Margaux, or Raveler tentenknits, has been an active Ravelry user since May of 2007! Fellow Raveler danishlouise suggested we highlight her here, writing:

“Margaux gives people with rare diseases a voice with her #rarestitch. She has a son with a rare disease and came up with an idea highlighting a stitch in her knitting to symbolise a rare disease. You can listen to a podcast featuring Margaux here.”

We are so pleased to reach out to Margaux for this feature and share some of her beautiful Ravelry projects, her other crafty endeavors, and talk about the Rare Stitch project in anticipation of February 28, Rare Disease Day. We hope you enjoy learning more about Margaux!

Raveler tentenknits smiles wearing her Cinnamon Girl cargigan

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How/when/why did you start/learn to knit/crochet?

Growing up I was always making things. In those early years it was friendship bracelets or doing a lot of beadwork making earrings or necklaces. My mother and grandmother were expert seamstresses and passed down their creativity. It wasn’t until a class in college that I was finally exposed to knitting. A girl in my public speaking class was demonstrating how to knit. She showed off her hat and I instantly became obsessed!

I was of the Stitch N’ Bitch era and while that maybe wasn’t the exact book I learned to knit from it WAS the first book I owned and worked from. I loved how she explained how to knit, her tone was fun and playful. I could SO knit with Debbie Stoller. I made a tote bag and a few hats before moving on to a sweater and soon I discovered knit blogs!

I don’t know exactly how I came across the blogs but I felt the connection instantly and quickly went out to create a blog of my own. I loved the immediate connection the blogs allowed you AND I loved being able to share the things I made and to help others with making it. Sure enough when Ravelry came around I was quick to sign up!

I’ve gone on to design a few cowls like the 5th Avenue Infinity Scarf and Snow Cowl and sweaters including my favorite called the Gate Pullover in Knitscene.

handlettered script print reading Knitting is the Living of Life - Virginia Woolfwoman wearing an orange shirt and modeling bright teal pompom earrings handknit wall hanging on wooden dowl next to giant handlettered script art

What hobby (or hobbies?) outside of knitting/crochet do you enjoy?

I love to do calligraphy and paint with watercolor. It’s provided an extra creative outlet and one so different from knitting. Changing gears from knitting to painting or drawing helps keep the creativity flowing. I’ve done wedding calligraphy and custom quotes to house portraits. I’ll rarely say no to a new job. I love the challenge. I’ve also designed tote bags that I’ve spotted people using at Rhinebeck!

I also really enjoy making pompoms and tassels and making things with them especially Pom Pom earrings! They are playful and add that bit of charm that totally embodies my personality. I never take myself too seriously and Pom Pom earrings certainly help. You can find all my work at 1010studio.com.

What’s one way that crafting has changed your life for the better?

The connection to others. How could I have known that after learning how to knit it would be a bridge to so many people. I used my knitting to make friends in towns and cities where I knew literally no one. I’ll never forgot how impressed my brother was when I trudged off to a pub all alone to meet knitters when I went to visit him in London. I know it’s so cliche but I truly love this thread that connects us.

I love my local yarn shops and the people that have come into my life because of them. Knit nights are my favorite and I’ve often spent hours upon hours sitting and hanging at shops.

These are the same people that have been there for me when things have gone sideways.

I also love that knitting has become an important metaphor in my life.

My son was diagnosed with Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood, a 1 in a million diagnosis, when he turned one. AHC, for short, is a rare neurological disorder that causes muscle weakness and episodes of paralysis. Children with AHC suffer from developmental delays and are often also diagnosed with Autism or Epilepsy. There is no viable treatment for AHC and most persons afflicted are using experimental drugs to help curb their symptoms. Despite all that, James, who turns 6 next month, has continued to thrive and surprise us all with reaching and passing his milestones.

Last year I began a campaign to raise awareness through knitting starting “The Rare Stitch” project. I kept thinking of ways to explain the rarity of his type of disease and thought about all the stitches that have come through my hands.

