Unravelling Ravelry

Ravelry Screenshot

Several people commented on yesterday’s post saying how much they love Ravelry. It’s the go-to online resource for knitters and no mistake. It has over 3 million members! Yet, I feel as though I’m not getting the most out of it.

I don’t check in regularly by any means. When I do, I use Ravelry to record my knitted makes and share details with others. I have a few online friends on there. (My username is Didyoumakethat, if you want to friend me!) I’ll research new knitting patterns I’m interested in – it’s really great for seeing how a pattern actually knits up and for tips on wool brands to use. I’ll occasionally try to find a pattern that suits wool I already have in my stash, though I’ve been less successful on that front. Um, that’s about it.

Tell me, readers! Could I be doing more with Ravelry? What do you like best about it?

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41 Responses to Unravelling Ravelry

  1. gmariesews says:

    First – I just friended you – I’m GMarie.
    Next – I basically use it just like you do. I do have an inventory of my books in my library which is nice. I started to inventory my needles but that is so not up to date. I also like to keep my stash up to date – mostly because I’m a sock knitter so knowing what I have is nice. I went on a bit of a lace binge and in 2008 I decided I was going to knit cardis and stock piled supplies – they are all in stash along with notes regarding what pattern I was originally considering.
    Finally – I have just a few boards where I occassionally chat to share news, projects, ask for help etc. g

  2. Kerry says:

    I like it to keep track of my projects and to search for projects using wool I have, as you mentioned. Also helpful to see how popular a pattern is or to check any issues with it, like errors or sizing. I’ve bought patterns through Ravelry too, and store patterns in my virtual Ravelry library so I can download them to my phone if I’m out and about – that’s handy. I also use it to keep track of all my needles as I have so many different types and sizes that it’s easier to check there first than dive into the jar of circular and double pointed needles I have!

  3. autumnyarn says:

    I would agree that Ravelry’s greatest virtue is that it enables you to “shop” for knitting patterns that suit wool you have in your stash. Being able to look at other knitter’s projects to see finished results and having access to a rather comprehensive database of existing patterns is hugely helpful. I also find the forums very useful for getting help on the tricky part of a pattern or for getting information about knitting events/resources.

  4. I put pictures of finished makes and try to record start/end dates and info on what I changed about the pattern, in case I want to re-create something later. What I mainly use it for, though, is finding patterns. I love the ability to see what patterns are in a book before buying it on-line, and the ability to download patterns directly from Ravelry, and to search either by designers I like or by certain pattern features. I started trying to track on there what needles and such I have on hand, but I’m suspecting my brain isn’t wired for online database organization of stashed materials because I lost interest in doing it half-way through. One of the neatest things that happened for me on Ravelry is when the designer behind the pattern saw the sweater I knit for my husband and complimented me on it. That wasn’t my major reason for posting it, but it was sweet to have that interaction.

  5. Ginny says:

    I use Ravelry most days to browse through the recently added patterns- I knit and crochet, and make stuff for myself, my daughter and toys and home things as well, so I like to have a look through everything this way. I mainly use it to find patterns or ideas. I particularly love the ways you can filter search results- size, yarn weight, free or to purchase etc. I do try and keep track of current projects but I’m terrible at updating usually, though my library is up to date with the books I have. As someone mentioned it’s also great for seeing how a particular pattern looks made up and how it works for different people.

  6. Becky says:

    I use it as everyone above, but I also find ravelry very useful by storing patterns I want to try sometime in my queue. I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to get sidetracked and/or forget about patterns that I really like if I don’t record them somewhere. It’s especially helpful if no one has made them yet, and you want to wait to see how they make up. I am not very good about posting projects and sharing, not because I don’t want to share, but I don’t seem to have the patience for it.

  7. Wendy says:

    Much the same as everyone else. I keep my stash updated and my library; all my projects are on there and of course a huge queue of potential future projects. Mostly though I use it for inspiration and like you, to see what others have done with yarn I have in my stash or yarn I’m thinking of buying. I also enjoy the sewing groups 🙂

  8. Lindsey says:

    I think I mostly use Ravelry to find patterns, get inspired, and to keep myself on track. I found a group that’s really great for me, because it challenges my creativity, makes me realize what I want to make and when, and helps me chat with other fiber crafters. There are a lot of groups on Ravelry, most of which I’ve found are pretty sparse, but there’s a handful that are really active and I love them. Also I think one of the best things is being able to see what other people have done with a pattern – what type of color they use, how they’ve modified it to better suit their individual tastes, etc. I am getting better at putting my own work on my page, but I like seeing what others have done more.

  9. Molly says:

    I use it for its yarn catalogue. I type in the name the pattern recommends, check out is credentials then compare it to other yarns I could be using or to the one I want to use to check compatibility. I find the yarn catalogue invaluable. I also find the book / magazine catalogue helpful in being able to browse the patterns in a particular book or current/back issue of a magazine before deciding whether to buy it. I love the library and queue functions too for keeping track of patterns I have or want as well as being able to track my own project progress. I always go to browse the patterns for ideas and find the filters very good, I can spend hours browsing those. I’m a very occasional knitter but I greatly enjoy Ravelry. I don’t tend to use the forum but I have utilised it to ask questions about a specific pattern or technique.

