As a relative beginner in knitting and crochet, I’ve been perusing many online craft resources and thought I’d put together a Top 10 of those that I have found most useful… Please note most of these sites are UK-based (although not all!)
1. Ravelry – although this is is no particular order I keep coming back to Ravelry as my number one – for the knitter and crotcheter (beginner or otherwise) it has plenty of smart features. As well as the usual free patterns, it has a brilliant advanced search which allows you to select a project by type, yarn, age, even by type of construction (for me this is great when avoiding knitting in the round at first!).
It also has huge databases of yarns, and can even suggest types of project suitable for that yarn you bought on a whim and have never known what to do with! There are also forums and groups you can join and link with other knitters/crocheters around the globe.
But my favourite parts as an inveterate list-maker are the projects, stash and queue facilities – keeping a track on your current projects, your ever-growing stash of wonderful fibres and also those projects that you would like to give a try, if only you had the time/talent/patience!
2. Stitch Craft Create – this is a great site with plenty of ideas to keep you going. Stitch Craft Create has wonderful patterns, inspirational ideas and covers other crafts such as sewing, cake decorating and felting. There are a fair few free ideas – as a beginner I was very inspired by the free resources that came with registration which I have happily downloaded ready to try out. Like Ravelry they also have a shop including beautiful fabric by Kaffe Fassett, the ubiquitous Tilda and my personal favourite, Tanya Whelan – see this beautiful paisley fabric on my Pinterest site…
3. Craftsy – there are many quality patterns and projects on Craftsy but also video classes which you can download and learn interactively – it’s a little bit Open University! The thing I love about Craftsy most are the unusual and quirky patterns – check out this knitted acorn – how cute is that?
4. Folksy – as a Brit alternative to Etsy, Folksy seems to be incredibly popular, particularly with those crafters wanting to buy supplies rather than a finished item. Slightly cheaper, and perhaps less likely for you to get lost than in the enormity of Etsy, I have been lusting after this print by Sandra Igbodo…
5. Pinterest – this is a recent discovery for me – although I had heard of it I couldn’t quite understand the need to ‘pin’ everything I saw. Now I have tried it, needless to say, it’s pervasive and has permeated every waking moment of my life… Come and have a look at my Pinterest site – I’ve only been on it for a month or so and have already nearly 60 pins to my name. Imagine what would happen if I actually had some free time, I’d never leave the house!
6. Craftsforum.co.uk – although the layout is stuck in the dark ages, Craftsforum.co.uk is full of helpful crafters who are very willing to share their experience and advice with us newbies. I’ve found many things answered here when I’ve been wandering from site to site. So now it’s my go-to place for anything needing a speedy response or feedback from others.
7. Etsy – seems a bit of a no-brainer to avoid Etsy – they quality and vast array of stunning crafts can be very overwhelming, but also motivating and inspiring – check out this gorgeous Siamese cat (as well as the beautiful felted cat cave by kivikis – if my cat Ella had my password she would be ordering several of these to adorn her boudoir. And who can blame her?
8. Flickr – this one is a difficult choice for me, although I’m not bad at taking photographs, David Bailey has nothing to worry about. I’m learning bit by bit how to photograph my products to best effect and for this I can attest to the creative encouragement of Flickr (this is my Flickr site). As you can see I have a long way to go!
9. Twitter – I must admit I railed against using Twitter for a long time (as I did with CDs, look where that got me!) and have only just really taken up with it. Now I can see the usefulness and appeal of it, but I still struggle with the whole # hashtag daftness. I keep seeing this Youtube video of Justin Timberlake and have to stop myself going #crazy.
Twitter does seem to bring interesting and random folks together and already I have 24 followers (yes I know, how can I calm my excitement!) so if you would like to follow me please feel free…
10. Not on the High Street – so I come to NOTHS as I like to call it (OK, so I’m a lazy typist!) – again a UK based craft and gift emporium – I have bought many lovely items here and their Christmas brochure was to die for. I find it beautifully laid out and presented and a joy to search and dream in. This lampshade from Rosie’s Vintage Lampshades ticks all my boxes at once.
I’m sure there are many sites I have missed out, I would be interested to hear your opinions…