don’t share it with others who haven’t paid for it!
  • “I can twist and turn the pattern any way I want to match how I have my working piece.” I hadn’t thought of this one but it was mentioned by a commenter on the CraftGossip post and it’s so true … you can get a better visual if you can manipulate the way you see a pattern and that’s tough on mobile devices that automatically re-orient themselves when turned!

Tips for Printing Crochet Patterns

If you are someone who likes to print out crochet patterns but wants to decrease the negatives of doing so, I’ve got a few tips. Let’s start with tips that will help you reduce the waste of computer ink / toner as well as paper:

  • Print out only the pages that you are actually going to use. Oftentimes the first page or last page has obvious unnecessary information that you don’t need to print. Look closely before you select the pages to print.
  • Limit the number of photos that you print out. You may want one or two to help you remember what the pattern is but if the pattern has many photos in it you may want to select not to print all of them in order to save computer ink as well as paper.
  • Print at a lower resolution. You don’t need super high quality to read most printed crochet patterns so go ahead and lower the resolution. The aforementioned infographic from the Ink Industry Blog says that lowering the standard resolution from 1200 dpi to 600 dpi can increase the lifespan of an ink cartridge by 15% and also give you 10% more ink out of the cartridge.
  • Refill ink cartridges instead of throwing them out and buying brand new ones. This is a great way to save money and save the earth.
  • Use paper-saving techniques when printing crochet patterns. You can print on both sides of the paper or print on recycled paper, for example.
Here are some additional tips that you may find helpful when printing crochet patterns:
  • Make sure that you immediately write the source of the pattern onto the paper if it’s not clear so that if you want to find it again you’ll be able to do so.
  • Use smart tech tips to reduce eyestrain if reading crochet patterns on computers or mobile devices.
  • Number the pages of the printout. Alternatively, staple or paperclip them together in order to avoid mixing up the page order.

Alternatives to Printing Crochet Patterns

The most common alternatives to printing out a crochet pattern are:

  • Read the crochet pattern online. This is the alternative that I’ll use sometimes. For example, I’ll visit a blog that offers a free crochet pattern and I’ll just crochet directly from reading the pattern there. This only works if I have access to a computer with Internet access for the duration of crocheting the pattern.
  • Download the crochet pattern to read on my laptop. This allows me to access the crochet pattern from my portable computer regardless of whether or not I have an Internet connection. I download Ravelry patterns and use them this way sometimes. I’ll often do this if I only want to use a small portion of the pattern and don’t feel like I need to print out the whole thing (for example, if I just want the instructions for a specific stitch repeat).
  • Download the crochet pattern to a mobile device. The Kindle, Nook, iPad, mobile phones, etc. are all options for reading crochet patterns. This is also a way to purchase full crochet books offered in ebook version, as well, of course. Although I don’t have a Kindle myself, I made my own book (Crochet Saved My Life) available to Kindle readers because I know that this is such a popular choice with people today. Many of the people who commented on JD’s post on CraftGossip were loving their various mobile devices for reading crochet patterns, books and magazines (although they did note that formatting is sometimes off).
  • Buy the book. Crochet books and crochet magazines are still a great way to get a lot of patterns in one place. They have their pros and cons as well, of course, but should definitely be considered as an option for getting crochet patterns.

Are there any options that I’m overlooking here? Share them in the comments below!

9 thoughts on “Tips for Printing Out Crochet Patterns or Reading Patterns Online”

  1. I like to copy free patterns to Word & reformat to a two-column page. I copy the url to the top of the pattern & the name of the blog or designer. Modifying, deleting photos & removing hyperlinks helps conserve space. It’s easy to remove extra spaces or add some for clarity & a 14 font makes for easier reading. Most patterns can be limited to 1 or 2 pages. These I file according to the type of pattern in either the Crochet or Knit category.

  2. I have done what KarenBower suggests above. I have also made great use of the scanner. I can scan a page and cut and paste sections that I want, including a picture into a word processor or page design program like Publisher and reduce the number of pages or enlarge diagrams etc.  I also paste a link or write the source of the pattern and page numbers immediately, including the total number of pages so that If I lose page 4 of 4 I will realise when I get to page 3 of 4 and there is no more!
    Like BethelCallin above, I like to file printed pages into plastic sleeves and then folders according to type of project. The plastic sleeves are handy for keeping swatches on file or even offcuts of the yarn so I have a sample to remember what I used or keep enough remnants ready in case the project needs mending in future.
    One drawback of printed patterns is that not all printer ink is waterproof. If your pattern gets wet, then the ink runs. 
    Finally, I agree with you about buying the book. It is usually much cheaper to buy a book of patterns than to buy each pattern individually. A bonus of having the book is the additional information which it may contain such as hints, tips, advice on new techniques. It is a lot quicker to go to the shelf and pick it up to refer to it than to go to the desk, boot up the computer, wait while it boots, then get to the online file….in the time it takes to get the computer there, I can refer to the book and be back crocheting again!

  3. Great ideas.  When printing patterns from a blog, I often use Print Friendly or Printliminator, free bookmarklets that enable me to delete excess photos or information I don’t need to reference.

  4. I download a copy to my computer. I can file them conveniently. When I’m going to make it, I copy the pattern to an email then use my phone or iPad to read the pattern when out.

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