You’re Still Not on Ravelry?!

It has come to my attention that there are knitters out there who are still unaware of Ravelry.

WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? Do you live under a ROCK??

Not to make you feel bad or anything, but you are missing out on so many wonderful features that will add to your enjoyment and delight in knitting!

What’s Ravelry?

Ravelry.com is a magical combination of social media platform and mega pattern & yarn information database.

You must create a username and password to access the platform, but it is completely free to do so. Once you’re a member, you have at your fingertips a library of hundreds of thousands of knitting and crochet patterns.

Many of them are free to download, and others you have to pay for. The staggering number of over 500,000 patterns can be a little misleading because they’re not all necessarily available to download. Anyone can add a pattern to Ravelry, even if it’s a pattern from an old magazine for instance. But mostly, you’ll find a pattern that is at least available somewhere online, even if not directly on Ravelry.

Some of My Favorite Ravelry Features

Aside from the enormous list of available patterns, there are many features I love on Ravelry.

1. Advanced Search Filters

First, I love the pattern search filter options. When you’re looking for something to knit, you can search by almost any possible category you can think of.

The Advanced Search option lets you choose by craft (knit, crochet or both), category (garment, accessory, toy, home decor), whether it’s available to download, yarn weight, design attributes… SO MANY OPTIONS!

I love using this when I have some yarn and I don’t know what to do with it. I’ll search by weight, yardage and how many colors I have. Though I’m not usually a stasher (I buy yarns with a specific pattern in mind), when I’ve had a stray skein or two this has been so helpful.

2. Projects

Though this requires a bit of input, I love the option you have to add projects to your profile. You create a project and you can include so much information: the yarn you use, the needles, who you’re making it for, sizing, etc.

If the pattern exists on Ravelry, you can automatically populate a lot of the details in your project. As soon as you link your project to a pattern, it is then visible from that pattern’s Ravelry page.

I always try to add photos (because it’s one thing to see the designer’s photos of the pattern, and it’s another thing entirely to see how the piece looks when other crafters knit it).

You can also write notes, which I always try to do. Why? Because I LOVE it when other Ravelers write detailed notes on their projects. When I’m thinking of knitting a pattern, I’ll comb through others people’s projects and read their notes.

You can even search through projects linked to a pattern and filter your search by whether or not the project has notes, and if other Ravelers (yes! That’s what we’re called!) have identified them as helpful.

In my notes, I’ll include links to videos I used for techniques, or to blog articles I found helpful. I’ll also make a note of changes I’ve made in the pattern, or issues I encountered. A couple of my projects have been added to peoples’ favorites because of my detailed notes, so that’s great!

3. Yarn Reviews

Especially when I’m shopping for yarn online, I don’t like to buy without first checking out the yarn’s Ravelry page.

There are SO many yarns listed on Ravelry, that unless you’re talking about a really small scale dyer, or someone who simply isn’t online, you’re pretty sure to find your yarn there.

You can search by fibre, by weight, you can look up your local yarn shop (assuming they’re on Ravelry!)… There are just so many options.

Most importantly, I look at the ratings and the comments (if any). People will give feedback on how the yarn feels, how it holds up after washing, whether it pills or splits, and more.

If you’re looking to try out a new yarn, the Ravelry yarn database is a good first stop for info.

4. Stashing

This also requires a lot of input, but it’s worth it if you take the time. If you keep your stash updated on Ravelry, you can more easily search for patterns to match your stash. You also don’t have to go pulling out all your yarns every time you’re thinking of what to knit.

Simplify your life, add to the power of Ravelry and stash your yarns!

I’ve also actually managed to buy and sell leftover or unwanted skeins by listing it in my stash as “will trade or sell.” If you’re suffering from stash guilt, I suggest you give that a try…

There’s So Much More

There is a whole lot more to love about Ravelry. I don’t use the forum feature much at all, but that is a huge part of the community for many people.

You can also join groups of your favorite designers and sign up to do test knits of new patterns. I follow many designers, but since I don’t spend time in the forums I never learn about a potential test knit in time.

Lots of people make heavy use of the queue feature (basically, listing what you’re going to knit next), but again I haven’t been very good about that. It is a nice thing to use, especially if you keep your pattern library and your stash up to date!

I strongly recommend you check out Ravelry if you haven’t already. Play around with it, because there are so many ways to make it work for you!

It will add to your enjoyment of knitting or crochet, and it also helps to foster a sense of community. You can add friends on Ravelry (careful! This is not like Facebook where you have to approve friends–you can be added by anyone, so be aware before you put too much personal info in).

Look me up: I’m thebraininjane and I’d love to see what you’re making!

Jane

The Brain In Jane works mainly in the rain. It's always raining somewhere. Find me on Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

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