My conference in Arlington, Virginia was a very good one on several levels. Overall, my expectations for conferences have nudged downward over the years, in spite of some very beneficial experiences, but I’m always willing to be pleasantly surprised. This was one of those times. I attended 14 regular sessions over three days and took tons of notes. I also attended a half-day postconference that I enjoyed very much – and was able to make at least one contribution… Ravelry.
Before the session started, as we were waiting for others to show up, I decided to ask presenter Steven M. Cohen (his blog) something I’ve been wondering about for a while. So I approached him, and the conversation went something like this:
Me: “Do you know if there are many specialized websites that combine lots of ‘2.0’ social software functions and resources in one place?”
SMC: “Oh, yeah, forums have been around for a long time.”
Me: “No, I know that, but this one has a whole bunch of functionalities like messaging and groups and LibraryThing and projects and, well…”
SMC: “Maybe it would be easier if you can show me.”
Me: “Definitely.” I type in ‘ravelry.com’. Login page displays.
SMC: While I am logging in, “Oh, that’s nice!” (This guy can spot good stuff on a website in microseconds.) Then, as I click on the drop-down for my notebook…
“Wow, this is great! My wife is going to love this. I’ve gotta send her an email right now!” Sending message to her as we speak…
Me: “It’s still in beta, so she may have to wait a little while before she can get in. There are over 100,000 people who have joined so far.”
SMC: “That’s a LOT of members!”
Actually, I never did get the answer to my original question, but I’m thinking that Ravelry really is as unique as I think it is. I never did get to show him some of the great resources like the pattern and yarn search features, project tracking and sharing, etc., etc. But I figure his wife will clue him in to the fine points before too long.
Ravelry also connected me up with a number of other knitters in a couple of ways. I got to meet several of them because of a thread I started in the RaveLibrarians group about the conference – so we hooked up over lunch and got acquainted a little. AND I learned a new technique for left-handed purling. I haven’t had a chance to try it yet, but think it may be just the thing for me. (Thanks again, literatec!)
One of the group members also mentioned a Stitch ‘n’ Bitch group in the DuPont Circle area.The conference used to be held in that part of Washington DC, and this get-together was the perfect excuse for hubby and me to make the trek back over to familiar ground one evening. So I met still more charming local knitters!
Any knitters or crocheters out there who have not had a look at Ravelry really NEED to go there! You may not use all of its offerings (or you may get addicted), but I guarantee that it has plenty to offer, and you have things to offer your fellow fiber folks as well. Trust me on this.
The skies cleared for our free time after the conference, and the cherry trees were in full bloom. We walked our legs off, and had a lovely time, but were definitely ready to head back home!