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August 11th, 2019

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What are pattern highlights?

Pattern Highlights is a unique-to-you section of Ravelry where you can see new patterns based on criteria that you set. From Casey: “I created this because with 6000+ patterns added to Ravelry each month, it’s impossible to keep up. Highlights shows the newest patterns from selected designers and you can customize how those selections are made.”

You can see your Pattern Highlights by going to the Patterns section of the main Ravelry navigation. On that page, it’s the fourth section in the right column if you’re on a desktop computer, and the fifth section down if you’re on a mobile device. You’ll see a few thumbnails of patterns are linked to their respective pages. You can also click the “view your highlights” link to go to a page with a two week history of the patterns added to your highlights.

How do I customize what shows in my pattern highlights?

Once you’re on your Highlights page, you’ll see a link at the very top that says “Customize Your Highlights.” When you click on that, it will expand to show you all the options for 1. what crafts to include and 2. patterns to highlight, where you can toggle on and off the sources that will feed your pattern Highlights. I often favorite designers so that I know their new patterns will show up on my Highlights.

One really cool way to feed your Highlights is by favoriting Bundles. Bundles are groups of anything that you can favorite in the Ravelry database: patterns, yarns, stores, designers, dyers, etc. If you favorite a whole Bundle, any patterns added to that Bundle will also show up in your Pattern Highlights. Bundles can be created by people, designers, and groups, and if you click into a Bundle you can always favorite it by clicking the heart in the upper right. (And not to worry: if you want to add a Bundle to your favorites but don’t want the patterns to show up in your Highlights, just uncheck the box next to the Bundle name, which you can see in the above screenshot.)

Pssst – There are some really awesome Bundles being put together by groups! We love this Designer Bundle by the Solidarity Swap group. Shout out to the mods who worked hard to put it together: GeordieKnitss, ifitaintkate, masteryarnsmith, MelissaFauna, putyourflareon, sydneysm01, and TyneSwedish.

At the bottom of the Customize Your Highlights settings, you’ll also see a link that says “add your own custom selections!” Clicking this will take you to an Advanced Search page where you can check any search filters you want, then click Add to Highlights in the upper right.

You’ll then see that custom search saved in your Highlights alongside your favorited Bundles. And that’s it! Now you know how to view and customize your Pattern Highlights. Have fun!

Eye Candy: Contrast

March 28th, 2019

Raveler BTknits wears a high-contrast Bohéme pullover
BTknits in her Snow Drift pullover

Today’s Eye Candy post was inspired by these high-contrast sweaters, which caught my eye when looking at recently finished projects.

AlajaCaddell wearing a crocheted Cobblestone Raglan SewPerfectPurls modeling her 
Rusty Tuku

I love the colorblocking that AlajaCaddell added to the sleeves of her crocheted Cobblestone Raglan, and the striking textured stripes of SewPerfectPurls’ beautiful Rusty Tuku.

thevibrantpixel smiling in her finished 
Koivua Test Bex shows off her Jailbird Blouse

The shifts in color of the contrasting yarn just pop in thevibrantpixel’s Koivua Test; Bex’s Jailbird Blouse looks perfectly retro, modern, and chic all at once.

melanieripley models her Knitorious sweater MrsCraftsandBeer smiles in her 
Black and White Emma Cardigan

melanieripley’s bold Knitorious pays homage to the one and only Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her wonderful collars; MrsCraftsandBeer looks rightfully pleased with her perfectly cozy Black and White Emma Cardigan.

Eye Candy: Spring

March 21st, 2019

Coat for Roxane by breeknit

Spring started this week in the Northern Hemisphere, though some areas may still be feeling like winter. In Texas, spring is in full effect so while looking for projects, I found myself drawn to things that reminded me of spring. To start, the Coat for Roxane by breeknit above is such a great yellow, and the perfect garment to transition from winter to spring.

I love how cheery these potholders, coasters & dishcloths are. They make me want to decorate for spring. Anne-MetteB’s Granny square potholders IV, Lindsay79’s Rainbow Dishtowel and sticksnspokes’ Coasters and plant holder.

These sweaters remind me of spring, in color and pattern, regardless of the fact that one of them has snow in the picture behind it! Pou-Pou’s Yell for Mari, Bromache’s Crumb and vanessatran’s Wool and Honey.

