This is more like notes to myself because I'm more likely to find it again by writing it here. I'll write it as a tutorial later.
I stumbled upon a way to re-color patterns. Do so by clicking the "Recolor" button in the Properties panel when an object is selected. I don't see a way of getting there from the main menu. I searched Adobe's Help and found the video which explains it perfectly. When you get to this page, scoll down to #5 " Recolor artwork."
Being that the patterns are artwork with certain attributes built in, you can't select a color in the normal way to recolor them.
In case the link is no longer active when this is read, here are the basic steps:
What you learned: Recolor artwork