I would like to keep the patterns I have created in Illustrator CS6 in a handy file. Currently, I just make an object, apply the pattern, and copy/paste the object to transfer the pattern to a different file, but would like to save all of the patterns so that I can just load them all at once. Is the Save Swatch Library as ASE the best way to do this? I want to be sure I can share these patterns with others.
You can't save pattern swatches in ase format:
The best way to to this is to have an Illustrator file that you can simply paste a new pattern-filled shape to then save.
You can then share that .ai file and load it as an "Other Library" to import all the pattern swatches.