Design Contest Update

May 7th, 2012

A big thank you to everyone who submitted designs to our contest! We had such a large response to our design contest that we won’t be able to open voting on May 7th as we had originally planned. We’re working as fast as we can to go through all of the submissions and make sure they meet the guidelines. Then, we’ll be setting up a voting system to make it easier for everyone to vote on the design they like the best! We’ll update you when voting becomes available. Thanks again to all who submitted! We can’t wait for you all to see them!

The Ravelry Welcome Wagon group was founded in November 2007. Over the past few years they have sent well over 1 million messages (!!) to new users shortly after they joined, welcoming each new Ravelry member with a friendly letter introducing them to some basic Ravelry information and reaching out to them as a fellow Raveler. When the Welcome Wagon was first founded, Ravelry had about 500 new members each day. These days, there are about 1,800 new members every day!

Some time ago, the Welcome Wagon moderators decided that it was time to close down the group, as the time commitment was substantial and we here on the Ravelry staff have been working to increase the help information and tutorials available on the site. April 30 was the last day that letters were sent, and today, we want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has volunteered with the Welcome Wagon over the years! You all are a big part of what makes Ravelry so wonderful.

Thank you so much, Welcome Wagoneers! You have helped make Ravelry a happier place, and we are so proud to have you in our community. We are so thankful for everything you have done – and we hope that you have even more time to knit and crochet now!


Today marks 7 years since the idea of Ravelry was shared with the world (or at least the readers of Jess’ blog), a day we refer to as Bobmas!

Casey & Jess started work on Ravelry in January of 2007, so this year is Ravelry’s 5 year anniversary. To celebrate, we’re holding a contest! We know there are ton of talented ravelers out there with talents not only for knitting and crochet, but also graphic design. We are calling on you to create a design for our newest project bag.

Blank bag

Here are the contest details!

  • The design should fit with the theme of “A Ravelry Celebration”.
  • Designs should be submitted to designcontest@ravelry.com by Friday, May 4th at 5 p.m EST. They will then be voted on by Ravelers (possibly with more than one round of votes, depending on the number of submissions).
  • The winning design will be printed on this project bag and will be made available for purchase in the Ravelry Minimart*.. This is the same bag as was used for our Organic Logo Drawstring bag.
  • The winning designer will receive $500 in prize money, with an additional $500 if more than 500 of the bags are sold.
  • We have created an area in the wiki with the full competition guidelines as well as details regarding the design specifications. If you have any questions about the contest, we’ve started a thread to help answer those.
  • Ravelry has really been built by the contributions of our members. Through volunteer editing, making suggestions, participating in groups and forums, adding your projects to the database, and a ton of other ways, you add to Ravelry each day. We really appreciate the time that you take to add to this community and look forward to seeing the designs that you create to celebrate with us. If you aren’t a designer, you can still participate! Keep an eye on the For the Love of Ravelry forum so you can vote when the designs are posted.

    *We’ve had a lot of requests for new things to buy in the mini mart! We have several new items in progress and hope to have them available very soon.

    DFW Fiber Fest Fun!

    April 3rd, 2012

    posttalk

    Sarah and I had such a great time at the DFW Fiber Fest in Grapevine, Texas this past weekend! It was a quick trip and packed full of fun. Our first festival event (after checking out the marketplace) was our “Unraveling Ravelry” presentation on Friday night. We shared details about the history of Ravelry and how it grew into a business with a staff of four (plus Bob) and over 2 million members, and then gave some tips and tricks on how to use the site. It’s always our goal with these talks to share details that won’t overwhelm newer Ravelers, while also showing longtime regular users some features they may not have seen or tried yet. We also talked a bit about some upcoming Ravelry features (yes, the mobile site!) and answered some questions from the audience.

    ravpresentation

    After the presentation was done, we had cake! HUGE thanks to everyone who came to our talk – your friendly faces were so encouraging! Special thanks also to the evening’s sponsors, who helped the DFW Fiber Fest bring us out to Texas: Brooks Farm Yarn, The Buffalo Wool Co., Butterfly Girl Designs, Jacob’s Reward Farm, and MadTosh!

