Showing posts with label Ravelry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ravelry. Show all posts

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Now Doing Knitting Damage on Ravelry

I've set up a Ravelry group for the readers of The Knitting Needle and the Damage Done and/or its accompanying Facebook page. If you're on Ravelry (and of course you are), come join us!

Friday, 7 February 2014

The Queen Susan Shawl

There are many, many reasons for us knitters to love Ravelry, but I think there's one story that is my favourite illustration of just how wonderful Ravelry is. This story began in October 2009, when a Ravelry user posted the above picture of a Shetland lace shawl to the heirloom knitting section of the Ravelry forums, and asked if anyone recognized the border pattern on it.

Little did she know what she'd begun. The Ravelry Heirloom Knitting Forum took up the knitted gauntlet she didn't even know she'd thrown down, and after over a month of cyclical stages of research, charting, swatching, knitting, writing, editing, and proofreading, they recreated the pattern for this shawl, with just one modernization. The shawl shown here was knitted in pieces and sewn together, while in the Ravelry version the shawl is seamless. The centre section is knitted and then the stitches for the border are picked up from the edge of the centre piece and knitted on a circular needle.

The story of the process is told in more detail on Ravelry user Fleegle's blog. The 30 or so people who created the pattern as a collaborative effort decided to name their pattern the Queen Susan Shawl, because several of the ringleaders of the project were named Susan and others had special associations with the name because they had close relatives named Susan. They also decided their pattern should be available for free to all who wanted it.

The Queen Susan Shawl project page is here and the pattern itself is available here. When I knit antique patterns, I often feel like my work is a tribute and a link to the past, but if I were ever to knit this one I think it would feel like a tribute to Ravelry itself.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Ravelry's Top Five Knitting Patterns

Ravelry, a community website for knitters and crocheters, has among its countless wonderful features ways search among and to filter its pattern database. A member can look at patterns rated according to which is "most popular" or which has or is being used for the "most projects" among Ravelry members. Ravelry seems to determine a project's "popularity" according to the total of how many projects, blog posts, forum posts, and comments it has.

I'd say the number of projects a pattern is used for is a better indicator of its real popularity than the amount of buzz there is about it. It's easy to admire a pattern, and to post or comment about it, but the real test of how much you love a pattern is whether you're willing to commit to the time and effort and cost of making it. Ravelry's "most popular" pattern has been used for, as of this writing, 8,047 projects among Ravelry members, while Ravelry's pattern that is most used for projects has 19,986 project pages listed, so you can see there is a divide between the two metrics.

Let's have a look at the current top five most-used knitting patterns on Ravelry.

Clapotis, a scarf pattern, is the knitting pattern that is in the most projects on Ravelry, 19,986 to be exact. I can see why. It is a nice piece. But I think equal weight should be given to the fact that a) it's a Knitty pattern and therefore free, and b) it's quick and easy to knit up, given that it uses an Aran yarn. Most of the most-used patterns on Ravelry are smaller items such as accessories and baby clothes. When one filters the patterns by "most projects", there's only one adult-sized sweater among the 36 items on the first page of results.

This is the second most-used pattern on Ravelry, with 19,241 projects, and it's... a pair of fingerless gloves, entitled Fetching. Well, someone had to be making them, given how often fingerless glove patterns appear in knitting magazines. I must admit they are rather cute, even, well, fetching. They are another Knitty pattern, and a big part of their appeal is that they can be made from a single ball of yarn.

The third most-used pattern, with 18,822 projects, is this Baby Surprise Jacket, which is an Elizabeth Zimmermann design. When I look at the pictures of it, I think I might have guessed who the designer was without being told. Zimmermann could design a piece using nothing but the garter stitch and make it look like a design rather than a beginner project. This is not something I see often.

The fourth-most knitted pattern on Ravelry is this sock pattern, entitled Monkey, with 16,139 projects. I'm not sure I understand why. This is not to say I don't like the pattern, because it is perfectly attractive and well-designed, but I've got another sock pattern among my Ravelry favourites that I like just as well, and it only has 13 projects. Perhaps this sock pattern just got better distribution and publicity. It's appeared in Knit. Sock. Love., appeared on Knitting Daily TV, and is a Knitty pattern. Oh, and it's free, whereas the sock pattern in my favourites is not.

This headband pattern, called Calorimetry, is the fifth-most knitted pattern on Ravelry, with 15,313 projects. At first glance I was going to be rather negative about it, but the more I looked at it, the more good points I saw in it. It's a simple-looking piece, but a lot of care and thought has gone into the design. Unlike pretty much every other headband I've ever seen, it's shaped to cover the top of the head and the ears where warmth is needed, and yet go under a woman's ponytail, bun, or fall of hair. It seems to be reasonably flattering. It is a Knitty pattern and therefore free, and can be made with one ball of yarn. One caveat, though. I'd knit it in a yarn that is varied in colour rather than a solid tone, as that will help hide the shaping, which as you can see from the third picture can look a little rough.