My mother-in-law provides our large family with hand-knitted socks - she makes them in her sleep, so to speak. But as soon as she wants to knit something else, she has a problem. "There are so many beautiful designs," she enthuses, showing me a picture of a cardigan, "but I never know where to get the patterns".
"Ravelry! I really need to show you Ravelry. Such a great website!" I replied euphorically. And that's how today's topic for the Knitting Letter came about.
I myself have been a member of Ravelry since 2014 and am really happy and grateful to be able to use the world's largest online knitting & crochet community platform. It's free and has many handy features and options, in addition to a huge archive of knitting and crochet patterns. The Ravelry site was launched in 2007 by US-American women and is therefore in English - but there are patterns available in many other languages, too.
In the following, I'll introduce you to the functions that I personally find the best and most important.
To use Ravelry, you have to register first (the following links will only work afterwards).
Under Profile, you can introduce yourself to the community with a photo and a description — just like on other social media platforms. Here you can also view your activities and change settings.
Patterns is the core of Ravelry, the huge database of knitting and crochet patterns offered by designers, private individuals and yarn companies - for free or for purchase.
You can search directly by keyword or use the Advanced Search with predefined detailed search filters to find the instructions that suit you best.
If you like a design, you have several options at the top right of the pattern page: You can save the design with the heart as a favourite. You can also create bundles, i.e. your own thematic folders such as "Shawls" or "Cardigans". Do you want to show it directly to your friend? Then share the pattern with her.
If you plan to knit the design soon, add it to your Queue, your personal knitting wishlist.
For free patterns, a download link is displayed directly. If the design is not free, you have to buy it first. With the download, all available language versions are saved directly in your Library. (And if there is a correction or new translation later, the updated PDF will appear there automatically). You can also save all the patterns you already own - bought, free and even some knitting books and magazines you have at home — it's the perfect complete overview!
You could also cast on the stitches directly. If you click on the knitting needle icon, you'll get the option to create a page for your new knitting project.
And at the right in the top navigation bar under My Notebook, you will find everything again in the corresponding tabs and can thus organise yourself perfectly.
As soon as you start a new knitting project, you can create a project page for it. And that is the second heart of the community, the shared knitting experience. Because in your Projects, you can document for yourself and the community what you are knitting: the name of the pattern, the designer, the size chosen, the yarn, the colour and lot, and the needle size. You can rate yarn and pattern and record your progress over time and your satisfaction with the result. There is space in the notes for anything that seems important or helpful to you or others. For example, whether you got on well with the instructions, whether you made any adjustments, or even your yarn consumption in grams. Photos round off the information.
On the project page, you can also indicate that the yarn you are using is from your Stash, another nice feature of Ravelry. The stash is your private yarn supply, which is quite large for some needlework enthusiasts. Here you can take pictures of all your yarns and add them to your Stash, similar to an inventory management system. This way, you know exactly how much of which yarn you still have. And if you select yarn from the Stash for a project, the system reduces the remaining quantity accordingly. Maintaining your Stash here can also be helpful when looking for instructions, as Ravelry will suggest which of your yarns you could use to make that design.
And under Yarns, you can also find yarns from manufacturers and see in which projects they have been used.
The third essential part of Ravelry can be found under Community. Here you can exchange ideas with like-minded people in discussion forums and groups or individually. For my mother-in-law, this would be a regional sock knitting group, for example. You might be interested in our Rosy Green Wool Group.
Do you have a beautiful skein of Rosy Green Wool at home but still need an idea of what to make with it? Then take a look at the project pages that other users have shared. Alternatively, you can type in the yarn name on Yarns and find all the project pages that use this yarn.
I think it's fantastic to be able to access such a large pool of patterns and experience and to find exactly what I'm looking for! Creating my project pages is a joy and a great reminder if I want to knit a design again later. Other members' entries have often been helpful to me, too - and I like the idea that I can, in turn, help other community members through my notes.
If you haven't joined yet, I would be delighted if my enthusiasm spreads to you. Maybe I'll see you soon on Ravelry!