I think it’s safe to assume most knitters know about Ravelry. If you don’t, stop reading this post and get yourself an account. Ravelry is the largest and best online knitting community website. It’s social network meets pattern database meets personal database. In short, it’s awesome.
Everyone uses Ravelry in their own ways. I use ‘My Notebook’ feature quite frequently, adding WIPs and tracking favourites. I’m not as faithful with the stash feature, but it is handy if you’re looking for project inspiration; you can see what other knitters have made with the same yarn. This isn’t what I want to talk about today. Today I want to sing the praises of the Needles & Hooks tracker.
I was wanting to start a new project; pattern was printed, yarn purchased, but I realized I didn’t have the right circular needles for the project. In fact, I needed four different needles, different sizes, all 16″ in length. Many of you may be thinking I could use DPNs for such a project, but I prefer circular, and I digress. As much as I LOVE new needles, my bank account just couldn’t face this investment. My solution? I turned to thrift shops. A few weeks ago, at one of the better shops in the ‘hood, I hit the motherload. There were at least 15 sets of circular needles, all various sizes and length, and the shop was asking a whopping 99¢ each.
This is where personal preference comes in. The vast majority of the needles appeared to be Aero, or something very similar, and I have a soft spot for this workhorse needle. When I started knitting, Grandma passed along her knitting supplies, many she acquired from her mother-in-law, my great-grandmother. Many of the needles I inherited were Aero needles, and after decades of use, they are still going strong. I may be a bit of a needle snob, but I won’t turn my nose up at Aero.
Seeing a wide selection of affordable needles, in a brand that I can appreciate, I was quite happy. Enter the Needle & Hook Ravelry feature.
Using the feature is so easy and super helpful. I have managed to keep this feature updated with the needles I’ve purchased, and in that thrift shop, I was able to pull up Ravelry, look at what needles I already had, and selected which ones to buy. Some were excluded because of duplication and some were excluded because I didn’t like the look of the cord, but I walked out of the store with 6 new needles for $6 (plus tax).
Another great feature about this tracker is that you can leave notes about the needles. Here is what I’ve entered for my 5mm, 16″ needles:
I’ve included details about the needles themselves. Now, admittedly, this is super nit-picky, but I like being about to pin-point which needle is which.
Ravelry has many wonderful features, some I’m sure I haven’t have the chance to use yet, but I would encourage any knitter to take advantage of the Needles and Hooks feature. You may never know when you’re faced with the chance to buy a lot of needles and need to know what you already own.