The Best FREE Websites for Knitters and Crocheters
The internet has become the first source that many people go to for information, and knitters and crocheters have embrace it eagerly. There are thousands of websites and blogs devoted to discussing knitting and crocheting, patterns, techniques, and tips.
I've put together a list of some of the best FREE online resources for knitters and crocheters. I'll admit, this list might focus more on knitting, but there are some great sites here for both crafts.
Ravelry.com (www.ravelry.com) is probably the largest and most popular website devoted to knitting and crocheting. It is a free membership site where you can record your projects, search new patterns, find yarn stores and products, see other people's projects, and connect with other fiber enthusiasts through the Ravelry groups and discussion boards. Simply put: if you're not on Ravelry, you should be.
I go on daily to see the new patterns that have been added to their database and to check in with the online groups I've joined. I also use it to research yarn before making a purchase and I even found a local knitting group there :)
KnittersReview (www.knittersreview.com) is another well-known resource for knitter's and crocheters. The site offers great reviews of yarns and new books as they are released.
I particularly like the collection of "how to" links, where you can find information on everything from caring for and washing your projects, to felting an item, to adding beads to a projects, and making yarn substitutions. This site is easy to understand and navigate, and definitely one to bookmark.
Knitmap (www.knitmap.com) is a database of yarn shops around the world. You can type in a city and find a list of the local yarn stores there, along with directions, store hours, links to their website, and customer reviews. (Or you can just type in a store's name and get this information.) You can also view the store's location on a map and create a yarn crawl, or road trip, of stores to visit on a map.
One note: the information in the Knitmap database is usually entered and updated by the stores themselves. It is not always current. I would suggest you call or look at the store's website to make sure that their hours and location have not changed before visiting.
Everyone knows that YouTube (www.youtube.com) is a great place to watch music videos, clips from your favorite tv shows and movies, and the funny antics of cats. But YouTube is also a great resource for tutorials on just about any and every knitting or crochet technique. This is a very handy place to go if you have any questions while working on a project. Although the videos can be of varying quality, it doesn't take long to find a video that will help you. And you can always stop the video and replay it as you work along with the tutorial.
I love using YouTube videos for doing the Kitchener Stitch. Although I've done this stitch many times, I always like to watch a video tutorial before starting to remind me of the steps.
Yarndex.com (www.yarndex.com) is a very comprehensive online database of yarn from most major manufacturers. If you are looking for information about a certain type of yarn, you can find it in the Yarndex, along with photos of the yarn on color cards. You can also search for yarn by weight, fiber content, and by color.
I can be very picky about the color and texture of the yarn I use, and I buy a lot of my yarn online. Computer monitors can display colors differently and often it's hard to tell the true color of the yarn when pictured on websites. I use Yarndex to double check the color and texture of yarn against another photo and confirm what the yarn really looks like before purchasing. (I will often check on Ravelry too to see more photos and look at other people's projects so I know what the yarn will look like when it's knitted up.)
Knitty and Twist Collective
Knitty (www.knitty.com) is a quarterly online magazine which features free knitting patterns, feature articles, and reviews of new books and products. This fun site offers beautiful photographs and great information in every issue. They also have a wonderful blog with news items from the knitting world, regular features on spinning and dyeing, and free giveaways!!
Twist Collective (www.twistcollective.com) is another great online knitting magazine. Also quarterly, Twist Collective has lots of articles on new products and informative tips on getting the best results with your knitting (they also have a very funny, yet informative, advice column). This magazine offers really beautiful photos of new patterns in each issue, but they are not free. Even though you have to pay to purchase the patterns, I feel Twist Collective is worthy of being included here because of their free articles and advice.
KnittingHelp (www.knittinghelp.com) is a great resource, particularly for beginning knitters. This site has some wonderful, easy-to-follow video tutorials of beginning and intermediate knitting stitches and techniques. There is also a complete list of knitting abbreviations commonly used in most knitting patterns and links to free patterns.
I have this site bookmarked and often visit it for refreshers on stitches and techniques that I don't often use or abbreviations that I don't understand.
Free Knitting Conversions and Calculators
Bookmark this page - The Knitting Fiend's knitting conversions and calculators! Here, Lucia has made an amazing list of conversions and calculators for use in knitting. My favorites are her calculators for decreasing stitches across a row and increasing stitches across a row. This is something that you can work out on a piece of paper, but it's so wonderful to go to her site and just use this simple calculator.
She also has links to calculators for estimating the amount of yarn for a pattern, spacing buttonholes, and changing the knitting gauge for a pattern, among others.
About.com Knitting & About.com Crochet
I found a really helpful tutorial on how to bind off my knitting with a picot edge, which I always refer back to when I need it.
Grandmother's Pattern Book
I just recently found Grandmothers Pattern Book (www.grandmotherspatternbook.com). I'm still working my way around the site, but it appears to be an online database of free knitting and crochet patterns, along with illustrations on how to do fancy stitches.
You can navigate through the site using the buttons or links at the top of the page. The free patterns seem to be grouped by the month that they were added to the site. This makes it difficult to browse through them. I found the easiest thing to do is click the "free pattern links" button at the top of the page, then use the search bar in the upper right corner. You can search for things like "jewelry" or "baby blanket". This will bring up each heading that has patterns that meet your search criteria. Then, if you click on one of these headings, it will show the photos and links to various free patterns.
This site is not easy to manage, but it does seem to have A LOT of links to free patterns.
Not to be forgotten, there are some wonderful knitters and crocheters sharing great information on their personal blogs. There are SO many out there, but two of my favorites are Two Sides of the Same Stitch and Very Shannon.
Knitwear Designer and Teacher Gwen Bortner blogs on TwoSidesOfTheSameStitch. This site gives you a rare look into the life, thoughts, and knowledge of a knitting expert. I love it! I particularly enjoyed her post on The Top 5 Yarn Label Lies.
On Very Shannon, blogger Shannon offers regular posts about knitting and sewing. She often has posts on things like getting gauge, picking up stitches, getting the best fit from your knit garment, and free giveaways. I particularly enjoy her guest posts from knit designers and experts.
Jennifer at Fiber Flux always has interesting projects, patterns, and ideas to share. Her blog is equally devoted to crocheting, knitting, embroidery and sewing.
And I'll add a shameless plug for my own page, purl3agony on Hubpages, where you can find my free knitting patterns, tutorials, and other articles!
This is, by no means, a complete list of the online resources available. I hope I've shared some important sites and some that you might not have found yet. If you know of any great free knitting or crocheting websites that should be added, please share them with me!
While you're here:
Check out my collection of FREE knitting patterns.
Visit my FREE knitting articles and tutorials page.