Ravelry – have you ever come across a site that works on so many levels? I’m going to try to list some of the ones that come to mind, starting with today’s special.
It’s April Fool’s day, and that is not something that has ever given me much pleasure. I don’t like listening to a “news” story or reading an article just to find out that it’s a fake. And with the world as wild and wacky as it is, it isn’t easy to compose something which is enough odd to alert people and be of some interest while not being so outrageous it couldn’t fool anyone. But on Ravelry, April Fool’s means that everyone gets a randomly selected hat (or bird!) added to her or his Ravatar. And if you mouse over a Ravatar in the right way, it turns into a sheep, sticking out her tongue. And there’s a red button that you push to have a cat appear on the window and if you push more red buttons, Ravelry falls apart and is replaced by fierce rabbits. Totally silly, cheerful and for some reason I’m not sure about – it’s fun.
The birthday cake on your Ravatar for your birthday, causing birthday wishes from strangers and acquaintances is fun too. And the icons that pop up when you type certain words or phrases. All very low key, innocent fun. So that’s one way Ravelry adds to the planetary pool of “good”.
But, of course, most of what Ravelry gives knitters is much more practical and incredibly useful. If someone had told me when I was a beginning knitter that there would be a site where you could check to see what had been made out of a certain yarn, what yarns had been used to make a given pattern, what patterns could be made with a certain weight and quantity of yarn – any of those would have made me ready to have it right then! (But of course it was a whole lot later.)
Another thing that Ravelry has done – for me, and I think for a whole lot of other people – is to turn us into designers. I’m still lingering at the point of submitting occasional free patterns which are then set up as free Ravelry downloads. Some of my patterns have achieved a little bit of “fame” (no idea why those did so well compared to the others) but all of them give me a good feeling. I’m thrilled to have my patterns out there being knit by real people.
And the forums? Those are a lot of fun, too. I haven’t posted thousands of times like many others, but I have participated in a lot of interesting discussions. I’ve helped a few people and I’ve been helped a few times too. I’ve shared my work and had the pleasure of having it admired by knowledgeable knitters. I’ve enjoyed seeing and admiring other people’s stunning creations. If I’m home, I have Ravelry open, almost all the time. I’m not always actively looking at it, but I hop back over to see what’s going on all the time. And despite occasional fusses, I think the level of civility shown in the forums and throughout Ravelry is amazingly high. Part of it, I’m convinced, is that so many of the Ravelry users are women. But that can’t be all of it – I’ve been on other female-heavy sites that weren’t nearly so nice. It’s a fantastically great site and I love it!
The Photo Part
Because I can’t stand to post without at least one picture, I’m going to include a photo of one of the first socks I knit out of yarn Meg dyed. This is an old colorway called Chomp:
This used a technique that is lots of fun to use – the colors tell you what to do. In this case, knit for green and purl for brown. I mean to publish a pattern using some such technique at some point.