Tuesday, September 18, 2007

On Ravelry

If you haven't said hello to me on Ravelry, my name is BlackBunny. I have heard a lot of buzz about Ravelry, some highly complimentary, some indifferent, but for me, it's addictive. Here are the ways that I am finding Ravelry extremely helpful:
  1. I've got mental lists of projects I've been meaning to try for ages. Some are very specific patterns, others are yarns I want to play with, and some are just vague ideas that I ought to knit something for a particular person. I like the fact that I can keep a running list of my project ideas in the Queue to supplement my failing memory.
  2. I find the searching method, combined with the quantity of input from users, to be fascinating. Patterns can produce wildly varying results depending on the yarn used and the skills and creativity of the maker. I love being able to see many different versions of a sweater, done in different fibers, yarns and styles. It fascinates me the way that seeing multiple paintings of the same theme (e.g. Monet's haystacks) fascinates me. I was looking for a sweater to make for one of the twins, and it was fun to search through different options -- and I was ultimately convinced to try a Knitty.com pattern that I hadn't noticed before.
  3. I find it incredibly motivating to be able to go the current project list and update it as I make progress on a project. This is a personal thing, I'm sure, but being able to add photos and see how the project goes from balls of yarn to a half-knit back, to all the pieces to the finished project, helps me get through the stretches where I'm sort of bored and tempted to try something new. I love being able to up the percentage as I get more done.

I think Ravelry may prove to be helpful in other ways as time goes on. For example, I think that if you check it before you start a pattern, you might find information that will help you -- like a link to errata, or a note that the sleeves are on the short side, or something that might save you some work. This will depend on whether people keep using it and keep inputting information over time.

As a designer, I would love to see Ravelry set up some kind of PDF-sales system whereby I could use Ravelry to sell PDFs of patterns. (One of my on-going projects is to start selling my own patterns via PDF and hard copy.) Certainly as a marketing tool, Ravelry is extremely worthwhile: you get lots of exposure by having your patterns entered in there and it's nice to see that a lot of designers and publishing entities are allowing photographs of their designs to be used. Ditto for Black Bunny yarns: I hope that anyone who hasn't tried BBF yarns but is considering it will page through the photos of projects on Ravelry because people have knit some beautiful things. (By the way, I'm hoping for an update later this week.)

I initially thought that I might find the Stash and Books organizing functions to be helpful, and to some extent, they are -- but, quite honestly, since I have massive (and I do mean MASSIVE) amounts of yarn and books, it'd take an awfully long time for me to input all the stuff I have.* I've put a lot of my books and some of my stash in, and I'm going to try to continue to enter it on an on-going basis, but I'm not going to attempt to put every last skein in.

*I' ve already gotten one email from someone commenting on how many books I have. To the commenter: you should see my house!

21 comments:

Katie K said...

How do I find you on ravelry? I entered your website name but nothing came up.

Joe said...

Okay...why did no one tell me that everyone was signing up for this thing, and now there are over 13,000 people ahead of me in line?

Jeez...I thought we were all going to dismiss Ravelry as a fad, and now I'm not even trendy.

Stacey said...

searching for projects has to be one of my favorite Ravelry things - click on something as simple looking as, for example, the hourglass sweater, and see tons of different ones in solids, variegateds and all sorts of gauges. I know they are also coming out with a search by gauge, so if you have a yarn and aren't sure what to do with it, you can search patterns by gauge...

Liz K. said...

I, too, have pretty much bypassed the stash/book cataloging functions of ravelry. The idea of photographing and entering it all seemed so daunting, and for what purpose? I can't figure out why I'd want to keep track...

Bridget said...

Dear Joe,
If only you feared Carol as I do, you would have already added your name ... live and learn ... :-)
Yours, Bridget


What can I say - I didn't think I'd care that much about it, but it's an obsessive organizational freak's dream ...

Emma in France said...

I've got a lot of my stash in an Excel spreadsheet, so I'm waiting for an Excel upload function. I do find it useful to have a record of stash. It helps me match yarn to projects and also helps me remember where exactly I've stored a particular yarn.

