The Genius of Ravelry

Don’t know about Ravelry? I doubt there are many knitters, who are online often, could NOT have heard of the Ravelry site. It is a place for knitters, crocheters, and designers to gather and share, learn and grow together.

I use Ravelry to find patterns, share my knitted projects, find yarn, and check on colors before buying yarn. Occasionally I use the forum to find answers to questions about a pattern, or join a knit-along (KAL).

Lets look further at how Ravelry can benefit a knitter. I’ll speak about the craft of knitting here because that is how I use the site. Crocheters are included, and their experience should be about the same.

The Basics of Ravelry

Ravelry is free. Set up an account and create a profile. A blog feed can be linked, as well as up-to three other places you are found online. Of course you can fill in as much or little as you like. Social media sites can be included, and the Ravelry account can be linked to your Instagram.

I use all of these options because of my online business. Becoming a member is important because it allows you to view necessary things on the site. It’s free, and you can do more as a member.

Ravelry’s Learning Curve

There is a bit of a learning curve (for some of us) in the beginning. The profile page is pretty empty until you begin sharing projects, finding favorites, stashing yarn, and building a library. But the object is not to fill these places. They will fill nicely on their own as you discover favorite patterns and knit some yourself.

If I come across a member who has knit a lot of projects I love, I may add them to my Friends.

Finding Favorite Projects

When I get the urge to knit something, Ravelry is the first place I search. Anything that looks good – like I may want to knit it in the future – will be saved to my “Favorites” section. I have made various categories, such as “sweaters”, “ponchos”, etc. where I keep the patterns I find while conducting a search.

Finding Good Yarn and Perfect Colors

I can’t count the number of times I have been considering a project but can’t decide on a yarn type, or need to see a particular color. Ravelry has a search at the top of the page for “yarns” (among other things). When I am shopping for yarn but can’t picture the color all knit up, I use the yarn search to see what other knitters have made with the color.

When using a variegated or speckled yarn, it’s difficult to imagine the way the yarn will knit up. Usually there are a number of knitters who have already used the yarn color so you can search and find images to view.

Often other users have left comments about the yarn in the “comment” section. This is where to learn just how well knitters liked using the yarn.

When choosing a pattern to knit, click on the yarn used (by the designer) to read more about it. Each yarn page also includes a link to “buy this yarn online”. Find locations by country, with some shops including their current pricing.

Add yarn favorites to your own “favorites” area for further consideration.

Share What I Am Knitting

When I begin a knitting project I take photos with my iPhone. I do this to share on my knitting blog (the one you are reading), and to share at Ravelry on my “projects” page. Occasionally I share at Instagram as well. By the way, Instagram is a great place to find new pattern releases and designer discounts.

By adding this info about my knitting, it reminds me of how long it took to knit it, the yarn type and needle size I used, and comments about my experience knitting it. This helps me for future projects in case I want to knit it again. It also helps other knitters who are thinking about knitting the same project. I love it when others share their notes, and photos, on their knitwear pages.

Join a Group

I’m not a super social person. I’ve joined a lot of Ravelry groups just to do so, but a better idea is to join meaningful groups. Your local yarn stores may have a group, and many pattern designers and yarn makers have groups.

When a pattern is used the project can be shared on the designers group page (just join their group) where other knitters can find ideas and info.

For instance, when I finished my stranded colorwork mittens, Fiddlehead, knit with Brooklyn Tweed Arbor yarn, I shared them on the “Stranded” group and with “Brooklyn Tweed Fan Club”.

Fiddlehead mittens hand-knit in Arbor yarn by Brooklyn Tweed

What are your favorite things about Ravelry?

Ravelry is used for a lot more than just what I’ve mentioned on this page. You can list your own yarn stash to keep track of what you have, and what has been used up. Some Ravelers will trade or sell yarn they have. Also keep track of your needle collection if you choose.

Ready to join? Begin at the Getting Started page. I’ll see you at Ravelry – you can find me here.

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