Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The dangers of Ravelry

I haven't talked about Ravelry much on my blog yet, well, because not everyone is 'in' yet. Ravelry is still in Beta. This means two things to us yarn-people. First, you have to apply to get in. Don't worry, it's not a screening process - they are not going to test you to see if you know 5 different ways to knit the heel on a sock - simply applying to get in is proof enough of your love of yarn. All you do is enter your email address and wait. Because it is still Beta, they add only a few hundred people from the wait list each day. They don't want it to get too crowded and break the server.

Second, being Beta also means that Code Monkey Casey is constantly changing and improving the site, always adding new and exciting things for us users to play with. And as marvelous as that may sound, what the other users add to the site is even more amazing.

I think of Ravelry as a love story: Out of his love for Frecklegirl and her love of yarn, Casey invented Ravelry as a gift to her. (read more about it here). Ravelry is a project that began with love and Casey and Frecklegirl have done a wonderful thing for the world of yarn by inviting people to join in and participate in Ravelry. Ravelry is just a young thing at the moment, and like any love story, there have been ups and downs. Sometimes disagreement arises between members, but it isn't long, as in any love fable, before someone steps in and reminds everyone that although we are all unique, we are all here because of our love for yarn and yarn related activities.

On Ravelry you can search patterns, learn about yarns, meet new people who share the same interests as yourself (everything from world peace to House MD., from medieval textiles to knitting cables-all Ravelry links) and all sorts of other exciting things.

It sounds like such a wonderful site, what could possibly be dangerous about it? Well, it is a little too wonderful. I've spent hours researching different patterns and learning about yarns. Not to mention organizing my own yarn with the really cool stash feature. All these toys and such that Ravelry gives us are the least of the dangers. The thing that captures me most is the brilliance of other people. People can create groups in Ravelry. Members of these groups share a common interest (as I expressed above) and I have learned so much from these people. I've learned about spinning, sewing, weaving, knitting, baking, cleaning home, and, well, the list is very long, but perhaps you get the idea. There is also a weekly newsletter that members of Ravelry put out. This newsletter tells us about what is going on around Ravelry - improvements and the like. It also tells us about different groups and this is where the most danger arises.

Every week I add two or three new groups to my list (this week it was Yarnographers and Organized Knitting club - Ravelry links) and I do read them all. I also end up adding a few new blogs to my reading list as well (this week it was Organized Knitting Club Blog). As if I need more things to read.

I should really get some self control as at this rate, I'll need two cups of coffee to get through my morning reading lists. But I love it all so much and I learn so many new things. How could I pass up on the yarnographers group? It is all about how to improve your yarn photographing skills - it's exactly what I aim to learn. It's like they totally knew how to hook me in to their group.

The moral of this post: Ravelry is a good thing. It has completely revolutionized how the Internet can aid yarn-lovers. Ravelry is a community in which every member adds to the overall benefit of the place. 'Though it was founded out of the love of two people, it is the love of yarn that each of Ravelry's members shares that has made it grow into such a magical world of yarn and friendship.

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