We had a sudden change of plan at the December meeting when our guest speaker was unexpectedly caught in a blizzard and unable to join us. With some quick shuffling of topics, and drawing on the knowledge of our lovely members, we pulled together a great meeting where I think we all learned a lot.
Catherine started things off with a piece of her upcoming January 2018 meeting talk about Ravelry. She's been working hard and practicing new Ravelry skills to share tips and tricks next month, so she was able to start a portion of that talk at this month's meeting. Catherine chose to only cover the basics of navigating your Notebook in Ravelry, pointing out features of the tabs at the side of the screen that we maybe haven't explored in detail before.
First of all, your Ravelry profile matters. Speaking from experience, I've clicked on many profiles on Ravelry to learn more about my fellow fibre fans and I've been disappointed with the lack of information. The point Catherine really hammered home is how much Ravelry is a community, and how it relies on the input of community members to make it the wonderful resource it is. Go ahead, fill out that profile! Share some fun details about yourself, log your projects, upload your photos, and be engaged with this community. You get what you give to Ravelry, meaning you can help make it a better source for knitters and crocheters and spinners by adding details of your projects, the yarns and the patterns you use.
One of the biggest discussion points of the night was regarding how everyone uses the Queue feature on Ravelry. Some members were mystified about it altogether, so we'll start with the basics. The Queue is your way of organizing the projects and patterns you want to make next. Think of it as a to-do list. Once you add a project to your queue, you can add as much or as little information as you like. Ravelry prompts you to add the yarn you plan to use (by linking it to the Ravelry database of yarn, so other users can see when someone uses the same yarn in their stash for a project), the order in which you want to knit your queued items, a deadline, and notes or tags. For those of us with an *ahem* ambitious queue, the tags especially can help you find something you queued long ago. You can add a project to your projects page directly from your queue when you're ready to starting knitting, with all of your notes and yarns details already entered.
Catherine will be giving us a detailed walk-through on advanced search features on Ravelry next month, but she stumbled on a topic that generated lots of questions - the Library feature. Any pattern you buy or download from Ravelry is saved to your library, but don't forget you can add your existing books and published patterns too. It's a step that can help you narrow your pattern search later when you realize the exact pattern you want to make is already sitting in your house in that Vogue Knitting magazine from 2008. We all keep our knitting magazine forever, right? Not just me?
And another often overlooked section of your Ravelry Notebook is the Stash, where you can organize your yarns and fibres. It's helpful as a way to see what you have on hand in one convenient place, but it can also assist other Ravelry users. Every buy a yarn online? Not sure of its true colour? Try searching for the yarn and seeing photos of it in someone's stash, in a variety of lighting conditions. Need an extra half a ball of some discontinued yarn? Maybe someone on Ravelry has half a ball sitting in their stash that they're willing to sell and send you. Problem solved!
Catherine's final advice for the night was to just go in and play around with Ravelry. Try out some of the features you've never used before. Contribute to the greater community of yarnies around you and you will surely benefit too.
After our break, Alexis made a special guest appearance to lead a sharing of ideas, resources, and your favourite sources for all things yarn. Here's a list of links, as promised:
The Knitter's Review by Clara Parkes - author of Knitlandia, the Knitter's Book of Yarn, the Knitter's Book of Wool, and many more wonderful resources
The Grocery Girls podcast -check out their YouTube Channel for recent videos
Off Your Needles - hosted by Craftsy, video episodes on YouTube
A Wooden Nest - it's a podcast and a blog
Espace Tricot - great free patterns, a podcast, a shop in Montreal, and an online store
Fruity Knitting - a podcast, with great guests
Kristy Glass Knits - YouTube channel
Kate Davies - designer with a blog and online shop
Very Pink Knits - knitting patterns and video tutorials
The Yarn Harlot - author and blogger
Tin Can Knits - great tutorials, simple and beautiful patterns
There. That should keep us all up to our ears in great knitting information until we meet again in January.