The World Wide Web is a virtual cornucopia of information for the knitter about town. In fact, seldom have I met a knitter who is not electronically connected to the global community (albeit I don’t have much contact to those who still live in the world of typewriters and telegrams- no offence Oma Bauer). So, for this post, dear Reader, I have assembled what I deem as the ten best online resources for knitters, whether rookie or veteran, including online publications, reference pages, and blogs. And there is one very attractive common denominator: every site offers free resources. Who doesn’t love that? So surf to your heart’s content, but be warned: clicking the following links may result in hours and hours gratuitous and pleasurable surfing. Knit well and knit often.
1. Ravelry.com Praise be to the creators, Jessica and Casey, for consolidating the labyrinth that is the online knitting world and giving us yarn junkies an online presence of our own. Still in its BETA version with a waiting list for membership (not too long at several weeks in spring ’08), it is well worth the wait and the tech wrinkles! This is Facebook of yarn craft, but goes far beyond the usual applications one expects of social networking sites. Whereas such sites feature apps allowing you to send gifts and play games, Ravelry allows members to catalogue and showcase their projects, stash and needles. Members can check out how other members’ projects have turned out, which modifications work, etc before embarking on the same pattern. Groups connect members to others who share specialized interests, geographical location or similar life situations. Designers, spinners and dyers are able to feature their work. There are yarn reviews and forums on a multitude of subjects. I think I best like the fact that it provides a connection to our global community 24/7. Ravelry rocks. Check it out.
2. Knitty.com is an online knitting publication out of Toronto, Canada. Since the fall of 2002, Knitty has been dishing up a free quarterly serving of feature articles and independent designs with a dollop of quirky humor and fresh perspective. Feature articles include everything from technique tutorials to personal accounts. Patterns are unique, beautiful and like your favorite curry restaurant menu, categorized according to spiciness: mellow, piquant, tangy and extra spicy. Yum! The Knitty shop also has some pretty cool knitster gear if you happen to be in the market for a t-shirt to represent our clan. Word.
3. KnittingDaily.com As the online incarnation of Interweave Press, editor Sandi Wiseheart and the KnittingDaily.com team bring you fabulous, sophisticated and free knitting patterns (available upon registering for a gratis membership and newsletter) from their array of fiber arts publications. The site also features live forums, galleries (in which staff model featured patterns – you guys rock!), a blog and some raging how-tos beyond the basics. My recent how-to favorite: Frogging and reusing yarn. Brilliant.
4. KnittingHelp.com Who can’t dig well-done knitting how-to videos and more free patterns? This labor-of-love site is now many a knitter’s oasis in the internet desert of decent tutorials. Additionally, there is a fantastic glossary of all those crazy abbreviations most of us have not yet committed to memory, as well as a forum, and a photowall.
5. Craftster.org Not to bail on my Ravelry sisters and brothers, but Craftster.org is a must-mention in this list. A self-proclaimed repository for all things craft, this site is perfect for all you crossover crafters. Craftster.org places a little less emphasis on the social networking aspect and concentrates on showcasing the endless amount of craftiness, talent, and experience in all genres. The site has lots of bustling forums, so you are sure to find any project or DIY tip you seek. Membership is free.
6. Patternlinks.com A relative newcomer to the arena of online pattern collections, Mr. Ben Rosenbaum has created an assemblage of 2,671 (and counting) links to online knitting and crochet patterns with photos. Rock on, Ben.
7. Brooklyntweed is one of the two knitblogs I am featuring in this list. Brooklyntweed is currently my personal knitblog fav because the author Jared
a) is an Elizabeth Zimmerman devotee,
b) posts about spining his own and repurposing found yarn,
c) writes incredibly well and doesn’t get too personal, and
d) includes killer photos and presents a wonderfully formatted blog. May Jared be a lesson to us all.
8. Knittingpatterncentral.com is another site listing links to free patterns on the web. There are patterns for nearly every category imaginable. KPC also features a pattern of the week along with some down home tips and tricks, testimonials and words of encouragement for the virtual knitter.
9. Knittingforcharity.org Bless her heart, Nellie the Knittin’ Nut has put together a page devoted to the topic of philanthropic charity. She posts about different charity knitting projects, gives practical advice on charitable knitting, and covers other (albeit sometimes random) topics. If you are looking to start or join a project, consult Nellie.
10. TECHknitting.blogspot.com is the last of the two knitblogs named on the list and my final pick. This truly the ultimate in technique tutorial sites. Lucky us there are so many knitting techniques trying to escape from TECHknitter’s mind. Check out TECHknitter’s two years of archives for virtually any how-to imaginable. The latest post is a how-to on pom-poms. Three cheers for TECHknitter!