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Web sites abound with information

It has been quite a while since I've reviewed online sites, and so much is happening in this world that it's certainly a long-overdue discussion.

Before you log on, let's talk about the basics. Most sites have a main page that lists all the kinds of information available there, ranging from what's new to product updates. When you go to one site, you'll often find "links" that take you to related sites. Because many sites update and add material weekly or monthly, don't forget to bookmark places you've visited so you can return to them often.

In general, you will find similar information and formats on many sites. You'll find free patterns, discussion groups, data explaining the company or organization, and purchasing information for yarn, thread, supplies, books and patterns or kits. For a hard copy of patterns and other material, print the pages. Here are just a few places to visit. To find more, use search engines and keywords such as "crochet," "knit" or "needlecrafts."

Solutia Fibers (www.thesmartyarns.com). This site is good if you are looking for free knit and crochet patterns, which change monthly. You can access an archive of patterns that were previously shown. This month there is a knit Christmas set with a tree skirt, stocking and afghan as well as a crocheted afghan. The site also has a schedule of the Aleene's Creative Living TV show, which features Solutia Fibers.

The Craft Yarn Council (www.craftyarncouncil.com). If you are searching for information for Warm Up America! or the Caps for Kids programs, this is the place to go. Free easy knit and crochet patterns are available here, and the forum includes discussions and searches for patterns. Links are available to national guilds.

Knitting magazines: Interweave Knits (www.interweave.com); Knitter's Magazine (www.xrx-inc.com); Vogue Knitting and Family Circle Easy Knitting (www.vogueknitting.com). The main features of magazine sites are previews of upcoming issues, pattern corrections, back-issue offers and details about new features.

The Interweave Press site has information on the company's many publications, which include weaving and spinning magazines. Knitter's has a KniTalk forum and extensive details about the Stitches show. It also includes information about its sister publication, Weaver's. Vogue Knitting offers a new Tech Center that has excellent illustrations of basic knit and crochet how-tos.

Guilds: The Knitting Guild of America (www.tkga.com) and the Crochet Guild of America (www.crochet.org). These organizations highlight upcoming seminars and conferences. They give information on joining and finding local guilds in your area.

Mail-order suppliers: Herrschners (www.herrschners.com); Mary Maxim (www.marymaxim.com); Patternworks (www.patternworks.com).

Three final sites: The first features "The NeedleWorks" column. If you've missed a column, go to: www.uexpress.com/ups/ betterliving/ne/index.html.

A fun site that is run by our pattern expert, Traci Bunkers, can be found at: www.bonkersfiber.com. Traci has a business that includes selling hand-dyed yarns and fibers, which are shown on her site. She has some links that I've not seen on other sites.

The final address is one where you can find details for a custom-fit raglan sweater worked from the top down. This is an often-requested item and it is thoroughly explored at: www.woolworks.org/patterns/raglan.html. The main page with many other patterns can be accessed at: www.woolworks.org.

A cool crocheted cardigan

If you like the appearance of Aran-style sweaters, but prefer crochet, this wonderful unisex, crocheted cardigan is an unparalleled selection. The textural crochet stitches are perfect for an intermediate crocheter. Available in classic natural, this is sure to be a timeless favorite. It comes in high-quality Bernat "Berella 4" in 100 percent acrylic with Bounce-Back fibers. It is worked with a size I/9 (5.50mm) crochet hook and available in sizes small (medium, large and extra-large) with a finished chest size of 40 (44, 48, 52) inches and is 25 (25{, 26, 26{) inches long. Refer to kit HM891206. For the pattern only: Send $2 and a SASE to Herrschners, 2800 Hoover Road, Dept. M, Stevens Point, Wis. 54492. To order a kit for size small ($33.99), medium ($35.99), large ($37.99) or extra-large ($39.99), postage included, call (800) 441-0838 (Dept. M) or send to above address.

Hints or questions of general interest will be used in the column when possible. Please send them to Nancy J. Thomas, in care of the Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731.

1998, Universal Press Syndicate

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