Margaux in a cream Kirigami sweater holding up one asm to show a contrasting duplicate Rare Stitch Margaux wearing a bright bulky chartreuse Penelope cowl with a contrasting Rare Stitch

What if those stitches represented people, and what if ONE of those stitches was different in some way. I asked knitters to add a duplicate stitch of a contrast color to their knitting to represent the odds of rare disease. Soon, people began to share their stitches on social media and were able to share their or James’ story.

I read stories about knitters, their partners, their children who also suffer from a rare disease. I am so grateful to give them a platform in which to share that part of themselves.

Having a rare disease can be very isolating. There isn’t a big company with a sole mission to raise awareness and money for research, it’s just a few families working hard to keep the hope alive for a cure or treatment. We work hard to share stories and awareness in the hopes that those who will find us will be generous enough to donate to our cause.

Right now we are raising money for a new type of gene therapy treatment. It’s called the AAV Project and we are hoping to raise $500,000 just to bring it to the next phase. If you want to learn more about the project or donate please visit CureAHC.org. It’s so fitting to share my story in February as Feb. 28th is Rare Disease Day! It’s a perfect time to add that Rare Stitch and show your support to all those who are afflicted with a rare disease.

Are you a product or a process crafter?

I am very much a product knitter. My eyes are always on making something wearable and I feel a tremendous amount of joy/pride when I finish something. While I do appreciate the mindlessness of stockinette or the challenge of a new stitch pattern, it’s the end result that drives me.

Right now I’m loving the new sweater from Junko Okamoto called Bouquet. I cannot wait to cast on!

a crocheted granny square blanket in rich jewel tones

What sustains your enthusiasm for crafting?

Definitely seeing my friends being successful and showing off their knits. AND showing up to a shop or cafe and knitting with friends. I am someone who loves connecting with people and literally will do a dance of joy if I know a knit night or fiber weekend is on the calendar.

I am so lucky to know such amazingly talented knitters and designers and to call them my friends.

Thank you so much for having me share my story!

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Thank you so much, Margaux! We’ll be back in a few weeks with another Human of Ravelry! If you’d like to keep up with Margaux’s beautiful projects in the future, add her to your Ravelry friends and look for updates on the main friends tab. You can also find her on her website at 1010studio.com, Instagram @1010_studio, and Etsy at 1010studioshop. If you incorporate a Rare Stitch into your work, please be sure to tag your Ravelry project with #therarestitch so that these pieces can all be found in our project search!

If you have a Ravelry friend or someone you know is doing great things on our site, and you’d like to recommend we feature them here in the future, please share with us!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

February 13th, 2019

a grid of 12 yarny Ravelry valentine's day cards

We have a surprise for you!

One thing that we love about the community we have all built together on Ravelry is the friendships that have formed over the years. One way we have celebrated those friendships are the Valentines that we have had on the site on February 14th. I know that in some countries around the world, people do not send Valentines to anyone other than their love interest but we have embraced the Valentine as a simple way to tell someone that you admire or care about them.

These 12 Valentines are made by artists in our community and we couldn’t be more pleased with them. Maybe you will want to send some to spread love to people that you value and appreciate.

To send a Valentine, go to: http://www.ravelry.com/greetings

Valentines are by: CamilleRomano, ekatearcher, amyjpeg, raspberries, mollybrooks, mushroomfeatures, octagonfudge, Sarahsweird, cuttlefish, achelseamorning, taryngee, and oatmealxo. Thank you all so much!

Eye Candy: Year of the Pig

February 7th, 2019

Amigurumi pig holding a dragon

Prosperity Pig and Dragon Dance crocheted by sage-dragon

Happy belated Lunar New Year! In honor of Lunar New Year this week, I went looking for pig projects to celebrate the Year of the Pig. There are so many cute pig projects on Ravelry, here are a few that I loved!

