My Top 5 Reasons To Use Ravelry

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The other day I was dicussing Ravelry with a new knitter. She wasn’t sure about it and couldn’t figure things out so we went to my Ravelry page and I showed her what I use Ravelry for. This isn’t the first time I’ve gotten this question and I figure there might be others who are also pondering over the same subject. To help out I therefore give you:

My Top 5 Reasons To Use Ravelry
or rather, the main reasons why I use Ravelry. If you have other suggestions, please leave a comment, and if you don’t like my reasons, it’s of course totally up to you what you want, or don’t want, to use Ravelry for.

1. To search for patterns. Through Ravelry I have found amazing patterns that I wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. I knit my first English pattern in 2009, I joined Ravelry in 2010 and since then I almost exclusively knit patterns in English that I find on Ravelry. That’s not because I think other patterns are bad or something, it’s just that I’m lazy and Ravelry has such a variety of patterns that I usually don’t find the need to search elsewhere.  The advantages of Ravelry as you pattern source is actually worth a list of it’s own but it short, you can modify your search and add whatever parameter you like, whether it’s what garment you want, what age it’s for, what yarn weight or needle size you want, if you want lace or cables or how much yarn you have available for the project. You can see what other knitters thought about the pattern and how their’s turned out and what yarn has been used for this pattern and how that worked out.

2. To keep track of my projects. I love statistics almost to a fault. I like to know exactly how many times I’ve run 5 k in a month or a year, how fast I went each time, how my progress is and which date, what time during the day and if that affected my time. It’s the same with knitting. I want to know exactly how many shawls I’ve knit in a year, what needles I used and what yarn, which patterns and so on. Since I give away a lot of what I make, and I make about 50 projects each year, it would be impossible to keep it all in my head. I can’t even remember half of the projects I made before joining Ravelry. Thanks to my project pages and the notes I put there, I can go back to a UFO and see what I was doing, what size and what mods I’ve done and if there is something else I should think about. I can find leftover yarn in my stash without ball bands and I remember which project I used it for and I can go back to Ravelry and find more information about it. I can look up what color the cardigan was that I made for my niece two Christmases ago and what pattern I used so I don’t make the same one again and I can make sure I don’t give my father-in-law hats two years in row.

3. To find yarn for a project. This question is split in two but it all begins with the yarn. I might want to know what yarn from a certain company has the right weight for a pattern I’ve found or I might have a yarn I like and I want to know what patterns works for that yarn. Ravelry to the rescue.

4. To can keep track of all my pattern books and to store patterns. I can also easily search through all my pattern books instead of looking through them one by one. I can favorite patterns I just happen upon and like but don’t have time to knit right then and there and then I can find them later. Also, when I look at what pattern would work with a certain yarn, Ravelry knows what among my favorites would work and suggests those first. Also, if a pattern that I’ve bought through Ravelry is updated, I get a new version straight into my Ravelry library. I can also find information on erata.

5. To get support with tricky patterns and to talk to other people who are obsessed like the same thing as I do. When I made the Princess Shawl I got some great help to find good needles for example, and I’ve since helped others who have questions about that particular shawl. I learned French knitting terms, I found my Yarn Club through Ravelry and much, much more.

That’s in short why I love Ravelry and why I use it so much. It really helps me with every aspect of my knitting and allows me to be part of something bigger, to bond with knitters on the other side of the globe and to find yarn and yarn stores and patterns and designers that I would never have so much as Heard of without Ravelry. I think that’s pretty cool, actually.

Whoever said beige couldn’t be pretty… need to think again

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One of the best shawls this year (and there have, as always, been a few) is this one. I haven’t made a single decision on my own when it comes to this one, besides actually buying the kit, and as you can see, that was a good decision.

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Beige is a difficult color but somehow, with this yarn, it’s the perfect shade. It’s neutral but still something you notice. It has character and is warm and very, very lovely.

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It all started last spring when one of the yarn companies that I frequent, had a limited edition kit for this shawl. I had seen the pattern before but they way it was presented wasn’t really to my liking. This kit though changed everything. I had worked with the main yarn color in Agnieszka’s Vacillate and really liked it and now here was a kit almost entirely in this color. I had to have it. It was called Sentimental and everything about it was so cute and thought through.

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There you go, that’s the only decision I made. I bought the kit. No color or yarn decisions or contemplating patterns. Nope, I bought the kit and then I knit it. And I’m really glad I did. The bottom lace took forever but the finished shawl looks so pretty. Works perfect to this fall’s love for navy blue and raspberry red.

