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Top 5 Online Knitting Magazines

Top 5 Online Magazines

Knitting magazines have been a great resource for patterns, tutorials, and articles about the latest products and trends. With the advent of the internet it was only a matter of time before we saw digital magazines come along.

While some magazines have come and gone, there are a few who have separated themselves from the pack and continue to bring us great content. And more are on the way. Here is a list of my top 5 online knitting magazines.

Disclaimer: This list is the opinion of one person. If you disagree or feel I left something out please feel free to say so in the comments. However, angry emails and disrespectful comments will be deleted. It’s fine to think differently, just be nice.

5. Petite Purls

Petite Purls

Publishing Schedule: 4 times a year

Price: Free

In 2009, three ladies (Brandy Fortune, Allegra Wermuth, and Joan Beebe) started a site that focused on high quality knitted items for children. The result was Petite Purls, a beautiful site with gorgeous patterns for little people. Since their inception they have branch out into crochet and sewn items as well.

The patterns on the site have great art direction and are well photographed. The site is clean and simple, making it easy to navigate. Even though they are ad supported the ads never feel obtrusive. The focus on children’s patterns makes this the perfect place to find something to knit your wee ones.

4. Knitty

Knitty.com

Publishing Schedule: 4 times a year with a “surprise” between each issue

Cost: Free

You might have heard of this one. It was started by Amy Singer in 2002 as a way to highlight all the great design work she was seeing all around the blogosphere. Since then it has become one of the most popular knitting sites on the web, launching quite a few designers careers.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Knitty is only number 4? Yes they are the biggest, with millions of visitors every year. And they are one of the few to still provide all their patterns for free. So why aren’t they number 1?

There are a few reasons. Knitty requires their designers to do a lot of work for them up front. They also do not compensate their designers as well as other publications. Many designers are willing to make this trade off because of the amount of link juice they get from being featured on Knitty. Since all of the photos are submitted by the designers themselves the site lacks a consistent look and projects can have incredible photography or mediocre pictures. The site itself is a little cluttered and is the least aesthetically pleasing of the sites on this list.

This by no means suggests that they do not have some great patterns, and their archive is huge. They have definitely helped advance the art of knitting and I hope they continue to introduce us to new talent for years to come.

3. Tangled Magazine 

Tangled Magazine

Publishing Schedule: 4 times a year

Price: Free with some paid patterns

The youngest publication in this list, Tangled focuses on both knit and crochet items. It was started by Tracy St. John and Brittany Tyler in 2010 in an effort to bridge the West Side Story like rivalry between knitters and crocheters.

They are one of the most progressive magazines out there, offering their designers the option to sell their pattern or make it available for free. They also provide video knitting tutorials by Liat Gat of KNITFreedom. However, the coolest thing they do is offer at least one pattern “Cross-Threaded” in both a knit version and a crochet version. Pretty nifty.

2. Twist Collective

Twist Collective

Publishing Schedule: 3 times a year

Price: Free to browse with some free patterns. Most must be purchased individually.

This magazine was started in 2008 by Kate Gilbert with the intention of providing high quality knit wear patterns with great photography that supports independent designers. While I’m not a huge fan of the magazine style layout of the site, it is easy to navigate and does a wonderful job of highlighting each pattern. Each segment has really nice art direction and their focus on wearable items that are not kitschy is a breath of fresh air.

Some may be put off that most of their patterns are for sale individually rather than a collection, but their business model is structured to offer fair compensation to designers, which is a great thing.

1. Knit Circus

Knit Circus

Publishing Schedule: 4 times a year plus a bonus issue

Price: Free to browse; Pattern collection available for about $8 an issue or a annual subscription for $23.50.

This magazine actually began as a print publication in 2008 but transitioned to being fully online in 2010. Their innovative business model lets viewers read the magazine articles and browse the pattern collection for free. Then if they wish they can buy the entire collection of patterns, usually 17-26 patterns, for a very reasonable price.

These guys easily have the best production value of any online magazine out there, and their layout rivals great magazines like Real Simple and Martha Stewart Living. They focus on knitwear that is accessible for the whole family and they curate their pattern collections very well. In addition they periodically produce podcasts as well as videos that are embedded into the magazine itself (though the quality of these often leaves something to be desired).

Knit Circus is produced using Zmags, which allows visitors to flip through an issue just like a real magazine. The biggest drawback of this is its use of flash, which can not be viewed on iOS devices like the iPad or iPhone. They do offer a version for mobile devices, but it is not a great experience and you can not see any of the video content.

Overall they make a really well produced magazine that supports designers while still making great content available to their readers for free. Their use of video and audio supplements puts them at the forefront of the industry. As better tools become available for publishing to mobile devices I’m sure they will only get better.

 

If I have one gripe about all of these publications it is that they have modeled their design after a print medium, rather than re-imagining themselves for a digital space. Some quite literally use a magazine layout. Only a few have taken advantage of utilizing video to offer more engaging content and only one supplements their patterns with video instruction for difficult stitches. I look forward to seeing how this space evolves in the next few years and what new platforms like the iPad will do to help change it.

