ravelry.com is a knit and crochet community.
July 21, 2007 11:23 AM   Subscribe

Ravelry is a knit and crochet community that my wife tells me is stirring up a lot of excitement lately. I'm not a knitter but I was impressed by the screenshot tour and the handy "check your place in line" tool.
posted by jragon (25 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
It seems that lots of folks around here are interested in this.
posted by blaneyphoto at 11:28 AM on July 21, 2007

My wife is on Ravelry, and *raves* about it -- apparently, the folks behind it have recently quit their jobs to concentrate on it full-time, so I hope it makes it!
posted by delfuego at 11:38 AM on July 21, 2007

I only know one knitter and she is very excited about Ravelry.
posted by Falconetti at 11:41 AM on July 21, 2007

I am a member of Ravelry and I love the hell out of it. It has a feature where I can look at yarn in my "stash" and see what other people have made with it. I can view patterns that I want to try and see what yarns folks have done them in. It's also forced me to photograph and post a great number of my knitted projects (so that other people can see my successes and disasters). I'm pleased to see it listed here.
posted by bilabial at 1:04 PM on July 21, 2007

I just learned how to
sew on a button
about a week ago. That's about the closest to knitting I ever wanna get.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:19 PM on July 21, 2007

Without any hint of snarkiness or secondary implications...

My mom would LOVE this.

Now I need to explain to her what web 2.0 is...

And that she needs to wait in line with 12,800 people ahead of her.
posted by Lord_Pall at 2:07 PM on July 21, 2007

Well, hell! I was going to FPP Ravelry, but only after it came out of beta, so people could actually see what the site's all about. It's invite only right now, and there's over 10,000 people waiting to get in.

I'm a member, and it's a very well done site. It is not just "web 2.0 social networking for knitters" as one source would have you believe. The social aspects are nice, but it's the database stuff that is really useful. You can enter all the yarn you have. You just put in the name, and their big yarn database pops up suggestions. You pick the right yarn, enter data specific to you (how many skeins you have, what color they are, etc.) and you're set. You can also associated pictures with your yarn, so you have a visual of your stash. There's also sections to keep track of your needles and hooks, patterns you have, things you want to knit, and books.

Want ideas what to knit with the yarn you have? Look up the yarn and see what other people have made with it. Considering buying a pattern? Look up the pattern and see pictures of other people's results. Want to make a scarf, but need ideas? Look up scarves and see what's popular, what patterns are free (with links to the pattern), etc. The database is well integrated and well organized. More features are on the way, such as a local yarn store database.

I fully expect that in a year's time, Ravelry will have over 50,000 members and win best of the web awards and major media recognition. I think it will be narrow-minded "Oh, look what the knitters did! Isn't that cute?" commentary at first, but expand into praise of the site as a wonderful example of online community and site design that just happens to be for knitters.

If you're a knitter or crocheter and you're not already on the invite list, you want to be on the list. If you're already in Ravelry, there's a group for MeFite Ravelers called Metastitcher. Join us!
posted by booksherpa at 3:45 PM on July 21, 2007

Ravelry will have over 50,000 members and win best of the web awards and major media recognition.

Indeed. As a web guy, I told my wife "This one is one in a hundred. Or a thousand." It's just just community. From what I can tell, it's community done really well.

And now I want to learn a lot more about the guy that wrote the code, in his spare time, for his wife's hobby. I was a little surprised I hadn't heard of him before.
posted by jragon at 5:03 PM on July 21, 2007

Am I missing something here? I knit, I crochet. I know how much yarn and what kind I have, because I can look at it anytime. If I need ideas on stuff to make, I look at pictures or daydream. If I want a pattern, I've got the internet, and my brain - at a certain point, you can just experiment til you get the pattern right. So why do I have to register for some dagnab internets tube to do all that, or at least get my knickers all twisted in a shell-stitched mohair bunch?
posted by DenOfSizer at 5:34 PM on July 21, 2007

Actually DenOfSizer, if you can do all those things you say? Perhaps you'd join that site to be a knitting guru to others. Or maybe there's things you think you know that others could show you do better.