Amigurumi pigs: from left to right, a small one with felt ears, a small one with a crown and a tall narrow one
From left to right: Yupoki’s crocheted Sir’s CNY Pig, stitchbyfay’s crocheted New Year Pig and AnnaEule’s crocheted Tall Pig with Owl Backpack.

Three pig stuffies, from left to right: one with crinkly ears, a pig with a bow and a pig in clothes
From left to right: gryphon98’s crocheted Piggie, nicolajl’s crocheted Chinese Year of the Pig and Kelsonknit’s knit Pale piggy.

I hope you enjoyed this little parade of pigs. It was really fun to see the creativity and artistry put into them. Wishing all of you a very good Year of the Pig!

Hey Ravelers! For my very first blog post, I want to reemphasize a section of the site that’s going to be super important to me: The List. As Ravelry’s new product/user experience designer, I’m going to be looking at The List all of the time so that I can understand what new features and updates you want me to design for the site.

Here’s a slightly updated version of Christina’s great post about The List from a couple of years ago.

 


Where can I find The List?

There are 2 ways to get to the list…

1. On the forums page, the For the Love of Ravelry forum has a special link to The List in the upper right hand corner.

 

2. We’ve also just added a link to The List in the footer. Scroll to very the bottom of any page on Ravelry, and you’ll see The List between Donating and Ravelry Merch.

 

How can I browse The List?

There are a number of browsing options available on the left side of the page. You can filter down by enhancements, bugs, tasks, or by the section of the site the idea is related to. There’s also a search at the top of the page if there’s a specific term you’d like to hone in on. Or you can look at the items sorted by most recent comment on the right side of the page.

 

I want to add something to The List, or voice my opinion about something that’s already there. What do I do?

There are several ways to contribute to The List:

1. Post about it in For the Love of Ravelry! Ravelry staff and volunteer bug trackers keep up with that forum and are able to add ideas to The List from there. If the idea is already on The List your post can be added, which is helpful for us to gather all the feedback about an idea into one Issue. You can see on the right of the screenshot below, which is from an Issue page within The List.

2. By clicking the “Yes! I’d like this too” button you add to the thumbs up votes. By clicking “Notify me if this is completed” you become a watcher of this item. That means you’ll receive a private message when we mark the item as completed.

3. There’s also a comment area so that you can add your request straight to the issue. They’re listed on the item in reverse chronological order, so we can quickly scan for the latest thoughts on the issue. Don’t be shy about leaving detailed comments – it’s valuable to us to learn exactly what you want and what you don’t!

 

Gosh, a lot of these ideas are really old. Does that mean you’re never going to get to them?

Definitely not! Lots of great ideas were suggested in the early days of Ravelry and just because we haven’t gotten to them yet doesn’t mean we never will (note from Livia: I’m already working on some!). On the other hand, an item being on The List doesn’t mean it will definitely happen.

We love having feedback from Ravelers on the changes you’d like to see (or not see!) and it is a key part of our discussions about how we spend our time. We feel lucky to have a community that cares so much about Ravelry and its future!

Eye Candy: Made with Handspun

January 28th, 2019

crocheted amigurumi racoon doll

eleanorandi’s Roddy Raccoon

I love looking at projects that Ravelers have made with handspun – there is such a depth and richness to the colors and textures of the yarn! For today’s Eye Candy I wanted to share some of my favorite recently completed handspun projects.

a striped knit shawl in shades of purple and magenta, a woman wearing a goldenrod sweater, and a handwoven scarf in red and aqua

I absolutely love the colors in stebo79’s double gradient, knurl’s The Weekender looks like the perfect cozy sweater, and debby’s sunset windowpane scarf has such a lovely, cheery color combo!

a woman stands outside on a snowy day, wearing a handspun, handknit shawl in shades of orange, a striped purple handwoven shawl, and a crocheted granny square blanket in a mix of handspun and commercially spun yarns

Dentaurus’ Sunwalker glows with warmth against the snow, welfordpurls’ handspun purple weave makes me want to wrap myself up in purples, and eddysknittery’s THE STASHBUSTER! mixes handspun and conventionally spun yarns beautifully.

