12 August 2007

It's All Ravelry's Fault, You Know

I've been busy, playing with yarn, sorting yarn, photographing yarn, rearranging bins of yarn, counting yarn, sorting needles, measuring needles, rearranging needles, sorting crochet hooks, rearranging hooks, and generally collecting and tidying all my notions and gadgets. It's really been cutting into my knitting time. On the other hand, my yarn bins are getting very tidy and organized.

This is all the result of my joining Ravelry. I'd considered starting a stash spreadsheet many times, but I'd never gotten beyond thinking about it. No, throwing similar types of yarn into the same bins to eventually root through them, finding yarn I'd forgotten entirely, was my style, not the organized entering of yarn into a database.

Ravelry has done all the stash database work. They've set up the database and volunteers like myself have entered the details of an immense number of yarns. All I have to do is enter the name, click to get a list of entered yarns, find the right one, add a few details and a photo, and hit save.

Ravelry is still in beta, so it doesn't have all the features it eventually will. Right now it isn't possible to sort through the database looking for all the dk-weight cotton yarn in my stash, for example, but I'm pretty sure it eventually will. They've added a number of features since I signed on.

Ravelry is about to make its move to much more capable servers, which will mean that they'll soon be able to make it available to everyone. They're really up against practical limits right now, which is why they've been so slow to bring new users in. When they get to the new servers and come out of beta, I predict a huge reduction in the number of stitches knitted for a while. I just hope it doesn't happen in the major gift knitting season, making knitters late for the holidays.

If you're on the waiting list for Ravelry, let me repeat some advice. Start photographing your yarn stash and your projects and upload the photos to Flickr. I name the yarn photos with the name of the company and the name of the yarn and put the color name and number, plus dyelot number, into the description under the photo. If the yarn's in the database, that and the number of skeins is all you need to know. Projects aren't much harder, because so many patterns have been entered.

You might want to get a paid account at Flickr, so you can upload as many photos per month as you want. I pay $25 a year for unlimited uploads and unlimited photos.

I'm just a user of both Ravelry and Flickr, by the way. I give them money, not the other way around. I really like what I get for my money and I intend to keep getting it, but that's the extent of my relationship with either organization.

No comments: