Sunday, January 6, 2013

Ravelry Forums, a new cowl and RAP

If you know me at all, you know I am constantly hovering around Ravelry, looking at patterns, checking out the FOs posted by friends, reading forum topics, (I am in 82 groups!) and when I am not on Ravelry, I might be lurking on the Facebook Knitters Group page or watching the Twitter chat as it streams. I joined Plurk, but at the moment, I am not really very good at navigating that social media site.

So, why do I confess all of this to you? First, I guess it might explain why I have so much going on when I do post here. I am like a sponge. I want to soak up as much info as I can and then do something with it. Second, I wanted to share one of the many sources of inspiration that keeps my needles a-clicking.

Here is what happened to me. On Thursday evening, I got a Ravelry message inviting me to the forum group of Bristol Ivy Designs. A message from the designer, Bristol Ivy! Does her name sound remotely familiar? Maybe you know her from patterns she has listed in the extensive collection on the Quince and Co. Yarn website? Or, perhaps you know her from her patterns in Jared Flood's Wool People collection? There are now four Wool People "look books" filled with stunning and classic designs made with yarn from Jared's Shelter and Loft yarns. Bristol works at Brooklyn Tweed. Lucky girl!

So back to my inspiration/invitation story. After clicking accept to Bristol's invitation to join her group, I navigated to the forum page. I read what had been happening on the boards in the short time since it started. One thread was to introduce yourself, another was to name your favorite Bristol Ivy pattern. (I have to share that while putting this post together I checked and found that there are now over 225 members of her group!)

Anouk Cowl, Photo copyrighted by Carrie Bostick Hoge Used with permission.

My favorite pattern has been Anouk Cowl ever since I saw it in an email from Quince and Co. The styling lured me in and the charm of the photography clamped down on me like a bear trap. Well, not exactly, but maybe you get my drift?  So, I commented on the Favorite Pattern thread and went on to the next topic, like a butterfly in the garden, (I float and drift and get distracted like nobody's business).

Malabrigo Twist, colorway Zinc
But the next day, I kept thinking about the pattern. Since Friday is a payday, I treated myself to Anouk Cowl.

Now, I have to tell you that I have come a long way from the beginning of my knitting habit, where I only shopped for yarn in big box stores or in the sale bins at my LYS. I would only select from patterns that could be had for free on Ravelry or in the knitting magazines I bought for half price with my AC Moore coupons.

Fast forward to now. I shop for yarn that makes me happy, that feels so soft or squooshy or has colors that just makes me smile. I download Ravelry patterns, patterns that I pay for. You see I admire the creativity of knitters who can come up with something beautiful. I envy their skill and patience to write down lucid (most times) directions and post it for sale on Ravelry.  I believe that paying $5.00 or $6.00 for a pattern is not excessive. I want to show my support, and so I rationalize my expenditures in this way. Don't judge, you may find yourself putting some patterns that you like into your  Ravelry Shopping Cart sooner than you think. (More about the shopping cart later).

So, back to the story. Lucky for me, I had the perfect yarn in stash, and the needles I needed were free. I cast on Friday after work and enjoyed the knitting of this design. The pattern is easy to follow, the combination of stitches was not challenging, but kept me engaged. By Sunday I had cast off and marveled at the simplicity and classic lines of the cowl.

Anouk by Bristol Ivy
Does this ever happen to you? You see a pattern and it calls to you until you create your project page and cast on? It has been happening frequently now that it is the "Knit for Self" month! Some bloggers are suggesting we treat ourselves after all of the work we churned out and gave away last month.

There is a KAL for Bristol's Sallah Cowl, a free pattern on Ravelry that calls for variegated fingering weight yarn. It is knit on the bias and I'll wager the play of colors will keep you engaged as knit. The pattern was featured in Knitty, Winter 2012. Maybe I will see you and your project photos there?

Wait! One more thing! I want you to be aware of RAP. No, not that music that most people dislike. You know Random Acts of Kindness right? This is very similar. RAP stands for Random Act of Pattern. On Tuesdays, many Ravelry folks are buying and sending a pattern to a friend or a podcaster or even a stranger. They might send a pattern they like and think you should try, or they might check out what you have in your Ravelry shopping cart. Who thought this up you ask? Who is the genius behind this marketing ploy? Some top executive sitting behind a desk in a corner office somewhere?

No. The person we have to thank for this fun and philanthropic trend is Karrie of the KnitPurlGurl podcast and blog. She suggested it, and because so many people follow her, it has become a successful event.

It is important to note that the RAP has grown exponentially because so many knitters want to honor Karrie. Karrie died suddenly just before Christmas, and the loss was felt far and wide.

I don't have the details about her passing, but I do know that many people crocheted Christmas tree ornaments to send to her family. You see the family had moved recently and all of the snowflakes Karrie had made were lost. I don't know how many snowflakes were sent but I know many podcasters and bloggers were instrumental in spreading the word.

Another way the knitting community showed support was by participating in the KAL (Knit Alongs) of Karrie's patterns. I know a number of people who made the Crosswords at the Coffeeshop shawl. The sales from these patterns will be a small assist to a family that has lost so much. If you want more info on this, you can go to the "In Memory of KnitPurlGirl" forum to read more and see some of the beautiful projects people have made in her honor.

That's it folks. I sit here, alone with all this cool stuff that I find. I have all these things I want to share and I hope it will create a bit of inspiration for you to begin a KAL or a RAP or perhaps find a forum group you'd like to be a part of.

Tomorrow, Downton Abbey.

3 comments:

Stitched Together said...

I don't think you were the only one who started out trying to make their hobby as cheap as possible. I was exactly the same. Then slowly as I started getting some good yarn in a sales bin, I realised that lovely yarn makes for a lovely knitting experience and a lovely final finished item. I also realised that a well written pattern makes all the difference in how much I enjoy knitting something too. It was at that point when I started feeling happy about buying more expensive yarn at full price and the shelling out for individual patterns.

Inky077 said...

Oh Happy Day! Someone else who loves the patterns, designers and yarn choices at Quince & Co. as much as I do! What a wonderful post - very informative, inspiring and just the thing to get my creative juices flowing to knit something for MYSELF LOL.

Evelyn said...

I'm with you! A few dollars for a well-written and beautiful design is well worth it. I'm all for supporting and enjoying creativity!