The Internet for the Uninitiated Fiber Artist ...

me-internet talkBy Amelia

This last Saturday, the presentation at our guild was "The Internet For the Fiber Artist ... who doesn't spend much time on the internet". And the presenter was me!

Oh, how to summarize all that's out there and show people the possibilities, without overwhelming them? So, it was just the tip of the iceberg! But even the savvy among the audience said they learned something new, so here you go ... my notes on the topic, with links and all!

The Internet for Fiber Artists …

who don’t spend time on the internet

The Internet is useful for:
• Buying
• Selling
• Free instructions and patterns
• Free advice

You could also spend time:
• Tracking your own projects
• Tracking the work of other people
• Helping others
• Getting ideas

Buying on-line:
Paypal: some guarantees there (those scam emails aren’t generated by Paypal, but by scammers)
• If you give a vendor your CC online, check for the PADLOCK!
• A photo is *not* worth a thousand words --- it can hide blemishes, VM, runny dyes; check return policies before purchasing

Buying New …
Google (buyer beware on what Google finds!)
• Online catalogs of large merchants: Woodland Woolworks, The Woolery, Webs ( … to name a few
• “Indie” dyers and spinners: their own websites,,, (and there are others)
• Look for websites in ads in your favorite magazine.
E-Bay, Amazon

Buying second-hand
Craigs list … search all Craigs Lists within 250 miles with
• E-Bay (fiber,yarn,tools,books), Amazon(books,…)
• ANWG classifieds and many other second-hand sites done by guilds
• Spinner’s and Weaver’s Housecleaning pages:

• See “Buying”. Often, if you can buy it there, you can sell it there.
• Good pictures and ability to provide a provenance are important in making a successful sale.
• Don’t sell it to someone who will send you a check for more than the payment price.
• Emails from Liberia, Australia, etc. without your email in the To: are suspect. Especially if they ask you to include your website in the response! (Note: these two are currently the most frequent "sources" for US targetted scammers, but note, just like the Paypal scam, these are *not* coming from their claimed location!)

More on Selling:
• Mail your stuff with delivery confirmation … possibly even signature confirmation.
• Be reasonable about the shipping, but don’t discount it. (Just postage; UPS packaging costs for big items; cost of the box? Not if it’s a found one.)
• Priority Mail vs. Parcel Post – time versus money. Most buyers are impatient!

An Aside: The Technology
• Most things you view through a browser (Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, Firefox, Camino, Opera…) or email (Inbox, Thunderbird, Eudora, …)
• Some require browser add-ins or features: Quicktime, Flash, Java, Cookies
• Some require additional software: Adobe Reader for PDF files, others …
• PCs be sure to use Virus software: Symantec, Norton, or MacAfee

Free Instructions and Patterns : find others doing what you want to try : tons of great knitting patterns and spinning articles : faster than searching blogger for online knitting patterns. Tons! : some articles from past issues : crochet! : tons of weaving drafts. Peter Collingwood’s Techniques of Rug Weaving is here in toto! some articles from past Handwoven Magazines : coming summer 2009 : weaving projects and WeaveCast (podcast)

Free Advice
• See the above list – knitty, ravelry, spinoff, weavezine, and weavolution have forums where you can ask.
• See also , and if you are not on dial-up, fiber groups on
• Groups on Yahoo – lots of email back and forth, others’ questions as well as yours.
• Note that you’re not paying anyone to answer you: and no-one pays your answerer for accuracy. Be kind!

Tracking Your Projects
• Ravelry’s great for knitters
• Weavolution looks to be handy for weavers
• Spinners – cobble together things on Ravelry
• Roll-your-own solution with flickr (upload photos and annotate) or blogger (write and add-in photos); or other photo repositories/blogging sites.

Tracking Others’ Projects
• Follow their blog: be kind, comment: ask a question, say what you like about it …
• Check out projects by others for the patterns on Ravelry (handy way to check out Knitty patterns)
• RSS feeds … blogs, flickr, ravelry, etsy … Google reader
• Podcasts – PC, Mac, or iPod

Helping Others
• See “Free Advice” … you can answer other peoples’ questions, too. You don’t need any credentials to answer a question.

Getting Ideas
• Think in pictures: Google Images. Browse Flickr.
• A picture palette generator: (there are others)
• Knitter’s Graph Paper (Google it :-) there are many)

That’s the Internet!

Any Questions?

Of course, many questions were asked along the way -- we filled almost 3 hours in the end, with lots of trips down internet pathways, using the library's WiFi connection and digital overhead projector.

Nossg May 2009 Show and TellOur local guild is full of talented Spinners and Weavers. One has even opened an etsy shop with her wares: Thistlehill Farm (on etsy). And you can see our Show And Tell from the meeting in my flickr set, NOSSG May 2009 Meeting; photos taken by my daughter, Natalie, who would be quick to point out that she and her mom also have an etsy shop, By Our Hands :-)
posted 6 May 2009 at


Dorothy said...

Hey, what a good talk!

I love the internet for putting me in contact with other people who share my interests, swapping advice and ideas.

However, I used to have a little warning note stuck on the side of my screen to warn that too much time in front of the screen leads to: not getting things done, sitting around getting fat and spending money on things I don't use if I sit in front of the computer all evening...! Got to keep life in balance balance ;) must get back to my inkle loom now!!

FiberQat said...

It blows me away how many spinners I've met who have not exploited the vast wealth of the Internet. I don't have a business but know many who do where Internet sales have made such a difference. And the techniques you can learn! said...

Thank you so much for all this terrific and useful information. I am getting reacquainted with my fiber passion and appreciate so much this guide to what is available on the internet.