    cake

    On Saturday, we had more time to check out the vendors in the marketplace, and what a great show floor it was! You can guess from the list of vendors that there were lots of beautiful yarns, fibers, tools, bags, etc., and we couldn’t resist bringing home a few goodies. ;) At noon, we hosted a meetup in the Stitching Lounge (which could have easily been named the Spinning Lounge – there were so many spinners hanging out!). It’s always a joy to meet Ravelers in real life, and see folks who have been Ravelry friends for a long time (sometimes years) meet each other in person for the first time, and this event was no exception.

    meetup

    This is a local/regional event for both of us (since Sarah lives in Texas, and I live in New Mexico) and we’ve wanted to attend since we first heard of the festival a few years ago. We’re so happy to have had the chance to go – it’s a fun, well-organized event with great vendors and teachers and loads of friendly attendees!

    Thanks so much for hosting us, DFW Fiber Fest! If you’d like to stay posted on next year’s event, check out the DFW Fiber Fest Ravelry group.

    sarah and me!

    This weekend, Sarah and I are headed to the Dallas-Fort Worth area for the DFW Fiber Fest! This is a new festival for both of us, and we can’t wait to attend. If you are in the area, we’d love to see you at our Ravelry meetup this Saturday, March 31, from 12 – 2 in the Stitching Lounge (more details and discussion about the meetup can be found in the DFW Fiber Fest group). We’ll have Hello! buttons to hand out, and as always, the meetup will be a great place to get to meet and chat with your Ravelry friends.

    We are also giving a (sold out – eeps! Exciting!) talk, Unraveling Ravelry, on Friday night. If you’ve already reserved your place, we can’t wait to see you there – thanks so much for coming to see us!

    The DFW Fiber Fest has a marketplace with great vendors, as well as some terrific classes. Sarah and I will definitely be checking out the marketplace on Friday and Saturday, so if you see us there, please do say hello!

    We had over 94,000 entries in our Ravelry Library Book Bundle Giveaway, and this morning Casey picked the 25 random winners! They are:

    Legato, heyjulie, dragonflydreams, theyarnwhisperer, Bunks, firemanshunny, Lolotte1409, indybrown, Croative, polkaberry, LauraJJ, leah5150, 2aT, micicuta, PatchworkMoose, leahmarie, katkra56, SisuSiren, angelamo63, Ebeth, superjuana, Jay, Allalyt, Klwilson, and drgille!

    Congratulations, lucky winners! I emailed you all this morning (to the email address connected with your Ravelry profile) so if you haven’t replied to that email with your mailing address yet, please do so!

    Once again, we want to give a huge “thank you!” to all the publishers and designers who contributed to this wonderful prize pack. We are so grateful that you are a part of the Ravelry community!

    Amigurumi Toy Box Beyond Knit & Purl The Big Book of Knitted Monsters Crochet Stitches Visual Encyclopedia Crocheted Softies Custom Crocheted Sweaters: Make Garments That Really Fit Custom Fit Knit Jackets Casual to Couture Freddie’s Blanket Go Crochet! Afghan Design Workbook Knits for Nerds: 30 Projects: Science Fiction, Comic Books, Fantasy Storybook Dolls to Knit Urban Edge Les accessoires tricot Biscotte & Cie Little Crochet: Modern Designs for Babies and Toddlers Loop-d-Loop Lace: More than 30 Novel Lace Designs For Knitters More Knitting in the Sun: 32 Patterns to Knit for Kids My Grandmother’s Knitting: Family Stories and Inspired Knits from Top Designers One + One: Scarves, Shawls & Shrugs Socktopus: 17 Pairs of Socks Worth Showing Off Stitch London Sweet Shawlettes Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi Textured Stitches: Knitted Sweaters & Accessories with Smart Details Whimsical Little Knits 3 Knitting Pleats: Stunning Garments and Accessories

    If you’d like to congratulate the winners or chat about the prizes, we have a thread in the For the Love of Ravelry forum!

