If you prefer to use the Internet as your source for information, an online knitting community will be a perfect fit for all your knitting needs.
What is an Online Community?
An online community (also known as a virtual community) is a group of people who interact and share ideas about something they have in common. Members usually meet on the Internet through a user-driven Web site. Although most never come face-to-face, members communicate through:
- Forums: Communities that have established Web sites may also have forums or discussion boards created for members to ask and answer questions.
- E-mail: Usenet group members hold conversations by sending e-mails to others in the community. There is no formal Web site set up to hold these discussions, nor is there any other form of communication.
- Instant messenger: One of the more popular forms of communicating online, instant messages help group members have real-time conversations.
- Chat rooms: Similar to instant messaging, chat rooms allow community members to have conversations -- not only one-on-one, but as a group as well.
Members who make up a community include:
- Moderator: This person is usually an expert who connects with the regular members, leads discussions, weeds out lurkers and keeps the community from being spammed.
- Newbie: This is someone who recently joins the group and may add one or two posts in the beginning to a discussion. After a short period of time, he or she decides to belong to the community.
- Regular: A poster who regularly adds to community discussions and content. Assists moderator from time-to-time with duties.
- Lurker: A member of the community who views content and discussions, but never adds to the discussions. Most communities look down upon lurkers because they do not participate, but know about other members of the group.
- Legacy: Once a regular member of a community, this person may leave because interests have changed or the community has moved in a direction that the member was uncomfortable with or did not like.
Finding an Online Knitting Community
It isn't hard to find an online knitting community considering how much this craft's popularity has grown over the last several years. The Internet allows knitters to look online for information, thus finding or creating communities to meet their specific needs. These groups are made up of people from all over the world, and they get together to chat or talk about everything knitting including:
- Knitting styles
- Finished products
- Machine Knitting
- Where or how to sell knitted items
- Knitting resources
Popular Knitting Communities
To find a community, simply type exactly what you are looking for into one of the many Internet search engines. Once you find a group that you think will fit your needs, you will likely need to register and have your e-mail address verified. Most communities are free, but some may offer upgraded memberships to pay for the site's maintenance and Web-hosting fees. Some of the more well-known knitting communities include:
The Knitting Guild Association
With more than 12,000 members, The Knitting Guild Association is one of the largest and longest-running online knitting communities. Besides message boards, this group also holds annual knitting and crocheting shows and conferences, publishes the magazine, Cast On and offers correspondence courses in knitting. This group also has affiliates throughout the United States and Canada.
Harry Potter Knitting
If you love Harry Potter and enjoy knitting, this community is for you. Members are required to post about knitting a Harry Potter item in their discussions, since knitting was a big part of J.K. Rowling's books. Besides discussions, the Web site also has links to other sites where members have designed and knitted clothing from the Harry Potter books and movies.
This group is for advanced knitters, which according to the community's guidelines, are those who know the basics of knitting and want to advance and learn more. "Advanced knitting is more than a designation of skill level; it's an attitude."
Follow the Rules
Each knitting community has its own set of rules members need to follow including these general guidelines:
- Make sure content is appropriate.
- Posting just for the sake of soliciting members for another knitting group is usually not allowed.
- Try not to duplicate topics, designs or patterns already being discussed.
- Don't type in all capital letters as it looks like you are yelling.
- Review your message before e-mailing or posting for errors.
- Check with the community moderator for rules regarding advertising or selling homemade knitted items.
- Be courteous to other members and remember The Golden Rule -- treat others as you would like to be treated.
- Do not post copyrighted material, patterns or pictures without permission.