Tuesday, September 25, 2007

a few words about ravelry...

Do you use Ravelry?

For a long time, I resisted Ravelry (despite Lomester's generous early invitation), because it kind of seemed like MySpace for knitters. And I don't do MySpace, or FaceBook, or any of those other social networking sites, because (as I like to tell HWWLLB), I already have enough friends. The real reason, actually, is becase I don't like to spend too much time in front of the computer, particularly in maintaining friend relationships, when I should be actually maintaining the friend relationships in real life by doing something meaningful like drinking tea with them.

I have lots of other beefs with social networking, but let's not go into all that here now, because I know, as someone will surely point out, that it has its very good points, spying on ex-boyfriends, meeting the love of your life, blah blah blah. This post is supposed to be about Ravelry... I'm getting there. Slowly.

So, I didn't do it. It kind of seemed like a popularity contest for knitters, who has the biggest stash, and which masochist could take on the most projects and so on. And I will say, there is a little of that, though who cares? Because for me, an occasional designer, it is a free laboratory! It's amazing!

One day recently, out of curiousity I guess, I decided to play around with Ravelry, which I had resisted for so long. I entered a project I had just finished making. If you haven't used Ravelry before, when you enter a project you select the name of the pattern. This was one of my own patterns, but when I typed in the name, it was already in the system. Yes.

Someone had knitted my pattern (it was one that had been on Free Pattern Friday) and entered the specs into the system. HOLY COW! I discovered that someone besides my three internet knitting friends is knitting my patterns! This was an astonishing discovery. I poked around some more and found that lots of people on Ravelry have knit my amateur patterns! Someone knit George the octopus! (it was Sarah). Lots of someones have knit the Mossy Jacket! And they leave notes, comments, feedback, suggestions, critique, encouragement... it's a designing dream come true!

Since then I have spent many hours fooling around there peeking at what my friends are knitting, looking for critiques and ideas, and especially getting incredibly valuable real-life feedback from knitters about my designs. It's so cool. It's so addictive. It's so crimping my meaningful time with non-internet-based friends.

I have made it my goal to be "friends" with everyone who has knit one of my patterns. On Ravelry, as on MySpace et al, you convey your deep internet-based respect and cameraderie to people by calling them your "friend" and allowing them to appear in your little digital directory. I have not met most of these courageous people personally, but they have entrusted many hours of their lives and the yarn of their loins to knitting my humble designs, and for that I pledge lifelong devotion (or at least for as long as I use Ravelry). So if I haven't friended you yet... friend me! I love you! Digitally! And I convey my cameraderie to you!

Isn't this a funny world? I'm starting to feel as if I ought to go convey some cameraderie to HWWLLB, since it's late and he's just got home from work and I'm busily pledging my love to knitters on the internet... digitally. Ahem.


  1. I felt the same way about Raverly when it first came out. I would actually get pissed that people were raving over it, but I couldn't check it out. When we got our invite, we swore that we wouldn't do the same. We love it, but didn't want to make others feel bad for not getting the invite. Raverly is so useful for finding patterns, yarn subs, & just being inspired. I've got my eye on some of your patterns because of the site. Gotta love that!

  2. i love it. i use it primarily as the database it is. i like checking out the "friend activity" to see what they are working on or what they have queued ... because, it just might be something i had never seen before.
    i find the forums a great resource if you're looking for some specific info, but, like all forums ... it can be a snarky pit.

  3. I have been a bit of a lurker reading your blog from time to time but I am so glad you mentioned Ravelry and your Mossy Jacket design. Why? Because I had knit it a while ago and put it in my Ravelry database but could not remember which blog I had gotten it from. I am so glad that I can attribute it to the correct person now-whew! I'm relieved. Used to live in Raleigh on N. Boylan and then on Hudson. I enjoy glimpses of R on your blog!
    Happy knitting!

  4. I am on the raverly, and I like it. Not really using it for networking, but I like being able to browse the patterns, and keep a list of projects I'd like to knit in one place. I like the way the stash feature fills in the amount you have, which makes it easy to see if you have enough to make a pattern. It does mean more time typing, and less knitting! But its fun, and my finished Mossy Jacket is there!! ;D! Raveling under StacieB.

  5. A-HA! I got you hooked!

    I take full responsability (and credit) for your new found addiction.

    And, when you are at work, and not able to drive up to VA to have tea with me - you can look at my ravelry page! :)

  6. I'm really loving Ravelry - it totally appeals to my need to make lists and organize things over and over again. Plus, I like to see what other people are knitting and queuing up. I agree that I'm worried about it being a popularity contest, but it seems to be okay so far. The forums can get a bit snarky but that can happen anywhere. Your post reminds me that I need to queue up George the Octopus!!!

  7. Hi! I'm one of the people who knit your mossy jacket and in fact I loved knitting it so much, I knit two of them. Thanks for such a cool pattern!!!

  8. I proudly posted my wildflower socks on ravelry! It's so great to have access to fab designers like you all in one place!

  9. I know what you mean about time-sucking sites...but this one seems awesome, huh? I've been reading all about it, but still have a week (or three) before I probably get in!

  10. i'm loving the forums-- it's a great place to ask questions and find out new information about yarns, techniques, etc.

    i haven't seen the snarky side yet and i had no clue that there's a "my-stash-is-bigger-than-your-stash" aspect to it, which cracks me up entirely. i love being able to look up a pattern and see how it looks in different yarns, too.

  11. i have been so curious about ravelry, reading all these raves on other blogs... (because i need another internet hobby... ha! i just joined facebook b/c so many of my classmates are on it. i felt so OLD.) still on the waiting list, 4500 people in front of me... have no idea what that means. hmmm. i love getting ideas from what other people are knitting, which was my main interest.
    it is so exciting to find all these people knitting your designs... what a thrill!

  12. I totally agree with you - using Google, I found about 5 bloggers who had made the mittens I designed, but in Ravelry I discovered several dozen, and several dozen more who have my design queued! Such a warm fuzzy. I also like the centralized nature of the database - if I want to start a new pair of socks, I can look through all the sock patterns, rather than poring over old magazine issues, Knitty, Magknits, random blogs, etc. etc. It's actually a time SAVER! (Yeah, right)

  13. I don't do myspace or facebook or those things either. What I love about Ravelry is the amount of information you can find there. It's a great point of reference.

  14. People knit your patterns because they are yummy! George gets rave reviews from 4 and 5 year olds too. Next I am going to knit the mossy jacket, I think its a must for every hip young baby.

  15. Hey lady,
    I'm a medium long time stalker on your blog and I understand the hate of online communities but I clicked your link to ravelry just because we're usually in tune and you sound equally as adamant about the no facebook rule as I do and lo and behold.. I'm counting down the people until my name is on the "has an account" side of the waiting list. It's going to be a long wait but I eagerly anticipate it. It looks like everything I already do but much more convenient!

    Also, side note, I love your blog and your little f.pea stamp for your creations.

  16. I totally don't get FaceBook or MySpace, but Ravelry is actually useful. I think it's because it makes meaningful connections (people who knit the same thing), not just "be my friend" random ones.

  17. do i use it? well, I'd love to!

    can't wait (well, I have to)

    only 4,756,894,327,852,201 people ahead of me. see you there soon. :-)


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