I will admit to not using all the great resources of Ravelry nearly as much as I ought to. Not only is it a great place to meet other knitters with similar interests from around the world, share and find new patterns and learn from other knitters, it's also a wonderful resource for knitters who need to be more organized.
I've long said that I wanted to be able to put my whole stash online, and while I haven't gotten very far yet, I plan to make more of an effort on that front -- and using the site in other ways -- soon.
How Ravelry Can Help You Get Organized
Even if you aren't interested in the social networking and message board aspects of Ravelry, there are still plenty of reasons to sign up to the site and use it to get more organized in your knitting life.
It's easy -- if you're organized to start with or can motivate yourself to organize your yarn -- to use Ravelry to keep track of your stash, your needle supply, the books you own, projects you want to knit and more.
Keeping Track of Your Stash
The main component of Ravelry that is helpful for organization is called "my notebeook." Here's where you can store all sorts of information about your knitterly life and easily access it when you want to knit a new pattern or are just wondering where those four skeins of Malabrigo might have ended up.
When you click on your notebook, the second option on the far left menu is for stash. Click on it, then click on "add new yarn" to start building your virtual stash.
When you add a yarn you can include as much or as little information as you want, including:
- where you bought it
- how much you paid
- yarn brand, weight, color, dye lot and yardage (the basics will fill in automatically when you link the yarn to entries already in the system)
- how much of the yarn you have
- where it is located in your home
You can also include tags to make it easier to find the yarn you're looking for once you have your whole stash in the system (things like wool, lace, etc.) and add notes, if, for instance, you know what you'd like to make with a particular yarn.
Keeping Track of Needles and Books
A similar category exist for needles. Called needles and hooks, this section allows you to inventory crochet hooks and knitting needles of all sizes, and you can include information such as the length, material, brand or anything else you want. A handy printable chart can go in your knitting bag or purse so if you happen to be looking at a pattern away from home you'll know whether you need needles to complete it.
The library tab allows you to add books, magazines, booklets and PDF patterns to virtual bookshelves. All you do is search for the title, pick the correct one from a list and it automatically shows up on your shelf. Click on the book and you'll see all the patterns and can easily add them to your queue or just see other people's versions.
Some people's Ravelry queues are epic wishlists containing every pretty pattern they come across but, like stash, they'll never all get knit in that person's lifetime.
Other knitters are more particular, only putting items in their queues that they really intend to knit. I'm one of those. As of this writing there were just 7 things in my queue; I have the yarn to knit all of them. Granted, two of the projects have been on there since 2008, but I will knit them someday. Really I will.
Any time you look at a pattern on Ravelry you have the option of adding it to your queue. You can then say which yarn you'll use (it's easy to find what you have in your stash if you have that already organized), who you're making it for and when you want to have it done.
When you're ready to knit, click on "start project" and it will move to your projects area, where you can upload pictures, add notes and more. Here you'll have a visual record of completed projects and contribute to the collected knowledge contained in Ravelry by sharing your opinion of the patterns you knit.
Getting organized with Ravelry can be pretty daunting, especially if you already have a big stash and library. But if you set aside a little time every day for a few weeks, or once a week for a few months, you can get at least some of your stash better organized, which can only be a good thing. And the more you play with it the more you'll want to have in your personal notebook, so it's organization that begets more organization. How cool is that?