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The Knitter's Review Forums was the first online community for knitters. Launched in 2001, it used a free ASP-based discussion platform called Snitz. At its height, membership was nearly 80,000 members. Over 14 years, it facilitated more than 1 million posts—and connections—among knitters around the world.
We talked about everything, from yarns and needles to blogs, yarn stores, techniques and designers, as well as our worst project nightmares and the curse of the love sweater. Our forum included areas for talk of crochet, spinning, and machine knitting, as well as talk about dyeing and felting. Perhaps the most popular areas were dedicated to "Random Knitting-Related Stuff" and off-topic chatter about anything and everything...except religion, which, as it turned out, was too hot a topic for even us polite knitters.
There was a star/rating system by which members would advance from New Pal to Chatty Knitter, Gabber Extraordinnaire, Seriously Hooked, and, eventually, after their thousandth post, Permanent Resident. People got so excited when they advanced from one level to the next that we had to add a new area for them to celebrate their stars.
With all the arrivals came departures, such as beloved members Camille (Cameellie), Trish (AZKnitter), and Francine Marrs (fmarrs)—whose favorite quote was, "Don't grieve for what you have lost but see how far you can go with what you have left." Go far she did.
Through it all, I worked to maintain an overarching culture of inclusiveness and mutual respect through active moderator oversight. Nothing was ever allowed to get out of hand, and members always knew an adult was in the room.
But Snitz was not one to provide the bells and whistles and extra functionality that knitters wanted. When Jessica and Casey Forbes launched the beta version of Ravelry in 2007, it was a cause for collective celebration in the knitting world. Everyone leapt quickly onto this beautiful, shiny new toy that had been built expressly for us, from the ground up, using state-of-the-art technology.
Most other online knitting communities soon closed, but the Knitter's Review Forums continued for many more years. But on December 31, 2015, I turned out the lights and locked the doors once and for all.
The Knitter's Review Forums were a wild and amazing and beautiful creature that came at a very special time in our collective history. And that's what I hope you'll join me in celebrating.