Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Okay, I'm back.


As I'm already in, I can't use the waiting list checker anymore to see how quickly they're inviting people, so I don't know if I'm rubbing salt into the wounds of any readers who are still waiting for their invite with little hope of getting in anytime soon...but...WOW. It is awesome, awesome awesome in there. Firstly, for a site that has a ridiculous amount of stuff in it, the navigation is really simple:

You can go in and work on/look at your own stuff - 'notebook', where you can keep track of your projects, your stash, your wishlist (designs and yarns), your bookmarks (projects, stash, designers, yarn brands, news/updates), your friends (you can see who they are, what they're doing and what they've posted on their blogs lately), your groups, your needles & hooks, your books (what you own, what you've used, and what you'll need to make the stuff on your wishlist), your messages, your blog posts (which you can link to specific projects), your contributions to Ravelry (if you've volunteered to be an editor of patterns and/or yarns), and your within-Ravelry transactions (right now only donations show up, but ultimately it looks like there will be a within-Ravelry pattern sales feature).

Then there are the sections where you can see what everyone has contributed: patterns, yarns, people, forums, groups and help. Patterns and yarns have browsers that are AMAZING. For instance, with the pattern browser, you can choose what weights of yarn you want, the categories you're looking for, the ratings of the patterns, and other filters, like only seeing free patterns. These choices are all available clearly and easily down the left side of the screen, and as soon as you click on or off something - SHAZAM! - the list of patterns updates to reflect your selections. It's stunningly usable.

Everything is user-driven, so if, for example, the pattern you want to use for a project you're adding isn't in the database, you can add it. The volunteer editors go through everything and clean it up later. If you're a designer, you can email Jess to get your account linked to your designer page, and then you have access to edit the information Ravelry has about you as a designer.

:::pause to take deep, calming breaths after all that:::

Anyway, it's totally righteous and it's everything I've ever wanted in an online knitting site. Seriously. And with the addition of more and more people and their own projects/patterns/yarn/etc., it just gets better and better.

Initially, though, it's a big slog. I've input 113 of my projects, added 11 books to my library, added 84 items to my stash, added a whole whack of needles to my inventory, and I'm not even remotely done. However, the adding is pretty damn fun for an anal kind of person like myself. :)

Okay, enough of the gushing...back to the knitting...

So the person who was interested in the learn-to-knit class showed up at the shop last Wednesday hoping for something totally impromptu, and, fortuitously, there I was! So we had a little shopping expedition for yarn, I sat down with her, taught her how to knit, made a little pocket money, and everyone went away happy. (She's really good. Her tension is even and her speed is ridiculously fast for someone who just started. I was highly impressed.) It was fun! Next on my list: send the lace class outline to June.

As for the projects...well, let us say that the startitis continues its stranglehold on me...

Branching Out for DD1's teacher
It's almost October, and Christmas is coming. (I know, those of you in denial don't want to hear me say it, but unfortunately, it's true.) I've started to make The List of all the people whom we gift, and all the gifts we want to give (there are a lot of blanks - making The List is the first step towards getting gift idea inspiration because we can see what we need to come up with). New on the list this year is DD1's kindergarten teacher. She is a very lovely woman in her 30s or 40s who pretty much looks exactly like a slightly rounder Meredith Baxter Birney. She would look stunning in blue-toned pastels, and I want to make her Branching Out in Zephyr Laceweight Wool-Silk. I'll give DD1 a choice of about three or four choice colours (violet, ice blue and teal are currently jumping out at me) and away we'll go. Can DD1 keep the secret between now and Christmas? Hopefully, yes. She's been doing well on other Christmas knitting secrets so far, so I think we'll be okay.

Herdis for niece
One of the things we always have to put together at the same time as the Christmas gifts is my niece's birthday gift. Her birthday is right at the beginning of January and she lives in Nova Scotia, which means the easiest thing is to pack the birthday gift in with the Christmas gifts and mail them over all at the same time. This means that the birthday gift needs to be ready for mid-December, so if I'm going to knit her something, I should start now.

And I have indeed decided to knit her something this year. (It's all DH's fault. If he weren't so keen on my finishing up my Ljod project, I wouldn't have been flipping through my copy of The Viking Knits Collection, and I wouldn't have seen the Herdis pattern, and I wouldn't have been inspired to make it.) I'm using a sportweight, kinky softball cotton that I got a cone of from Knit Knack on eBay a few years back. I think it's coming along nicely:

Market bags for my household
For a while I've wanted to make mesh market bags so that we could 'go green' with our groceries and stop bringing home plastic bags. Ravelry's pattern browser allowed me to narrow it down and decide upon Jodie Danenberg's Saturday Market Bag pattern from MagKnits. I'm using some worsted weight cotton I bought from Zellers who-knows-how-many years ago that was originally going to be turned into diaper covers (I gave up on that). Right now, bag #1 looks like this:

Like, totally top
I tried starting this top with the Nobile yarn, and did some calculations once I came to the end of the ball. I figured out that the XS size would take probably about 10 balls, which works out to $129.50 before tax and I really can't justify that. I know people are free to make yarn substitutions, but I still think I should make it vaguely reasonable to use the original yarn (for myself, too!), so I'm going to look for something else at the store today.

Fair isle tank top for DD2
Old Navy is currently advertising a "Fair Isle Sweater Collection", and while some of the stuff really isn't fair isle, one of the tops got my inspiration in gear for a baby tank top. I'm going to hunt for the yarn at the shop this afternoon - I'm thinking a cotton/acrylic blend would work really well.


Elaine said...

WOW you have been really busy on ravelry!
i know it's such a great place isn't it?! it's just wonderful. good to see you there and here!
:o)ek (aka kelpkim).

Carrie K said...

Time drain, but so much fun to browse around.

Wow, that's going to be a nice surprise for DD1's teacher. The Herdis looks good too. Must. Knit. More....

Brigitte said...

Oh wow, another Starmore junkie! So glad I found you on Ravelry, I'm getting quite a bit of inspiration from your projects.