I hope that no matter what the weather where you are, these cheery projects brightened your day!

Today we’re going to revisit one of my favorite features on Ravelry: Subscribing to Saved Searches. This is a great feature if you like to check the Ravelry database periodically for new patterns that have been uploaded, and fit a set of Advanced Search criteria that you get to decide.

Let’s say that I love knitting baby hats to give as gifts whenever I’m invited to a baby shower (I do!). I also like to crank out some hats even if I don’t have a shower coming up, so that I have some backup gifts ready to go (also true). And I’ve knit basically every baby hat pattern there is on Ravelry, so I like to know in real time when a new one is added to the database (this part = definitely not true).

First, I go to Advanced Search and apply some filters on the left, like Craft: Knitting and Category: Beanie-Toque. Because I want to always see the newest baby hats at the top, I sort by “New to Ravelry”:

Once all of my filters are applied (you can see all the ones I applied in the above screenshot here), I can save the search by clicking the save search button in the upper left. This will open a little window that asks me to…

  1. Name my saved search (I’ve named mine “New Baby Hats”)
  2. Whether I want to subscribe to this search (I ticked Yes)

Because I subscribed, a magical thing will now happen: whenever a new baby hat pattern is added to Ravelry that fits my saved search criteria, a little blue dot will appear next to the magnifying glass in the top navigation bar.

When I click on that, I’ll see my list of saved searches in the middle. (Your saved searches will always be available here, whether or not there are new patterns. Note that from here I can also click view/edit saved searches to do just that.) Next to my New Baby Hats saved search, I’ll see a big pink dot. The number inside shows how many new patterns there are.

Clicking my New Baby Hats saved search will take me back into Advanced Search, with all of my saved search criteria applied. You’ll also see this notification up at the top, so if you didn’t save your search to sort by newest, you can always do it here.

You subscribe to a saved search for anything that you can filter by on Ravelry, so you set up one for seeing whenever…

  • Your favorite designer uploads a new pattern
  • A new pattern is added that can be knit/crocheted with the yarn in your stash and the needle sizes you own
  • A new crochet pattern is added in Finnish that has a publish date from 1976 that recommends yak yarn and has been queued by your bff
  • A bazillion other endless possibilities!

Raveler shrouderknits smiles, looking at the camera, wearing her Turkish Delight cardigan

If you have looked for help in the Ravelry forums, there’s a good chance you found it thanks to Joan Schrouder, or schrouderknits. A master teacher, both on- and offline, she has dedicated countless hours to helping people gain confidence in their craft, learn new techniques, and make beautiful things with yarn. She taught for over twenty years at conventions, shops, and guilds and even cruises, and has shared her expertise online since the mid 1990s. 11,910 of her forum posts have been marked as educational by at least one other Raveler (which is a HUGE number). Some of her posts that made many Ravelers click that educational button share tips for making center-pull yarn balls, working slipped-stitch selvedges with stripes, mending family heirloom afghans, and fixing miscrossed cables, just to point out a few of her nearly 70,000 helpful and informative posts!

Ravelers, you have spoken… and you asked to learn more about Joan!

It is no surprise, then, that when we asked for suggestions for who to feature in our Humans of Ravelry column, Joan was our most-requested Raveler to highlight. To share just a couple examples, ifdefelseif’s post sums things up nicely:

“As for a nomination… schrouderknits; definitely needs to be on the list. Not only does she do beautiful work, she’s tireless in sharing her knowledge both through teaching and the forums here. She also makes it a point to know as many people in the community as she can. She’s always a source of encouragement and inspiration and she has a great sense of humor and humility to boot.”

tinkerbellsmom wrote me and expressed what a lot of us feel when reading Joan’s posts, saying,

“I want to be her when I grow up. PS I’m 62 so a joke there except I’m serious about it.”

Other requests I received made it clear: so many of us are grateful for Joan’s helpful presence on Ravelry, and would love to know more about her. We are thankful she agreed to be featured here!