We’re excited to begin a new series on the Ravelry blog: Humans of Ravelry! Each month, we’re going to share a bit about a Raveler who is doing great things – from making beautiful projects, helping in our forums, spreading yarny love through charitable crafting or teaching others in their local communities, or doing other wonderful things in the name of yarn.

Ravelry user dwj1978 models some of her beautiful handknit sweaters

Our first Human of Ravelry feature is Dana, or dwj1978! Dana has appeared on our blog before, having been featured twice in Eye Candy posts with her gorgeous sweaters. You may have also seen her article this week on the Mason Dixon Knitting blog, where she talks about how to translate colorwork sweaters to matching dog sweater patterns! (Yeah, she does that. Yes, it’s awesome.) Dana’s Ravelry project page is sure to make you smile and inspire you, and her blog, Yards of Happiness, was created to spread the joy that she gets from knitting to others.

Thanks to her beautiful projects, adorable dogs, and enthusiasm for sharing her love of yarn, we were excited to ask Dana if she’d be willing to be our first Human of Ravelry featured member, and were thrilled and grateful that she said yes! We asked her five quick questions about crafting and life; something we will do with all of our Humans of Ravelry features (thank you to everyone who submitted question ideas to us via Instagram!). We hope you have fun getting to know Dana!

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What’s your yarny origin story: how, when, and why did you learn how to knit?

I’ve always been crafty and curious about knitting but I never knew anyone who really knew how to knit or was a serious knitter. I told my Mom I thought I wanted to take knitting lessons and she told me, ‘You don’t need to learn another thing, don’t you have enough hobbies?’ so I kind of pushed the thought aside. 6 weeks later she sent me a picture of a hat and asked me if I could make it for her, but she had just told me I didn’t need another hobby! LOL I found a Groupon the next day for knitting lessons at a yarn shop and the rest was history, that was in the spring of 2011.

Could you share one way that crafting has changed your life for the better?

Knitting is a very calming and soothing way for me to relieve stress, so I always have a project with me. In 2016 my job was really intense and stressing me out, so I would knit whenever I had a break, before work in the car, on my lunch break, on the commute home. That was the year I knit 27 sweaters, it was what kept me sane and calm.

If you were a yarn, or a fiber, what would you be?

A superwash dk weight wool, specifically a very colorful skein of Miss Babs Yowza. It’s one of my favorites, it’s a workhorse for sweaters, it’s softy and yummy, the skeins are huge and the colors always make me happy.

Did you make any mistakes as a newbie that you laugh at now?

I’m a bit rigid at times and I was so intense when I was learning how to knit I felt like I was going to vomit. I asked my teacher if that was normal and she told me I had to just learn to let it go and the yarn become what it was going to become, mistakes and all.

Aside from knitting, what hobbies or pastimes do you enjoy?

I love road trips with my husband and the dogs. I’ve always been into photography, so I’m always taking pictures. And I’m pretty darn good cook if I do say so myself.

Ravelry member dwj1978 in a scarf, and with her adorable dog

Thank you so much, Dana, for jumping right in with us to start this series. We’ll be back next month with another Human of Ravelry! If you’d like to see more of Dana’s beautiful work in the future, add Dana to your friends and look for updates on the main friends tab.

As always, we love hearing about great things you all are doing on our site, so if you have a Ravelry friend you’d like to recommend we feature feel free to let us know!

Eye Candy: Neutrals

January 10th, 2019

Two grey mittens with a tiger design shown when they are put side by side

Many people think neutral colors are boring, but in looking at projects this week, I found several very interesting projects that were made primarily made with neutrals. I love how the light contrast of the grey and white above show off the tiger pattern in CristalLittleK’s Ussuri Tiger project. Here are a few more!

