Apr 23, 2010

Seven Computer Tips and Tricks For Knitters

Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing some posts from my personal blog, A Devine Life. This is one of them, originally published on December 14, 2009.

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I know some knitters are still leery of computer-use when it comes to their needles and yarn, but as the world moves ever-faster to a digital society, there’s a lot of use you can get from your desktop or laptop. Here’s a few ideas to get you started - and best of all? Not one of these ideas will cost you a dime!

1. Set up Google Reader alerts for Ravelry groups. A reader over at One Hundred Hats shared this idea, and I think it’s a great one. You can set up your favorite groups in your feed reader, so you know you’re always up on what’s happening!

2. Use Excel for charting. Have a pattern you’d love to see a chart for, but one’s not included? Use Excel (or any other similar program) to chart it out yourself! I’ve been doing that as I get into color work, and it’s been a lifesaver.

3. Store your patterns. As more patterns are becoming available in PDF form, it’s become easier and easier to store those patterns on your computer. I’m going so far as to scan the books I have as well, so I always have a pattern with me when I need it. If you do this, however be sure you’re using the patterns for personal use ONLY, and not sharing them on Flickr, Ravelry, etc.

4. Connect with a charity. Websites like Charity Craft Connect are a great way to get connected with charities in your area {or around the globe!} that accept handmade goods. As more charities turn to crafters to help supply basic needs to the people they serve, the Internet is becoming the perfect way to connect givers to those in need.

5. Track your hand-knits on Ravelry. More knitters everyday are joining in with the phenomenon that is Ravelry. You can find patterns by the million {maybe thousands, but it grows everyday}, and connect with knitters from around the globe. But what I love best about it? I can track the items I’m knitting. As long as I snap a picture of it {and sometimes even if I don’t} I add it to Ravelry, linking it to the pattern I’ve used and writing in any notes I made while knitting. It’s a great record of my crafting, and helps when I think, “I’d love to make another one of X, but I don’t remember what the pattern was or the mods I made.” Now I do!

6. Show off your knits with a Flickr account. Flickr is free to use {with an option to buy more space at a nominal cost}, and a great way to keep photos of your hand-knits safe and sound. Bonus? You can tag the photos, and instantly share your work with thousands of other knitters.

7. Twitter your pattern questions. More and more knitters are signing up with Twitter, which is great if you’ve got a pattern question. Chances are there’s a knitter out there who’s worked the pattern before and can help you out!

There’s so many more ways you can use your computer, and the internet, to simplify your knitting and connect with other knitters. What are some of your favorite tips and tricks?

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