When I first started knitting (a whole year ago now!), I was encouraged and inspired by the what seemed like an endless supply of online resources, tutorials and patterns.
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Glipho, and of course, a never ending list of blogs that dedicate themselves to knitting, knitters from all backgrounds are embracing these social media platforms and creating a vast online community that is both supportive and fun.
There are countless YouTube channels for knitting, type 'knitting' into the search bar and it currently comes up with about 544,000 results. That's more knitting information than you will find in your local library or bookshop. From beginner's tutorials to the more complex stitches and techniques, YouTube is perfect for sourcing out specific step by step visual guides for knitting. YouTube itself only started in 2005, and since then, more and more knitting channels have emerged. YouTube is fab for knitting, however I often feel the need to couple the visual aids with written instructions!
As a social media platform, I use Facebook on a more personal level, for keeping in touch with friends and seeing what everyone I used to know is doing with their lives. However, I do upload my knitting pictures for my friends to see. My knitting is something I am proud of and happy with, and so share it on Facebook. I admit that I haven't yet made use of the knitting pages and communities on Facebook, although as far as I can tell, they are useful places for sharing what you've created and for seeking out help for projects you may be stuck on!
Twitter is an interesting one. The 140 character limit means that you obviously can't upload entire patterns or detailed knitting analysis. I've personally found that knitters haven't flocked to Twitter (haha) as much as some other social media sites, although I find it fairly useful for sharing my word and my latest blog posts with my *gulp* 37 followers.
Pinterest is the PERFECT website for knitters. One of the babies in the social media world, only launched in 2010, it has been a massive success with those interested in DIY and crafts. There are thousands of boards dedicated to knitting. It is a brilliant place to collect pictures of things you want to try and knit, or things that inspire your knitting. I personally am slowly building up a collection of amazing looking projects that I am never going to get around to making.
Glipho is very new blogging site where users can upload posts from their blogs and post them all conveniently in one place. It makes it easier to find blogs and posts dedicated to the subject you are searching for. I've found that as of yet, Glipho hasn't attracted masses of knitters, although it is still early days and would definitely recommend it!
Blogging is a 21st century phenomenon that allows anyone to have a voice. Knitting blogs are everywhere, embraced by the young and the slightly less young alike. Every day, someone is uploading a new knitting pattern or article, sharing their ideas and patterns. People are coming up some amazing ideas that they are willing to share with the knitting world for free! It's fantastic, and I love being a part of it. Knitting Pattern Central is a really good site that has a massive collection of links to all sorts patterns, which is constantly being added to.
Following on from blogging, Google+ is a fantastic social site, where people who use the blogging program 'blogger' are able to share their posts on their pages. There are a number of knitting communities on Google+, one of the largest being 'The Knitting Lodge'. Everyday people add new patterns and share things that they've made. I've always found the response to be incredibly positive, and love the mix of different people, and the variety of the creations that are shared.
Ravelry is also worth a mention, it has a huge online database of patterns, free and not s to free. If you can't find a pattern you need on Ravelry, it is unlikely you'll find it at all! With over 3 million users (as of March 2013), it's safe to say that is site is a favourite of the online knitting and crochet community.
I think that the internet has done a lot for knitting. It has injected a large dose of enthusiasm into the craft, inspiring those who haven't knitted in years, introducing it to those who may never have come across knitting otherwise, and has provided an ever growing bank of resources for those who are passionate about and truly enjoy this amazing craft. The internet has shown millions that knitting isn't about little old ladies and itchy jumpers, it is fun, creative, expressive and exciting!
Any online aspects of knitting you think I have missed out? Comment below! Also, please post links to your own and others knitting blogs - the online growth of knitting is a big positive and to be encouraged.