Community Eye Candy: Stripes!

September 2nd, 2014

Stripes are awesome. Whether they are bold and graphic or muted and subtle, they can be a fabulous way to play with color! Here are some gorgeous striped knitted, crocheted, and woven projects that were completed in August and July:

Above are DANON’s Fruity Missoni dress, NeulistiMNK’s surprises all over the place socks, and stripey-mooka’s Summer Lovin’ Blanket.

summer projects 2

Here we have lemmi’s Dotted Rays Meets Colors of the Sea, florencemary’s santa:fe, and HitchHikerGal’s Handspun Heaven Mitts.

striped projects 3

Our final group of fantastic striped projects are quinoa’s On the Wild Side, Lizbuppers’ 8 Color Gradient Rainbow Wrap, and rosenator’s Baby You’re a Firework.

Goodness, I just love all these stripes!

I’ve been reorganizing all of my craft supplies lately, and my yarn/fiber stash is no exception. Since my stash and where it’s stored has changed a lot, I need to update my stash in Ravelry. If you haven’t used your stash before and need to update it, you can find your stash area by going to your notebook tab and clicking stash there.
stash
This stash reorganization got me to thinking of all the reasons that I bother to keep up with my stash in the first place, so I thought I’d share a few.

1. You don’t forget what you have
I don’t know about you, but my yarn gets stored in a box in a closet, so it’s easy to forget about what I have. By keeping my stash updated, I’m reminded of the pretty yarn that I already have, which keeps me from buying duplicate yarns. You can even filter your stash by a variety of attributes. Now, I don’t accidentally buy a duplicate skein of yarn, I just buy a different one instead!

2. You can find that skein of yarn when you want it
I spend more time than I care to admit tearing my house apart looking for something. I don’t have to do that with my yarns because I can find it when I need it, as I’ve recorded the yarn in my stash area, along with where it is stored.
stash location
If you click on “Bin #1″ there, you will see all of the yarns that you’ve stuffed in that bin. I mean, while you’re getting the bin out, you might as well get all of the yarn you need, right?

3. You can match yarns with patterns much more easily
Having your stash up to date allows you to see if you already have a yarn for a given pattern when you come across something you want to make. You can check out the other post I wrote about that for more details. Looking at your stash on Ravelry will also remind you of that pretty skein of yarn you forgot all about. Then, you can use these tips from Christina to match it with a pattern.

4. You can link the yarns you have to your queued patterns
When you add something to your queue, you can add a stash yarn to it, so you know what yarn you will use for that pattern. We’ll have some more detailed instructions coming soon. Linking a stash yarn to your queue allows you to see the yarn you plan to use listed on your queue page.

You will also see that you already have a pattern picked for a yarn on your stash page.

5. You can look at your yarn from anywhere
The ability to look at my stash from anywhere is maybe my favorite thing about the stash feature. I love being able to look at the yarns that I already have without dragging out the bins and being able to remember what I have when I’m not at home.

You may think you don’t have enough stash to bother with adding it to Ravelry, but I encourage you to start using it now, anyway! In my experience, stash tends to multiply and it’s easier to add it when it’s small. On the other hand, if you have a lot of yarns and adding stash seems daunting, just take it a few at a time. I added mine all at once, over the span of about a month. It took a while but it was totally worth it as I have used it so much! You can find instructions for adding to your stash in the wiki. I hope this post helped you to see some of the benefits.

After seeing Guardians of the Galaxy and noticing baby Groots pop up all over the place, I thought it would be fun to do a TV/movie character related eye candy. Each of these projects were finished in July and August.

I was going to let you guess the inspiration on your own…but then I couldn’t resist pairing each one with a matching shot of the character.

Above: Pollyfoofoo’s Outlander Cowl and Cumberb1tch’s Vulcan top.

Above: SixCraftsUnder’s Tom Baker Dress and Ribbels’ FORBRYDELSEN.

