Friday, 1 April 2011

USEFUL STUFF: Knitting help from... KnittingHelp!

My Knitting & Crochet Blog Week post will be along later today, but in the meantime, here is something I've been meaning to post about for a little while.

When I started knitting a few months ago, I knew how to cast on, knit, purl and bind off. And that was about it. I've already mentioned that I started by making some little doll clothes to practice my tension, and they turned out OK so I wanted to quickly move on to 'proper patterns' and started browsing Ravelry. It was simple enough to find the easiest patterns using the advanced search facility but even the simplest needed button holes, increases and decreases, and someone mentioned a magic loop and I was bewildered again.

Of course I did what most internet-users would do... and consulted YouTube! The array of videos on any knitting topic was a little bewildering. Not to mention most instructors were knitting "Continental" style, a completely different way of knitting that looked more like crochet and something I'd actually never even heard of before. The video stream I came to rely on as a source of clear instruction and which also offered instruction in the "English" knitting style I use, was KnittingHelp.

I was delighted to find that there was an iPhone App also available - but I don't mind saying that I initially thought the £2.99 price-tag seemed unnecessary for something I could get for free on YouTube so I resisted downloading it at first. 

Then one day I was knitting in the car (yes, I grab any chance I get to knit and waiting outside the school for My Boy is one of them!) with no phone signal or 3G connection so I couldn't use YouTube when I got stuck on something and when I got home I bought the App. 

Since then I really haven't looked back. I LOVE THE APP! I have yet to knit anything really complicated or demanding but so far everything I have searched for has been there. And sometimes I've searched for a term used in a pattern and realised there is another name for the same thing but it's still found the video. I think it's great! There are loads of things on there I haven't needed yet as well as an introductory section for new knitters and a glossary of abbreviations which is really helpful when you're learning to read patterns. 

The latest update offered some improvements and I am hoping there may be even more to come - although at the moment I don't know what I don't know so I don't know what else might be missing from the current offering :-)

For a beginner I think this is an excellent option and three pounds well spent - about the same as a tall latte in the large coffeeshop chains, and much better value. I have read  reviews from other users and I think it's probably just as useful for people who are not beginners. 

Now I REALLY need to find an equivalent for crochet. If anyone can recommend something, I'd be very grateful. 

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