Pinterest can be an amazing tool for crafters. In this article, I’m going to talk about strategies for using Pinterest as a crocheter to get the best results.
I don’t know about Pinterest users in general, but many of us who crochet have come to have mixed feelings about crochet patterns on Pinterest. While this visual search engine still blows us away with ideas and beautiful images of crochet patterns and projects, sometimes it can also be frustrating.
Whether it’s from broken links, pins that lead nowhere, click-baity titles, or misrepresented images, if you’re not careful it can feel like Pinterest is wasting your time. In fact, these are some of the reasons why I’ve heard many crocheters and other artists comment that “ I don’t even bother with Pinterest anymore.
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But it doesn’t have to be that way! Despite the problems that you can run in to, Pinterest is still a rewarding tool for finding just the right pattern or answer to a problem. It’s still what I like to call a “curated internet” where we can take our own mental process for organizing things and make it “real” with Pinterest boards and descriptions. Plus, it’s fun!
Side note: If you’re like me, there are a TON of projects you’ve saved to Pinterest, want to do, but haven’t gotten around to yet. There’s a tool I’ve created to help organize those creative projects(whether you crochet or do something else) that might just be able to help with that. If you’re interested, you can learn more about this totally free tool down at the bottom of the post.
Below, I’m going to share my top three approaches for still getting the most out of Pinterest by working with it instead of getting frustrated. We’ll also look at three main pitfalls that can be found there, so that you can avoid them (or at least keep them from ruining Pinterest for you!)
Here we go:
Strategies for best results
Have realistic expectations
Okay, this might not sound quite in line with having fun and getting the most rewarding user experience, but bear with me.
We all know that Pinterest searches don’t ALWAYS yield perfectly accurate results. “Free” crochet patterns on Pinterest aren’t always still free, projects that show up with crochet searches are sometimes actually knitted, and sites that pins lead to sometimes leave a lot to be desired.
But instead of throwing up our hands, just taking this in stride will let us enjoy Pinterest so much more AND reap the rewards easier when we do find an ideal pattern or result for our search. We can actually CONTROL how we categorize the stuff we find, which is the next thing we’ll talk about. Suffice to say, we will be way ahead if we just realize that some results may lead to well-written and easy-to-access pattern and resources, and some things won’t. The things that won’t can still serve as great inspiration. I actually have one big board on Pinterest that is simply labeled “Crochet ideas”. While there are plenty of links to crochet patterns there, I also don’t mind saving pictures to that board that are only pictures. They may not lead to anything, but the pictures are interesting enough that I may look into the ideas more later.
Pro Tip: If the first pin you find for a crochet pattern on pinterest doesn’t actually lead to a pattern, you might still get what you want by using Pinterest’s visual search. Basically, this shows all of the other pins that look like the one you’re on. Many times another pin of the same picture WILL have an original link, even if your first result didn’t. Sometimes it really helps to check!
One thing to keep in mind is that there are STILL going to be patterns and ideas on Pinterest that you simply won’t find anywhere else. Sure, many patterns ARE posted on legitimate blogs and websites around the internet, but chances are you wouldn’t find a lot of the smaller sites. Plus, some internet crocheters and pattern designers that are on Pinterest may not yet have their designs on the more specific crochet sites like Ravelry(In fact, that’s true of me right now).
Once and awhile, there just might be that gem of a picture that someone posted straight to Pinterest that will give you a super-exciting next project or idea. It might be just a picture with no link and no additional information, but you might get a lot out of trying it yourself. Or asking around for a similar pattern, etc.
But that’s all the Pinterest mindset lecturing I want to do. Now, lets talk about organizing your results to be the most rewarding!
Keep specific boards for confirmed patterns
Since Pinterest allows us to make our own categories for pins, we would do well to take full advantage of that! One way of doing this is to keep a board reserved for only pins that you know lead straight to ideal patterns and tutorials.
For example, if I am looking for free crochet beanie patterns, I may click through on a few of the best-looking pictures to see where they lead. If a pin doesn’t go anywhere that’s actually helpful, I can keep looking at other pins or go ahead and use the Pinterest visual search if I’m really interested in the beanie in that picture.
Anytime I find a pin that actually leads straight to a free pattern or to the download, I can then save it to a SPECIAL board. This might be called “Free patterns”, “Patterns to make”, or something like that. Patterns that still look great but are actually for sale might go to another board, while pins that look interesting but that I don’t have time to investigate might go under an “ideas” board.
