No matter what your personal opinions of the internet are, there is no denying that its effect on the popularity and success of knitting, crocheting, and all manner of crafts has been incredibly positive. Apps and websites such as Facebook, Ravelry, Instagram, Pinterest & Twitter have meant that we can share our creations with the world, rather than just our nearest and dearest.
I don’t know about all of you but the first thing that I want to do when I finish a project is show it to every single person that I know. I want them to feel it, wear it, and love it as much as I loved making it. Also, I can’t think of a time when using one of these apps that I haven’t immediately found a make by someone else that I want to add to my project list.
Sharing is a beautiful thing; it is to be inspired and to inspire simultaneously. The internet aids our ability share our love and passion for our craft & meet people who are as passionate (and sometimes crazy) about crafting and yarn as we are.
So I give to you today a list of 10 apps and websites that are a must for any modern day crafter, a lot of them you might be using already but hopefully, hidden amongst them are some treasures you hadn’t thought about before. Read on and find out how they can change the way you stitch & share.
This one might seem like the obvious one but a surprising amount of knitters and crocheters that I have met don’t know about Ravelry & let’s be honest, they are seriously missing out. Ravelry is a social media platform which is also a huge database for thousands upon thousands of patterns; knitting, crochet, Tunisian crochet, free, paid for, download, print, web, the list really does go on and on and the great thing is that you can add them to your ‘favourites’ list and save them for later: amazing. In addition to finding patterns you can add friends, chat to others through the messaging feature, upload your very own designs for others to enjoy, join different groups, or even volunteer yourself as a pattern tester for your favourite designers! It’s a crafter’s dream. This is a must for every single woollen crafter and it is completely FREE to join. It’s the ultimate in being inspired!
Following on quite nicely from number 1 is Stash2Go, this is a FREE app for your android or apple phone which is essentially Ravelry on the move. This app links directly into your Ravelry account/settings and has a variety of features. For example, if you are on holiday and fancy finding the local yarn shop to buy some souvenir yarn, you can search for local yarn shops and read reviews. You can also take pictures and upload them to your stash (once you have bought the wool!), or you can snap a shot of your work in progress and add it to your projects. Aside from this you can access patterns, your yarn stash, and needle inventory. It’s a brilliant way to stay hooked into Ravelry on the go!
When you think of Facebook you don’t automatically think ‘Craft Haven’ but it really is a great place for anyone who loves woollen crafts. The best feature on Facebook for crafters is the ‘Groups’ function and there are 100s of groups which are dedicated to woollen crafts on Facebook. Some are specific to location and some are nation/worldwide. For example, I run The York KnitWits Facebook Group, a place where over 250 members can post pictures of their projects, yarn they have bought, or creations they have made. They can ask for advice if they are stuck with a pattern or stitch, and most importantly, they can get to know each other. There are also groups dedicated to spinning (Spinners UK, Fiber artists and spinners), selling your creations, or buying/trading yarn (Wool for Sale) – the possibilities are endless! In addition to the groups function why not like the pages of your favourite yarn shops, designers, or craft magazines. This is a fantastic way to stay up to date with all the happenings in the craft world and also be the first to know about any offers/discounts!
When I think of Twitter, I don’t immediately think of crafting. I’ll admit that, like many other people, I was reluctant to join Twitter and was completely put off by it, claiming that I ‘didn’t get it’. However, after a couple of months as a Tweeter I realised that it was a great place to explore the crafting world and see what everyone else is up to. It’s a way to communicate with your favourite designer and say ‘I bought this pattern from you and look, the finished piece is beautiful – thank you so much for taking the time to design it!’ You can follow your favourite blogger ‘hehem’ to find out when new posts are going up and what they are working on, and you can even follow your favourite yarn dyers/spinners to explore their latest products and be the first to know when they are releasing new yarns. Aside from that, you can communicate with crafters all over the world and share your crafting stories with them – what could be better than that.
