Knitters are lined up by the thousands waiting for an invitation to the hottest knitting party in cyberspace. I had to check out what the excitement over Ravelry was all about. It is the first time I’ve ever been on a waiting list to just sign up for a website. Knitters are a unique breed of DIYers, and the fuss about Ravelry has resonated throughout the knitting world.
The folks over at Ravelry, explain, “Ravelry is a place for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, and dyers to keep track of their yarn, tools, and pattern information, and look to others for ideas and inspiration. The content here is all user-driven; we as a community make the site what it is.”
OK, my interest is piqued. But, what’s up with the waiting list? Are these guys the most popular knitters on the planet? Apparently, they are inviting people in bits and pieces–not because they want it to be exclusive, but because they are a beta site and it’s still being built so they are ironing out the kinks.
Ravelry has caught on like hotcakes thanks to the unique entrepreneurial escapades of husband and wife team, Casey and Jessica Forbes. Founded in May 2007, their idea was to create a web presence for all fiber artists. As of June 2008, over 135,00 members had registered. Right now there are 324,283 members and thousands on the waiting list. I’d venture to call that a web presence.
The format of Ravelry is user-friendly. Popular topics are arranged in a series of tabs, and subtopics can be accessed from there, either by drop-down menus or direct links. Knitters go to Ravelry to:
• Organize projects, stash, needles, and more.
• Show their work.
• Share ideas and techniques.
• Find new designs & yarns.
• Make friends.
• Try new things.
Ravelry is not a pattern source, although knitters share photos of projects knit from patterns, share free patterns, and names/sources of commercial patterns. I was at my local yarn shop recently and the owner mentioned that Ravelry has hundreds of patterns and sources for eco-friendly yarns. It does not sell yarn; it simply offers a catalogue of yarns available and links to retailers. This practice makes Ravelry unique in that no one website has ever attempted to combine worldwide for the benefit of fiber artists.
Now you know about Ravelry. Got a knitting question, need a skein from a discontinued yarn dyelot, want to connect with knitters in your area, feel like downloading some spectacular knitted show and tell, trade some yarn stash for handmade bamboo needles or just help a knitting newbie – hop over there and join the party, or at least sign up and wait your turn for all the knitting fun. OK, just can’t wait? Here’s a sneak peak. I can’t stop drooling over those pictures. I want in now!
Note: While you are checking out Ravelry, don’t forget Care2′s popular knitting groups here.