When I wrote Joan to ask if she would like to be a Human of Ravelry, I asked her, “Is there something in particular that motivated you to start helping in our forums in the generous way that you do?” She replied,

“Ever since I got a modem for the internet in ’96 and joined the old KnitList, I’ve enjoyed making suggestions for solving knitting problems. I like the mental stimulation of seeing if I can read between the lines sometimes to figure out what the actual problem is, and then finding a solution and being able to adequately describe it. At first it also helped promote my teaching; I know that a number of gigs I got were as a result of someone being familiar with my posts and thinking I would be a good candidate for giving a workshop in their area.

When I eventually retired from teaching classes I realized that I didn’t really want to retire from the teaching, just the physical toll it was taking. Ravelry was into full bore by then so it was a natural transition to continue answering questions here, on my own schedule.”

Without further ado, here are our five questions for this wonderful Human of Ravelry, schrouderknits Joan!

Joan's panel jacket, a sweater knit in panels of stripes of Noro striping yarn alternating with solid yarn

Joan’s Panel Jacket


How, when, and why did you learn how to knit?

I learned to crochet when I was still six, staying with my grandmother who taught me when one of my brothers was born, and mom farmed the rest of us kids to relatives for that first week she was home. About two years later I was taught to knit at about age eight by a classmate on the bus ride to and from school. Her mother was an Australian war bride so I learned English style first. My friend Marri only know how to do the knit stitch so that’s all I knew until a couple of years later when a childhood friend of my mom’s was visiting and showed me. Somewhere in all of this, a neighbor showed me how to knit continental as I had a death grip on the yarn with my right hand and could barely move stitches. Continental proved more effective for me and also more comfortable, since I had already learned to tension yarn in my left hand from crocheting.

My first stitch pattern I learned was what I later learned was brioche, so it involved YOs. I did them as I had learned in crochet, which was wrapping the opposite way as they’re usually done in knitting. I recognized this, and instead of converting the YO direction, I switched all my knitting and purling stitches to the same clockwise wrap direction to match.

The first full project I knit was a sweater, a cardigan in two-color brioche, or at least my version of brioche, which I designed myself at about age 14. I wore it, and another pullover version of the same stitch throughout high school. I didn’t know how to read patterns then, so I had to design it.

What hobby (or hobbies?) outside of knitting/crochet do you enjoy?

Knitting is pretty much it. I watch TV programs I’ve recorded while knitting (love the British murder mysteries!). I used to read more but eyestrain prevents longer binges for that.

back view of schrouderknits' HS Diamond Modular Pulloverclose up of schrouderknits' HS Diamond Modular Pullover, variegated diamond motifs outlined in black

Joan’s notes: Note that the diamond motifs get smaller to taper the sleeves which I had to work out. The neckline shaping is integrated with the diamond motifs and the shoulders were BO and grafted over the BO to give the illusion of being seamless, but with the structure of the BO to help support the sleeve wt.

What’s one way that crafting has changed your life for the better?

OMG, what a life-changer it has been! I found Elizabeth Zimmmermann’s Knitting Without Tears in 1974 and it answered so many questions I had about construction details, so my knitting know-how jumped to warp speed. About five years later I read an article in a knitting magazine written by someone who’d attended her Knitting Camp in Wisconsin, and that did it for me – I HAD to go! I had never flown anywhere by myself and had two young children at home, but DH said, sure, go ahead, and I did! It was the start of attending ~20 Camps over the following years, half of which were while Elizabeth was still teaching them, then the other half where her daughter Meg Swansen took over. Through those yearly jaunts, I continued being more adventuresome in my knitting, inspired by the beautiful things that Elizabeth and Meg did, plus all the wonder projects shown at “show & tell” by fellow Campers. It also began a network of others who were/had gotten into selling designs to magazines and yarn companies. One year the editor and publisher from KNITTERS magazine came, so I got to show them a design and they invited me to submit it for publication. Another attendee kept goading me into submitting teaching proposals to TKGA for their annual conventions, so I finally did that, and was accepted.

One gig led to another and pretty soon I was teaching all across the US and into Canada at major knitting shows and conferences, and from that soon got invitations to teach for guilds and LYSs, and on cruises and even a couple of train trips in the Canadian Rockies, which I did for more than 20 years. I taught my last class in 2012 as I was ready to retire from the hubbub of travel. I miss meeting new people and see old friends, those designers and teachers who also frequented the same teaching circuit. I miss having the opportunity to go to museums and see the beautiful sites around the country and beyond on these trips as many hosts were gracious enough to offer their time as tour guides to their particular cities.