No knitter is an island. However, a whole bunch of knitters together could be like a kinda archipelago with good surf, sandy beaches, and tasty margaritas brought to your table by pretty suntanned ladies in skimpy clothes.... Mmmmmmm...

....what were we talking about?
posted by ZachsMind at 6:16 PM on July 21, 2007

My fear is that, even though they say it won't, this will somehow marginalize the non-Ravelry knit-blog community. I've already seen a few of the currently-subscribed users moving away from their blogs. I wonder if they will come back once the novelty has worn off.

Even though I initially intended not to subscribe, I've now gotten in line in order to eventually be able to maintain access to the information I want. [It also sucks that my workplace blocks flickr, putting it out of reach for my casual browsing on breaks].
posted by mimo at 7:45 PM on July 21, 2007

DenOfSizer: If none of the database/keeping track of stuff appeals to you, you may find that you enjoy the community aspects more. People are forming groups based on all kinds of shared interests, both knitting and non-knitting related.

Don't discount the usefulness of the database, though. Sure you can just dig through your stash of yarn, but once it's in Ravelry, you can export it all as an Excel spreadsheet and bring it with you yarn shopping. You only have to enter the name - once you do that, the other info (yardage, gauge, material, brand, needle size) is automatically entered. There's also a notes section, and that's where I'm keeping purchase information (place, price, date) until they add fields for those. You can play with a pattern all you want, but if a pattern is giving you fits, wouldn't it be nice to go online and see what comments other knitters are making about it? None of these features may end up appealing to you, but they're a great resource to have handy.

Mimo: I suspect there's a lot of knitters obsessed with Ravelry right now, and busily entering their stash. needles, patterns and books, not to mention joining and participating in groups. I think you're right - once they've entered what they have, and the newness of groups has worn off, you'll see knitters returning to their neglected blogs. I don't believe you'll see a lot of knitblogs disappear because Ravelry doesn't let you blog within the site; it links to your posts on your already existing knitblog.

Clearly, I think this is the best thing since sliced bread, and some of that is because I'm a fairly new and avid knitter, so I'm biased. I've also been poking around the interwebs for a while, though, including working as a web designer for about 5 years, and a lot of my excitement is because I feel this is an exceptionally well designed site run by good people.
posted by booksherpa at 8:27 PM on July 21, 2007

Truthfully, this may be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but since no one can get onto the site without a lengthy wait, it's sort of a lame FPP. "Here's a great website; too bad none of you can try it out." booksherpa is right; the FPP should have come later. The screenshots look great, which just makes it that much more annoying.
posted by litlnemo at 4:43 AM on July 22, 2007

Well, you're pretty enthusiastic, booksherpa, and it does look likfe a niftily-designed site and all, but I'm kinda communitied-out, and the whole thing is wee bit Pepsi-Bluish to me. But then I'm perpetually under-caffinated.
posted by DenOfSizer at 4:58 AM on July 22, 2007

* You signed up on July 16, 2007
* You are #17363 on the list.
* 10930 people are ahead of you in line.
* 2098 people are behind you in line.
* 31% of the list has been invited so far

posted by Lucinda at 6:53 AM on July 22, 2007

DenOfSizer: Fair enough. I've been a little Ravelry-obsessed of late (just ask my husband!) and so I'm probably a little overboard with the enthusiasm. I'll be dialing back the tent-revival preacher in me just a bit. :)

Even though it really is that cool.
posted by booksherpa at 8:54 AM on July 22, 2007

It really *is* that cool. And I say this as someone whose knitblog just had its fifth anniversary, a blog who got me my first book deal, a blog I love dearly. I don't see myself moving away from the blog so much as figuring out new ways to reach out to potential readers and knit-friends via Ravelry.

