February 24th, 2012
Adding someone to your Ravelry friends is a good way to make a connection with other folks in the community. Your Ravelry friends might be people you know well from real life, or they may just be someone whose forum posts make you laugh or learn, or whose projects are so beautiful you don’t want to miss them. There are many reasons to add someone to your friends, and some pretty cool features available to go along with friending someone on Ravelry.
You can add someone to your friends right on their profile page!
Once you’ve added them as a friend, you can find them in the friends section of your notebook.
sets of friends!
If you have lots of Ravelry friends, the friends features can be made better by organizing them into different sets. These sets are confidential – only you will see them. You could create sets for local friends, people whose spinning you admire, people who look like they are the same shape as you (handy for seeing patterns they are working on that would look great on you, too!), and more.
Organize your friends into sets by clicking the “organize” tab in the friends section:
Or you can add an individual friend to a set from their profile page (by clicking the “add to friends” or “in my friends” button), or by clicking the little triangle right in your friends’ section:
With your friends in sets, you can easily see what the groups are up to on Ravelry in the friends activity tab (also in your friends section). This is, hands down one of my favorite Ravelry features! On the friends’ activity tab, you can see when Ravelers in your friends list have:
Phew! Does all that sound overwhelming? Don’t worry! You can filter the specific type of activity you’d like to see by clicking the “displayed activity” ticky boxes. Your choices will be remembered, so you don’t have to re-filter every time. I like to keep my friend activity selections to the project photos, queueing, favoriting, and handspun filters.
If you’ve organized your friends into sets, you can also select a set of friends from the drop-down menu so that you’re only seeing the activity from among friends in that set.
You can also see a quick link to your friend activity on the People tab:
If your Ravelry friends have connected their blogs to their Ravelry profiles, you can see when they update right on the aptly named friends’ blogs tab. You’ll see a short preview of the post, and you can even search those blog posts in case you are looking for something specific.
In the projects search of the advanced search area, you can filter by just your friends’ projects by clicking on “friends” in the “more search option” section of the filters. The pattern category filters are available in the projects search, too, so if you’re looking for a new project – say, a shawl that calls for DK weight yarn that your friends have made and were very happy with, you can search for that! You can even filter further into your friend sets by clicking on the “friends” filter again.
other places to find your friends
You can also filter by your friends on the projects tab of pattern pages (this can be especially handy if you have made a set for your friends with people who are your general size/shape/proportions!):
As well as the events section – here are some Ravelry friends who marked that they were attending Stitches West this weekend:
Adding people to Ravelry friends seems simple, but as you can see, it unlocks lots of fun features throughout Ravelry! If you are feeling shy about adding friends and would like to start somewhere, Jess, Casey, Sarah, and I are always happy to meet more wonderful Ravelry friends!
February 3rd, 2012
Ravelry has an extensive, user-maintained database that includes patterns from a variety of sources. A lot of people expect that the database will show only patterns available on Ravelry or online, but that’s not the case. The database is designed to allow people to be able to attach projects to any patterns they’ve made that are or were widely available. Here are some tips on finding the patterns that you are looking for.
1. Patterns available online or on Ravelry
There are a lot of patterns available online and there are 70,897 patterns as of this blog post that are available as Ravelry downloads. If a pattern is available as a Ravelry download, you’ll see one of these options (depending upon whether it is free or a pattern to purchase).
If you set your location in your profile, you will see a currency conversion in the price area so that you’ll know approximately what the pattern will cost you based on Paypal’s current conversion rates.
You may also see an ebook option. That means that you could buy the entire ebook that the pattern is included in. You can see the other patterns by clicking “patterns” link there.
If it is not available as a Ravelry download, you won’t see these options in the upper right, but you will see a link to the pattern on an external site in the Pattern notes. Please note that if you are re-directed to another site to download a pattern, the pattern will not be stored in your Ravelry library.
If a pattern was previously available online but is no longer found there, starting today you will see a beside the name of the site so you know it’s no longer available there.
2. Patterns available in a magazine, book or other source
A lot of the pattern entries you will find in the Ravelry database are for patterns that are available in some print format. If you don’t see one of the options listed above but want to access the pattern, you need to look at the “Published in” field.
The “Published in” field has a title listed there that you can click on for more information about the source and to see the rest of the patterns available in that publication. You may also see amazon links in the bottom left to purchase the item if you would like to. This will direct you to Amazon to make the purchase.
