…Ravelry, that is. My invite was waiting in my mailbox this morning, which surprised me–I figured it would show up today or tomorrow, but I thought it would be later in the day. I was quite excited to finally see for myself all the goodies I’d been hearing about.
One day is not enough to fully evaluate anything, let alone a site this complex (and I did actually have to take care of my children and eat at various points during the day too). That said, so far Ravelry is living up to the hype…and to the cautionary tales. Ravelry was being discussed on another knitting forum on usage vis-a-vis each other, and some individuals prefered the other forum because there are so many and such varied groups on Ravelry, some of which are tiny and/or see little usage. The proliferation of groups of every type might make it hard to find what you’re looking for, but I had no difficulty. I found and joined a local group, as well as a group for people who knit and quilt. And personally, I think it’s pretty cool that there are such a variety of groups. Hey, if you want to start a group for left-handed knitters with red-haired older brothers, and you can find others like you, then good on you. Have at it. It’s not the group for me (I’m a righty, my brothers have blond and brown hair, and they’re both younger than me), but then I just don’t have to join it.
But I could see that the forums aren’t terribly intuitive to navigate, and there seemed to be a lot of dead posts. No problem–while I’ll try to keep up with the groups I signed up for, I probably won’t look for anything else. That other forum I belong to will definitely be a better place for general chatting and asking questions, I think. But Ravelry is in the beta stage, so those “dead” groups and posts may well get cleaned up.
I haven’t yet traveled down all of Ravelry’s many-branched paths, but I did look at the patterns section, and from there experiemented with adding a project to my notebook. I was surprised to find that there are both free and pay-for-use patterns on the site, which I think is cool. It’s nice that people have a place to share their own creations as well as another outlet for professional designers that doesn’t require any kind of upfront investment for the designers other than a computer (since they’re not paper patterns, but are available for download). Certainly it won’t replace pattern books or individual printed patterns sold in local yarn stores (LYS)–at least not any time in the near future–but it’s a great way for a new designer to break in or for a knitter to get introduced to an established designer.
One of the patterns I came across in the baby section (where else would I go?) were the suede booties I made for my niece from Knitty Gritty.
I couldn’t figure out how to add my experience with the pattern at first, but finally I figured out how to add it to my projects list and add all of the details. Since I did some alterations for stylistic reasons to the hot pink booties (I made them an inch shorter), I liked being able to pass that on to others who might be thinking about changes. The details that can be added and the linkages (to the type of yarn used as well as the store I purchased it from) definitely add to the experience. I can’t wait until I have more time to really start playing around.
The cool people were right.