Knitting on the Web
You Think Knitting is Boring?
The fabulous art of knitting has enjoyed a massive revival in the new millennium, thanks in part to all-stars like Debbie Stoller ("Stitch & Bitch"), the Yarn Harlot, and countless others who have made knitting "hot" again. But as I sat in my knitting group the other day, comprised mostly of women older than my 22 years, I realized none of them knew of the rich knitting community that exists on the Internet. I must admit, it's hard for me to imagine a world without words like "Ravelry" and "Knitty", and I was frantic to help them. Then I realized that they may not be the only ones, that maybe somewhere out there, there are knitters who don't enjoy the lovely companionship that I do centered around my craft. So, for all you knitters out there who haven;t experienced knitting on the web, buckle up, you're in for fantastic, fuzzy, and wild ride.
Ravelry.com The Knitters Nirvana
Congratulations, you have arrived at the Holy Grail of online knitting communities. Ravelry is the brainchild of Jess (a knitter) and her husband Casey (a programmer). They thought it would be nice to have a place where knitters could catalog their projects and get together with other knitters. Thus, Ravelry was born!
Now Ravelry is a website still in beta testing with over 140,000 members. You have to apply for an invite, but within 2 days you'll receive it in your email. Then you'll be ushered into a land of wonders. Catalog your knitting projects with pictures and notes, and rank the pattern along with the project. Others can view your projects and comment, but don't worry, everyone plays nice. ("If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all!") You can also look at other projects which I love for sweaters because I can see how a finished project looks on someone built like me. There are forums for conversation, and a yarn and pattern browser that contain pretty much every yarn or pattern ever created. If you're a designer you can even sell your patterns online.
If you make one stop for online knitting, make it this one.
No longer do you have to rely on the Hobby Lobby or local yarn store to provide for your addiction, now you can shop online! There are some great discount sites that sell natural fibers for decent prices. Try Knitpicks which has strudy wool, lucious alpaca, and handpainted sock yarn that even my weak receptionist wages can afford. Also try Elann, which sells discontinued brand name yarn and also has a great in-house line. Finally, for a great selection of yarns from cheap to expensive, try WEBS which sells just about everything under the sun. Also, don't forget your indie dyers, a lot of whom sell on Etsy.
Knitty: Get Your Knit On
Knitty is one of the oldest and most venerated online knitting magazines. The best part: it's free! Knitty is a quarterly publication, with a winter, spring, summer, and fall edition. Their patterns range from practical hats to glorious lace shawls, and everything in between. New designers and veterans all find their voice through Knitty, and we knitters reap the benefit. Look for all-time favorites like "Clapotis" and "Calorimetry". Simply print, and get your knit on!
The online knitting community originally started with knitting blogs, where people could document and discuss their experiences. Some of the most famous blogs have even won awards, such as author Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's Yarn Harlot blog. The best knitting blogs are those that combine good pictures with great writing that is entertaining and funny. I also enjoy reading Wendy of Knit & Tonic fame, her posts are always unique meanderings down her thought trails. There are thousands upon thousands of knitting blogs out there, keep an eye out, many of them are gems just waiting to be discovered!
Shameless self plug: my knitting blog.
Keep Your Eyes Open
There are many new publications being born every day on the internet, so keep your eyes open. The next new, fabulous thing is just around the corner!