If the source is a magazine, pamphlet or some other item not available on Amazon, you may need to do an internet search to see if the pattern is still available. Often you can find backorders of magazines still for sale and many patterns in our database are available exclusively from local or online yarn shops. There’s also a link to allow you to search local libraries. If it is out of print, starting today you’ll see this beside the name of the publication, so you will know it’s out of print before clicking on the source.
What if I can’t find the pattern I really want?
I get asked frequently where someone can find a particular pattern. Often, they are hoping to recreate a stocking or a sweater that they or a family member made years ago. This pattern may be out of print or available from a source that is difficult to find. A group set-up to help people find patterns that they are searching for is the Book Destash & ISO (in search of) Library group. You can post in that group and see if anyone can help you find a particular pattern or book, just make sure you read their group guidelines first. If you don’t know exactly the pattern you’re looking for, you could try posting in the Patterns forum so fellow Ravelers could make suggestions to you on patterns that match the description.
If you aren’t yet familiar with our Advanced Search in the Patterns tab, there’s a little video to help with that. You can use the “remember & compare” function when searching so you can compare the patterns before making a decision on what you want to make. We have a quick guide to show you how that works. When you find a pattern in the database that you like, don’t forget to add it to your favorites so you can find it later!
January 25th, 2012
I think that users that contribute to free websites deserve to know how those sites are supporting themselves.
Ravelry is a free site and a profitable 4 person company.
We’ve tried very hard to find ways of supporting the site that we can feel good about.
Here is how we make payroll and cover our technology costs and all of the other costs of doing business. The things on this list are the only things that we exchange for money.
In order from most revenue to least:
We offer pay-per-click, pay-per-impression, and flat rate advertising to companies that are related to yarn and the fiber arts.
I wrote an ad serving system specifically for Ravelry – since we serve our own ads, we don’t pay any fees or commissions to anyone else.
Mary-Heather approves all of the ads that are placed and she makes sure that ads are as attractive as possible and that they are relevant to Ravelry (something to do with yarn). Ads are displayed in small number of locations on the site.
Our system and our rates were designed with the goal of having many small advertisers instead of a few larger advertisers. Today we have about 1,500 active advertisers – most are active Ravelry members and many are very small businesses. 25% are Etsy shops and 50% spend less than $15 with us each month.
Ravelry gets ~180,000,000 page views a month and we could probably cash in on that in a big way but we’re very committed to keeping the ads pretty, relevant, and accessible to very small businesses.
We have an online shop where we sell Ravelry-branded and other knit/crochet-related merch.
We find wholesale shirts/bags/other things, work with a few Ravelers that are designers and artists on the artwork, and often have the items screenprinted by another Raveler.
I wrote a small shop/cart that is integrated with a fulfillment company here in Massachusetts. Our inventory is all kept at their warehouse and they handle all of the shipments and returns.
(Lately, we’ve neglected the shop and things have been out of stock but overall and hopefully in months ahead, it’s #2 on this list)
We offer knit and crochet designers a way to sell and automatically deliver their digital patterns.
We tried to make something that was less fuss and more suited to designers’ needs than e-Junkie and Payloadz. We came up with rates that could compete with those two services (from free all the way up to $20 a month depending on sales volume) Having pattern sales on Ravelry is good for us and good for self-publishing designers and we never really counted on it doing much for us financially.
Since inception, 1,300,000 patterns have been sold and the service is a now good source of income for us.
A recent addition allows all of those designers to sell their digital patterns in brick and mortar shops that wouldn’t otherwise have access to those patterns – exciting stuff!
Many of the patterns in our pattern database have appeared in books.
On the pages where it is relevant and useful, we show Amazon’s price, a “look inside” button (if there is one) and a “buy now” button. Amazon’s commissions on books are pretty high – 7 to 8%.
This year we added a nice-but-not-essential feature to the site that allows people to upload images directly into a post in the forums. We called it a “Ravelry Extra” and we offered it for $5 / year mainly as a way of limiting the number of people who would use it and recouping the storage/bandwidth costs.
We’re not planning on Extras being a big source of revenue.
