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Sharing Knitting Techniques on YouTube

Jun 25, 2012

I was thinking the other day about the evolution of technology and how it's changed our lives. When I was in college I thought I was pretty cool because I had a typewriter with built-in correction tape. Pretty slick. I used it to type up papers on topics I researched using the card catalog in the library.

Here's a video about how to care for your handknits (this video is housed on YouTube but we "pinned" it to Knitting Daily)

Now students tote their laptops to class and do research on their smart phones. What a change!

I use technology all day (almost) every day, and one of the most valuable technological tools for my knitting life is There's a video there for almost every knitting technique you might need to learn or brush up on, and I use it all the time. When I teach beginning knitting I supply a list of videos for students to use if they get stuck, and many people have told me that the videos made them keep knitting because they had somewhere to go when they made a mistake or got frustrated.

YouTube isn't just a resource to go to—you can share your knitting techniques by making your own videos! In the Summer 2012 issue of Spin-Off magazine Denise Jackson tells us how to share our own videos with the fiber masses. Here's some of that article for you:

Make Videos for YouTube is an excellent learning zone. For those of us who have some skills to share, YouTube provides a format for portable world access.

 Some questions you will need to answer before you get started:
• What do you, as a viewer, like to see?
• What are your hands doing? Where are they positioned? How do you hold the fiber so the viewer can see it?
• Is the video quality good enough so viewers can clearly see details and subtle movements?
• Are you better in front of or behind the camera? Who do you want to help you film?

• Digital camera (best), webcam, or cell phone with a camera
• YouTube account
• Ability to edit the movie, either on YouTube or with video-editing software such as iMovie or Windows Movie Maker (teenagers can help here!)

Here's my YouTube video showing the picot cast-on.

A few hints:
• Viewers do not need to see your face and would rather see your hands performing the technique.
• Think about camera angles to highlight what you are doing.
• Have good lighting so your hands can be seen.
• Often, sound quality isn't great. To get around this, import sound clips or place title cards to describe actions.

—Denise Jackson, from the Summer 2012 issue of Spin-Off magazine

Why not try your hand at making a video? I made one showing the picot cast-on, above, and it was easy-peasy!

Subscribe to Spin-Off magazine to get lots more great info like this, plus beautiful knitting patterns!


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beachkoz2 wrote
on Jun 25, 2012 1:35 PM

Someone PLEASE tell Denise Jackson her wonderfully explained video is completely out of focus.  Maybe she dosen't know.  Thank you.

texas44 wrote
on Jun 25, 2012 1:05 PM

I also cannot watch Eunny knit  although she has much to offer. One of my complaints about other shows have the presenter using her own technique and not showing the beginner how to wrap yarn in hand. They need to start properly then adjust things more comfortably later.

Kathleen, I would love to see the list of videos you provide when teachng beginners. There are so many choices and I would like to see your choices. Everyone needs a review from time to time. I enjoy your blog and Knitting Daily mailings. Thanks so much for making knitting such an enjoyable craft. Linda

on Jun 25, 2012 10:31 AM

The most important piece of advice I could give aspiring videographers is to S-L-O-W D-O-W-N. Now is not the time to show off how quickly you can knit. People are watching your video because they want to learn how to do something and if you knit too quickly, they won't be able to follow you. If I can't see where your yarn is and what you're doing with it because you're moving too darn fast, you've lost me as a viewer. The best instructors use very SLOW and very exaggerated movements so that it's perfectly clear what is going on.

This is especially important if you hold your yarn in an unusual manner. Although many "serious" knitters may knit in the continental fashion, most new knitters -- i.e., your potential viewers -- have learned only the English/right hand method. You risk losing a large proportion of your viewers if you don't demonstrate your technique using that method.  If your viewers can't figure out what you're doing with your yarn because they don't understand how Continental knitting works, you've lost them.

I can't watch any of Eunny Jang's videos for these very reasons: she knits much, much too fast for me to follow (and I'm a pretty experienced/fast knitter myself), and I can't figure out where the yarn is because of the odd way she holds it.

A few more hints: be sure that the yarn you use has a high contrast with the background (a white yarn on a black background, for example). Be sure to use yarn with a large enough gauge so that your stitches / actions are clear and distinct.

Lastly, new knitters will find it much easier to follow you if the camera faces your hands from the same angle that they will see their hands. Most techniques look very different from the front and back; be sure your viewers are seeing the same angles that they will see when they knit.

ZenzeleB wrote
on Jun 25, 2012 9:29 AM

Excellent advice!  Also, as someone who doesn't have access to teenagers, but is a highly-technically-savvy person, in her own right, I'm quite sure there are way more grown adults who can put a Youtube video together, than we give them credit for.