Above: lanib2’s Baby Groot and handknitsbysusan’s Maurice Moss.

I used the advanced search to find these since I only wanted recently completed projects, but if you want to poke around, try putting names or abbreviations for shows into the project tag search (at the bottom of the patterns tab). Here are a few tags for you to try: outlander, got, sherlock, drwho.

Today I have a few random tips for you! While none of these features are really secret, they are a bit lesser known and can make your Ravelry experience even faster, friendlier, and more organized.

Topic Tools

topic tools menu

On your forums tab, clicking in the small column to the right of any forum thread will bring up a Topic Tools menu. With this menu, you can:

  • watch thread: this will keep the thread at the top of the forums list whenever there are new posts you haven’t read. In busy groups with lots of forum activity, it is handy to watch interesting threads so that you see new posts that might otherwise have fallen down on the list of threads.
  • ignore thread: ignoring a thread will make it disappear from your forums list and you never have to see it again. Sometimes we know right from the thread title that this would be a good idea, right? Ignore ignore. Aaaaaah.
  • mark unread: this option will mark all the posts in your selected thread as unread.
  • mark all read: and this one will mark all the posts in the selected thread as read.
  • read up to post: at the bottom, you can manually select the post number you’d like to have marked as read to.

Find Your Friends with People Search

people search

If you have a friend on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or another social network that we can link to in Ravelry profiles, and would like to connect with them here on Ravelry, you can search for their other-site usernames in our People Search. If your friend connected the other site to their Ravelry profiles, we’ll be able to find them for you! Here, I found Casey using his Twitter name, CaseyF.

Quick Search and Links

quick search

My last quick tip today is partly for me – I always forget about the quick search options you can find through the magnifying glass tab visible on every Ravelry page, and I really shouldn’t because they are so handy! If you are unfamiliar with them too, let’s start using them together. Not only can you quickly link to the advanced searches for, well, everything, by clicking on the option in the advanced search section (like patterns, people, yarns, forums, etc.), you can also use the search field on the magnifying glass tab to bring up speedy results right there. Because this quick search will search across everything on Ravelry, it will bring up a lot of results, so it can help to narrow your list by typing in the category of thing you are looking for. You’ll still see lots of options – for example, here is a search for “hitchhiker pattern:”

hitchhiker pattern quick search

As you can see, not only is there a handy link right to results for sources and patterns with Hitchhiker in the name, but you’ll also see related forum topics and projects. You can click right on a specific pattern/project/etc. to go right to that individual item, or click on the advanced search button at the top right of any grouping if you want to refine your quick search results even further.

I hope this post showed you a little something new today, and you are inspired to go looking for even more features you aren’t aware of! The site is so big there is always something new to explore. The good news is, you’ll never break Ravelry by clicking, and you just might find something really useful!

Community Eye Candy: Yellow!

August 19th, 2014

Some days I know exactly what my eye candy will be, and others I find myself paging through project search for inspiration.  Today my eyes kept being drawn to yellow projects, so that’s what I have for you.

For the littles we have: noturgma‘s Lillie Baby Cardigan Matching Hat, sarindr‘s shell dress, and Dutchrosa‘s Emu pram suit pants & cardigan

And for grown-ups we have: snuzy‘s Indian Summer, SiO2‘s SpliTTop – Mustard, perlatora‘s Banana in the Fig Tree, and Golubka‘s Gingko.

Once I knew I wanted to focus on yellow finished objects, it was easy to find projects for today’s eye candy by using the Color Family filter in the advanced search and selecting all the shades of yellow.  The projects above feature a single shade of yellow, but for some gorgeous colorwork here’s a bonus link to projects that feature multiple shades of yellow.

Each week, we write a “Community Eye Candy” post that shows off a group of newly finished projects that center around a common theme. If you like, you can use Ravelry’s project search to find your own collections of inspirational or helpful projects.