  10. Lucy says:

    I use the forums a lot – particular LSG (Lazy Stupid and Godless) and its offshoots. I feel like I’m part of a real community on there, and find it’s a great way to get knitting inspiration too – I like seeing what other people are making when I feel that I “know” them.

    Also yes. The pattern database, the yarn database – heaven for organisational freaks like myself.


  11. Susan says:

    I keep my stash and my library in Ravelry, and my absolute favorite thing is a custom search I set up that I call “I have that pattern!” Basically, this searches everyone’s recently completed items against the patterns in your library — it’s great inspiration for getting use from the patterns you already have! I also love looking at friends’ activity and keeping track of the projects I want to make.

  12. Rachel-Lou says:

    I’m not so good with the ‘organising’ side of ravelry although I have a massive queue! Ravelry is an excellent tool for problem solving – most of the designers I buy from are on there and if not there is always someone willing to help you out. When I’m trying to decide on a pattern I might make I will look through other peoples finished projects to see if there are any problems with the pattern and see if anyone with a similar bodyshape to me has made it – if so, does it look good and did they make and modifications

  13. AnotherKaren says:

    It’s a superb resource for checking out yarn properties – and I don’t just mean the manufacturer’s version. Not only is the star rating a handy hint, but I can also look at the projects – frogged ones and all. Fellow Ravellers will tell me what needles they used, something about their tension and even comments about how the yarn behaved. This is particularly useful when it comes to small producers and distributors. It’s a great place.

  14. hedgewick says:

    I don’t knit due to joint pain in my hand, so I don’t use it at all. I follow your blog for the sewing!

  15. Ruth says:

    I did use it heavily for about eighteen months but then closed my account down because I felt there is as much nasty as nice in the forums, and it is a huge time suck. I downloaded a few hundred free patterns, then left!

  16. Sonia says:

    I love Ravelry, but don’t use it as much as I used to. I have lots of projects in my queue that I really like (I whittled it down to 3 pages the other day!) but also use it to find patterns that I think I want to knit. Then I tend to check out knitted products and read comments to see if there are any common issues re. modifications made. I find it useful as quite often a pattern I like, once I’ve seen it knitted up by real people makes me realise that it’s not actually going to be suitable for me. I also like to check for patterns based on yardage/yarn that I have stashed. I think I’m becoming more selective. If only I was so organised with sewing!

  17. Andrea says:

    In addition to what everyone else has already said, there is a nice feature under the stashed yarn category where you can post yarn that you are willing to trade or sell with others. You can also look up other people’s stashes for yarn they want to trade or sell and often can find great discounted deals when other Ravelers are de-stashing.

  18. suellen says:

    I use the library to keep the patterns that interest me as I browse through…cuts the browsing time the next time and makes the patterns I like easy to find. suellen

  19. katlane12 says:

    It comes in handy when your wool shopping to check the wool gauge and also to read reviews from people who have used the wool before.

  20. Roobeedoo says:

    Ravelry is my home from home. Apart from all the straightforward recording of projects and stash and queue-ing future makes, I spend a ridiculous amount of time looking at other people’s versions of particular patterns, reading their blog-posts and stalking their Ravelry “friends” – you can stumble upon the best inspiration this way. I really like the “neighbours” feature where you can search for people who have made the same patterns as you / have the same things in their queue. And there are the forums (fora), some of which can be quite unpleasant and catty, but others where I have found real community and real-life friends. Yeah… I am addicted!

  21. Thanks for reminding me about Ravelry! I signed up ages ago and never took advantage of it. This might be just what I need to start the cardigan I’ve been too intimidated to try 🙂

  22. Dea-chan says:

    Free. Patterns. End of story for me! I also find it handy to log little details of my stash like where I bought it, how much it was, and what the lot number is. Also, as I am really yarn-type retarded, if I type in a yarn that’s already in the database, I now know what type of yarn it is! (I.e., cobweb, sock, etc.)

  23. dietcouture says:

    I do love Ravelry for the pattern and yarn databases, but I am in the same boat as you – I am not getting as much out of it as I probably could. I am admittedly terrible at the social aspects of the site and really need to be more involved with some of the boards and get to know other members. I have the same issue in blogland (I stalk and read so many blogs and never ever comment)…I am working on that 🙂 With that said, I have “friended” you in Ravelry, my username is peachykeeeeen. 🙂

  24. redsilvia says:

    I too use it as a knitting journal. I keep track of projects and add my basic notes to remember what I’ve done. I get rid of many of my knits because I don’t really need a bunch of sweaters so it’s nice to remember what I’ve made in the past.

    I also love being able to search for a pattern with a certain gauge whenever I get a whim. That is perhaps my favorite feature.