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Pattern: Moonlit Summer by Cindy Garland (although I keep calling it Moonlit Coast even though that’s something else entirely. I guess it’s the colors that prevent me from thinking of summer and also that I’m in this navy style period right now. Or just bad memory on my part). Yarn: Super Sport from Stunning String Studio, color Fields of Grain, Red Fez and Filigree. No mods.

It better work out

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Things are looking up. Or rather, sock is looking up. Thanks to a few meetings and seminars my knitting has gone very well and I have a new sock that fits (it’s actually well on the almost-too-comfy-side), that looks good and that was quite complicated to make. Now all I hope is that I have enough yarn for a second sock. I can’t get another sock failure, that would be to harsh. I’m not sure I will recover if I have to rip out this sock as well. I really should go weigh the yarn right now…

Swatch is of the essence

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I’ve spent the evening making a huge swatch. In the play my theatre group are rehearsing I’m playing a young, sightly nerdy man who is in search of a wife and has a small hang-up on his dead mother. There is something sweet over him and it’s obvious that he needs a vest and not just any vest, a handknit vest. Lucky for him I’m a knitter and so I’m making him one. I only have a few weeks to finish it so time is of the essence. As soon as the swatch dries I will cast on. Let’s hope this is a quick knit.

That went by quickly

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I have waved my magic knitting needles and look what happened! The body of a little baby sweater fell off the needles. Just some sleeves, three buttons and voilà, a finished sweater. Before I knit my first one I read that it was a quick knit but the first one went quite slow. This second one though, that one actually did go fast. There are sleeves left so I shouldn’t get ahead of myself. But still! Also, it looks so cute!

All is well that ends well

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Of course I wasted last night. Instead of knitting a single stitch I browsed through 74 pages (I’m not kidding) of sock patterns without finding anything to my taste and I went to bed in a bad mood. This morning I woke up and decided to just pick a pattern from the ones I had favorited and rejected the night before. I did so and I’m fairly happy with my choice. I worry I don’t have enough yarn but let’s see to that later.

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For the baby sweater I looked at the yarn I had picked out before and… I got ungenerous. I was going to use the same pattern as with the green sweater, for a baby the same age, and as it turned out I only needed one ball of yarn instead of two, as I had planned for. Since I have two skeins of the yarn I initially intended for the new baby sweater a part of me thought it unwise to waste split the pair on a baby sweater that would only use up less than one skein. Another part of me looked at the color again, in daylight, realized it was rather pretty and remembered that the yarn was actually quite expensive and I selfishly decided not to give it up. It’s intended for me and no one else. Instead I found two balls of a much cheaper yarn and used those instead. I doubt the baby will care but yes, I feel ungenerous with my yarn. It’s my yarn though, it’s understandable (and I try to tell myself that I had gone with the original plan, no matter how pretty the color was, had I had only one skein instead of two. Yep, that’s what I had done. Unfortunately I had two skeins and you really shouldn’t split a pair, they are quite fond of each other from what I hear). I might have to make it up to the baby by knitting two sweaters instead of just the one though.

It’s also obvious my stash could benefit from more… bulk yarn instead of only the rare and pretty luxury ones that now inhabits it. I should really do something about that.

An evening to waste?

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I’ve got the weirdest kind of knitting stress. I have a nice long evening of knitting, the first in a long while (yesteday I didn’t knit a single stitch, can you imagine!?) and I am like the donkey between two stacks of hay, I can’t decide what to knit. I’ve had the highest of hopes for this evening and now, I don’t know. I have finished my at-home-knitting and my on-the-go-knitting, both of which were almost done. I should start another baby sweater but I think it’s too late to wind yarn (or is it?). I could weave in ends or try to block something but the printer is still in the way and really, weaving in ends? Right now? When I haven’t had a decent knitting evening in forever? I could just continue with my other work in progress, but there is no hurry in that one, and I could tend to the unruly sock but that one is in no hurry either. I can’t shake the feeling that there is something urgent I should cast on but I think that is due to my resolution to have all Christmas gifts done early so that I can spend the last week before Christmas sipping whiskey, knitting for myself, and I don’t want to “waste” a knitting evening knitting the “wrong” thing. There is a vest I need to make but I haven’t bought the yarn for that one yet and I guess I should either wind yarn, do something about the sock or just knit on that work in progress.

Either way, I should really make a decision right now before it’s too late to knit at all because that would really be a waste of a perfectly good knitting evening.

