I've raved and raved about Ravelry since I've joined. For those of you NOT familiar with Ravelry, I think of it as FACEBOOK for people who like to knit and crochet. You can find all kinds of patterns for free and for purchase. You can connect with others who share your fiber-related addiction(s). You can search for project ideas based upon what kind of yarn you have, you can see photos of projects completed using patterns you might be considering making, you can keep track of your yarn stash... it just goes on and on.
Over the past year, I've joined a number of groups... people who want to make projects for charity, people who have made a goal to knit from their stash only, people who are making projects from a particular book... the groups go on and on, too. My favorite group is called "12 months = 24 hats"; in this group, we have a shared goal to make at least two chemo caps for charity each month. The other day, I made up a new pattern (quite by accident... I was so full of myself I thought I had a pattern memorized... several rows into the ribbing I realized my mistake - 8 stitches too many - and I decided to improvise a new design instead of ripping it out to start over). A happy accident... a new cap design. I posted a photo of my finished result on the Ravelry "12 months = 24 hats" and, right away, I received a number of requests for the pattern. I did a pretty good job of keeping notes as I was knitting the hat, so I typed it up and posted the pattern PDF on Ravelry. I was so anxious to post the pattern (how fun!) but at the same time I kept wondering if maybe I should make the cap JUST ONE MORE time to double check for errors, changes, whatever.
Would you believe in the matter of about 48 hours, I've had 137 Ravelers add my hat to their list of "favorite" patterns and eight people wrote to me to thank me for the pattern. About 20 people have the hat in their "queues" of things to make and two more folks indicate they have already cast-on! I was looking at my blog statistics today and found a number of folks looking at my blog after visiting another blog in Denmark. This blogger added my hat to her blog and called my pattern "the hat of the day". The blog from the lady in Denmark can be seen here: http://christunte.blogspot.com/2011/10/kemo-hue-chemo-cap.html
I just wanted to share my excitement about this with all of you. It's like my little hat went around the World a few times in just a day or so. This definitely encourages me to come up with more designs and share my ideas through Ravelry. A number of folks who wrote me notes about my cap said they especially appreciated me making the pattern available for FREE. But of course... I love FREE patterns, too! If we use FREE patterns, then we have more money to buy YARN, right?!
Of course, now that my pattern is out there, I do have a little angst... what if someone makes it and doesn't like how it turns out, what if my instructions are confusing, what if someone doesn't like the decrease portion of the hat at the end (I had a tough time with that!)? I kept thinking maybe I should not post the pattern until I had the pattern just right, but then again... maybe I would never have it just right. Despite my angst or concerns, it's been incredibly heart warming to have folks reach out like they have and say, "I like your hat, I like what you've done, it's pretty... Thank you for sharing... I'd like to make this cap, too!"
If you are interested, you can find my pattern here on my blog up on the top, right hand corner listed under FREE: Ribbons of Hope Hat Pattern. You can also find the pattern in a nice printable PDF Format on Ravelry by clicking HERE. If you do make this pattern and have any feedback (positive, negative, or constructive), I would love to hear from you.... seriously. Enjoy and Happy Knitting!