Even before you create an account at Ravelry, you can read the Unraveled blog and follow the site's Twitter feed. The blog includes news about the site and current online sales there. Featured bloggers include Jessica and Casey Forbes who own and run the site, and their fellow staff member Mary-Heather. Site mascot and Forbes family member Bob, a Boston terrier, also has his own page at the blog.
To sign up for a Ravelry account, you'll need to submit your e-mail address. Early in the site's history, this could be followed by months of waiting for an invitation [source: Y]. Now, your invitation code e-mail arrives immediately, and you can just click the link in your e-mail to finish setting up your account.
While you're logged in at Ravelry, you can update your profile with a few details you want to share about yourself, including your favorite curse word. From the Ravelry home page, you can read the Ravelry newsletter, search the site for resources and even get help using the site. You can also link to Ravelry's store with promotional items like T-shirts and buttons that promote the Web site.
You can access your own personal corner of the site from the "My Notebook" tab at the top of each page. In your notebook, you can manage your friends and groups and access your messages. You can even see your blog posts from another Web site if you linked to that blog in your profile settings. To help with your yarn artistry, you can also use the following tools:
- Projects -- Add your projects, track your progress, link to the yarns and patterns you used, and share photos
- Stash -- List the current yarns you have, and use the site to search and identify the brand, color and store where you bought it
- Queue -- List your future projects and bookmark a link that lets you add projects to your queue when browsing the site
- Favorites -- Add and manage your favorite projects, yarns, patterns, designers, forum posts and ads
- Needles & hooks -- Check off which knitting needles and crochet hooks you have, and print a small guide to use offline
- Library -- List the books, magazines, PDF files and other sources you have in your library of patterns
- Purchases -- Track your purchases and contributions made through Ravelry
When you want to share a pattern you created or a yarn that you've spun, you can use the Contributions feature in your Ravelry notebook. Other Ravelry members can search and use anything you contribute here. You can elect to give your patterns away for free, or you can charge for the pattern or yarn you contribute.
A member of Ravelry may simply be a hobbyist, or possibly a professional or dealer hoping to promote his or her business. Each time you search for patterns, yarns or people from their respective tabs, your results include a mixture of these types of members. You can also use the Forums and Groups tabs to find other members who share common interests or just want to discuss a particular topic, and join in to contribute. While socializing, if you enjoy the contributions or postings from a particular member, use the button on his or her profile page to add that person to your friends.