Navy blue, white and raspberry red

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Every fall I get a little obsessed with a color. It doesn’t have to be a huge obession, although sometimes it is, and sometimes it comes to me quickly and other times it takes a while before the color shows itself. Over the years we’ve seen deep purple (2009), a warm orange (2010, I know, even I was surprised on that one), lion yellow (2011), bright red (2012), orange again but this time paired with lime green (2013), hot pink (2014) and purple again (2015).

This year it’s not so much a color as a color combination and a style. Navy. For some reason this fall navy blue is all I care about, combined with white stripes or polka dots and raspberry red. I’m weraing stripes and right now I think the navy style might be the most sophisticated ever. Paired with my new raspberry red glasses I feel very chic. (I had a lovely pair of raspberry red glasses before, I loved them deeply but they broke in 2010 and I had to get a new pair very quickly. It was actually quite traumatizing. The new ones were green and okay but that’s all it was, they were okay, and I truly missed my red ones. Of course the green ones never broke and this summer, six years after I bought them, I finally had enough, I was going back to my true self, back to raspberry red and once I did, it was like coming home. If I ever mention that I should get something else than raspberry red when it comes to glasses, please stop me.)

The irony in that I spent most of the 1990’s taunting my mum for her navy blue preferances is not lost on me (to my defence, she did not combine it with white, stripes, polka dots, and raspberry red. Also, I was 15 when the 1990’s ended and for most of that decade, my opinions were based on how much pink was in it. They still are, come to think of it (ey, raspberry red!)).

Since navy blue is a fairly new color to me, I don’t have many knit gaments to match. I’ve simply almost never knit in navy blue. We have the Beatrice shawl and the Color Affection (which works well with the theme but could do with a serious re-block). I do knit in blue but I rarely keep it for myself. Therefore I have started planning blue socks, shawls and wristwarmers. I need to look through the stash as well. Winter is coming and I want to be prepared.

Bigger than expected

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Photos by Agnieszka.

Earlier this year I got a message about a yarn sale where I found out this yarn, that I had been ogling for a few years, had a discount. I ran to my LYS and got what I needed and a few weeks later I sat down to knit this sweater that was the reason for the yarn crush. It looked like the perfect summer sweater, slightly oversize, comfortable and not super warm. I looked at the pattern, thought the writings for the sizes were a bit weird, it said “upper width” instead of chest size but I took that to mean that since the sweater was oversize it meant the widht around the shoulders was more important than the chest size, and cast on. I knit and knit and knit and worried about measurements since it had a lot of stretch and it was difficult to say when both front and back were the same size. Eventually the sweater was done. Sewing it together was pain but I managed in the end.

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Just about the time I had finished the sewing, I cast on a tank top from the same designer. The tank top pattern also said “upper width”. Now, a tank top, being a tank top and all, doesn’t have sleeves, hence it was ridiculous to measure the width around the shoulders to find out the size I needed. Slowly the realization dawned on me, “upper width” simply meant chest size and that my sweater, fresh off the needles with every little seam painfully done, was 8 inches too big. That was a sad, sad day.

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Since this sweater is suppsed to be oversize it’s still okay but the yarn is also very heavy and so every time I wear it, it gets bigger and bigger. I doubt I will ever frog it, it wasn’t that fun to knit after all, and I’ll probably wear it but not as much as I had hoped. This experience has taught me… well, to not trust patterns and that if something looks weird it probably is. I’m not sure what I could have done though, besides googling or asking someone, but it wasn’t easy for me to figure it out by myself. I don’t think “upper width” is the best way of describing what is really the chest size, since chest size is neither the upper most nor the widest part of the garment.  Yes, I’m still bummed and I’m going to stay bummed about this a little longer. We’ll see if I re-knit it one day, but not yet, the wound is still fresh.

Pattern: Mi from Yllotyll. Yarn: Colinette Giotto, discontinued, color Peaches and Cream.

Just a few rows here and there

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It seems I haven’t had a proper knit night in forever. Just me and my couch and a good movie without any disturbances. I usually have a lot to do and now is no different but this time I have added quite a few things that absolutely cannot be combined with knitting. Instead it includes typing and driving and you really shouldn’t knit while you’re driving. This all means that the only knitting I’ve got done in the past days is a few rows on a sock. This has never happened to me before, not being able to find knitting time, and I’m not sure what to do. Since the printer is still in place I can’t even block the things that are finished and there is simply no progress anywhere (especially since I had to frog that pink sock). There has to be a change soon because, well, because I need my knitting to keep me sane. And what about the Christmas knitting if I can’t knit?

Right, I still have a few minutes to knit tonight and I’m going to make the best of it. Knit on!