Using Ravelry as an Organizational Tool and Fiber Community Site
Perhaps you’ve heard of Ravelry but you don’t really know what it is? Maybe you have joined Ravelry but don’t feel like you know how to use it to your advantage? Ravelry is a great organizational tool and a good place to make friends who share your passion for fiber. There are many features to help you keep track of your projects, your stash and your patterns and tools, as well as various means of connecting with other crocheters, knitters, spinners and fiber enthusiast, be they in your neighborhood or across the world.
First, let’s talk about how to make your life easier and more organized. We’ll look at how the my notebook tab (the first tab across the top of the page) can help you.
Under my notebook, you will find the following categories:
Keep track of your finished projects—what yarn and hook you used, how long it took you to make, include one or more photos of the project, what you thought of it, modifications you made to a pattern and who you made it for. These are just some of the many things you can choose to include in the details for each project.
Above is a photo of an overall project page. You can see both the projects you have ongoing and completed listed on this page. If you click on a photo, you will be taken the to that specific project’s page (see below).
Image of an individual project. The left-hand column includes your photos. The center column lists information about your project—hook size, yarn brand, etc. It also features a “notes” section where you can write any additional information, like modifications to a pattern. The right-hand column allows you to note the date you started and completed the project, to share photos of your project with groups on Ravelry, to rate the pattern (how well you liked it and how difficult you thought it was) and rate the yarn you used.
Photograph your yarn and list what color and how much you own. When you have a project you want to use it for in the future, you can mark that as you queue it (read on to learn about queuing).
The queue is a genius way of remembering and numbering all of the projects you want to make in the future. When you click the “+ to queue” button, you can tag the project with keywords (highly recommended to help you find it easily later) and indicate which yarn you want to use. If the yarn is in your Ravelry stash, you can note that, as well as the intended recipient and the date you want to have the project completed.
There are a lot of different ways to organize your queue. The most obvious is to actually number the projects in the order you plan to make them; but if your queue is long, this can be challenging. Right now, I’m organizing mine with all projects at the top of the queue for which I already own the yarn and pattern.
As you can see in the image, the queue lists the name of the pattern, the yarn suggested in the pattern, the yarn you intend to use (if you’ve listed it), any tags you added and the date you included it in your queue.
This feature is a good way to keep track of things you like or versions of projects you want to make—perhaps you like the yarn someone used or some modification someone listed on their version of the project and you want to remember it.
Use this helpful chart to record each type of crochet hook and knitting needle you own. It saves you money--the next time you want to make a project and you can’t remember if you have the needle or hook in the size needed, you can simply look it up on Ravelry (then, you have to actually find where you last placed it!) You can list not only which hooks you have, but how many and what type (regular vs. steel for thread crochet). The chart provides both the hook equivalents in U.S. numbers and the metric size.
List all the books you own (this is especially handy if you lend them to others or keep them in a few different places in your home). It is also convenient because you can click on the book in your library and see photos of the projects it contains. The library also holds your magazine purchases, pattern booklets, PDFs and e-patterns you purchased through Ravelry. I love this feature because I know I can always go back to Ravelry to re-download my pattern if I can’t locate it on my computer.
Now that we’ve talked about the organizational tools available, let’s look at the social possibilities of Ravelry.
Keep up with your current fiber-enthusiast friends and make new ones! Add your crocheting buddies, your local yarn shop staff or a friend whose blog you follow—you just need to know their Ravelry ID to search for them.
The Friends page has several different views and you can click on one of the tabs along the top to change the view. In the Friends view, you will see your friends arranged alphabetically according to their ID with an avatar (or “Ravatar” as they are sometimes called on Ravelry).
The Friend Activity tab is fun and useful because you can see your friends’ finished projects listed with photos. It is also a great way to get inspired because it includes the projects that your friends click to favorite and add to their queue. You might find that the projects that they want to make will inspire you, too.
The Friends’ Blogs tab allows you to see your friends’ most recent blog posts and is another way of connecting and keeping up with the people in your community.
Lastly, is the Neighbors tab (see image below)—it lists other people who like similar patterns. You can look at their completed projects and will likely find you’ve made some of the same things and maybe have some common interests.
The Groups/Events lists all of the groups you have joined on Ravelry. To actually join a group, you will need to leave the my projects tab click on the groups tab on the top of the page. There, you can search for groups and see a list of the newest groups that have been created. Here are a few suggestions for finding groups that share your interests:
Search for your city’s name, your local yarn shop or a university you attended (you could meet other alumni)
Look for groups that relate to hobbies you enjoy in addition to crochet, such as a book series you love, your fondness for tea or an interest in cooking.
If you have a favorite yarn, designer or crochet magazine publication, search for it among the groups.
Each group page will have a discussion section and photos posted of group members’ projects. Some groups are very active and hold swaps, contests, crochet/knit-alongs, charity projects and so on. If you are looking to get involved in a community, an active group is a great way to get started.
The Messages page is your Ravelry inbox. You may receive messages from your friends, a notice from Ravelry, an invitation to join a specific group, or a comment on one of your projects.
If you blog about your projects, take advantage of this feature. It lists all of your blog posts (you have the option to enter your blog address in your profile) and allows you to link your Ravelry projects with a specific blog post where you wrote about it. This is a great way to allow people who want to know more about your experience with the project to read about it on your blog.
Now you are armed with the tools you need to get your yarn, patterns, and projects organized and to make connections with others who love crochet as much as you do. Go forth and Ravel!