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.