Posted by William on May 7, 2012
Every day I get email from chatters asking if I am familiar with this technique, or do I have any free patterns for that. Sometimes I have the answer, and sometimes not. And in many cases, the answer is that I *DO* have what they need – but its copyrighted information that I can’t hand out.
So who do you call? The internet of course. If it exists, you will either find it, or a lead on the web. For instance, did you know that most major sewing pattern companies have a website? Did you know that you can locate the closest fabric chain near you by using their website? Did you know there are thousands of free instruction sheets on everything from constructing bird houses to making rag dolls?
FINDING it of course is the real challenge. It all starts at a search engine. A search engine is simply a website that uses key words that you enter to search on for more information. There are lots of good search engines out there; they make their money by advertising products and other websites, often driven by what kind of search you are doing. But they are free for you to use. Just a few examples:
Welcome to Dogpile, the Friendly Multi-Engine Search Tool (www.dogpile.com)
Lycos: Your Personal Internet Guide (www.lycos.com)
Snap HOME (www.snap.com)
The more specific your key words, the more specific your information. Let’s say that you want to find some instructions for making hand made dolls and doll clothes. Entering the word DOLL at the search engine will get you many more times as many “hits” or websites that the word doll appears on than entering “doll” and “instructions”. So when you are entering information, narrow your search as much as possible. Entering the word “free” will narrow the field even more; now you are eliminating all the commercial websites.
Now that you have your criteria entered, you will hopefully have some quality “hits” (results). The only way to tell this is to browse the descriptions, and sometimes to actually visit the sites. This can be time consuming, and you learn as you go what things are valuable. Don’t be afraid to make a judgement call; the information superhighway is fabulous, but not every site is going to take you where you want to go. And its usually worth the effort!
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