First, get thee to the project search. Click the search menu in the top bar and then choose the “projects” link

Once you are in the projects search, you’ll see all of the advanced search controls. Som

  • The regular search box will search through all of the project information as well as the pattern and yarn that are linked to the project
  • In the upper right – Sort: among other things, you can sort by “most favorites” and “most helpful”
  • On the filter side bar – Finished in: you can use this to only look at projects that were finished in the last couple months or the last year. Combining this with the sorts can be useful.
  • You can use made by friends and group name to look at projects made by people that are in your friends or your groups
  • In my stash can be a way to find stash ideas. There is also a “Yarn name” option if you want to look at a particular yarn.
  • Limit your search to projects that were not made from a pattern by selecting “no” for linked to a pattern
  • ..and especially helpful if you are just looking for ideas: notes and tags let you search inside project notes and tags for specific words or phrases that were entered in those fields. Remember to add quotes if you want to match an exact phrase.

It’s that time of year, again. The time of year when students here put on their backpacks and school colors and head back to school. I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the fun things people have made with their school colors!

school color stripes
First off, some fun stripes using school colors! From left to right, VivaciousKnitter’s School Spirit Sweater, paradisecity’s Your Heart’s Going to Break, but Never Break Even, and KnitLightToLace’s School Pride

school color stuffies
I was also totally smitten with these stuffed animals showing their school spirit: amyt1214’s Lexi, Teresa-jtalb85 Graduation owl, whatinspiresewe Teddy Bear Fan Raglan–Go Everett!!!

Now I need to decide what to make for my son in his school colors! Hope you and yours have a great school year!

Have you ever seen this bar at the top of the text box when you’re writing a forum post and wondered what do all of those buttons mean?  Today we’re going to walk through all of them so you can feel confident formatting your posts. Formatting bars like this show up in lots of places across the site where you can enter text (forum posts, project notes, etc) and are shortcuts to add formatting to your text.  We use markdown syntax to format text, so if you’ve used that the info here may be familiar. Let’s start with the buttons on the left and move across.

Text Buttons

If you highlight text and click the B and you’ll see ** show up around your text, which comes out as bold when the topic is published.  If you don’t highlight anything, the ** ** will just show up at the end and you can enter the text you want to emphasize in between.

Click the I and you’ll see * around your text which is translated into italics when published.  Just like with bold, highlighting before you click will put the * * where you want it.  Oh, and if you want to use an * in your text without it meaning italics, just put spaces around it and no special formatting will be applied.

Links and Media

The earth with an arrow is the symbol for a link.  Use that button to insert a link in your post.  Bonus tip: If you hover over it you’ll see a tooltip with a keyboard shortcut for entering a link, Ctrl + L.  All the buttons have one, so look for them if you have a favorite button.

The quotation marks are for quoting text.  You’ll see a > appear next to your text and when it’s published it will appear quoted.  This can be a handy way to make it clear what part of a previous post you’re replying to.

The polaroid picture is for inserting pictures into your post.  Follow the instructions after clicking it and you’ll be able to enter a picture from an item in your notebook, from elsewhere on the internet like Flickr or Instagram, or upload it directly from your device.  You can even drag and drop images to the text box after clicking the button! (Uploading directly from your computer to the forums requires the purchase of a Ravelry Extra for $5/year.  You can read more about that here.)

The last icon in that group, the grey globe, is a webcam.  If your device has a webcam and supports Adobe Flash (aka is not an iPhone/iPad/iWhatever), then you can take a photo with a webcam to insert into your post.  If I’m doing this in For the Love of Ravelry, I’m feeling very silly that day :)

Want to put a video in your post?  Click the little TV and enter a link to a YouTube,Vimeo, or Vine video.

You can insert an audio file like a song in your post by clicking the music note button and entering a link to a .mp3 file.

Lists

The first list button helps make a numbered list and the second list button makes a bulleted list.  You can see the difference while you’re typing because the number lists have 1., etc next to the items and the bulleted lists have a * next to the items.