    We recently improved the Library section of your notebooks and made it an even better way for you to track of your craft library and browse and search all the patterns that you own.

    Today we have a little tour and a big giveaway for you. Thanks to contributions from publishers and designers, we’re able to give away a big book prize package: 25 lucky winners will get 26 books each!

    Keep reading to find out how to enter :)

    Do you want to make sure that we got your entry? Check the top of the front page after signing in to ravelry.com

    The Books

    Each of the 25 winners will receive these 26 books:

    Stitch London by Lauren O’Farrell
    32 patterns on Ravelry
    More info at store.marthapullen.com

    Go Crochet! Afghan Design Workbook by Ellen Gormley
    10 patterns on Ravelry
    More info at store.marthapullen.com

    Storybook Dolls to Knit by Anita M. Wheeless

    One + One: Scarves, Shawls & Shrugs by Iris Schreier
    29 patterns on Ravelry
    More info at amazon.com

    Beyond Knit and Purl by Kate Atherley
    24 patterns on Ravelry
    More info at cooperativepress.com

    Textured Stitches: Knitted Sweaters & Accessories with Smart Details by Connie Chang Chinchio
    19 patterns on Ravelry
    More info at interweavestore.com

    Simply Crochet: 22 Stylish Designs for Every Day by Robyn Chachula
    24 patterns on Ravelry
    More info at interweavestore.com

    Whimsical Little Knits 3 by Ysolda Teague
    9 patterns on Ravelry
    More info at ysolda.com

    Freddie’s Blanket by Joanna Johnson
    5 patterns on Ravelry
    More info at slatefallspress.com

    Sweet Shawlettes by Jean Moss
    25 patterns on Ravelry
    More info at tauntonstore.com

    Crocheted Softies by Stacey Trock
    18 patterns on Ravelry
    More info at martingale-pub.com

    Les accessoires tricot Biscotte & Cie by Biscotte & Cie inc.
    17 patterns on Ravelry
    More info at biscottecie.com

    Urban Edge by Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby
    10 patterns on Ravelry
    More info at leisurearts.com

    Custom Crocheted Sweaters: Make Garments That Really Fit by Dora Ohrenstein
    10 patterns on Ravelry
    More info at amazon.com

    Loop-d-Loop Lace: More than 30 Novel Lace Designs For Knitters by Teva Durham
    25 patterns on Ravelry
    More info at melaniefalickbooks.com

    My Grandmother’s Knitting: Family Stories and Inspired Knits from Top Designers by Larissa Brown
    22 patterns on Ravelry
    More info at melaniefalickbooks.com

    Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi by Anna Hrachovec
    38 patterns on Ravelry
    More info at randomhouse.com

    Knitting Pleats: Stunning Garments and Accessories by Olga Pobedinskaya
    17 patterns on Ravelry
    More info at shopmartingale.com

    Little Crochet: Modern Designs for Babies and Toddlers by Linda Permann
    24 patterns on Ravelry
    More info at randomhouse.com

    The Big Book of Knitted Monsters by Rebecca Danger
    20 patterns on Ravelry
    More info at dangercrafts.com

    Amigurumi Toy Box: Cute Crocheted Friends by Ana Paula Rimoli
    23 patterns on Ravelry
    More info at anapaulaoli.etsy.com

    Knits for Nerds: 30 Projects: Science Fiction, Comic Books, Fantasy by Toni Carr
    12 patterns on Ravelry
    More info at andrewsmcmeel.com

    Socktopus: 17 Pairs of Socks Worth Showing Off by Alice Yu
    17 patterns on Ravelry

    More Knitting in the Sun: 32 Patterns to Knit for Kids by Kristi Porter
    29 patterns on Ravelry
    More info at wiley.com

    Crochet Stitches Visual Encyclopedia by Robyn Chachula
    More info at wiley.com

    Custom Fit Knit Jackets Casual to Couture by Jean Frost / XRX, Inc.
    15 patterns on Ravelry
    More info at KnittingUniverse.com


    Phew! Huge thanks to the publishers and designers who liked this idea and contributed their books.

