Ok, we’ve all done it – you bought some great yarn on a whim, without any pattern in mind, and now you don’t know what to make with it. In the past this might have been a pain to figure out, but these days Ravelry.com makes it much easier.
Step 1. Go to Ravelry.com
At the top of the page is series of tabs – these are your main menu options and they are visible on every screen, no matter where you go on the website.
Step 2. Click on Yarns
Click on the “yarns” tab at the top of the page. This will take you to a simple Keyword Search.
Step 3. Enter Your Yarn
In the search box, type the name of your yarn. Today we’ll pretend we are looking for a pattern that is suitable for Cascade 220.
Step 4. Find Your Yarn
A list will come up with all the yarns that may match your search. In our case Cascade 220 and Cascade 220 are both suitable (they’re the same yarn, the company just markets the heathered colours under a separate name). We will start with the first choice, “Cascade 220”, since it has more projects (144 864 projects), and the heathered version of the yarn has fewer (62 716 projects). We will talk about these “projects” coming up …
Step 5. Find Your Yardage
You are now on the yarn’s page. The page features a bunch of useful information about the yarn, including the weight, the yardage, the suggested gauge, suggested needle size, and fibre content.
Now is a good time to stop and take stock of how much yarn you actually have. We’ll pretend we have 8 skeins of Cascade 220.
If you have full skeins/balls multiply the number of yards/metres in a single ball by the number of balls you have. We’ll pretend we have 8 skeins of Cascade 220:
200m per skein x 8 skeins = 1600 metres
You have 1600 metres of yarn.
You may have partial balls, or balls that are unlabelled and with questionable yardage. You’ll need to weigh your yarn – a digital kitchen scale is perfect. Mine is a Starfrit 5KG Scale, I got it on sale at Canadian Tire, but you can probably find one at any hardware store, on Amazon or eBay. (Note, not all scales are created equally, so read the reviews. I’ve also used the Starfrit Slim Glass Kitchen Scale and I don’t like it as much – it isn’t as accurate or as responsive.)
Lets pretend we have a skein that weighs 82g. Since our yarn is a 100g skein, divide the weight of the ball by the weight of a full skein:
82g/100g = 0.82
Multiply this number by the number of metres/yards in a full skein:
0.82 x 200m = 164m
You have 164 metres of yarn.
The Tabs & Menu Options
The white tabs at the top of the page are menu options that refer to your yarn. You are currently in “details” and can jump around between tabs without losing your place or leaving this yarn. Most of the information about a yarn in Ravelry is input by knitters like yourself as they enter their own projects and stashes into the system, so it may not be completely accurate (for example colorways).
Colorways: Refers to the different colours available. For an up-to date list always check with the yarn company’s website.
Photos: a few pictures of the yarn.
Buying Options: Stores that carry this yarn and are currently advertising with Ravelry.
Stashes: The entries of people like yourself who have catalogued their yarn in their Ravelry account. NOTE: If you are looking for a specific colour or dyelot and can’t find it through stores, you can always research it in “Stashes” and contact the owner to see if they will sell theirs to you.
Pattern Ideas: These are patterns that people have used the yarn for. It will show you the pattern as well as the individual projects.
Projects: A raw feed of projects people have used the yarn with.
Comments: Notes people have left about the yarn.
Editing: A history of the edits made to the page (you won’t be using this tab).
Step 6. Pattern Ideas
The easiest search for a pattern is the “Patterns Ideas” option – click on the “Pattern Ideas” tab.
Step 7. The Project Page
A long list of projects that people have used with Cascade 220 will appear – 167 pages to be exact. Yuck, that’s way too many to troll through! Is this where you normally feel totally overwhelmed and throw in the towel? Never fear, you can REFINE YOUR SEARCH! Ravelry works like a library catalogue and gives us options to narrow down the results.
Step 8 Narrow Down your Craft
Click on the “All Crafts” menu. We will choose “knitting”, but there are still 167 pages of potential projects – gross, not good enough for us!
Step 9. Refine Your Yardage Requirements
We want to use some yarn we already have, and luckily Ravelry lets us search based on yardage amounts. In the little boxes next to “Requires” “to” and “Skeins” we will put the minimum and maximum amounts we want to use.
Since we are trying to actually use up a good amount of our yarn I’ve entered a minimum of 6, and a maximum or 8.82 (we might as well be exact – it never hurts). Our search is now narrowed down to 87 pages … getting closer!
Step 10: Narrow Down The Category
Categories refers to the type of project we want to make. Click on the “All Categories” and a drop-down menu will appear offering you choices based on category.
Lets say we want to make a cardigan. Click on “Clothing” and a sub-menu appears. “Click on “Sweater” and another sub menu appears. Click on “Cardigan” and now our search will be refined exclusively to cardigans.
Our search now consists of 38 pages of cardigan patterns that people have used Cascade 220 to make. On the left it shows us a picture and summary information about the pattern (including yardage required), on the right are pictures of the projects people have made using our yarn, Cascade 220.
From here you can browse through the pattern ideas in our search. Click on a pattern to read more about it, and compare the yardage and sizes to make sure you have enough yarn for your size.
You might notice that the search from the “Yarn” menu option is not as specific as the options in the advanced search from the “Pattern” menu option. You can do a search from that end using all the features to REALLY narrow down your search, but I think I’ll leave that for another day – we’ve done good work today, pat yourself on the back!