Ever wanted to organize your text with headings?  That last icon in the list section has a few different ways to create headings in your posts.  Keep clicking it and you’ll see a few different kinds of headings pop-up: ##, ==, and — all create headings with different sized text so play with them and see what you like!

Time Machines

Okay, technically they’re just undo (the left-pointing arrow) and redo (the right-pointing arrow) buttons.  But I like to think of them as tiny time machine buttons that help me go backwards and forwards in time to get to my favorite version of a post.  I assume I’m not the only one that often types and retypes until I get it right. :)

Preview

The preview button pops up a little window that previews how all the formatting in your post will look.  It’s a great way to see how all those * and = and # are translated into pretty formatting.

And the question mark?  That’s how you get help if you ever have questions about text formatting in the forums.  You’ll be opening the wiki page with info on our text editor.  We can’t fit shortcut buttons for everything that the text editor can do in that little grey bar, so read that wiki page if you want to do something I haven’t covered in this post.  I learned more about how our text editor works by writing this post, and if you want to get straight to work trying out all the stuff you learned, feel free to use this thread in the Help group!

Every so often, I like to browse projects that Ravelers make for daily use in their homes. For today’s Eye Candy I did a search for recently completed table settings. If you click on that search you can imagine how hard it was for me to choose just a few for this post, but here are some of my favorites!

table settings 1

DebbieB‘s Handwoven Rainbow Candy Napkins, KnapknitsMay Flowers napkin rings, and cardigansin‘s Hexagon Table Runner would make any table more cheerful.

table settings 2

I love the classic neutrals in mydonath‘s Platzsets, Sivani‘s Theresa, and marydargie‘s Projects at Dawn’s 2014.

table settigns 3

Finally, arkie‘s Mary Ann Ostrander Overshot Towels, paophoo‘s Black Table Center, and knapknitsMontague (which would coordinate so nicely with her napkin rings, featured above!), seem almost too pretty to use – but of course, that’s the joy of making gorgeous yet practical things: really using them!

Lovely work, all of you – thank you so much for sharing your projects on Ravelry! I just love the thought of these handmade personal touches adding beauty to mealtimes around the world. (I’m also preemptively outraged on behalf of you all in anticipation of the day these beautiful projects are spilled upon.)

Thursday Tip: Coupon Codes

July 31st, 2014

I often get emails about how you can find a coupon code or a discount when purchasing a pattern. I also get asked how to use the coupon codes that people discover, so I thought I’d share a bit with you about those in today’s Thursday Tip!

Coupon codes are set up by individual designers or publishers who have their patterns available as Ravelry downloads. The designer who sets it up can make it apply to all of their patterns or only specific patterns. They will usually specify what it works for in any advertisement of the coupon code. There aren’t Ravelry-wide coupon codes at this time, so they will only work for the designs specified for the promotion.

Designers decide how to distribute their coupon codes and will often mention them in their Ravelry groups, an email to their subscribers or other places online like twitter, Facebook or their blogs. Sometimes, the coupon codes will be listed on the pattern page in Ravelry. They may also send you a coupon code directly that is a one time use code just for you.

So, once you have a coupon code, how do you use it?

Step One: If the code requires you to add more than one pattern, go to each pattern page and click “add to cart”.
add to cart

If the code requires you to only buy one pattern, click “buy it now”.

Step Two: A cart window will come up when you click either “add to cart” or “buy now”. Toward the bottom right of the window you will see “use a coupon code” next to the “check out now” button. Click on that before checking out.
use coupon code

Step Three: Add the Coupon Code and click “apply”.
apply

Then, you will see the discount noted there in your cart. Here’s an example of what that looks like.

As long as the discount is applied there, you know that the coupon code has worked and is still active, and you can click to check out. I hope this helps you to use the great coupon codes that designers and publishers on Ravelry make available!