I think that Jess and Casey are planning to add pattern sales via PDF at some point.

I'm finding it really useful for seeing projects on people of various body types. Also, it can be a good way of seeing the patterns featured in a particular book if you're not able to see a book in person. Veronik Avery's recent book is a great example of this.

Carol said...

My user name is blackbunny.... (didn't I mention that?)

SandyK said...

Hang in there gal, it's coming! It's coming!

pm me on ravelry when you get a chance: sandysays

"As a designer, I would love to see Ravelry set up some kind of PDF-sales system whereby I could use Ravelry to sell PDFs of patterns."

Emilee said...

I agree with your asessment of Ravelry. I'm especially fond of searching for patterns and seeing different takes on the same thing. As a fledgeling designer, seeing all sortf of Ravelry entries on MY pattern has been amazing.

mindy said...

I'm in, but have only looked around a little bit so far- tons of fun and so much to see. Kinda like trying to do MDSW in 3 hours!

Carol said...

Heavens to Betsy, you do have a lot of books! (I just checked) I have tons too but they aren't available on Amazon and, therefore, can't be added to my library (practically all the Rowan/RYC books).

Carol said...

p.s. what's with all the Martin Storey in your queue??

Carol said...

I am editing one of those books and I needed to enter them that way to get them in. That may have changed since I started but I haven't gotten around to playing with it more.

Chelsea said...

I just got in on Sunday and it's taken all of my free time so far. I'm really enjoying it, but then I like to organize stuff anyway. I've put in all my books (that they have) and stash, just because getting that done was less of a daunting task than putting in projects. That's what I'm working on now...

Patricia said...

To be honest, I have a wall of knitting books, magazines etc. I also have a closet, and part of a room that is dedicated to yarn/knitting. While I have been culling the stash, I think I **might** have you beat. Married with hubby and animals. If anyone exclaims that you have too much, send them my way. We've got to watch one another's backs...

Lynne E. said...

As always, your review--Ravelry this time--is totally accurate. I've decided not to include my books, either, because, like you, I have so many. As a collector, I don't particularly want to tell the world about all of my rarer acquisitions, which are not for sale!

It appears to me, without a lot of checking, that everything you put in your personal notebook is available to others. This is good, because it means that others can see how a particular pattern is working out in a particular choice of yarn, but it's also something to be aware of.

Carol said...

Hey, you're right -- if you are making somebody a Christmas present, say, you'll have to leave it out. I'm not allowed to show my stuff for the book yet, so I left them as blanks with very general titles (just so I could keep making the percentage go up to feed my sense of accomplishment).

Knitting Bandit said...

I think your Raelry review is dead on. It is addictive. It's also a tool to use when trying to decide what yarn to buy. I love looking at the way different colorways knit up. It has changed my "shopping basket" several times. Kept me from buying colors I thought I loved and encouraged me to buy others I would have never considered. I have some Black Bunny yarn all balled up, I'll knit it soon so more Ravelers can see another example of your great yarn.

Chris said...

LOL I have 37 years worth of crochet and knit pattern books and patterns. plus older ones I have inherited from family members who have died. Six under the bed crates crammed full, a file crate crammed full, a knitting bag crammed full, 2 big stacks under my coffee table, and 8 notebooks(big ones) full of patterns. And I stil buy them occasionally if I see a new one I want. Even when I get invited to ravelry I could never put them all on. And we won't even go into the yarn stash right now. I am an addictive personality--a little OC Love your blog.
http://luvtoknitandmuchmore.blogspot.com/

Margaret said...

Oh, it must be fun to see what others are making with your wonderful yarn and fibers too!

Seeing designs knit and worn and not just photo-styled is really helpful. The pattern and yarn searches are my favorite feature, though I did bite the bullet and enter the bulk of my stash. I'm also using it to track my new handspun efforts.

EnnaVic said...

I am really impressed that you have so many books that you _can_ enter. Most of my books are ones that are not in their master list as they are often picked up second hand or UK books which they are a bit lighter on.

I must admit I do like looking through members' libraries.

I agree with all your Ravelry comments - lots of fun!