What are you favorite online magazines? Do you agree or disagree? Did I leave something out? Leave a comment!


USA 

Comments

  1. jessikajean

    October 17, 2011

    Do you have any idea whatever happened to KnitNet? I believe it was the first online knitting magazine; began in 1999, I think. The website is still up http://www.knitnet.com/ , but there’s been nothing new in a couple of years and my e-mails have gone unanswered. :(

    Thanks for the information about the others, but KnitNet was my favourite!

  2. jwendell

    October 17, 2011

    It’s too bad KnitCircus is so iOS unfriendly. I don’t think I was a fan of theirs before, but I wanted to see what all your fuss was about, so I checked it out again. The Fall 2011 issue is quite beautiful. I think my list is simlar to yours, with Knitty bumped up and Knit Circus bumped down. I understand your reasons, but I think that a lack of iOS support is reason enough to be bumped down the list if you’re citing clutter and aesthetics (which I agree with) as reasons to bump down Knitty.

  3. newstitchaday

    October 17, 2011

    My understanding is they did not think an ad supported business model was viable any longer, so they stopped publishing.

  4. newstitchaday

    October 17, 2011

    @jwendell I agree on the iOS issue, but that is still a relatively small market and they at least make an attempt to provide a solution for mobile devices. My issue with Knitty is much more about what they require of designers and how they are compensated in return for the amount of work they have to do upfront.

  5. jwendell

    October 17, 2011

    I wouldn’t really say that’s a small market, but I get your point about Knitty. Fair enough.

  6. BrandyFortune

    October 17, 2011

    I am co-editor of Petite Purls and I can tell you we would LOVE to offer more video content (we have embedded a few video’s in the past for articles and patterns!) but it is quiet expensive and time consuming. I have lots of wonderful ideas in my head for ways to incorporate video which would be incredibly expensive to produce, I so I agree but it is not always feasible in particular given our economy. Our priority is to pay our tech editor and our designers!

  7. newstitchaday

    October 17, 2011

    @BrandyFortune I completely understand the challenges of providing videos tutorials. I don’t think is has to be expensive (I use my iPhone) but it is time consuming. I think what you guys are doing is great though and I look forward to seeing what you do in the future!

  8. BrandyFortune

    October 17, 2011

    @newstitchaday We have very high standards at petitepurls, not just anyone with an iphone is going to be able to record a video properly. That’s kind of like saying anyone with a DSLR can take good photos! By expensive I don’t mean the equipment, I mean the talent :D

  9. newstitchaday

    October 17, 2011

    @BrandyFortune Agreed. That’s why all our videos are creative commons, so anyone can use them.

  10. newstitchaday

    October 17, 2011

    @missmarnie My mistake. I will correct that in the post.

  11. tlcterrie

    November 1, 2011

    I’d never have known you used your iphone to do your videos. I have no problem following along and I find the quality very good. Sounds to me like BrandyFortune is a little on the defensive. As one who is looking for video help I don’t need expensive productions. I just sometimes need to see it done. That’s why I like youtube so well and all that goes along with the computer era. As a user, I’m looking for inexpensive…

  12. MagpieKnitter

    November 1, 2011

    Just as an FYI, Petite Purls also encourages (thought it doesn’t require, like Knitty) designers to do their own photography and find their own models as possible. I would imagine that part of that is to help keep costs down–I’m sure I’m not the only designer who designed and knit my sample with my own child in mind–but as a designer I can say I really appreciated that opportunity. Brandy was awesome about providing me with advice and some tutorials that led to the final shots of my pattern, No Capes! (in the Spring 2011 issue)–with me as the photographer and my son as the model. The lessons I learned definitely will help with self-publishing down the road.

  13. newstitchaday

    November 1, 2011

    @MagpieKnitter I was aware of this. I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing to have designers photograph their own work. Personally I prefer to shoot my own stuff. But even with advice and tutorials there is still going to be a gap in quality from person to person. I think Petite Purls’ editorial standards are what make their publication look so good.

  14. Amy holman

    November 24, 2012

    Thank you for this list. I was aware of all but your #1. It is an unfortunate fact that most online magazines, as well as e-books try to replicate the print magazines and books rather than utilize the media available to them. This is true in the literary publishing world, as well. Online magazines and books can be their own environments, their own journeys. Anyway, I’m checking in this list over a year late, but I do appreciate your point of view. I like Twist Collective for the quality of patterns and photography, and the humorous Q&A. Granted, I have purchased patterns and become daunted at the prospect of knitting them. That’s me, not them. Knitty used to be more to my liking with the pattern selection, less so now. Again, much like the literary world, it is unfortunate to be poorly compensated while greatly represented to an audience.

  15. Sharon

    May 8, 2013

    If anyone’s looking for Tangled, they’ve moved to http://stixyarn.com/tangled/ (Could someone update the link, please? :))

    • Johnny Vasquez

      May 9, 2013

      Thanks I’ve updated the post