Other affiliate programs
We also receive commissions when purchases are made from InterweaveStore.com and BookDepository.co.uk. eBay, CafePress, and a few other affiliates are offered as an option when you click links in the forums (these are clearly marked and you can choose to follow a non-affiliate version)
We started accepting donations in 2007: http://blog.ravelry.com/2007/06/10/you-twisted-our-arm
We broke even the following year (thanks to a massive donation drive organized by a Raveler) and we’ve been in the black ever since…but we still accept donations from Ravelers who want to send them and we get a few each week. I struggle with this since we are profitable, but people send them for all sorts of reasons knowing that they are appreciated but not expected or necessary.
The kind notes that people include are pretty amazing and they are just as nice as the financial support.
We’ve thrown quite a few parties at fibery events over the years but we break even on those – the costs are covered by generous sponsors.
…but we do charge $200-300 plus expenses when we do talks and classes and things like that. I don’t know if this is really a net positive because travel tends to drain the wallet, but I included it for completeness :) We certainly don’t go to events to earn money, we go to see Ravelers!
There you have it!
(Comments? There is a discussion thread in For the Love of Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/for-the-love-of-ravelry/2000939/)
January 6th, 2012
Wow, I can’t believe it is time again to register for Squam Art Workshops! This year has just flown by and I am so excited to bring our little Eloise to this wonderful event.
I just heard from Elizabeth and she has some amazing plans for this year’s retreat. As usual, there are just incredible teachers (including Fiona Ellis, Franklin Habit, Gudrun Johnston, Jill Draper, Megan Ingman, Melynda Bernardi, Natalie Selles, and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee), the lovely Squam Lake location and yummy food. This year she has added classes in baking/ food styling, more yoga and embroidery, knitting design and new three hour Squam Extra classes.
Registration begins Monday, January 9th and I know that I can’t wait to dive in and choose some classes. You really can’t lose.
Check out the SAW group if you want to chat with other Ravelers about all the fun.
There will also be the Art Fair on Saturday, June 9th- more information on that coming soon on the Art Fair’s page!
December 19th, 2011
Just after Thanksgiving I was able to attend the Arkansas Fiber Extravanganza. It was a great weekend in Hot Springs, AR full of new friends, fun & fiber (of course). We got there on Friday and enjoyed all of the festivities, including an inspiring talk by Annie Modesitt, speed knitting and crochet competitions, a fashion show of great finished items, shopping and other fun on the exhibit hall floor.
All of the festivities wrapped up with the Ravelry party on Saturday night, complete with ice cream & giveaways. I was blown away by the number of folks who stuck around to come hang out with us Saturday night and had a great time mingling and chatting with all of the Ravelers that came by.
Having grown up in Arkansas, this event was a bit like coming home. I made several new friends, including Heather (pictured with me above right) who did a great job coordinating the event and The Knit Girllls, Laura & Leslie (with the spinning wheels in the top photos). And, I got to meet people I had been friends with for a long time, but hadn’t met in person like Aimee (seen in the bottom picture below).
I would be remiss if I didn’t thank all those who held the baby so I could shop and knit. I got more knitting done that weekend than I had in ages! It helps when you have lots of extra hands. It was a great event and I hope I can make it back in the future!
October 4th, 2011
We can hardly believe that it’s nearly time for the New York Sheep and Wool festival again! The festival is held in Rhinebeck, NY, on the third weekend in October: this year it falls on October 15 and 16. We’re really looking forward to spending the weekend at NYS&W introducing new Ravelbabies Eloise and Carson to all the good things that Rhinebeck has to offer! (Well, lots of the good things anyway – we’ll save the cider donuts for another year.)
We have two meetups planned during the day on both Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 1 pm. The location for the meetups is shown on the map above – it is a shaded field down the walkway from the author’s tent and behind the bounce house and great big fun slide. Come and meet your fellow Ravelers and get a Hello! username button.
For more information or to chat with other Ravelers about the meetups at Rhinebeck this year, please check out our meetups thread in the New York Sheep and Wool group. We wanted to remind everyone that there will be no nighttime Ravelry party this year, but judging from discussions in the Rhinebeck group, Ravelers are planning to take over just about every hotel lobby in the area with some group crafting on Saturday night. ;)
We are so excited to see all the beautiful fall leaves, sheepdog trials, fried pickles, friends, and of course all the yarn, fiber, and other goodies that NYS&W has to offer… see you in Rhinebeck!
August 18th, 2011
We’re excited to introduce new Ravelry features that we’re calling Ravelry Extras!
What Ravelry Extras?
