An Introduction to Ravelry
Ravelry.com has been a revolution in the fiber crafting world since its launch in 2007. There are SO MANY ways it can be helpful to you! This is the tip of the iceberg for very beginners. Think of it as a social network for knitters and crocheters, an organizing tool, and the ultimate pattern database.
1) Go to Ravelry.com. You will have to make an account before you can explore. It’s simple and free! Just click the “Join Now!” button. Follow the instructions for logging in.
2) After logging in, you’ll find yourself on the home page. You will see the featured blog post of the day in the middle of the page. These usually describe popular patterns, happenings in the yarn world, or tips for using Ravelry. You will see navigational tabs at the top of the page. This is how you get around the site.
3) Click on the “Yarns” tab. Here, you can type in the name of a yarn that you have in your stash (perhaps one that you don’t know what to do with, or one you want to know more about).
4) Once you’ve selected a particular yarn, you’ll see a second set of navigational tabs across the top.
- Want to look for patterns designed for this yarn? Click on “pattern ideas”
- Want to read reviews about this yarn? Click on “comments”.
- Want to know where to buy this yarn online? Click on “buying options”.
- Want to see photos of what other people have made with this yarn? Click on “projects”.
5) Next, try clicking on the “Patterns” tab. The #1 thing that Ravelry.com can do for you is broaden your search for the perfect pattern to include countless thousands of patterns published by independent designers as well as large publishers and yarn companies. Basically every pattern that has ever been written is catalogued on Ravelry, whether or not you can purchase it on Ravelry.
6) In the top left corner, you will see a search bar. Below it, you will see the word “Personalize”. This is where you can select whether you want to see knit patterns, crochet patterns, or both. Click whichever one you want. If you want to see what the hottest patterns of the moment are, there’s a Top 20 list right below the search bar as well – it’s updated several times per day!
7) Then, use the search bar to search for something. Maybe try searching for “shawl”. You will find hundreds of pages of shawl patterns to browse through.
8) You might want to limit your search at this point. Click on any of the attributes in the column on the left side of the page. You can select as many search-limiting criteria as you want to. For example, you can search only for patterns which are designed for women, using sport-weight yarn, using alpaca fiber, with colorwork techniques, and only up to 600 yards of yarn. If you find you limited the search too much, just click the check boxes again to un-select them. If you are looking for patterns which you can actually purchase or download immediately from Ravelry, then start by selecting “Free” and “Ravelry download”. This eliminates patterns that are catalogued from other sources like books and magazines.
9) Click on any pattern with an appealing photo. You’ll see more details posted by the designer about this particular pattern, yarn, gauge, size, cost, et cetera.
10) At the top of the page, you’ll see another navigation bar. Click on “Projects” to see photos that other Ravelry users have posted of their project using this pattern. This feature is amazing for giving you an idea of what the finished product will look like!
11) On the individual pattern page, there will typically be a box on the right side of the page. If you want to buy this pattern, go ahead and click on “Buy on Ravelry”. You will be given a link to download a PDF file containing the pattern, which you can view digitally or print!
I’ve barely scratched the surface of what you can do with Ravelry.com, but that should be enough to get you started and convince you that it’s a priceless tool for knitters and crocheters! You can also use Ravelry to participate on message boards, join clubs, make friends, send comments or questions to any user or any designer, archive your personal yarn stash, and share photographs of your finished projects.
P.S. If you don’t use Ravelry at home, we’re always delighted to help you find patterns or information using Ravelry here at the shop. We will also buy and print Ravelry patterns for you, any time!