A black and white shawl on a woman in a black shirt on the left and some black and white mitts on the right

The fun thing about neutrals is that they can be used with a light contrast or a more dramatic contrast, as is the case with these two. On the left, nannyknitter62’s Emiliana uses black and white for a stunning finished object. On the right, the same level of contrast is used in a different pattern in skyfox66’s Underwing Mitts.

On the left, a light brown crochet hat with a maroon top, in the middle a light brown cabled hat with a large cream pom pom and on right a cream cabled hat in the snow
I also found several neutral hats that would easily fit into many wardrobes. From left to right: Tjones76’s Slouchy Beanie is mostly neutral, with a little color pop on top, ElafromGdansk’s Bray Cap is perfect for winter and Alisa75’s Frosty hat looks lovely in the snow.

Man in grey vest on the left and a little crocheted bunny on a shelf on the right
Finally, I just really loved these projects! First, joreielle7’s Sand Classic Camel Vest can be worn with so many things and I love this little bunny made by SandrillonKnits, the Lalylala 4 seasons EASTER project.

While I tend to gravitate toward bright colors, these neutrals are inspiring me to take a second look at some of the neutral yarn I have in my stash. I hope they inspire you, too!

knit colorwork hat with pom pom

taniaho’s midnattsol hat (test)

At the beginning of 2018 we added a fun new Ravelry feature: the Ravelry Project Challenge. Knowing that many users enjoy setting personal goals about projects they’d like to complete each year, we added a Challenge tab to Ravelry notebooks so that we could track these projects and our progress throughout the year. As of yesterday, over 8,000 Ravelers have completed their 2018 Project Challenges, and the total number of 2018 projects for those Ravelers is a whopping 236,000! For today’s Eye Candy post we are highlighting projects from just a few of the Ravelers who met their 2018 Project Challenge goals. At the end of the post, we have information on how to get set up for the 2019 Project Challenge, if you are interested!

grey striped handknit socks, a knit shawl in fall colors, and a woman wearing a grey and black colorwork sweater

mustaavillaa set a Challenge goal of 15 projects, and completed 18, including these Grey socks! Purlificknitter’s goal was 40 projects, this Mira, Mira On the Wall – Testshawl is one of the 44 projects completed! h-e-l-i finished 43 projects in 2018, blowing right past her goal of 26 projects. This lovely humulus was finished in October.

smiling woman wearing plum-colored crocheted cardigan, assortment of crocheted produce bags, and a woman in a light taupe handknit dress and bright pink tights stands in a doorway

WolfCrochet set a goal of 8 projects but ended up finishing 26, including this Mandarin Magic cardigan! crochet-hello’s initial goal was 5 completed projects but she ended up making 26 – some of them, like these DRAWSTRING PRODUCE BAGS were multiple items as one Ravelry project! georgievinsun’s Lotta is one of the 20 Ravelry projects (including several dresses) she finished, with a goal of 19.

a woven scarf in creamy neutrals, a woman wearing a handknit cowl in golden stripes, and a mitred square blanket draped on a couch with two cats resting on it.

chalklegs surpassed a goal of 19 projects, with 20 projects – knitting, crochet, and weaving – completed, including this September Weave. NeulistiMNK set a lofty goal of 50 projects for 2018, and ended up finishing 51! This Slanted Stripes cowl is a lovely sample of her work. TheBon made 31 projects in 2019, surpassing her goal of 25, and gaining the approval of her cats with the beautiful Dyed to Shift afghan.

Want to join the Ravelry Project Challenge in 2019?

To set up your Ravelry Project challenge, just go to your Ravelry Notebook and click on the “challenge” tab you’ll see at the top right. (If you are on a mobile device the tab may be hidden behind a button with a picture of 3 dots.) There, you’ll see the 2019 Project Challenge section where you can set a goal for the number of Ravelry projects you’d like to complete in 2019. This is a personal challenge, not a competition, so set a number that seems fun and motivating for you! You can change this number at any time, and there is no deadline to sign up.

