Knitting is a matter of two sticks and a long piece of string. But it is made more fun, interesting, exciting, whatever when you have some other tools as well. I contend that every knitter should have a Ravelry account for the following five reasons (and, believe me, narrowing it down to only five was quite a challenge!).
1. Keeping Track of Things. How many times have I started a notebook of swatches, project notes, and pattern modifications only to lose it, have a child color in it, or found a prettier notebook and abandoned the old one? Many, many times. Enter Ravelry. My Notebook on Ravelry is the most wonderful way to keep track of it all. Projects, plans, inspirations, stash… my knitting brain all in one place. Fabulous!
2. Pattern Extravaganza! Currently the Ravelry pattern database includes over 15,000 sock patterns, over 46,000 sweater patterns, almost 16,000 stuffed animal patterns, and more! Using the search filters, a member of Ravelry can search for patterns knit in bulky weight wool, or she can look for the perfect baby sweater knit top-down with some lace accents, or just toe-up socks. The wealth of patterns is overwhelming and super exciting. Additionally, once a pattern is selected the knitter can now look at all the projects other knitters have completed using that pattern – other knitters who have differing body types, yarn selections, and skill levels. The knitter can see that same sweater with various modifications and be alerted to any errors in the pattern. All this side info may make or break her resolve to knit that particular pattern, may save her some frustrations, and just might suggest variations that she finds pleasing.
3. Yarn-alog. Like the pattern database, the yarn database is ultra amazing. Search for the perfect yarn for your pattern, find new yarns, read reviews, see projects knit in the yarn you are considering, and meet “Yarnie’s” who are making new yarns all the time. Can’t remember the fiber content or care instructions for your stash of Juniper Moon Farm Sabine? Trying to determine the yardage of ten balls of Debbie Bliss Rialto Lace? Check it out! Just be careful not to drool on your keyboard…
4. Making new friends. This is the most surprising part of Ravelry for me – the social aspect. Where else can a girl get to know people of so many different walks of life? I may think differently than you on many things, but we have knitting in common and that makes us friends. Of course, joining some of the groups and taking part in the discussion forums helps us find more things that we have in common, but even if you don’t have a bunch of kids, even if you aren’t a Christian, even if you don’t own a cow, we can chat about our mutual love of lace or that cable pattern that gave us so much trouble. On the other hand, I have found a group for all those things that I mentioned – a group for Christian knitters, a group for Moms of Many who also knit, and a group for homesteaders, as well as many others. Through Ravelry I have learned new things, been challenged in my own ideas and opinions, and made some pretty amazing friends.
5. Pattern Control. An amazing feature of Ravelry is the library – my library. Every pattern I have ever bought through Ravelry is there, waiting for me to download at my leisure. This has come in handy more than once. In addition, I can keep track of my physical knitting library there. Using my Ravelry library I can see what patterns I have in magazines, books, and PDF’s in one place. I can find that sweater pattern that was in that one magazine from three years ago without dragging out my stacks of magazines and going through them one at a time. Ravelry tells me that it is in the Spring ’09 issue of Interweave Knits (it also lets me know that I will need 1500 yds of fingering weight yarn, a size 4 needle, and to look up the erratta on the website). I don’t have to tell you how convenient that is.
So, what are you waiting for? Sign up now (if you haven’t already). And be sure to friend me – I am woolandchocolate. 🙂