Of Rats and Jen (Inactive)

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Ravelry…Maybe Yes

Filed under: Ravelry — folkcat at 3:46 pm on Wednesday, August 8, 2007

As promised (are you here, Casey?), I’ve continued looking around Ravelry. And I think I’m starting to see things that could be useful to me.

Organizing books, for instance. It’s a relatively undeveloped feature thus far, but you can add books that are already entered in the Ravelry system into your Library. Other tabs on the page suggest that one day, you’ll be able to indicate which books you’ve actually used, and which are needed for projects in your “queue”.

ETA: Further study – I realize now that the “Used” and “Needed for Queue” tabs will actually list books based on their being associated with projects you’ve done. Or plan to do. So it’s an automatic thing. Okay!

This feature will help me a great deal, at least once it’s fully functional. I probably don’t have as many knitting books as others among you, but they’re still a lot to keep track of.

I tend to acquire a lot of books at yard sales and thrift shops, so I often have out-of-print titles. Being able to add any book to the Ravelry library (let us upload our own cover image, for instance, and add all the publication info from the title pages) would go a long way towards making this feature truly useful to me.

I’ve also been browsing both the yarn and patterns sections. And was quite surprised to find that they could be helpful to me as well. I know I said I don’t like to take my ideas from what others are doing, but you know what? I realized I could sort, say, all the Shawl/Wrap patterns by “Favorites” (or “Popularity”, or whatever they call it), then go to the last page of the results, and browse backwards. Sure, many of the least favorite patterns are at that end of the list for a reason. But many of them are very nice projects that simply haven’t been knit very often.

I love it when I can knit something that appeals to me, but which hasn’t already exploded all over blogland. Finding a less popular pattern that I find attractive feels like discovering a hidden treasure. Score another point for Ravelry!

Looking at the patterns, too, I realized that I have sometimes rejected a pattern at, for instance, Knitty, because the photos with the pattern page didn’t appeal to me. But looking around Ravelry, I could see 20 or 30 examples of what others have done with the same pattern – and often, they look much better than the photos at the source did. At least one pattern has gone into my Queue this way already.

So, see? There really is hope for Ravelry after all.

I can think of one other thing that would really turn things around for me, for certain. Except that I don’t expect it can happen for a long, long time: open Ravelry to other crafts besides knitting and crochet. That’s part of the problem for me – Ravelry is so focused on two crafts, but I’m a multi-crafter who does so many other things. Knitting is only a fraction of the crafting time I spend in any given week. If I could use these same organizational tools for all my crafts – cross-stitch, needlepoint, weaving, quilting, beadwork, and more – I guarantee you, I’d be on Ravelry every day.

Given that the development of the Ravelry project is still so young, I don’t expect to see such an expansion until at least Phase Two – or even Three or Four. But I can dream, can’t I?



Comment by Carol

August 8, 2007 @ 5:09 pm

Definitely dream. In fact, you could post it. Somewhere on the forums I’m sure I saw a thread that was “new ideas or wish list” or something like that…..


Comment by sarebear

August 8, 2007 @ 6:41 pm

They’ll eventually have magazines, booklets etc. in the Library too. Which I think will really help me tell if a particular publication is holding my interest over time (via a combination of what I’ve made from it, and projects in queue from it, and if those are only from older ones, or if a magazine had changed direction and what I’ve added to queue shows a regular increasing occurrence of appealing-to-me designs from a publication I hadn’t liked before). I can assess those with those two tabs you mention. As well as it just occurred to me to suggest a feature that will let you pick a publication, such as IW Knits, and maybe show as a line graph, with a line in one color for projects made or in progress, and a line in another color for queued, from any issues of that publication. Over time, so you could see upward and downward trends, or, heck, see that maybe you don’t like the summer issues (as some don’t), or some other interesting trend . . . I think I’ll go read the threads on library, magazine, and such feature requests, and see before I post (will take me awhile to catch up on those threads, though.)

Oh, and as you know, discovering little-known (as yet) designs, especially by unpublished-in-print media designers, bloggers, etc. is one of my favorite things to do on Ravelry, and why I began my first in the round, first dps, project of fingerless gloves! Another aspect of this that I find interesting, is, as other people browse Ravelry, and SEE this kind of thing in someone’s queue, often starting with it only being in the designer’s, I slowly see some of these start to inch upward in # queued. In low numbers, to be sure, but it’s a cool aspect of being able to see how many have been queued, and that # queued info is a relatively more recent feature addition. Eventually the people who have projects in common with you, may include factoring this in, too. (look under the friends are in your notebook, at the bottom it shows the people who have also made things you have! Which, for someone who likes to discover hidden gems of patterns, may show other like-minded people, or people who just plain have similar taste in patterns as you (not a herd mentality thing, with so many people in there, there are going to be some commonalities; it’s fun to see when someone has simlar taste, and browse their queue/projects for other ideas!!!) I wish, though, that projects in common could be seen for those already added as friends. Because this can change over time!

Also, I love looking up “strawberry” patterns (heck, I’ve made a list of strawberry knit/crochet patterns not yet in Ravelry, in The Sixth Food Group’s forum on there, and I’ll be making a list of other crafts/crafting strawberry patterns (as I made that group on Ravelry, and set in the scope of the group that it’s for any non-edible crafted representations or whatnot of food (ie, knit donuts, crocheted strawberry hat, cute watermelon baby tee, etc.), and not just knit/crochet)).

If a major pub issues a strawberry pattern, or a dolphin one (my fave themes!), I’ll have an easy way to find out, without having to check all their sites, necessarily.

OH!!! And I just realized, with you especially having some vintage pattern books, publications, etc., when you’ve made something, it would help me and other people liking to find, revive, update, make as is, or however, old patterns etc. I love feeling a connection with previous generations of crafters/artists/creators.

I’m kinda discovering as I type this out, that I think I see Ravelry as a network, not “just” a crafting social site (not maligning the social site-ness aspect, as I appreciate that MUCHLY, in many ways I might have to post about!), for interpreting the combination of data, especially so wonderfully combined with visuals, in ways that are personally useful to an individual.

If I’m in the mood to tackle cables in a seacell/tencel/silk blend (not sure if such a thing exists, but just a fer instance) in shrug form only, I can find this out. If I want to tackle cables and lace together in a scarf, a marvy combo I thought of the other week, and searched, and queued some purty finds, there I go.

Also, I’ve seen some yarns that I prefer the cables in than others (the others are lovely, but I have my own tastes!), and have queued one or two yarns that I think are stellar for the type of technique or stitch pattern that I’d like to use them for, even if how I saw them used wasn’t that technique or pattern, I can see the possibilities for how I want to use it, from other ways others use it (as well as from others using it the way I want to, as well!).

Discovered some yarns that are breathtaking in entrelac, this way, too . . . .

I’m going on, AGAIN!!! Sorry, not trying to (secularly) evangelize or proselytize on Ravelry; just kinda thinking and developing what I think as I type, and AGREEING with you on the sketched in usefulness of the library features, that will be receiving some deep attention from Casey in the future.

Thanks for taking my suggestion of saying some ideas you’d like (which you would have done anyway, I’m sure, but I appreciate it nonetheless!)

I hope you had a most excellent birthday, and I’m gonna have something for you b^D.

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