Wednesday 8 April 2015

My Favourite Online Resources for Crafters

The Four Best Websites for Crafters

Let me tell you something which makes me sound old: I remember life without the internet! This makes me feel all the older when my brother, who is four years younger than I, does not know life without the internet, and does not even know the sound of the dial up. Yes, that's right people, I know the struggle, the struggle of actually going to library for homework research, of having to look up stuff in encyclopaedias, of having to buy Smash Hits Magazine to know the lyrics to Justin's latest song (Timberlake, duh). All this means that I'm still in serious awe of how easy it is to find stuff online, and whilst I'll always love my craft textbooks and guides, I find that the best way to gain new knowledge of a technique is to combine the internet with textbooks. Here's four of my favourite online hangouts for crafters...

Cut Out and Keep - The Rabbit Hole
When I was just starting out getting into crafts in my mid teens, Cut Out and Keep was a regular haunt of mine. Think of your first time on Cut Out and Keep as falling into the crafting rabbit hole - the sheer diversity of crafts here can be a little daunting at first, but once you realise that the majority of projects on show here are smaller, easier ones, you'll soon get the crafting bug. Users upload their own projects, and sometimes a tutorial, but also included are snippets from newly released books and projects from popular bloggers. I don't really use Cut Out and Keep as much as I used to, mostly because I've evolved in terms of the kind of projects I want to make, but if you're a relative beginner, I really recommend it.

Pinterest - The Ideas Machine
"Pinterest is not progress" is a quote which Sophie recently coined on her Instagram, and I couldn't agree with her more. It's very dangerous, in that Pinterest really does feel like you are doing something productive towards your crafting, but in actuality you are just collecting pretty images. But when used smartly, Pinterest can really help you with storing inspiration and those all important links (because my bookmarks bar is a hella mess!). I use Pinterest to store links to tutorials that I know I might find useful, but don't need in the immediate future, to gather an idea of how to improve my photography skills, as well as building a visual idea of how future projects might work. Of course I also use it to collect pictures of Benedict Cumberbatch, but who doesn't?

Craftsy - Classes for the Masses
Craftsy has now grown to be so much more than a site which offers online tuition for many crafts, but for me, their tutorials are what sets them apart from the rest. Living in a small town means that the range of classes and workshops I can get to is seriously limited, so it's really nice to know that if I ever want to, I have the option of following a class online. I have to admit, I have yet to pay for a class from Craftsy, and this is mostly because I'm still quite happy to muddle along by myself, but if I ever wanted to improve and make my skills more professional, Craftsy would be the answer. I know you can find similar tutorials on Youtube cheaper for free, but the classes on Craftsy have been carefully produced and edited to be super professional. Their free lesson on zips has gotten me out of a sticky situation on more than one occasion.

Kollabora - Sewcial Networking
In my humble opinion, Kollabora is a much overlooked website, and is packed with the potential to grow into something huge. The basis is this: you can sign up, start to upload projects that you're working on, as well as following other people to be updated on their projects. It's a great way of being part of the online crafting community, especially if you don't have a blog, and are looking for a more ties free approach to sharing your projects. However, there are other features to Kollabora that truly make it special, for instance you can browse projects by pattern. Last week I bought a Japanese sewing book, and whilst I loved the garments as they were styled in the book, I wanted to see what they looked like in the real world, which is where Kollabora's handy pattern searcher came in (heck, we all know that searching Google for what you want can be looking for a needle in a haystack). I find that Kollabora seems to focus on sewing, knitting, and crochet, but it also caters for other crafts too, so no one's left out.

Know of any other crafty corners online? Send the links my way! I didn't include blogs in this list because in all honesty, it would be a long, long post detailing my favourite craft blogs. But if you have some favourite blogs, I'd love to hear them too!

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