    I’ll friend you on rav so you’ll have another request. I’m redsilvia btw.

  25. I have found Ravelry extremely useful as a pattern resource and as a way of easily sending messages to designers. I’m sure I don’t use its full potential and I probably never will; but I probably get out of it as much as I want. It may be that I don’t contribute to it as much as I should, but some of that is simply that I don’t knit lots of articles. I knit lots of little things, often multiple versions of the same thing, but having said once how good a pattern is, there’s no real need to repeat it as many times as I might make it (I’m thinking here of Twinset Ellen’s fantastic handed but not fingered mitts pattern). I post photos of my finished projects when I remember AND happen to have a photo of same and it is certainly handy having notes regarding changes I might have made in one central locale. If I knitted larger projects more frequently, I might use the yarn recording feature more than I do, but presently I don’t have much trouble remembering what’s already in my stash.

  26. alisonesther says:

    I used it recently to look up yarn, since you can search projects, friends, yarn, etc. I bought a bunch of this yarn and for some reason I decided to look at the reviews on Ravelry. All the reviews said the yarn was a pleasure to work with but it pilled wicked badly – sometimes even before the knitted project was finished. It saved me weeks of my life – I would have been devastated if I had made an entire sweater out of this pilly yarn. I recommend reading the Ravelry reviews of any yarn you are planning to use before you commit to a project.

    I also had some yarn in my “willing to trade or sell” stash and someone actually messaged me for it. Her friend was trying to finish a blanket and needed more of this yarn. I made an easy $5 and I helped someone out who really needed it.

    I’m going to add you as a friend on Ravelry right now!

  27. i feel i must point out that it’s a great resource for crochetists/ers as well 🙂
    if i’m making a ravelry project, i like to read through the comments other makers have left – they can be quite helpful in terms of size, errors in the pattern, seeing what the FO looks like in certain wools, etc.
    i recently started using the ‘library’ section as a place where i can save patterns i know i don’t want to lose – it’s quite handy.
    also, their advanced search options can be super useful.

  28. Gjeometry says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I don’t knit at all, so cannot give you any advice, but my mum is quite the obsessed with it! I am going to email this site to her.

  29. Ros says:

    In 2012, Ravelry won an award for best social media site, beating out Facebook and Twitter in the same category. I think its social side, in the forums and groups, is where its real strength lies. The databases are excellent, of course, but for sharing expertise, knowledge, advice, and building communities of likeminded people it is brilliant. I avoid the Big Six Forums because they are just too big for me. But I’m in several other very active groups – a sock knitting competition, a fundraiser for MSF, one for UK spinners and one for UK weavers which are incredible places for getting help with comparatively rare crafts. And so on.

  30. Liz says:

    I am very negligent when it comes to updating my projects on Ravelry – and must do better! I use it a lot to look up yarns especially when trying to work out what would be a good substitute for a yarn specified on a pattern.

    I’m Lizmakesit on there.

  31. Naaa I use it to about the same depth as you. It’s a good resources but nothing like having a blog to really say what you want and showcase what you’ve made.

  32. Danielle says:

    That’s pretty much what I do too! I love seeing all of the thousands of patterns shared (free and otherwise, though I’ve never purchased a knitting pattern). And I love being able to showcase the FOs. I’ve been wondering if there is a similar site for sewing? (if not, there should be!)

    I joined a “pattern partners” group where at least 2 members would work on the same project and could use each other as resources, kind of like a virtual knit-a-long, except much more relaxed, go at our own pace type thing. But it didn’t seem that many people were into it. I think I did about 2 projects on it. Fun though!

    I haven’t been on it in ages!! I should go check it out now…

  33. twotoast says:

    I love, love, love Ravelry – I am on as twotoast, and I have just friended you! I use it to record my stash – if my house ever goes up in flames I have a great record of my yarn! I also records my projects. I am a sock knitter and I was knitting a pair every week or two. I love the forums and have used the advertising to sell yarn that I have dyed, as well as designing my own patterns. I have to say (and I am saying this in a hushed voice) that I really wish that there was a sewing equivalent. I find Ravelry soooo easy to use!

    I have taken part in a number of KALS, sponsored other ones, and of course, learned a HUGE amount!

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  36. Red says:

    I use it the same way you do. The best features (to me) are tracking my projects, seeing how projects look on real people, and pattern ideas for yarns that I bought because I thought they were pretty.

    I don’t use the forums. I have a queue, mainly as a way to bookmark favorite patterns…which I don’t make.

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  39. surfjewels says:

    I LOVE Ravelry, it is the best discovery I have made in a long while, wish there was something for the other crafts I love. It is great because it is so good for searching,there are so many categories, you can select what yarn you want to use, you can search just for free items and so many other options too.

    I always use the library to save all my fav patterns too, then I can comeback to things I like.

    It is just great as there are links to patterns from all over the web and I like that you can view all the things people have made from the pattern and any problems people have had.



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