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Reveling in Ravelry

Posted By TNNA Editor, Thursday, December 14, 2017
Updated: Monday, December 11, 2017

Reveling in Ravelry

By Anita M. Wheeless

According to Urban Dictionary, ravelry (n.) is a "term derived from revelry and ravel; a knitting or crocheting party or celebration."¹ That's our kind of party! If you’re not one of the nearly 7 million registered members, what are you waiting for? You don’t need an invitation to join this party. In fact, signing up is free and opens a veritable treasure trove of all things fiber.

Celebrating its 10th year of existence, husband-and-wife team Casey and Jessie Forbes started Ravelry in 2007. Jessie, a knitter, wanted a one-stop resource, where knitters could go for yarn and pattern information. She thought there had to be an easier way to find inspiration and information than constantly searching knitting blogs. Co-founder Casey describes Ravelry as “a community site, organizational tool, and research tool (pattern and yarn database and discovery) for knitters and crocheters.”² In reality, it’s all this and so much more.

Imagine a place where thousands of people who are as passionate about the fiber arts as you are gather to share inspiration, projects, techniques, suggestions, etc. This same place allows you to keep track of all your downloaded patterns, catalog all the fiber arts books you own, store photos and notes of all your projects (past, present and future!) …and connect you to a world-wide community of other people who like to knit, weave, spin, crochet and collect yarn as much as you do!

While other internet applications have sprouted up over the years and, no doubt, will continue to do so, Ravelry, to me as a knitter, is still the best single site to use …whether I’m looking for a project to try, or looking to connect with people, including my customers.

I find that one of the most interesting features is the ability to upload the book titles you own and, when searching for a pattern, if it’s in one of your own books, the search will let you know. This is extremely useful. I have so many books, many by the same author. It’s difficult for me to remember exactly which book any given project might be found.

If I wanted to knit up Elizabeth Zimmerman’s famous “Baby Surprise Jacket,” for instance, but can’t remember which book I own that has this pattern in it, all I have to do is a quick search in my Ravelry library.

What pops up? Two books with the pattern: “Knitting Workshop” and “The Opinionated Knitter.” I didn’t even remember I owned both! Another useful feature is the ability to see and connect with others who have worked from the same pattern.

Here’s an example: years ago, while I was working from a pattern for an entrelac sweater for my niece, I ran into a few trouble spots. I looked up the pattern on Ravelry and found others who had also knit this sweater. I read their notes, looked closely at the photos they had uploaded and, finally, I messaged them, through Ravelry. They kindly wrote back with tips and strategies for workarounds. This is an amazing feature.

You can also contact the designers, themselves. And, if you are a designer, you can feature your patterns for free or for sale. 

As a member of the Ravelry community, you can start a group to discuss just about anything … or join a group who is discussing the particular things you like to knit, from fans of Dr. Seuss to Dr. Who and everyone in between, there’s a group for you on Ravelry!

There are so many incredible things that Ravelry can do, it’s worth your while to check out these sites for more in-depth descriptions.



*As of September, 2017, Ravelry has over 7,000,000 registered users


About Anita M. Wheeless

Anita Mumm Wheeless has been a member of TNNA since 2012, and has been certified as a knitting instructor by the Craft Yarn Council. A former newspaper writer/editor, she designs knitting patterns for toys and novelties. Leisure Arts published her book, “Storybook Dolls to Knit” in 2011. Her patterns are also featured on, and You can find her on and Love Knitting. She maintains a website: and a blog: Connect with Anita on Twitter @AnitaPatternBox or by email:

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