What sustains your enthusiasm for crafting?

Interesting question – I think it’s that there’s always something new to learn or try, that with knitting there’s never an end point at which nothing new will ever happen. People are just so darn creative and inquisitive to find other uses for some of the old stand-byes as well as come up with a totally novel approach.

What is your favorite yarn trick or hack?

I knit a lot from stash of which I have a huge accumulation gathered from all my travels as well as doing my best to support my LYSs. (ed note: LYS = local yarn store) I try to match project to the amount of a particular yarn so that I don’t have a ton left over, but also don’t want to run short, so I’ve figured out a bunch of different approaches to avoid painting myself in a corner. Therefore I often plan out projects to take advance of provisional COs so that I can finish off lengths to use up available yarn. EG I often knit up one skein’s worth in the round for the body to see what the area will be from that one skein and can extrapolate from there to see how much fabric I can get from the remaining yarn. I know the rough calculation for area of a sweater is:

Body = circumference x total height
2 Sleeves = circumference of upper sleeve + circumference of wrist, then multiply that total by the sleeve length.

So this tells me whether my sweater needs to be a shorter length, or if I don’t want to do that, then start thinking about what kind of color patt work to put into the yoke or instead think about a vest if I don’t have enough yarn to make sleeves.

Joan's Blue Shimmer, a white Bohus sweater with a yoke pattern in shades of blue

Joan’s Blue Shimmer


Thank you so much, Joan!

We are so fortunate and thankful that schrouderknits Joan has chosen to give so much to our community and hope you all enjoyed learning a bit more about someone who has contributed in such wonderful ways to Ravelry and the yarn world in general. By the way, clicking on any of the photos in this post will take you to project pages with notes that are as detailed and helpful as you could hope for! If you’d like to keep up with Joan, you can add her to your Ravelry friends, and look for updates on the main friends tab. If you have a Ravelry friend or someone you know is doing great things on our site, and you’d like to recommend we feature them here in the future, we’d love to hear!

TLDR If you go to and check the box next to Usability Testing Volunteer, that’d be a big help!

Good morning Ravelers!

Part of my job as your new Producer/User Experience (UX) Designer is to have a deep understanding of all the different ways Ravelers use this wonderful website. We’re a diverse community and Ravelry is a big website, so we all probably do things a little differently. Maybe some of you use the Notebook but never go on the forums, or go to different pages first when you first log in, or we organize our projects differently—that’s what I want to learn. By understanding not only how I use Ravelry, but how you use Ravelry, I can make informed design decisions that benefit all of us.

One way that Product/UX Designers learn about how people use a website is by asking them, during a conversation or via a survey. I’ll definitely be doing things like that in the future (keep an eye out!), but it’s also helpful for me to simply see people use Ravelry as they do in their everyday life. In product/UX design, we call this Behavioral User Research. And while I wish I could come over to everyone’s houses and sit next to you while you’re scrollin around Rav, that would take a long time! But with a little digital magic, we can do something similar.

Here’s how: We put a new setting in your preferences that lets Ravelers opt in to let me see how you navigate around the site. To get to your preferences, hover over your Ravatar in the very top right of any page on Rav and click Preferences. On that page, you’ll see a new option under Beta Testing that says “Usability Testing Volunteer: Track my Ravelry usage for usability testing purposes.” Checking that box will help me see how you use Ravelry.

When you check that box, here’s what I will be able to see:

  • What pages you go to on Ravelry
  • What country you live in
  • What device/browser you’re using

This will only be visible to me and the Ravelry staff (Casey, Jess, Mary Heather, Sarah, and Christina). No personal or private information will ever be visible to us. Most websites are always tracking this information about you, but we’re not most websites! That’s why we’re asking Ravelers to opt in by checking that setting in your preferences.

And that’s it! If you have any questions about this post, Behavioral User Research, or Product/UX Design in general, please don’t hesitate to message me or tag me in a forum post. As always, I’m @livia.

Eye Candy: Pink!

