Today I wanted to share some tips that you might find useful for managing your Ravelry queue. This idea came about because, like many of you, I’ve long since acknowledged that my Ravelry queue is more aspirational than reasonable and that I could knit for many, many years and never actually get through it all. Some people are fine with that and are content to have queues that contain thousands (yes, thousands) of items. If you’re one of those, then read no further. However, if you’re someone who is striving for a little more organization your knitting life, then I hope this post will be some help.
To Queue or Not to Queue?
As I already mentioned, first you have to decide what kind of queue-er you are. Do you queue all the pretty things? Or do you want this to be a realistic list of your knitting goals? If you can’t decide what kind you are, then maybe you need to investigate the “Favorite” option.
What’s the difference? Whereas queuing something links to a pattern page, favoriting something gives you a little more flexibility – you can favorite a pattern or an individual user’s project. Favoriting can be a way to just show some love to a fellow Raveler, OR you can use it as a breadcrumb for yourself. Like a fellow Raveler’s detailed project notes? Like the pattern but ONLY in the yarn/color combo that a particular Raveler used? Go ahead and favorite the pattern. You might end up favoriting AND queuing. Sometimes I queue an item, then favorite the version I like and leave myself a note in the queued item saying, “See so-and-so’s version.” That way, I have multiple breadcrumbs to get back to the actual project that inspired me.
Why Not Manage Your Stash at the Same Time?
Instead of just queuing an item, try thinking about what you want the finished project to look like. Do you want to make it exactly as the designer intended? Go ahead and fill in the yarn section with the designer’s chosen yarn. Or better yet, do you want to use some of your stash? You can fill this in, too. Then, when you’re doing stash dives, you’ll also see your intended project when looking through your stash list. It’s just another way to keep you knitting efficiently and committed to the patterns and stash yarn you already love.
Hint: there’s nothing stopping you from adding multiple yarn options for the same pattern, or, conversely, multiple patterns for the same skein of yarn. Feel free to go ahead and add any options you think might be viable. You’re still narrowing down your options and making your decision process a little easier when it comes time to cast on.
Elizabeth Zimmerman described herself as an impatient knitter. To the muggles, i.e. the non-knitters, this might seem like a paradox. But I bet many knitters get it. We are impatient to finish the item so we can wear it or so we can free up the needles to start the next wonderful project or we just want to CAST ON ALL THE THINGS. However, most knitters are also generous by nature and like sharing their craft, which means gift knitting. If you have so-called “obligation knitting,” whether it’s a gift you want to finish by a certain date, or you like to do test knits that have deadlines, or you want to wear a certain FO for a certain occasion, then the “deadline” feature in the Ravelry queue is perfect for you. When you queue a pattern, just fill in the “Finish by” box, and then the item will be populated into a “Deadlines” tab at the top of your queue. I used this recently when I had two deadlines coming up: Christmas gift knitting and knitting I wanted to finish before my baby was due in mid-January.
I’m Bored – What Should I Knit Next?
When you’re searching for your next project, you can obviously just go to your queue and browse down the list. However, did you know that in the Advanced Search feature under the patterns tab, you can click a box for “in my queue”? Go to the patterns page and click on “Use the pattern browser & advanced search” link under the search box. Then scroll down the left side of your page until you find the “My Notebook” box. (These boxes can be easily rearranged by clicking on the box and holding it while you drag, so I can’t predict how far down your list this will be.) Within that box is “in my queue.” This will return results that are only in your queue already, which can lead you to a project which has already caught your eye in the past. And, if you’re the type of person like me who likes to check things off lists, knocking out an item that was queued years ago feels really fantastic. 🙂 If you’re really committed to the process, go ahead and drag that “My Notebook” box to the top of your page so it’s always the first thing you see when you go do a search.
Now Maintain It!
If you’re using your queue as an intentional list of things you actually intend to knit one day, then recognize that your tastes or knitting needs may change. This means periodically going through the queue and deleting patterns you’re no longer interested in. It may be that when you were in a shawl mood you added five very similar shawls to your queue. Then you knit one, and you no longer want or need to make the others. Delete ’em.
The other thing that’s useful is to re-order your list. You might do this as part of your New Year’s Goals or Spring Cleaning or holiday gift planning or whenever the urge strikes. Move the items you want to knit next to the top of your queue. (Of course, if you set a deadline, they will already be in a place easy to find.) I like to have my first page of my queue be a mix of items I just found and want to cast on now and older things that I’ve been meaning to knit for a while.
Another note: if an item is in your queue, it’s best to go to it in your queue and click “Start Project.” If you create a project directly from the pattern page instead, the item will remain in your queue (i.e. keep cluttering your queue), which means you’ll have to manually remove it. Clicking “Start Project” from your queue will take you to create a new project page AND remove it from your queue.
I hope this has been useful, if you are the type of person who can be a little OCD about your knitting. Remember, the more details you put in when you queue (deadlines, intended yarn, links to favorite projects done by other Ravelers, as well as intended recipient, etc.), the closer you can be to actually casting on. And just like it’s a good idea to air out and organize your stash periodically, it can be a good idea to curate your Ravelry queue. Or just use it to list all the pretty things.
How do you manage your queue?
Coming soon to this blog – now that I’ve done all this for myself, I’ll share what’s on my queue’s first page and why. In other words – 2015 knitting goals… for serious.