In which I join Ravelry

Wrap-stitch scarf

Ravelry is a new social networking site for knitters, currently in beta. Most of my readers are probably going “huh?” at this point, and the rest, I hope, are going “ooh!” See, up front it sounds like a kind of dumb idea to have a squillion social networks for all your different interests, and why wouldn’t you just (for instance) join a knitting group on Facebook or Livejournal? Well, here’s why:

Ravelry lets you:

* list your projects, both in progress and completed
* integrate with Flickr to show pictures of your work
* record patterns and yarns used
* search other people’s projects
* plus, of course, the (by now) expected groups, forums, geographical user search, and so forth

What does this get you? Well, it means you can say “Hey, I have this pile of 12 ply alpaca in my stash, wonder what I can do with it?” and see suggestions for projects, read people’s tips for working with that yarn, or offer to swap it for some lace-weight silk/bamboo if you decide you really don’t want to use the alpaca after all.

Ravelry screenshot
Here’s a screenshot from the “Patterns” page. Click the thumbnail to enlarge. The pic above is one of the ones I uploaded to Flickr to illustrate my own projects.

Ravelry is slick as all get-out, with fantastic UI, cross-site integration (including the afore-mentioned Flickr), and a pretty solid userbase at this early stage. I’m deeply impressed and will look forward to using it plenty in future.

In short: knitters, sign up for a beta account; non-knitters, take note, because this is how it should be done.