Monday, January 11, 2010

Where I Get My Yarn Geek On

So my friend Tim asked me if I knew of any Stitch n' Bitches for his wife in the area and I figured I'd just shoot type up a massive post with all my yarn-related secrets in it. So this is it. This is where I get my amazingness from. Specifically, Ravelry and Craftster.

Ravelry
http://www.ravelry.com/

Ravelry is a community of knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, dyers.. pretty much anyone who likes or uses yarn. It's main purpose is for people to keep track of their yarn, tools, pattern information, as well as look to others for ideas and inspiration. Everything is user-driven. Users can submit patterns for others to download or purchase, either that they've created or bought themselves. There is a large library of patterns for pretty much anything and everything you can imagine, with helpful comments from either the designer or other users. You can view other user's versions of a pattern or project for inspiration or hints (I find the images extremely helpful), and comment on them yourself. You can also rate patterns and yarns and search by that accordingly.

This is where I find most of my patterns and project ideas. I love using the site to keep track of my in-progress, completed, frogged and future projects. They have a very useful queue feature, along with a "Favorites" list. When searching for new patterns there are several filtering options and user comments and images are always helpful. You can even search for comments that other users have rated as helpful! I really like that feature when I'm tackling a new stitch or more difficult pattern.

They have user groups and forums for general chit-chat, tutorials, help, bragging, etc. There's a groups of people from the site that meet on Friday's at the Borders in McCarthy Ranch over in Milpitas.

I highly recommend signing up for the site if you haven't already. Feel free to add me as a friend and flip through my projects, if you like. My username is tar3820 there (and pretty much everywhere).

Craftster.org
http://craftster.org
I'm pretty sure you might already know about Craftster, but if not I'll give you a quick overview of what I use it for.

Craftster was my default knitting/crochet website before Ravelry came around. It's a forum board site for all crafts, with boards just for Crochet and Knitting. There are tutorials and help boards, as well as a listing of Completed Projects. I used to browse the Completed Projects board for inspriation and the free patterns that people sometimes post. The Users there are generally very helpful with any crafting questions that you might have. I find it is a great sounding board now for trying out new patterns and finding out if something I've thought up would sell, either as a pattern or final product. The users on Craftster are very supportive and positive. It's a great place to post something that you want to have "oooOooo"ed and "Awwwww"ed over.

I mostly use Craftster now for its Craft Swaps, where you sign up for a theme and swap crafted goodies with a partner from somewhere else in the world. There are Craft Swaps for pretty much any theme you can think of and if there isn't, you can organize one yourself. I've participated in 5 so far and I'm organizing my first currently. It's a great way to branch out from what you would normally make for yourself or family members. You end up seeing how other users approach crafts and the different technics that can be used to create a more amazing final product. It's also a great way to branch into other crafts and recieve positive feedback on even the tinyest thing.

There are forums on Craftster for community connections but it's pretty broad and I've never really looked at it. Ravelry is better at giving people the ability to group together by location, so I usually just look there for community stuff.