    Enter to win by taking the tour

    We’ve made a short guided tour that shows you some of the new library features. It takes about 5 minutes to step through the tour. You don’t have to watch the whole thing to be eligible to win, but please do :)

    To enter to win, either take the tour OR add something to your library before the deadline of 11:59 PM Eastern time on March 22nd 2012. When your entry has been recorded you’ll see a “You’ve entered!” notice at the top of Ravelry’s home page. This giveaway is open to Ravelers worldwide.

    The fine print:

    To enter, follow the library guided tour OR add a book or other item (pattern, magazine) to your Ravelry library before the giveaway ends at 11:59 PM Eastern time on March 22nd 2012. You can verify that entry was received by looking for a notice at the top the front page of Ravelry.com (after signing in). Only one entry per person will be counted.

    The 25 winners will be chosen in a random drawing on Friday, March 23rd. Winners will be notified by email.

    Each of the 25 winners will receive print copies of the following books by mail:

    Amigurumi Toy Box: Cute Crocheted Friends, Beyond Knit and Purl, Crochet Stitches Visual Encyclopedia, Crocheted Softies, Custom Crocheted Sweaters: Make Garments That Really Fit, Custom Fit Knit Jackets Casual to Couture, Freddie’s Blanket, Go Crochet! Afghan Design Workbook, Knits for Nerds: 30 Projects: Science Fiction, Comic Books, Fantasy, Knitting Pleats, Leisure Arts #5286, Storybook Dolls to Knit, Leisure Arts #5728, Urban Edge, Les accessoires tricot Biscotte & Cie, Little Crochet: Modern Designs for Babies and Toddlers, Loop-d-Loop Lace: More than 30 Novel Lace Designs For Knitters, Loop-d-Loop Lace: More than 30 Novel Lace Designs For Knitters, More Knitting in the Sun: 32 Patterns to Knit for Kids, My Grandmother’s Knitting: Family Stories and Inspired Knits from Top Designers, One + One: Scarves, Shawls & Shrugs: 25+ Projects from Just Two Skeins, Simply Crochet: 22 Stylish Designs for Every Day, Socktopus: 17 Pairs of Socks Worth Showing Off, Stitch London, Sweet Shawlettes, Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi, Textured Stitches: Knitted Sweaters & Accessories with Smart Details, The Big Book of Knitted Monsters, Whimsical Little Knits 3 (No substitutions)

    Void where prohibited.

    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!

    adding

    Once you’ve added them as a friend, you can find them in the friends section of your notebook.

    notebooksection

    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:

    organize

    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:

    bobismyhomie

    friends’ activity

    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:

  • added project photos
  • stashed yarn
  • queued a pattern
  • added something to their Ravelry favorites
  • magic-linked a pattern, yarn or project in the forums
  • commented on patterns, yarns, projects, or stashed yarns
  • updated their handspun stash
  • 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.

    activity

    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:

    peopletab

    blog posts

    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.

    blogs

    searching projects

    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.

    projectsearch

    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!):

    projects

    As well as the events section – here are some Ravelry friends who marked that they were attending Stitches West this weekend:

    events

    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!

    How do I get that pattern?

    February 3rd, 2012

    I get asked a lot about how to find the patterns in our database, so I’ve updated this post with new pictures and information in November of 2015 to hopefully help folks who have joined us since it was initially posted in February of 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 original blog post that are available as Ravelry downloads. In November of 2015, that number has grown to 227,109. 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, 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.

    Ravelry_ Greenery Beret pattern by Melissa LaBarre

    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.

    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, you can add it to your favorites so you can find it later. Also, we now have a “you’ve looked at” area on the Patterns tab now. If you see something you like, but forget to favorite it, you can check there to try to find it.

    The database has so many patterns, and I know it can sometimes seem complicated to find the one you want, but I hope this post helps you to locate some great patterns for you to make from one of the many talented designers.

    How does Ravelry make money?

    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:

    Advertising

    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.


    Merchandise

    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)


    Pattern Sales

    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!


    Amazon commissions

    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%.


    “Extras”

    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)


    Contributions

    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.

    Events

    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/)