It helps that I think the people building Ravelry kick mucho ass.

Also, as someone who writes knitting books for a living, this is a great trending tool. What are people REALLY knitting right now? What yarns are popular? Is the Great Sock Craze of 2007 getting bigger or dying down?

Something the TechCrunch guys seem to have missed: the economic power of knitters. See here for the Socks That Rock story, or, for a quick summation, quoting the letter sent to the Freakonomics blog:
This morning, one of the most popular producers of hand-dyed sock yarn, Blue Moon Fiber Arts, announced that they were making so much money on their sock yarn that their bank managers decided it must be a front for something illegal, and shut down Blue Moon’s credit card system, and refunded all of the money for the 2007 Sock Club!

Blue Moon has found another bank that is happy to take knitter’s money, no matter how much of it there is, so all is well again in the knitting world. It does seem, however, that this gobsmacking development deserves to be known outside the knitting community—and must be of some kind of interest to economists.
So yeah, Ravelry is not just some useless social networking app, or a pointless "look at me! I wrote a cool online thingy!" -- it's really super-useful for those of us who are fiber industry professionals, too.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:39 AM on July 22, 2007

OT: bitter-girl, I'm reading this while listening to the knit-picks podcast. I clicked on your blog, thought "that's a familiar name," and then realized that you were the person being interviewed on the podcast. Weird.

It's going to be a while before I get onto Ravelry, but it looks awesome.
posted by craichead at 10:19 AM on July 22, 2007

Ha! Yeah, craichead. Even I'm sick of me!

Note: my boyfriend likes to go into knitting stores and yank my chain by proclaiming loudly "Hey! Where are the books by the world-famous..." (* and then I hit him *)

I pray his comic book (written by fellow MeFite kittens for breakfast, and drawn by my darling) takes off someday because then I am gonna get some sweet, sweet payback in every comic store we ever enter together.

Amusing factoid I read somewhere: Casey, one-half of the Ravelry team, originally planned for it to be a similar, though comic-book-centered site.

I'm telling you, the knitters and the comic book fans always end up dating. There's a shared hoarding thing about both. I went to SPX with boy + kittens for breakfast last year and spent my whole time on the floor going: "Hey! look! that's handknit... and that's handknit, and that's totally handknit..."
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:54 PM on July 22, 2007

I remember the Socks That Rock story. In fact, I FPP'ed it.
posted by booksherpa at 8:41 PM on July 22, 2007

Truthfully, this may be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but since no one can get onto the site without a lengthy wait, it's sort of a lame FPP.

I hope people will continue to post these nifty cool things in the future, because the list isn't getting any shorter.
posted by jragon at 9:41 PM on July 22, 2007

To step back a bit, I think Ravelry is an interesting case for "social networking sites" in general.

Now that sites like MySpace and Facebook have become so popular, people are losing the identity they were seeking in them. I think people will start gravitating toward specialty sites like Ravelry, which offer more than just networking, but also the ability to enhance a special interest.

I hope this trend continues as I could see the Ravelry "platform" being very useful for other areas (as mentioned, Casey had originally meant it for comic book collectors).
posted by like_neon at 4:18 AM on July 23, 2007

I think you're right, like_neon -- better a specialty "platform" than the one-size-fits-all, ad-covered horror that is MySpace and the like.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 5:53 AM on July 23, 2007

I think that once Casey has the bugs worked out of Ravelry, and has incorporated the list of feature requests, one source of income may well be licensing what he's built.
posted by booksherpa at 8:59 AM on July 23, 2007

And good on him, that's what I say. I happily sent off a donation to the cause (for those of you who aren't on there yet, you can choose to donate to Ravelry -- I admire someone who will quit their day job to do what they love and want to do, so...)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:06 AM on July 23, 2007

« Older Wind thy Self   |   Striker, listen, and you listen close: flying a... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments