Tag Archives: ravelry

Swap, swap, swap. Swappy, swap, swap.

I was trying to think of something new to talk about today, and it occurred to me that I have never written about Ravelry swaps!    Shocking!

I don’t do them as much as I used to, but every year I try to get in at least one or two.  When I was in college and grad school, I almost always had a swap or two going, just so that I had something fun to work on in-between all the lab work and exams.

So what is a swap?  You remember having a pen-pal as a kid? It’s kind of like that, but instead of sending a crummy letter that your third-grade teacher made you write, you send a whole box of amazing crafts!

There are swaps built around themes (favorite books, TV shows, movies), favorite crafts (spinning, knitting, weaving), locations (German swaps, English swaps, American swaps), and there are swaps for every budget.

While the rules change depending on which group you swap with, generally, you are required to do the following:

  1. Sign up through a Ravelry group, and commit yourself to sending your swap package by a certain day.
  2. Then, post a general likes/dislikes listfor your swapper to use to tailor their package to you.
  3. Check in once a week to let everyone know you haven’t run away or died.
  4. And, after you’ve done your planning and stalking (and crafting and shopping), you send your package off to your partner, and someone sends a package to you!

Super fun!  Everyone loves getting packages, after all!

Here are three groups I’ve swapped with in the past, but definitely look around on Ravelry for more swaps- there are dozens!

Swap on a Budget:  This is a general-interest swap for people who don’t want to break the bank.  Fill a shoebox with less than $20 worth of goodies (including a skein of yummy yarn!) and send it on its way!

indexThe Odd Duck Swaps of Ravelry:  This is a group of special one-time themed swaps.  Each month they’ll change their theme (usually based on TV shows or movies).3985242220_7b67999d12Reducio Sock: Mini Sock Swap:  This might be my favorite swap group!  But, that’s because its theme is so perfectly aligned with my interests.  Miniature Harry Potter packages!  If you’re an HP nerd (or a miniatures nerd), like me, then definitely check this one out!

Reducio_Sock_banner_copyHave you ever participated in a swap on Ravelry?  How did it go?

Get Ready! It’s the Olympics!

Apparently, I have a sports blog now.  (Go Seahawks, by the way!)

Are you excited about the Olympics?  I know I am.  So much knitwear (at least in the parade of nations), so many sequins (at least in the Ice Dancing), and so much Argyle (thank you Norwegian Curling Team).

norway-curling-team-olympics-red-checkered-pants-21351780812d806d_largeI am so excited about the Olympics, I’m going to be participating in the Ravellenic Games this year, in the Sweaterboard Cross event.

Ravellenics2014banner.3What the heck does that mean?

Basically, a whole bunch of ladies (and gents) over on Ravelry get together (virtually) every time the Olympics roll around.  They cast on a project during the opening ceremony, and try to have their projects off their needles by the end of the closing ceremony, two weeks later.   It’s all about pushing yourself, trying new things, and finish something awesome while watching people do awesome sports things that you totally could do to, if you really felt like it.

My Olympics project will be a nice cozy wool pullover with a slip stitch/color work yoke and cuffs.  My goal is to design, knit, and write up a pattern for the sweater by the end of the Olympics, which will definitely be a stretch.  But that’s the whole point of the Ravellenic Games!  To try something new, something that you didn’t think you could do.

Get ready to cast on on Friday!

Are you going to take part in the games?  What do you think your project will be?

Do you want to be my friend?

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Since I’ve started this blog, I’m really curious to see who would be interested in reading my ramblings on all things yarn.   And since we’ve (I’ve) been talking about Ravelry all week, let’s meet up online.

This is just a bit of shameless self-promotion, but I’d love it if you would become my Ravelry friend!

My screen name is onemilljellybeans.  If you click here, you’ll be taken to my page where you can befriend me and say howdy.

Or, you can “Favorite” my designer page by clicking here.  And, you can see all my original designs (so far… I have more coming up soon that I will be adding to both the blog and my pattern page).

See you soon!

The Search for the Perfect Pattern

My absolute favorite part of Ravelry is its searchable pattern database.  It’s super useful.

