I have a confession. I’ve never really “understood” Ravelry.

I know.

I’m just not a hang around online and chat in forums kind of person. I log into Facebook once every few months (if that). I’ve never found anything to make me stay. And Ravelry seemed a lot like Facebook.

I’m also the kind of person that prefers to go and look in my stash and fondle yarn rather than to look at pictures in my profile. The blog is as close as I get to a photo-enriched log book, and it’s good enough for me.

Seeing how I never use patterns, it’s kind of hard to get into the KALs or to spend hours looking through other people’s version of a pattern. (They’re great, and it’s fun to see them all, but if I know I won’t knit the pattern, why?)

And so, I have had a Ravelry account for well over a year, and have barely used it. I wasn’t in any groups, didn’t follow any forums, and didn’t tend to leave messages anywhere. (I know that this may also be why its value was not all that apparent…)

Now, I know that this is inconceivable to many modern knitters. I know that Ravelry has lots of great things to offer, and I think it’s a wonderful tool, for those that are interested in using it. But I’ve never been one of those people.

When I came to Germany, I discovered that my LYS is closed for the summer (!). There is no way to plug into knitters in Bretten, because there is no access to the yarn shop that I had hoped would help to connect us. Hmmph.

Of course, I wasn’t all that connected to local knitters in Seattle, either. I’d tried two different knitting groups, both of which kind of unraveled and fell apart at the end. People were busy. They never developed the kind of dynamic that would keep them going. After the second, I didn’t bother to find a third. I just hung out in the blogosphere.

But in Germany, the social connection with real people is a little more important than it was in the States. I’m not working, I don’t have many friends (and no friendships that are more than a few weeks old), and sometimes I get a little tired of talking to myself and the cats. The friends that I do have here don’t really understand the knitter thing, though they put up with me knitting around them with only a few sideways glances.

The time was ripe to find the potential in Ravelry. So, I joined a bunch of groups on the forums, and started plugging into the knitting community in Germany. Last Saturday, we went up to Heidelberg for a meetup. We ended up staying for about 6 hours, and it was kinda hard to leave at the end.

There was Geollyn from England and DondaLonda from Australia, both here on exchange programs. Julester is from Boston and here with her military husband. Liakno is from New Orleans, but married a German and is now living near Heidelberg. Leseratte is a native German, and one of the few bloggers in the group. She was working on a mystery shawl KAL project. I am not that brave…I need to see where the pattern is going before I cast on! There was another woman there whose name I don’t recall that had a beautiful Horus shawl that she’d just completed, and who was working on a cabled sweater. And there was SnowberryLime, a knitter from Switzerland who is about to move to Wales. She’s a knitter and spinner, and has a great shop on Etsy. You should go look at her fun art yarns. (I love the one with the bees, and the wire core just seems like it has so many interesting possibilities…)

DondaLonda, Geollyn, and Julester are all relatively new knitters (ranging from about a year to about 2 days of experience). It was really fun to see new people getting started, and it even inspired Branden to knit one whole round of a sock that I cast on for him. He hasn’t touched it since, so I don’t think it will stick this time, either, but he did pick it up again.

So maybe I can see the usefulness of Ravelry. Had to come out of my cave sometime, I guess.