We had a hunch that this year, at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, a few more people would know about Ravelry than last year... but really, there was no way to prepare ourselves for what happened this past weekend. We got a great big dose of Ravelry love at MDS&W - our voices are hoarse from talking to everyone we could at the Ravelry meetups and party, and our cheeks still hurt from smiling nonstop.
We arrived at MDSW on Saturday just in time for our meetup in the Rabbit Building. As we walked to our location, we saw over 600 people in and around the building, looking toward us and smiling (and clapping!) as we walked closer. What a greeting! We handed our Ravelry username buttons and avatar stickers to our amazing group of Team Rav volunteers - they took on the daunting task of finding the avatar stickers that Casey had printed out and passing out the username buttons so that the three of us had the time to talk to all the lovely users who had turned out to say hello.
It was so much fun to meet so many of you in person, to hear about local meetups that grew out of Ravelry groups, and to connect the faces (and voices!) with the avatars, projects, stashes, and friendly forum posts we've admired for so long. Meeting so many users all at once was an incredible experience - to everyone that came by, thank you!
The kind words and hugs and smiles we got have given us so much motivation and energy - we just can't tell you enough how special it was to meet you all!
Ravelry Party: Saturday Night
Saturday night was our big event: the Ravelry Party at the Sheraton. We've been planning this party from afar for some time, and it was even more fun than we could have hoped! Ravelers sure like to have a good time, and our sponsors made this wonderful party possible for everyone.
Once again - huge, huge thanks to our party sponsors: our premium Buffalo sponsor, Buffalo Gold; our Cashmere sponsors, kpixie.com, Namaste, and The Sweet Sheep; and our Merino sponsors, Jamieson & Smith, Potter Craft, The Loopy Ewe, Lorna’s Laces, Bijou Bison Ranch, and Unicorn Fibre Wash.
For all the sponsors who could come to the party, we hope you had a fantastic time; for all of you who were unable to attend, we just wish you could have seen in person what your contributions made possible! I missed getting a picture of Missa from Kpixie.com (darn!) but here are Michelle (The Sweet Sheep) and on the right, Eileen and Carl (not pictured) from Bijou Basin Ranch and Ron Miskin and his wife from Buffalo Gold:
It was a truly incredible night - we had 400- 500 people at the party, all happy, all having a good time, and the Ravelry community spirit was palpable. We said hello to as many people as we could, thanks again to the fantastic work done by our amazing Team Rav volunteer army, who helped us schlep boxes and set up the party in our beautiful location, handed out buttons and stickers (again) with the drink tickets and door prize tickets, organized the beautiful door prize table, listed them for us so that our giveaway went smoothly, watched the time to make sure we had our giveaway as scheduled, and managed to have some fun and party a little bit, too!
Even Frecklemom was on hand to help out!
Thank you to everyone who helped us out over the course of the weekend - we could not have done it without you. You rock.
When we got up halfway through the party to thank our sponsors, give away our door prizes, and draw the names of the Ravelraiser Dream Stash winners (with JulieFrick!), we looked down to see a room packed full of people, smiling at us and each other. We had a good amount of time to appreciate the view too, as our sponsor and friends were so generous in donating so many great prizes to the giveaway!
The night was a real reminder of the amazing community that Ravelry has become - thank you so much to everyone who spent the evening with us! We're pretty sure the Sheraton is still a little surprised at exactly how many drink tickets our "little knitting and crochet event" used up. ;)
The festival on Sunday was less crowded in general - and this was true of the Ravelry meetup, as well. The weather was perfect, the skies were blue, and we had tables and chairs set up. There was plenty of room to walk around and really talk to everyone who stopped by.
Once again, we met such nice Ravelers and spent the whole rest of the day smiling and recapping stories from our fabulous members. It is really a pleasure to get to meet you all in person at these events - fun to see real, cheerful people and just think, awestruck, about our huge, wonderful community. We can't even try and predict how many people will stop by our meetups and party next year - but we really can't wait to find out!
If you would like to check out more pictures from the meetups and Ravelry Party, please check out our Ravelry Events Flickr Group. If you have pictures from these events that you would like to share, please add them to the pool!
A quick note (not quite as cheery): we wanted to help spread the word from Ravelry user colormaker - she posted in the MDSW group that a shawl from a Clara Parkes' book was stolen from the Brooks Farm booth first thing on Saturday morning. We really hope that this was some kind of accident - that it got hooked on a backpack or something - and if anyone has any information, please contact Clara and let her know! Thanks, everyone!
Mary-Heather, Casey and Jess :)