Today, I’m writing up a different kind of post. Instead of a knitting technique how-to or photos of some of my pieces, I thought I’d share some of my favorite, I might say even indispensable, online resources that I go to again and again. Some may well be familiar to you but maybe you’ll see a new one or two that will be helpful to you in your knitting journey. So instead of seeing my knitting needles, you’ll see my screenshots.
At the very tippy-top of my list has got to be Ravelry. If you don’t know: Ravelry is a free social networking website focused on knitting, crocheting and some associated techniques that was launched in 2007. At the time of my writing, 438,670 patterns were available on Ravelry, including several of mine in my very own shop there. Some are free, some are not. Some are for knitting, some are for crocheting. Some are for beginners, some are for experts. Some are…well, you get the idea. You can search for just the free ones if you like, or search for patterns that used a certain type of yarn or amount of yarn or even brand of yarn. Many independent designers, including myself, favor Ravelry because of its ease of use as a pattern platform. Ravelry has lots of other features, though. You can record the yarn in your stash for your own bookkeeping purposes or even to share with others who might have run out and need just a few more grams to finish a project. There are many, many chats and Knit-alongs (KALs) going on and even some competitions. For example, Sock Madness (an international sock speed knitting contest) is hosted on Ravelry and uses many of its networking features. On the main landing page of Ravelry you will always find some timely writing from the site admins, very worth reading.
In my early stages of pattern designing I will use simple graph paper to plot out what I’m working on. But if the pattern works out and I end up writing the pattern and uploading the pdf to Ravelry, I need a polished, finished chart and for that I use the free site called Stitch Fiddle. This site helps you design charts to suit your project. And as you can see from the login screen shot below, Stitch Fiddle accommodates crocheters and cross stitchers as well. I know there are other graphing sites out there but I got started with this one and it does everything I want it to do relatively easily.
My most recent favorite online resource is the Knitulator by Mimi Codd. The Knitulator site is a free automatic increase and decrease calculator. Have you ever had to decrease or increase evenly across a long row and pulled your hair out trying to work out how to space them so that they don’t all bunch up in the first half or the middle third or whatever? Well, the knitulator will do all of that calculating (and sketching and hair pulling out, lol) for you. Simply plug in your numbers, press the Knitulate button and Voila! It’s a miracle, I tell ya.
Another thing us knitters do all the time is substitute yarn. Sometimes you just can’t get the yarn that is called for in a pattern or you have something on hand you want to use. Yarn substation can be tricky, though. Definitely you should stick to same weight of yarn that is called for but even then you might not be out of the woods. The YarnSub site helps with this process. Plug in what is called for in the pattern and you’ll get a list of acceptable substitutes. Easy-Peasey.
What about particular knitting techniques? There are tons to choose from. Youtube is your friend if you like learning from videos. Personally, I’m not a fan of knitting videos. I find that they either move to slow or too fast and I don’t like fast forwarding or stopping and starting. But that’s just me; lots of folks these days learn how to knit with Youtube videos. If you don’t like the first one you find, keep looking for a bit. Knitting blogs (like mine, ahem) are your friend if you’d rather see photos with descriptions. Yes, I do look at other knitting blogs myself. Here are two that I go to over and over again when I need a refresher. The first is a great rendition of how to do the Kitchener Stitch in the Blog Knitty by guest writer Theresa Vinson Stenersen. I’ve seen lots of other Kitchener Stitch blog posts and videos and this simple tutorial with good photos click the best with me.
The other tutorial that I frequently use is also published in Knitty. It is for Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off by guest writer Jeny Staimen. This is an absolute must-know technique! Jeny developed this relatively easy bind off sequence to give some stretch to a technique that is normally tight and binding and not stretchy at all. If you work lace shawls or anything that has to be blocked vigorously, this bind-off will save you a world of regret.
Looking for patterns and can’t get to a book store or library? Try out this compendium of stitch and sweater patterns collected from all over in KnittingFool. Be prepared to hunt around a little to find what you want, there’s a lot there but its not cross referenced. Patterns are sorted by names, which may not be the ones you are familiar with.
Well, that about wraps up my fav online resources! Hope you found something new and interesting that is helpful for you.