Have you ever started a project, put it down for a while, and then forgotten which hook you used, where you put the pattern, or what your stitch count was supposed to be at some particular point? I do it all the time! That’s why I now try to use the notebook features on Ravelry as much as possible, to keep track of all my projects. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not always the best at keeping up with it. When I do though, I’ve found it to be a great resource and time saver. For example, take a look at a project I just finished – my toe up stripey socks.
In this project info section, you can add a link to the pattern you used. I found out recently (I think it may be a new feature) that you can actually link to multiple patterns! In this case, I took the heel and toe-up design from one pattern, but incorporated the textured stitch pattern from another. Since both patterns were linked here, I didn’t need to carry the patterns around with me. When I needed to refer to either pattern, I could just follow the link – even from my phone, if I had to (and yes, I did, several times.)
Another neat trick I found has to do with the tags. You can “tag” your project with keywords, but did you know you can also organize your projects by creating “sets” based on those tags? Sets you create will show up as tabs in the upper right corner of the project screen. I like to organize my projects based on the year they were completed, but you could easily do it by project type, yarn weight…anything really, as long as you tag your projects consistently.
Next is my absolute favorite section. The minute I start a new project, even if I don’t put in any other info, I always, ALWAYS enter the hook or needle size(s) used. This has been a complete lifesaver more times than I can count! Mostly it helps with crochet, since hooks can easily be taken out of your work. I do use interchangeable needles for knitting though, and sometimes will take the needle tips off if I’m setting a project aside for a while. There’s really nothing worse than coming back to a project that’s nearly finished, but not being able to remember what hook or needle you used.
I also like to link to stash yarns in this section. I (try to) enter yarn into my stash the minute it comes into the house. When I start a project, I link it to yarn that is already in my stash. This way the leftover amounts are tracked in my stash. To determine how much I have used, I weigh the finished project, and then use the yardage/weight listed for that yarn to calculate how many yards I used. In this case I can easily see that I used a little more than half of what I have. Now I know that I do have enough for another pair as long as I use a different yarn for the toe and heel, or make the cuff shorter.
When linking stash this way, in the stash section I can also see a list of all the projects for which I used a particular yarn. This can be helpful for accounting purposes, if you keep track of your yarn usage for a knitting or crochet business.
I’ve been told by friends that I overdo it on the notes section. Whenever someone sees me reading my project notes, they tend to look at me funny and/or roll their eyes. I can’t help it. I like to meddle with patterns. I hardly ever make a pattern exactly the way it’s written, and I hardly ever remember what changes I made. Sometimes it’s just adjusting for gauge, sometimes it’s more. Every time I do something different than what is written in a pattern, I make a note of it – whether that’s substituting a different stitch pattern, or changing stitch counts.
I also try to “show my work” so later I can figure out what was going on in my head when I made some stupid mistake or the other. If I’m using parts of different patterns, I note what parts I’m using from each. If I am using different hook or needle sizes, I note where I used each. I also try to mention how my decisions worked out, and what I might try differently next time. This makes for long notes sometimes, but it really does help.
On this vest/cardi project, for example, the notes go on for several more paragraphs. I took a small sized pattern and sized it up to about a 2X based on my measurements. Even though I started and stopped this project several times over about 6 months, I was able to see all the adjustments I made, and make sure that the 3 pieces all had matching increases and decreases in all the right places. I know I find other peoples modifications useful to look at, particularly when they are thorough in their notes, so I try to write notes that others may find useful as well.
There are of course lots of other features available to manage your projects on Ravelry, but these are the ones that I personally find most helpful. Do you have any Ravelry tips and tricks that work for you? I’d love to hear them!