February 28th, 2019

A girl with her hair pulled back wears a shawl made with pink and gold yarn
Jeannetricote’s Rhinebeck Girl’s best friend

I don’t watch a lot of awards shows but I really love seeing what people wear to them and the recent Academy Awards were no exception. The theme I heard over and over from the award show fashion was about all of the different shades of pink that were on the red carpet, so I decided to check out the projects made recently on Ravelry that feature pink yarn.

Left a crocheted wreath with pink flowers, middle a crochet blanket with colors from dark pink to purple and right a pink amigurumi whale

First up a few crochet projects. From left to right: WatermelonHelen’s Bedroom Wreath, SapphireChele’s Sweet Pea Blanket CAL and lanamarie95’s M. Richard the Whale

Left a small cowl with variegated yarn, middle a pair of bright pink socks, right a lace shawl trimmed with bright pink

Next, here are a few knit accessories to keep you warm and brighten your day. From left to right: GoldenIris’ Cream Puff, Domicroche’s Galiano Socks and Nantzi’s 2019 Rose City Yarn Crawl MKAL

Left a light pink sweater with a sheer top, middle a marled sweater with pops of hot pink, right a grey sweater with a pink color work yoke

Finally, I loved these knit sweaters that incorporate varying amounts and shades of pink. From left to right: Secgoff’s As If Tee, eyelikethesummer’s Crazy Marled Raglan and maryks’ Cardigan 2019

I enjoyed seeing all of the different ways people have used pink in their projects. If you want to see more, or to get inspiration for other colors, you can search projects by color family.

Hey everyone! We have a new small but mighty feature to share with you today: you can now filter projects within a pattern by the language of its notes.

As a refresher, Ravelry allows you to browse other Ravelers’ projects based on a pattern. You can see those projects by clicking Projects in one of these two places on a pattern page:

On the Projects page, there’s a dropdown in the upper left that allows you to filter the projects you see by all kinds of attributes. In that dropdown, you’ll now see our new “Language in notes” filter! (Only the languages available will display.)

If your preferred language is not English, you’ll also see a special shortcut button below the filter dropdown that shows how many projects there are with notes in your language. Clicking on it will quickly filter the results to just those projects.

Margaux, or Raveler tentenknits, has been an active Ravelry user since May of 2007! Fellow Raveler danishlouise suggested we highlight her here, writing:

“Margaux gives people with rare diseases a voice with her #rarestitch. She has a son with a rare disease and came up with an idea highlighting a stitch in her knitting to symbolise a rare disease. You can listen to a podcast featuring Margaux here.”

We are so pleased to reach out to Margaux for this feature and share some of her beautiful Ravelry projects, her other crafty endeavors, and talk about the Rare Stitch project in anticipation of February 28, Rare Disease Day. We hope you enjoy learning more about Margaux!

Raveler tentenknits smiles wearing her Cinnamon Girl cargigan


How/when/why did you start/learn to knit/crochet?

Growing up I was always making things. In those early years it was friendship bracelets or doing a lot of beadwork making earrings or necklaces. My mother and grandmother were expert seamstresses and passed down their creativity. It wasn’t until a class in college that I was finally exposed to knitting. A girl in my public speaking class was demonstrating how to knit. She showed off her hat and I instantly became obsessed!

I was of the Stitch N’ Bitch era and while that maybe wasn’t the exact book I learned to knit from it WAS the first book I owned and worked from. I loved how she explained how to knit, her tone was fun and playful. I could SO knit with Debbie Stoller. I made a tote bag and a few hats before moving on to a sweater and soon I discovered knit blogs!

I don’t know exactly how I came across the blogs but I felt the connection instantly and quickly went out to create a blog of my own. I loved the immediate connection the blogs allowed you AND I loved being able to share the things I made and to help others with making it. Sure enough when Ravelry came around I was quick to sign up!

I’ve gone on to design a few cowls like the 5th Avenue Infinity Scarf and Snow Cowl and sweaters including my favorite called the Gate Pullover in Knitscene.

handlettered script print reading Knitting is the Living of Life - Virginia Woolfwoman wearing an orange shirt and modeling bright teal pompom earrings handknit wall hanging on wooden dowl next to giant handlettered script art

What hobby (or hobbies?) outside of knitting/crochet do you enjoy?

