- I've got mental lists of projects I've been meaning to try for ages. Some are very specific patterns, others are yarns I want to play with, and some are just vague ideas that I ought to knit something for a particular person. I like the fact that I can keep a running list of my project ideas in the Queue to supplement my failing memory.
- I find the searching method, combined with the quantity of input from users, to be fascinating. Patterns can produce wildly varying results depending on the yarn used and the skills and creativity of the maker. I love being able to see many different versions of a sweater, done in different fibers, yarns and styles. It fascinates me the way that seeing multiple paintings of the same theme (e.g. Monet's haystacks) fascinates me. I was looking for a sweater to make for one of the twins, and it was fun to search through different options -- and I was ultimately convinced to try a Knitty.com pattern that I hadn't noticed before.
- I find it incredibly motivating to be able to go the current project list and update it as I make progress on a project. This is a personal thing, I'm sure, but being able to add photos and see how the project goes from balls of yarn to a half-knit back, to all the pieces to the finished project, helps me get through the stretches where I'm sort of bored and tempted to try something new. I love being able to up the percentage as I get more done.
I think Ravelry may prove to be helpful in other ways as time goes on. For example, I think that if you check it before you start a pattern, you might find information that will help you -- like a link to errata, or a note that the sleeves are on the short side, or something that might save you some work. This will depend on whether people keep using it and keep inputting information over time.
As a designer, I would love to see Ravelry set up some kind of PDF-sales system whereby I could use Ravelry to sell PDFs of patterns. (One of my on-going projects is to start selling my own patterns via PDF and hard copy.) Certainly as a marketing tool, Ravelry is extremely worthwhile: you get lots of exposure by having your patterns entered in there and it's nice to see that a lot of designers and publishing entities are allowing photographs of their designs to be used. Ditto for Black Bunny yarns: I hope that anyone who hasn't tried BBF yarns but is considering it will page through the photos of projects on Ravelry because people have knit some beautiful things. (By the way, I'm hoping for an update later this week.)
I initially thought that I might find the Stash and Books organizing functions to be helpful, and to some extent, they are -- but, quite honestly, since I have massive (and I do mean MASSIVE) amounts of yarn and books, it'd take an awfully long time for me to input all the stuff I have.* I've put a lot of my books and some of my stash in, and I'm going to try to continue to enter it on an on-going basis, but I'm not going to attempt to put every last skein in.
*I' ve already gotten one email from someone commenting on how many books I have. To the commenter: you should see my house!