I know I've mentioned Ravelry a few times before, but I wanted to write a post about why I think Ravelry is so stinking awesome and how I wish everyone knew it. Sorry if this starts to read like an ode to the best social network ever, but I'm in love. It makes you crazy.
Chances are that someone's described Ravelry to you as "like Facebook, but for knitters and crocheters" but that's fairly inaccurate. Thank goodness. Yes, you can't view anything unless you have an account, but there's no newsfeed, which means you won't go from interested to resentful when you start to see your friends (yes, you can have friends!) finishing projects so much faster than you.
Also, no games.
A lot of people use Ravelry solely to keep track of their yarn stash, or their pattern library. Other people live for the forums and probably spend more time on there than they do actually making things with yarn. And then pretty much everyone gets on there for the patterns.
The search filters you can use to look up a specific project for your specific yarn, needle, yardage, mood, etc., are pretty great, but my very favorite part is that you can see what other people have done with the pattern themselves. This is the part where my favorite parts of the crafting community--a willingness to share creativity and wisdom with others--and my favorite parts of the online community--a willingness to share creativity and wisdom with others, but with pictures and links--come together.
I love knowing what other people are working on. I love seeing how people can take a pattern and turn it into something a little more personal to suit their intended recipient or their resources. I also love pictures.
To illustrate my point, I thought I'd search through the projects of people who made the Crocheted Rainbow Set.
This pattern is really popular among sales on the Leisure Arts website right now, and people seem very excited to be able to find it again. I talked to Ravelers who had borrowed the pattern from friends, seen it at garage sales, or searched around eBay to find it because it's such a classic pattern. One woman even said that her mother gave her the afghan she'd crocheted for her as a baby, so that she could make an afghan for her own baby based on this pattern! Circle of life!
When I saw the pattern for sale on the website, I thought it was very pretty. Pastels are lovely for babies, and it's such a pretty blanket. But I also wondered if people had made changes with the colors or the yarn selections, so I looked through the project pages.
There were people who had stuck with the pastel theme--it's a classic for a reason. There were people who had used brighter yarn, and so their blankets were more Rainbow Brite than rainbow, which thrilled me to no end.
And then there were people who had just gone crazy with it. I was floored. I got so excited when I was looking through all these pictures! I was sending emails to crocheters filled with exclamation points and gushing compliments and looking like a complete goober. I regret nothing. I've really been looking forward to writing this post, because researching it was so. much. fun.
Look at all this goodness!
This project is called Black and Blue by mva5493. She mentioned that she uses Ravelry for a lot of the same reasons I do--to see what other people have tried with patterns and yarns. If you get the chance, definitely click through to see the rest of her pictures of this project. This color scheme is blowing me away.
This is crazycrochet's Rainbow Blanket. I really like how the two different shades of brown look against the blue. And I love that she took the current baby trend of brown and blue yarns and used them with a vintage pattern. Some little boy is very lucky to have this afghan.
And these flecks are awesome.
Cassie1979's Crocheted Rainbow Blanket makes me really happy because, well, it is still a rainbow blanket! It's also much larger than the standard Rainbow Afghan pattern because she used two strands of yarn and a Size N hook to make this. It's stunning.
Actually, these are all stunning. These are maybe one-tenth of the projects I looked at for this pattern, and I love them all. These crafters should be really proud of their beautiful creations, and I'm incredibly grateful to them for letting me use their pictures in this post because I really thought everyone should see these. I hope you're as impressed as I am!
Update: I accidentally left someone out! I have 8 afghans!
Her message was a little hidden in my inbox because of similar project names, and I remember being disappointed that I couldn't show you this version because I thought it was so perfect for fall! And I love the little addition to the edging. Gorgeous. Just gorgeous.