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Knitters and crocheters proudly admit they're almost like a cult. They regularly lure new members promising creativity and stress relief. Their passion for yarns, color, texture, and stitch patterns bind them. They flock to the Web searching for future project ideas. I know this because I am a knitter.
Ten years ago I joined this international crowd that includes celebrities like Kate Middleton, Julia Roberts, Felicity Huffman and David Arquette. I have the requisite "yarn stash" area of a room, filled with half-finished projects. And like my fellow crafters, I spend much of my free time scouring the Web on knitting related sites.
According to a study by the Craft Yarn Council (CYC) 93 percent of the hobbyists turn to the Internet to find patterns--including 21 percent of those over 45. The Web, with its seemingly endless number of free and low-priced patterns and knitting communities has played a huge role in the craft.
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Passionate crafters also teach others. The CYC study reports that 87 percent of yarn spinners have taught someone else to knit or crochet. Those 65 and over have taught an average of 12 people, says Mary Colucci, CYC's executive director.
Creativity, stress relief and the ability to make gifts for others keeps knitters in the fold. We all want to impart our love of taking a ball of yarn and creating a scarf, hat, pair of socks, afghan or sweater. Who among us hasn't oohed and ahhed at the cutest knitted baby outfit?
It doesn't matter if you are a new or experienced knitter or crocheter; the quest for the next project never ends.
So I asked some of my knitting buddies to share their favorite online Websites and mobile apps with me and here's their top three sites:
Ravelry-A free user-driven yarn crafters community. The site lets users keep notes about their projects, see what other people are making, find patterns and join with forums. Anytime I've signed on to the site there have been more than 4,000 other "Ravelers" on line at the same time, available to chat. The size of the site might seem overwhelming at first but after you spend some time exploring it you'll probably become a regular. It also has a mobile app available for Android, iPhone and Windows systems.
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Knitting Help-A great site for beginners because it's filled mostly with free videos. New knitters can learn all the basics in step-by-step videos from knitter Amy Sheldon. Amy also has premium videos, including a 30-minute video course on mitten making for $10.
Gaugefy-Every experienced knitter knows that you must first knit a gauge to see how many stitches you get to an inch before starting a project. A gauge is the small sample square that usually measures about 4 x 4 inches. If you skip this step your garment most likely will be the wrong size. This app calculates your gauge and helps you adapt the gauge to the pattern. It's free and available on iPhone, iPad or Android.
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