I love to do calligraphy and paint with watercolor. It’s provided an extra creative outlet and one so different from knitting. Changing gears from knitting to painting or drawing helps keep the creativity flowing. I’ve done wedding calligraphy and custom quotes to house portraits. I’ll rarely say no to a new job. I love the challenge. I’ve also designed tote bags that I’ve spotted people using at Rhinebeck!

I also really enjoy making pompoms and tassels and making things with them especially Pom Pom earrings! They are playful and add that bit of charm that totally embodies my personality. I never take myself too seriously and Pom Pom earrings certainly help. You can find all my work at

What’s one way that crafting has changed your life for the better?

The connection to others. How could I have known that after learning how to knit it would be a bridge to so many people. I used my knitting to make friends in towns and cities where I knew literally no one. I’ll never forgot how impressed my brother was when I trudged off to a pub all alone to meet knitters when I went to visit him in London. I know it’s so cliche but I truly love this thread that connects us.

I love my local yarn shops and the people that have come into my life because of them. Knit nights are my favorite and I’ve often spent hours upon hours sitting and hanging at shops.

These are the same people that have been there for me when things have gone sideways.

I also love that knitting has become an important metaphor in my life.

My son was diagnosed with Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood, a 1 in a million diagnosis, when he turned one. AHC, for short, is a rare neurological disorder that causes muscle weakness and episodes of paralysis. Children with AHC suffer from developmental delays and are often also diagnosed with Autism or Epilepsy. There is no viable treatment for AHC and most persons afflicted are using experimental drugs to help curb their symptoms. Despite all that, James, who turns 6 next month, has continued to thrive and surprise us all with reaching and passing his milestones.

Last year I began a campaign to raise awareness through knitting starting “The Rare Stitch” project. I kept thinking of ways to explain the rarity of his type of disease and thought about all the stitches that have come through my hands.

Margaux in a cream Kirigami sweater holding up one asm to show a contrasting duplicate Rare Stitch Margaux wearing a bright bulky chartreuse Penelope cowl with a contrasting Rare Stitch

What if those stitches represented people, and what if ONE of those stitches was different in some way. I asked knitters to add a duplicate stitch of a contrast color to their knitting to represent the odds of rare disease. Soon, people began to share their stitches on social media and were able to share their or James’ story.

I read stories about knitters, their partners, their children who also suffer from a rare disease. I am so grateful to give them a platform in which to share that part of themselves.

Having a rare disease can be very isolating. There isn’t a big company with a sole mission to raise awareness and money for research, it’s just a few families working hard to keep the hope alive for a cure or treatment. We work hard to share stories and awareness in the hopes that those who will find us will be generous enough to donate to our cause.

Right now we are raising money for a new type of gene therapy treatment. It’s called the AAV Project and we are hoping to raise $500,000 just to bring it to the next phase. If you want to learn more about the project or donate please visit It’s so fitting to share my story in February as Feb. 28th is Rare Disease Day! It’s a perfect time to add that Rare Stitch and show your support to all those who are afflicted with a rare disease.

Are you a product or a process crafter?

I am very much a product knitter. My eyes are always on making something wearable and I feel a tremendous amount of joy/pride when I finish something. While I do appreciate the mindlessness of stockinette or the challenge of a new stitch pattern, it’s the end result that drives me.

Right now I’m loving the new sweater from Junko Okamoto called Bouquet. I cannot wait to cast on!

a crocheted granny square blanket in rich jewel tones

What sustains your enthusiasm for crafting?

Definitely seeing my friends being successful and showing off their knits. AND showing up to a shop or cafe and knitting with friends. I am someone who loves connecting with people and literally will do a dance of joy if I know a knit night or fiber weekend is on the calendar.

I am so lucky to know such amazingly talented knitters and designers and to call them my friends.

Thank you so much for having me share my story!


Thank you so much, Margaux! We’ll be back in a few weeks with another Human of Ravelry! If you’d like to keep up with Margaux’s beautiful projects in the future, add her to your Ravelry friends and look for updates on the main friends tab. You can also find her on her website at, Instagram @1010_studio, and Etsy at 1010studioshop. If you incorporate a Rare Stitch into your work, please be sure to tag your Ravelry project with #therarestitch so that these pieces can all be found in our project search!

If you have a Ravelry friend or someone you know is doing great things on our site, and you’d like to recommend we feature them here in the future, please share with us!