After you’ve set your goal, the challenge tab is where you can track your progress, with a list of the projects you have completed in 2019 (once the year begins) and the items in your queue that you’ve given a 2019 deadline. Each time you mark one of your Ravelry projects as finished in 2019 you will get closer to your goal. I’ve been doing the Project Challenge this year and it has been so fun to see my progress as I finish things!

Will you be joining us for the 2019 Ravelry Project Challenge? Here on Team Rav, we are setting our goals – right now, I think I’m going to shoot for completing 12 Ravelry projects, Jess is aiming for 10, Sarah’s goal is to complete eight projects, and Christina wants to do six! We’ll be posting more about the Project Challenge here on the Ravelry blog and on our @hi.ravelry Instagram account throughout the year. If you have questions or want to share your 2019 Ravelry Project Challenge goal, come chat with us in the 2019 Project Challenge thread on For the Love of Ravelry!

Thank you, Ravelers! You’re the best!

Finally, we don’t want to close out 2018 without saying a huge thank you to all of you! With every year that passes we are more grateful for the Ravelry community and everything you all contribute to make the site what it is: useful, friendly, fun, inclusive, and filled with yarny goodness. Everyone here on Team Rav (including someone new who will be starting this month!) is so excited about what 2019 will bring to Ravelry, and we hope you are too. Happy New Year!

Eye Candy: Fiber Friends

December 19th, 2018

a group of wooden sheep and llamas all wearing little handknit sweaters, on a blue background
heylucy’s A Tiny Flock of Sweaters for Good

Today’s Eye Candy post celebrates projects made to look like some of our most appreciated animal friends: ones who provide fiber for us to use in our knitting, crocheting, spinning, and weaving projects!

three handmade projects: a crocheted llama in front of crocheted stylized Christmas trees, a group of cotton knit bunnies in festive sweaters, and a crocheted lamb

maidenbklyn’s Christmas Llama, bszen’s Little cotton rabbits, and kmtrry’s Amigurumi Lamb-sheep.

three handmade projects: a knit llama with a hat, a crocheted flat sheep softie, and a crocheted alpaca with a blanket on its back and a pom pom necklace

BlandineWinona’s Liam the Llama, FlamingoStitches’s Sheepie, and YumYarnCreations’ Marcia Alpaca.

I’m grateful in this cold season for all these beautiful animals – and the adorable Ravelry projects made in their honor!

Eye Candy: Hold it Right There!

December 12th, 2018

Hands wearing yellow fingerless mitts holding an elephant figurine
treeseeker’s Hand Holding

I often laugh at the extremes that I go to when photographing finished items, particularly those items that are a bit more difficult to find a good way to capture. When looking at projects this week, it made me smile to see all of the unique ways that people presented their mitten and glove projects and I thought I’d share a few of them!

Three photos: gloved hands hanging a wreath on a tree, gloved hands hanging ornaments and rainbow gloves held against a tree.

First off, several Ravelers photographed their finished mittens and glove projects with trees of all kinds! Wimmelkinder’s Ellri Mitts for Kerstin, tataporto’s White Christmas and mc-chick’s Helix Mitts

Three photos: Hands with mittens holding a red mug, aqua fingerless gloves holding a plant in a pot and a hand in a Fair Isle mitt holding its match
In addition to the amazing elephant above, a few other Ravelers showed their finished projects while holding something. Tippelditapser held a coffee mug when showing us Warm hands Nr. 19: Remember Orkney Isles, drbean held a plant while wearing the Tangled Yarn Mittens and thuisproject held the other mitt in finished photos of the Lotus Mittens.

I love the creativity shown by Ravelers not only in what they make but also in how they show those things off! Thanks to all of those who are featured here for finding fun ways to show us their projects and to all of you who add amazing photographs to our database every day.