MKG Cable Gram - Volume 20, Number 2
As I was knitting away on the Broadripple Sock pattern from Knitty (http://www.knitty.com, a free internet knitting magazine that's making waves throughout the web), my father asked me... "So why are all these young kids knitting? Is it just because celebrities do it?"
I couldn't tell him why I started knitting, because the thought just happened to occur to me one day, but I could tell him that I didn't even consider whether or not celebrities knit, and that the first place I turned after introducing myself to the craft was the internet. I was having trouble deciphering the long tail cast on method from the book I had purchased, and a quick search at Google (http://www.google.com) lead me to Vogue Knitting's (http://www.vogueknitting.com) technique pages. Soon enough, stitches were flying off my needles.
The internet has gone from being the realm of computer geeks to that of everyday people-and knitters. If you visit any search engine and type in "knitting", you will be bombarded with results for online and brick-and-mortar knitting stores, websites that discuss everything from the most basic to extremely complex techniques, online forums where knitters meet to type back and forth about their passion, and one of the most inspirational phenomenons to grace the pages of the internet: knitting blogs.
"Blog" is short for "weblog," which is a journal that is kept on the internet. Software like Moveable Type (http://www.moveabletype.org), Blogger (http://www.blogger.com), and TypePad (http://www.typepad.com) allow users to publish their thoughts and pictures quickly, easily, and sometimes free. Knitters have taken this medium to an entirely new level, creating virtual knitting bees where crafters gather to watch ideas and projects grow, as well as offer advice, exchange tips, and create friendships.
It's not just the young kids who congregate on the internet to share their experiences. The variety of knitters who use the internet to share their craft is vast; you can meet anyone and learn anything. Some well-known designers like Annie Modesitt (http://www.modeknit.com/blog) use the internet to promote their designs, give little glimpses of what's to come, and offer assistance with their patterns. There are young professionals who share their favorite bind-off techniques, and seasoned veterans who create websites full of their intricate lace patterns.
I credit the internet-and to a large extent, knitting blogs-for playing a large role in the upswing in the popularity of knitting. Young people are quickly and easily seeing people they admire-whether a celebrity or a friend they met in a chat room-knit. And they are having easy access to the hip new patterns and yarns that appear. The internet has become the ultimate form of word-of-mouth. We're using technology to get back to our hands-on roots.
If you haven't had the opportunity to use the internet, or never really thought of the possibility, maybe it's time you got online and used knitting as a connection. But beware-you will be inundated with almost impossible levels of inspiration and far too much stash-building encouragement!
Postscript: If you do not have access to a computer at home, visit your local library. Most provide internet access at no charge or for a small fee, and your librarian can help you locate the information you are looking for. Here are two more good knitting resources:
This site describes the meaning of the symbols used on yarn labels (for washing, drying, recommended needle size, stitches per inch, etc.). It also lists the various standardized yarn weights, with recommended needles and stitches per inch for each, and it provides a sizing guide for knit garments from children through large adult.
This specific page is a detailed garment-sizing chart, invaluable for those of us who like to figure things out for ourselves!