Ravelry Extras are features that people have been requesting for some time, but that are too expensive for us to provide for free. Don’t worry, all of the standard features on Ravelry will remain free! We don’t have more Extras planned right now but we’ve had suggestions for things like storage of your own pattern PDFs and statistics (like this)
What’s the first Ravelry Extra?
The first Extra that we’ve added is the ability to add photos to your forum posts directly from your computer, iPhone or via email from any device that can send an image by email. To see how this works, we’ve put together a little video for you. [a few people have asked if you can upload to projects and stash too - you could already do that for free! here's how]
How much does it cost?
This is $5 for one year.
If you are unable to watch the video or prefer to read instructions instead, you can find more information in the wiki. The wiki also lists the free alternatives to this Ravelry Extra, including the ability to add your project & stash photos to posts.
How do I add this Ravelry Extra to my account?
You can add Ravelry Extras to your account by visiting http://www.ravelry.com/extras. We will add more information to that site on additional Extras as they become available.
Oh? There’s a new free thing too – a nice way to insert project and stash images into forum posts. You might like that.
Also, you can still add images from Flickr, Photobucket, etc and we’ve made adding images from Flickr even easier. Just paste in the link to any photo page and you’re done.
If you have any questions or experience any difficulties using these features, feel free to contact us using the contact link at the bottom of the page. We hope this makes your Ravelry even better!
Also, there is a more detailed explanation of this and a discussion in the forums: http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/for-the-love-of-ravelry/1761129/1-25
July 15th, 2011
Phew! Summer might be a traditionally slower time for yarn lovers, but we’ve sure been busy around here! Casey and Jess are, of course, caring for their sweet new baby girl, and Sarah and I have been happily busy at work (both traveling and at home).
Our first booth at TNNA was everything we hoped for! Sarah and I had a wonderful time hosting designers for trunk shows and meeting shop owners from all over the country. A big service that we launched at this TNNA show was our new In-Store Pattern Sales service. This is a brand-new feature that allows yarn shop owners to sell patterns that designers have made available through this service to their in-store customers.
In-Store Pattern Sales: How Does It Work?
Participating LYSOs can search for patterns available through this service (designers agree to the pricing scale for any patterns they want to include as long as they are available through the Ravelry pattern store, and shops sell the patterns at the suggested retail price) and sell them to customers through their shops, printing the pattern for the customer in-store if desired. Patterns can also be emailed to the customer and saved in their Ravelry library. At the end of each month, shop owners receive a combined invoice for all the patterns sold during that month, and pay for them through Ravelry via PayPal or a credit card. There are no Ravelry fees to shop owners for using this service. The usual pattern sales fees apply for designers.
The In-Store Pattern Sales service received an incredible response at TNNA, and we are more excited about it than ever. Shop owners brought up so many advantages to this service: many shops love to carry paper patterns but may not be able to carry a designer’s full line, or may have a shop sample that is selling patterns and yarn like hotcakes and expressed interest in using this service as a way to offer the pattern when they are waiting for a new shipment. Some shop owners saw this as a great way to connect their local customers, even those who are less internet-savvy, to patterns that are going viral online but not available to sell through traditional wholesale methods. Every shop we spoke to gave us more inspiration and ideas – we know that this feature is brand-new in our industry and we couldn’t be more excited to launch it.
Currently, we are contacting the shop owners who signed up at TNNA, but if you are a local yarn shop owner who would like to offer this pattern in your store (brick-and-mortar shops only: this service is not available for online shops), we have registration information for you at the end of this post.
Thank you, designers!
Though the launch of this new service was the primary focus of our TNNA booth, we were also so pleased to host trunk shows by some incredibly talented designers:
What a pleasure it was to see the gorgeous samples from each talented designer! The Ravelry booth was transformed over and over again throughout the weekend, thanks to the trunk shows, and we really couldn’t have planned to have a nicer group of people to spend the weekend with. Carol Feller of Stolen Stitches, Laura Nelkin of Nelkin Designs, Woolly Wormhead of Wooly Wormhead, Kate Oates of TotToppers, Anne Hanson of Knitspot, Robyn Chachula of Crochet by Faye, Cecily Glowik Macdonald of Winged Knits, Hannah Fettig of Knitbot, and Ann Kingstone of Ann Kingstone Designs: we really appreciate you! Thank you so much!
