All about Ravelry
One of the best resources a knitter or crocheter can have is Ravelry. It's a free resource for knitters and crocheters to use to stay organized, get inspired and make new fibre friends. If you’re new to this tool, we’re excited to share it with you. If you’ve already found your way to this website, we’ve added some tips that we use to manage our crafting on this amazing site.
What is Ravelry?
Ravelry is an online database of knit and crochet patterns. It also has social features like groups, a personal dashboard and just oodles of yarn information. You can use it to stay organized and keep track of your good ideas. Your first step is to make yourself an account. While we’re not experts, we are pretty cautious about our online security and have never had an issue with Ravelry. This tool is worth making an account for.
When you’re ready to start exploring be sure to have a chunk of time and a lovely drink in hand. The easiest way to explore is by heading into the patterns section (top navigation). You can search patterns by name or designer and customize by knit, crochet or both! We’re not gonna lie, when you start your first pattern search it can be overwhelming. We punched in mittens and got over 16,000 results! We have lots of family and friends to make mittens for but not quite THAT many. And, honestly, that’s almost too many results to even wrap your head around.
To narrow things down substantially, you can use the left-hand side navigation to look for specific yarn weights, needle sizes, design elements and pattern availability. By adding a few more attributes to our search, we got our results down to a more manageable 1200!
When you’re looking through your search results, be sure to use the favourite button for anything that catches your fancy. There’s nothing worse than seeing a project you just *have* to make and not being able to find it again! (Trust us!)
Starting to add to your favourites brings up the social side of Ravelry. You can make a profile and find people (be sure to friend WoolAndWaves too). You can also create records of your stash, needles and projects.
Pick a project and click on to to find out even more about what someone created, the supplies they used and what they thought of the project. You can find out more about our Flicker & Flame hat. Sometimes fellow crafters will leave in depth notes about the modifications they’ve made to the pattern or any mistakes they found in the pattern.
Ravelry can be used to work backwards to find a project too. Say you’ve found something that you just can’t get out of your mind like a skein of Lily & Pine’s Day Lily Sock. Use the yarn tab (top navigation) to search for it. Once you hit those results you can see what other people have made with that yarn by clicking on the projects section. We love looking at what other people have done with the yarn that’s caught their eye and we know you will too.
You can also use the notebook section of Ravelry to keep your crafting organized. We will add newly bought yarn into our stash just in case we don’t use it right away. We’ve also loved using the tools section to keep track of the needles we have. There’s nothing worse than wanting to start a project only to find out you don’t have the needles you THOUGHT were in your case!
Tips for Ravelry success
Track the yarn that you’ve got at home using the stash function. Once we took a day to add all our yarn and needles into the notebook. It wasn’t the most fun we’ve ever had but my goodness it’s paid off over the years in keeping us organized!
You can create tags for the patterns or projects you hit like on. There was one time that we bought some black lace weight (think hard before doing this friends) for years (yep years) we’ve been favouriting projects and tagged them ‘black lace weight’ on Rav. When we’re ready to tackle the craziness that is black lace weight, we’ll have a list of patterns to look from.
Segment your search
If you’re first search yields a crazy number of results don’t lose heart! Narrow your search until it feels more manageable.
Many designers sell their patterns through Ravelry. We love buying them online because they are added directly into our library for safekeeping. You’ll also receive emails with pattern updates and errata information.
Matching the colour to a pattern can be a challenge. (Never hesitate to get in touch with us if you need help with this. Helping people find their next project makes our hearts sing with joy!) You can look through the combinations that other crafters have used and let their experience guide you. Love raspberry and teal together (who doesn’t?), find a project that uses those colours. We find this is especially helpful in planning shawls, colourwork or fades!
You can join groups or KAL’s through Ravelry too. It is a great way to reach out to other people who share the same hobby as you. There are oodles of groups you can join and make some new friends to enhance your knitting. If the thought of more online socializing has you sweating, don’t fret. You can use all the other parts of Ravelry without dipping your toes into the social side. That’s just another reason why we love Ravelry.