Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Work in progress

One of the reasons I wanted to build myself a new crafting area is to make it easier for me to undertake sewing projects.  Right now if I want to sew, I do it on the dining room table, and it better be something I can complete in a few hours.  I'd like to leave my sewing machine set up on my new desk and have everything already at hand when I have time to work.

Denizens of Ravelry frequently ask whether there are similar sites for their other hobbies -- needlepoint, cross-stitch, rug-hooking, tatting, etc.  The answer is no, at least with the features that make Ravelry so powerful and unique.  But at least one group has attempted to apply a self-consciously Ravelry-esque model to sewing, and the result is

Ravelers will find the site familiar, from the "notebook" where they can link their projects to patterns and fabrics, to the lower-case sans-serif typeface used throughout.

Right now it's small, but growing.  Evidence that things are going right is easy to come by.  I entered my projects yesterday, and for one of them, the pattern (an internet freebie) wasn't yet in the database.  As I would on Ravelry, I created the pattern entry myself, entering all the information, then linking it to my project.

When I went back to the site today and took a look at my notebook, I saw that the pattern now had an official picture in the database.  Somebody scanning the newly entered patterns had gone to the site where it appears and found a picture they could attach to the database record for the pattern.

What that says to me is that the site is already populated by people who care about making it useful.  They tend the garden, water and weed what's planted by the whole user population, keep everything tidy, and jump in to contribute where they see a need.

That's what's made Ravelry so successful -- a combination of site design that makes user contributions easy and rewarding, and a community that quickly evolved folkways of service.  Seeing those same attributes at gives me confidence that the site has what it takes to become the elusive "Ravelry for sewing" that so many are looking for.  And just as Ravelry has made me a better, more prolific, and more adventurous knitter -- by leaps and bounds -- I'm hoping will improve my skills and inspire my efforts.

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