Guest Author - Marjorie Colletta
If you are a knitter, crocheter, spinner and possibly weaver (have I missed someone) you should check out Ravelry. It is a free website for fiber enthusiaists and a great resource. It helps you keep track of projects, your stash, your needles, future projects and in addition, it has lively discussions.
To join, you submit your name and email. They do not sell your name or email address, and I have not had any trouble with spam from them at all.
While surfing the site you will find groups to join and discuss whatever you want to discuss. There are groups who watch science fiction and knit. There are groups that watch sports, bike, read and knit...you get the picture. These groups can be really active with a lot of discussion, for instance, the group New Pathway Series by Cat Bordhi, discusses making socks the Cat Bordhi way. You can turn to other members of the group for specific help or you can give help if you have finally figured it out.
There is also a feature that lets you search for patterns on the site. To access patterns go to the pattern tab, type Sock in the search box, over 500 pages of sock patterns come up. Some are from books, some are for sale and quite a few are free. You can limit your results by fiber, by gauge, by difficulty level, by size, and many other ways. If you have a specific sock in mind and are not sure what to use to knit it up you can search that too. You type in the pattern name, for example, Estonian Socks, and you want the ones featured in Nancy Bush’s , Folk Socks book, when the results are returned you select the Nancy Bush Estonian Socks and you will see what other people used on those socks. People also comment on the problems or lack of problems they had when using a pattern.
If you have a yarn in your stash and you are not sure how to use it you can go to the yarn tab, type in the yarn by manufacturer or name into the search box and the results will come back with the amount in a skein, what the yarn contains; I know all of this is on the wrapper, but what about those of us who have lost the wrapper. Ravelry will also show what other people have made with this yarn. Okay, how cool is that? If you type in Cascade 220 eight results are returned, representing over 29,000 projects. So you can see what it will look like knit up as socks, blankets, sweaters, etc. and you can gain inspiration.
Finally, you can create a wish list of projects, patterns, yarns that you would like to have, knit up, or just dream about. I have barely touched the surface of what is available on Ravelry, so sign up and surf around. My feeling is knitting is part hope, part doing, and part inspiration. Ravelry helps with all of that...by the way my Ravelry name is Margeknits.