Ahhh Instagram. This is probably my favourite social media platform to use for craft purposes. The #hashtag function means that inspiration is just a few taps away. Search #crochet for 1000s of crochet ideas, #knittersofinstagram for an equal amount of knitting ones, see yarns of every shade and share your projects to inspire others. The other thing that I love about Instagram is even if you don’t use the search feature, or if you are not particularly bothered about following others and people following you, it’s a great space to build a portfolio of your work. A nice album of all the lovely creations you made and how hard you worked to make them. So get your creative juices following and get those beautiful makes up for the world to see!
Every crafter must have a Pinterest account. If you don’t have one already I recommend you leave this blog right now (but make sure you come back!) and head over to Pinterest now, that’s how good it is! Some of you might already know what Pinterest is, but for those of you who don’t it is essentially a virtual noticeboard that you can pin pictures, links and ideas to. You can have as many ‘boards’ as you like and ‘pin’ items in their 1000s to these boards. You can search for crochet patterns, knitting patterns, colour palettes and inspiration, recipes, cake ideas, sewing patterns, craft ideas & so much more. Simply pin them to a board and when you need it, click on the picture to be taken through to the website where the pattern/picture originated from. The share feature means that if you see a pattern that your best friend would fall in love with, you can send it over to them in seconds! A little handy tip; if you have Google Chrome you can install a Pinterest Save Button to the top of your browser so that no matter where you are on the internet, you can pin a picture straight to your board from the site. Genius. It’s a treasure trove of inspiration for the modern day crafter and I urge you to get stuck in with it.
Now, not many of you will know this but I learnt to crochet solely by using YouTube, I lived in a tiny village with no wool shops and thus, no way of accessing classes. The tutorials on here were a life saver and I still use it today to develop my skills and remind myself when I am returning to a technique that I haven’t done in a while. Having it on the go means that no matter where I am, I can do a quick search and remind myself of how to do that pesky magic ring. If you want to learn to crochet (using English terms) a great place to start is Bella Coco, her videos are wonderful & she takes things at the perfect pace. There is a YouTube app which is available to download for free on all devices or you can access it on your computer using the internet.
How familiar is this? Tiny scraps of paper with hundreds of symbols on it indicating how many rows you have done. I think every knitter/crocheter has been there. There are rotating row counters to put on your needles, yes, but when working with circulars, they aren’t so practical. This little app changes that – it’s simple. It’s a row counter…. That counts rows. You can have several counters at once (for all those WIPS), you can customise the back ground to your favourite colour, set a limit so a little alarm buzzes when you have got to where you need to, and you can set the increments that you need to go up in. A woollen crafters dream come true!
Photo Director/Pics Collage
Every crafter needs a photo editor so that they can capture their wonderful creations. I use Photo Director which is a free download for android and (if you can ignore the ads) is a fantastic little tool. It has all the basic edit features such as crop, rotate, flip, but it also allows you to adjust white balance, tone, saturation and sharpness. In addition to all of the basics it has a selection of wonderful little features to make your photos stand out from the rest; add filters, select one colour and turn the rest black & white, cut the background out of the photo, add overlays, text & add your pictures to scenes. It is essentially photo-shop in your pocket and I would recommend it to anyone. This app can also be used to make collages but I chose to use Pics Collage, again a free android download. This has a whole bunch of collage templates and lets you customise them to add your personal touch – another perfect crafting companion. Happy Editing.
Etsy is described as ‘The Global Online Market Place’ and it really, really is. You can buy all manner of things on Etsy; from hiring a Graphic Designer to make your brand pop to beautiful hand crafted items to fill your home with. Whether you want to just admire other people’s makes, get some inspiration, or sell your crafty creations, Etsy is a brilliant place to do it. Get the app on your phone or pop on your computer and off you go, but be warned – I’ve spend hours being sucked into the wonderful world of Etsy.
So there you have it: an array of sites and apps that can enhance your crafting life. The internet doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom; it’s a whole world right at your fingertips (literally). Let me know in the comments what sites you love to use so that other crafters can experience them too!