Monday, July 12, 2010

Going Cold Turkey

I am addicted to something.

And no, I'm not talking about sweet tea. This is something new.

Ravelry is having a Search Party. The dumbed-down explaination? Because Ravelry is a huge pattern reference tool as well as a community for knitters and crocheters, it needs accurate tags on patterns so that when you search "cable" and "pullover" you end up with not just the cabled pullovers that have been tagged with those two words but with all the cabled pullovers on Ravelry. In other words, you get to see all of your choices, not just a handful of possibilities.

In order to make an accurate pattern search possible, Ravelry needs to go through every pattern they have entered now. That's a lot of work. So they set up the "Search Party" so that knitters and crocheters on Ravelry can use their widget to look over all the patterns they have in their library, adding in the missing information. And then they offered us really cool prizes, prizes every knitter wants.

Now, one might imagine that these amazing prizes are why I became obsessed with the Search Party. That would be wrong. Sure, I want to win one, but that isn't why I kept searching.

It is fun. Really fun.

You are given a checklist that you can add to as you run out of patterns. Once you begin working on the list, a bar appears along the side and across the top of your window, allowing you to work. Let's look at our above example, shall we? First, you pick a category for the pattern, such as Clothing > Sweater > Pullover, meaning the pattern is for a pullover. You can also select home decor items, socks (mid calf, ankle, knee-high, etc) or any one of many other options.

Then you're taken to the attributes page. There, you can pick options that best describe your pattern. Take our pullover. We'll just say we're knitting an ordinary sweater, crew neck, set-in sleeves, unisex, with ribbing at the cuffs and cables everywhere. You read through the attributes, selecting each tag that applies to the pattern. You also tell Ravelry how the pattern is presented, with charts, written, etc.

I know it doesn't sound like it, but this is immensely fun. Also, it is one of those projects that doesn't have a clear "end" or even a stopping point. After each pattern you review and save, you are taken directly to the next pattern on your checklist (unless you run out of patterns on your checklist).

The first night, I stayed up until three in the morning working on this. The next night? Two. The night after that, I was up until midnight, but that was only due to my running out of patterns I could review.

I'd run out already once. That was on Saturday. I needed a fix so badly; I logged into Ravelry as my mother so that I could review her patterns too, since I knew she wouldn't do it. She only had three, though. Three measly patterns to review. That's what happens when you don't queue things, Mom.

Sunday, I was itching for more reviewing.

I think this is the same reason I work in a library. I like to organize things, I like to find the "perfect" book, much as I enjoy finding the "perfect" pattern. And to find the pattern you want, you have to be able to search for it. And searching for it means finishing the search party. Plus, I don't trust some of Ravelry's other knitters to know how to tag things effectively, so I feel the need to work doubly hard to do a good job the first time and to take on more work, because then I know it's done right.

Steaming plateful of Crazy, served up just for you, Blog. That's the kind of service I offer. Try to find a better restaurant anywhere.

Back to Sunday. I had several hours before Poirot came on Mystery (though that didn't so much matter since my PBS affiliate chose to allow their signal to fail Sunday night). Those hours had to be spent doing something, so I brought up my Ravelry library, then I began to add in books, magazines, and pamphlets we have on our bookshelf. Some of them were my grandmothers, and therefore are very old and crumbly. But the patterns are sound.

This gave me more patterns to play with (not as many as I'd hoped, but still). I finished reviewing those right before Poirot was supposed to come on the air (but didn't). I suppose it was good that I didn't get hundreds of new patterns, but it was kind of sad. But on the up side, I finally have my library updated. There are 36 books, 46 magazines, 16 booklets, and 80 PDF files in there. And those are just the books, pamphlets, and magazines that were on Ravelry. I had more.

Why do we have to stop? I could do all the patterns, Ravelry. I will buy the books. All of them. Or interlibrary loan them, so I can help. I want to help. Help more. I don't even really need sleep, not at all. I could keep going after the party is over, too, if you want. It's fun. And if you want to give me Wollmeise, go for it. But I don't need it. I'll just make coffee as my present. Coffee is good enough for me.

Still, I think the Ravelry Search Party had better end soon. Just like I think the official "end" to the test knitting should come, too. This much knitwear obsession is starting to leak into other parts of my life. Yesterday, I put down sock #2 in order to knit as much stockinette as was humanly possible on Coral, because I wanted it done, right? I only wanted to finish the second skein, after all. That wasn't too much to ask, was it? In the end, I knitted maybe four inches yesterday. Four is good, but not great. It was all those patterns that did it.

All this stuff made me realize that I have what could be described as an addictive personality. This might be why I eat often, alone, and for comfort. I'm lucky I love control so much, if I hated it, or even hated responsibility, I would be in real trouble. Instead, I just drink too much sweet tea, watch too many Veronica Mars episodes (now, the series I'm hooked on changes by the month), and knit well into the morning hours, throwing sleep away in lieu of knitting accomplishment.

The search officially ends on the 18th. It needs to end faster. I am calling on all knitters and crocheters who use Ravelry: go online. Join the Search Party. Review patterns. Get this thing done before I start checking knitting books out of the library in batches, hoping to finish this project single-handedly. I need your help. I'm counting on you.

Do your part to keep Laura off this very addictive habit!


  1. Oh my goodness- this cracked me up! I have not done any sort of profiling yet- I guess I should at least do it to my personal patterns!

  2. It is addictive. And, this just in: Ravelry has given me more patterns! I think it must have taken time for them to process some of the pamphlets and magazines I added. Tonight is going to be so much fun! Poirot on the Orient Express (PBS Mystery) and pattern profiling! *Does happy dance*