We really had a blast, and it was so exciting to announce our new In-Store Pattern Sales service and receive such an incredibly enthusiastic response!
Signing your shop up for Ravelry’s In-Store Pattern Sales service.
If you are a local yarn store owner and are interested in participating in this service, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Currently, we are contacting the yarn shop owners who signed up for this service with us at TNNA and working to get them set up and using the service. When we have set those shops up (as quickly as possible!) we will begin contacting the shops who have written to us via email, in the order in which we received the messages. (If you signed up at TNNA, there is no need to write us there – we are working through the list!)
If you are a designer and you’d like to make your patterns available to local yarn shops, you can do so right in the “configure store” section found in your manage store area. We have instructions in the Ravelry wiki!
June 6th, 2011
Sarah and I are getting ready to head to the TNNA summer trade show in Columbus, Ohio, this week. (Jess and Casey will be home snuggling with their due-any-moment-now baby girl!) This show promises to be even busier than usual – for the first time, Ravelry will have a booth on the show floor: booth #454, and if you are a TNNA attendee, please do come by to say hello! We’re really looking forward to having a home base at which we can meet people, answer questions about advertising, pattern sales, and features for yarn shops, and even host trunk shows featuring the beautiful knit and crochet patterns of some very special guests!
A newly launching Ravelry feature that we are really excited about is our In-Store Pattern Sales service (designers and shop owners, you can read more here), which allows local yarn shops to sell patterns that designers make available through this service to their in-store customers. We’ve been beta-testing this new service for some time, and are ready to take signups from interested shops at TNNA! The fabulous designers hosting trunk shows in our booth are among the many talented designers offering their patterns to yarn shops through this service. Many of them have been to TNNA shows before; others are coming from overseas to make their TNNA debut. We are honored to have them be a part of the very first Ravelry booth at TNNA! Please come by to see their beautiful designs.
The full trunk show schedule (all in the Ravelry booth – #454) is:
Saturday, June 11
Sunday, June 12
Monday, June 13
Huge thanks to all the designers spending time in our booth! We can’t wait to see your beautiful work in person.
To all TNNA designer and teacher attendees: Sarah and I will also be speaking on the Social Media panel at the TNNA Designer/Teacher meeting (open to TNNA members/convention attendees), which is being held on Saturday evening from 6:00 – 7:30 pm, in room D132 of the Convention Center. This is a subject that is obviously near and dear to our hearts, and this is such an exciting time in our industry – we were honored to be asked to speak!
TNNA shows always mean a great and busy week for us – we get to see talk with so many other industry people and always come away motivated and full of new ideas. If you’re going to TNNA, we’ll see you at booth #454!
May 12th, 2011
Recently, Sarah and I got to go to Minneapolis for StevenBe’s Fantastic Fiber Fest Weekend and the Minnesota Knitters’ Guild’s Yarnover event, and boy, did they show us a good time! Minneapolis clearly has a vibrant fiber community: great yarn shops that support each other to help make the city a destination for yarn lovers, loads of fun fiber events (the weekend we were there, folks were still buzzing about the recent shop crawl and were making plans to attend another festival the following weekend!), and best of all, lots of happy and talented crafters.
With so much going on during the trip, our itinerary was pretty full, but Steven and his staff welcomed us like family into their (gorgeous!) shop and made us feel relaxed and at home right away. Over the course of the weekend we attended a teacher/student dinner, two parties at StevenBe, Yarnover, a presentation by Nicky Epstein, and gave a presentation on Ravelry! Phew! We still had plenty of time to enjoy the events and talk to the wonderful Ravelers (both new and more experienced users) who came out to say hello and hear us speak. Steven, the owner of StevenBe and our host for the weekend, has created a rich community space in Minneapolis. His shop is gorgeous and fun, the staff is helpful and cheerful, and the enormous space is positively packed with yarn. What’s not to love? Sarah and I pretty much wanted to move in by the end of the weekend.
Huge, huge thanks to the staff of StevenBe and everyone who came out to see us during our presentation and Ravelry meetup, or said hello and chatted with us at one of our events during our weekend in Minneapolis. It was especially exciting to get to give a presentation on Ravelry with so many new users in the audience. We, and the long-time Ravelers in the audience (some of whom brought their iPads and laptops to help answer individual questions after the presentation – what a great idea!), had fun sharing the Ravelry love! Minneapolis was truly a wonderful time – and we hope to come back!