Do you see how taking a little time to look will help you get better results later? By clicking through to check on some pins instead of just saving them, you can have confidence in which resources/patterns are going to help you reach your goals. And, if you have boards set aside to only hold the “best” pins, then you don’t have to wonder if you’re actually going to be able to find a pattern that works.
Contribute with legitimate pins and descriptions.
The final tip I have for you has to do with making Pinterest better for you, but it will also make Pinterest better for everyone else, too. This involves taking a minute here and there to put better pins on Pinterest and also better labels on what we find for ourselves and others. We can do this with “original” pins and with writing our own pin descriptions.
Creating just means that you are saving, or pinning, an idea/pattern that you found outside of Pinterest. Instead of just re-pinning something that you found while on Pinterest, you are adding your own direct new pin.
This goes back to the original appeal of using Pinterest to organize pins that you find elsewhere. It benefits you because you get an easy way to save something that you already know is worthwhile, in a place that you can save things from anywhere. But, it also benefits other Pinterest users, because you have essentially just added a new channel for other crocheters to find the great pattern that you just saved.
Whether you are saving original pins or repinning, the other way to help yourselves and others is to add relevant pin description. This can help you to remember the value of what you are saving, and also gives other pinners a heads up.
For example, if I am saving a pattern for a baby blanket that I already know to be a clearly written, free pattern, I might save it with a description that includes the words “free pattern” and “easy to follow”. But, if I find a pretty picture for a baby blanket but it doesnt lead to a pattern, I can save it for inspiration only by putting in the description that this is a “pretty crochet blanket, picture only”. While the wording you use is completely up to you, clear phrases and complete sentences are usually more helpful.
As simple as these things may seem, they can really make the difference between getting the most value out of Pinterest and giving up in frustration. Whether you are looking for crochet patterns or something else, keeping your expectations realistic, using your boards to seperate your most helpful pins, and improving pinterest yourself with outside resources you find and helpful pin descriptions will all help you get more from this amazing tool.
Now before we go, let’s look at a few annoying pitfalls that can show up in Pinterest, and how to avoid them:
Watch Out for common Pitfalls
Unfortunately, whenever you have something good happening, there’s a tendency for people to want to cut in on other’s hard work. In Pinterest, this happens in the form of stolen pins.
Basically put, a stolen pin is when someone takes a pin image from a reputable(and usually sucessful) website, and changes the link to go to their own site. This could be anything from their own “wannabe” traffic site(see below) or something even more shady. Either way, the pin takes people who are interested in the work of the legitimate crocheter/website creator and directs it to a different site.
Sometimes a stolen pin can look very legitimate, but there are a few things you can look out for. Obviously, if a pin leads to a website that looks vastly different from the pin itself, it may be stolen. The photograpy, topics, and look of a website that uses stolen pins are probably going to look at least a little off.
Another thing that can tip you off to a stolen pin is the description. If a pin description is completely different from what the pin is actually about, chances are it’s just a stolen pin that was hastily put together.
The second thing about Pinterest to look out for goes right along with stolen pins-something I like to cal imposter sites
Although they can be found in normal web searches(not just on Pinterest), imposter sites are the web spaces that seek to benefit or outright steal other people’s content for their own benefit. Often, they will use good-looking(and often stolen) images and pins to get people to come to them.
Sometimes, these sites will feature a nice picture of a crochet project(or whatever the topic is) and nothing else but a link to go to the original source for that picture. In those situations, the imposter site has just set itself up as a sort of middleman. Even worse are scraper sites, which essentially steal web content using computer programs and set it up as original content on another site. In both cases, these sites make it harder to find the original source of content, so be wary of pinning a page from a site that looks “off”. There are still plenty of great sources and pins out there!
Final Thoughts (and something for you)
With these strategies and couple of warnings in hand, I hope you feel empowered to make the most of Pinterest, especially as a crocheter looking for patterns and projects to work on. This fun and helpful site still has pretty much unlimited potential for allowing users like you and I to discover new things in our interests, and save them in an organized way.
Now if you’d like one other handy way to easily brainstorm your next projects, be sure to get my list of 101 crochet ideas. By opting in for news from me, you’ll also get weekly emails with tips, patterns, and useful resources.