Imagine, if you will, that you want to knit a small stuffed animal bird.  You don’t want to pay for a pattern, and you also don’t want to have to sew any seams.  That’s a lot of things to have to search for, if you’re just Googleing for it.  Instead, let’s see what we can find using Ravelry’s advanced search tool.

Open up Ravelry, click on Patterns, then click on the “pattern browser & advanced search” button.  (Ravelry was designed by knitters, not by web designers, which is kind of obvious by its semi-terrible user interface.)

Patterns 1

This brings us to a page of ALL of the patterns currently on Ravelry.  If you really wanted to, you could just go page by page and see everything.  Sometimes it’s fun to browse the patterns, but today we’re on a mission.  We’re going to use the search bar and filters to narrow down the patterns that are available to us.  Take some time to see what filters there are available.  Some of the filters are obvious: knitting vs. crochet, free vs. paid, type of item that the pattern is for (sweaters, soft toys, tablecloths, etc.).  Some of the filters are super specific: design elements (lace, ribbing, etc.), construction details (top down, short row shaping, etc.).  Poke around and see what they’ve got.Patterns 2

Every time you click on a filter, you’ll notice that the patterns start to match your selections.  We wanted to knit a bird stuffed animal with no seams, and we wanted the pattern for free, so I clicked on the following filters:

-Free

-Knitting

-Seamless

-Softies

and I put the word “bird” in the search bar, since there isn’t a filter for “Bird.”

Look at all those seamless, free bird patterns!

Patterns 3

When you find one you like, you can click on the picture, and you’ll bring up the pattern page.  From there, you’ve got some options.  Ravelry will link you to where you can find the pattern (in the middle of the page).  Or you can save the pattern in your “Favorites” or your “Queue.”  OR, you could “Cast On” and start a project page for yourself right away.

Patterns 4

I hope this makes your pattern-finding quests a little easier!  Poke around the site and see what you can find.  What else do you use Ravelry for?

Ravelry 101

ravelry login screenIf you’re into knitting and have been near a computer for more than a hot minute, you’ve probably heard about Ravelry.  It’s sort of a Facebook for knitters.  But it’s sooo much more useful than that (Facebook is kind of dumb… don’t shoot me).

Ravelry is free to sign up for, and they don’t send spam or anything.  If you’re even vaguely interested in knitting or crocheting, you should sign up for an account.

There are about a million things that you can do with Ravelry, but I use it mainly for a couple things:

  1. Keeping track of finished projects.  If you’re anything like me, half of what you make goes to friends and family across the country and you never see it again.  Taking pictures of your finished and uploading them to Ravelry gives you a nice trip down memory lane and a great sense of accomplishment.  Also, filling out the yarn/needles/size info can be helpful if you ever want to make a project again.
  2. Talking to other knitters.  This is especially useful if you’re in a small town without a big knitting community, or if you’re teaching yourself by watching YouTube videos (and reading my blog!).  Have a problem with a pattern?  Questions about learning to spin?  Wrestling with a particularly nasty cable pattern?  Post your questions to one of the groups, and people will totally help you out.  Or, you can use the Ravelry groups as a way to totally geek out about whatever it is that you geek out about.  Is it Doctor Who or Harry Potter?  Maybe you’re really into gardening?  Or stock car racing?  There is a group for you.
  3. Finding new patterns.  Ravelry has the biggest searchable database of patterns.  You can sort by almost anything you want.  Want a women’s drop shoulder cardigan on size 3 needles with cables?  You can totally search for that.  Looking for a toy squirrel that uses short row shaping?  You can find that too.  (I’ll show you more about searching on Ravelry on Wednesday.)

So, my point is.  Ravelry:  try it.  It’s a great resource.  You don’t have to use everything, but I guarantee that there is something that it does that you would appreciate.

(FYI,  Ravelry didn’t pay me for this review.  But if they wanted to send me some yarn or something, I would totally be ok with that.)

Socks II: The Resockening

I just realized that I hadn’t made an official pattern of my Sock Week  Month Tutorial.  Here it is, in a nice .pdf format for your printing pleasure.  I also have the pattern saved in my “Pattern Library” page along with all the other patterns I’ve posted here.  And, you can see all my patterns on Ravelry.

Socks by the Numbers

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