By February 2019, Ravelry had accumulated 8,000,000 members.
Ravelry also includes a searchable community-edited yarn and pattern database where users share information and project photos. The database was created by encouraging people to share their projects and information.
Spouses Cassidy (nee Casey ) and Jessica Forbes founded Ravelry in May 2007. Their idea was to create a web presence for all fiber artists.
In addition to serving as an organizational tool and a social network, Ravelry facilitates micro-business, allowing designers to sell their knitting patterns and supporting informal, direct buying and selling between users via the "Stash" and "Needles & Hooks" capabilities. "Yarnies" are semi-professional dyers, spinners, and/or painters who sell handspun, hand-dyed or painted yarns. Yarnies exist in a separate category from users who are simply selling yarn they own but did not make themselves, and must create a special business-type profile on the site, "blur[ring] the lines between a commercial operation and a homemade undertaking." Knitters may use Ravelry to fund-raise for charities, an example of "an activity that straddles the commercial and the non-commercial economies," and the site has been also used by some for market research.
Ravelry itself generates income to maintain the site through three main mechanisms. First, advertisements for a range of fiber arts-related products from both large- and small-scale businesses are displayed throughout the site. Second, the pattern store enables designers to sell PDF versions of their patterns; a small portion of the sales from the pattern stores goes to Ravelry, while 98.7% goes to the designers. Third, the Ravelry Mini-Mart sells branded merchandise such as logo T-shirts, bags, and stickers.
Information in Ravelry is organized within a series of tabs. Some customization is available within the tabs (i.e. the ability to re-sort information contained in a tab, create sub-tabs, or change the level of detail displayed). The site was in beta through early 2010, and new features and enhancements are still added frequently. Often these features and enhancements are driven by the community.
"Ravelry has become the Internet tool to help the typical needle-wielder navigate through the woolly wild."
On June 23, 2019, Ravelry announced via a blog post that it would ban expressions of support of U.S. president Donald Trump and his administration. The reason given was an incompatibility of Ravelry's policy of inclusiveness with the Trump administration's "support for open white supremacy". The details of the policy were adapted from a similar policy established by tabletop role-playing community RPGnet in October 2018.
"Ravelry is a place for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, and dyers to keep track of their yarn, tools and pattern information, and look to others for ideas and inspiration."
Ravelry is a free social networking service and website that beta-launched in May 2007. It functions as an organizational tool for a variety of fiber arts, including knitting, crocheting, spinning, and weaving. Members share projects, ideas, and their collection of yarn, fiber, and tools via various components of the site.
The labor space includes the capabilities which directly support making and documenting fiber arts projects. Capabilities such as the user "Projects" album and pattern "Queue" are tools for personal organization. Ravelry patterns can be added to a logged-in user's "Favorites," "Queue," or "Projects" pages, indicating that user's interest in, stated desire to make, or progress into the pattern, respectively; a user can additionally record their fiber-related tools ("Needles & Hooks") and available yarn ("Stash") with which to complete these projects.
Ravelry has been mentioned by Tim Bray as one "of the world’s more successful deployments of Ruby on Rails technologies."
Ravelry and other handcraft-based social networks are unique among social networks in that "[i]t is not adequate to state that one is a knitter or crocheter – one must prove it through acts of labour and documentation." Social capital on Ravelry is "accumulated through extensive cataloguing of handmade items" and "is textually accessible through the way members interact with each other using articulated and manoeuvrable links (often in the concrete form of hyperlinks) to other members."
In addition to the structured organizational tools described above, Ravelry has forums which support many social activities such as knit-alongs, charity drives, and games such as "Sock Wars": ""At the time of writing number three on the ‘most recent and popular’ list was ‘The Detonator’ – a sock pattern being used in the sock wars game. This is a game about speed knitting and good postal technique. Participants sign up to play and they each begin knitting the socks (in this case the Detonator) on the same day. If a player receives a finished pair of the socks in the mail before they have finished their own, they have been ‘assassinated’ and must send their incomplete socks to the assassin, who tries to finish them before being assassinated themselves. Some knitters assassinate three or four others in the timeframe of the game.""
This social capital can be used by craft learners to find answers to questions that they may not know the jargon to describe. By supporting the open browsing, modification, and re-mixing of patterns and projects in a social way, Ravelry can be considered a "virtual guild" which "rel[ies] on open access to specialized knowledge."
Ravelry, a site that describes itself as a "place for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, weavers and dyers to keep track of their yarn, tools, project and pattern information, and look to others for ideas and inspiration", announced a ban on "support of Donald Trump and his administration" on June 23, 2019. As its stated rationale for the ban, which extends to forum posts, projects, patterns, profiles, and all other content, Ravelry took the position that "Support of the Trump administration is undeniably support for white supremacy", and stated, "We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy."
Entering the code on the Ravelry knitting site user profile page will display the rank order of when they joined.
Stitch London (previously Stitch and Bitch London) is a knitting group in London, England, who meet weekly in various venues across central London to knit in public. It is also a virtual knitting group whose members join via newsletter, Facebook, Ravelry, and Twitter. Its members number in their thousands and it has a global membership despite being based in London.
Knitting patterns can be sold as a means of income. Knitting pattern collections are sold in books and magazines, but web sites such as Ravelry allow sale of individual knitting patterns.
For individual hobbyists, websites such as Etsy, Big Cartel and Ravelry have made it easy to sell knitting patterns on a small scale, in a way similar to eBay.