How do you use your Ravelry queue?

The Ravelry queue system seems pretty simple: if you see something you’d like to make, you put it in your queue. Then later, when you’re ready to make a new thing, you look through the queue, choose something, and away you go.

But… how do you decide what goes in? Do you ever take stuff out without making it? How often do you change the order? How do you find things? One of the knitting photo challenges reminded me recently that everyone does it differently.

I joined Ravelry in 2011. When I first joined, I didn’t know how to knit (only crochet) and was doing a lot of amigurumi toys and baby presents, so I used my favourites for stuff I’d made and wanted to make again, and used my queue for everything else. I’d get an idea in my head and queue 15 similar patterns while I decided on one. I’d queue piles of free-this-week patterns in case I saw the perfect yarn. I’d queue stuff for technique ideas. I’d queue stuff because I liked the photography. And I never-hardly-ever triaged the queue.

My crafting has changed a lot since 2011: I learned to knit and I started mostly making stuff for myself to wear and hardly ever repeat a pattern. (It’s not that I have a problem with doing that;’it’s just that there are so many beautiful things and so little time!) My skills have changed, my stash has changed, I’ve changed climates twice… Plus Ravelry has added features and I’ve learned to use more of them, so I have a different toolbox than I started with.

[Picture: climate change. This is what passes for a cold winter here. Hah! 🇨🇦]

I don’t want to say that I’ve been using my queue incorrectly, I can definitely say that the way I’d been using it wasn’t working well for me anymore. It was time to clean up. But there were probably 600 things in there! It was daunting.

Since I’ve been in “finish all the stuff in progress” mode for months, though, I decided it was time. I could redirect my urge to start new things by instead planning out some stuff for the year, and clean things up before the yarn crawl so I had an idea of what I needed to buy. It’s been weirdly but pleasantlty cathartic.

It’s still a work in progress, but I’ve gone from 600ish down to well under 200, and I’m expecting to make it down under 100. That’s still probably 10 years of knitting at my current rate, so I’ll likely never finish even my shortened queue. But that’s never bothered me; what bothered me was not being able to find things quickly (when I was trying to justify my yarn purchases or figure out if I needed more of something).

You made it this far; have a peek at my new queue:

I’ve got a mix of old and new, but heavy on the new. That’s expected with all those changes in tastes and skills, and the pure excitement of new pattern releases. I haven’t bothered with precise ordering, but stuff on the first page is stuff I’ve been finding yarn for and stuff I could cast on any time.

Funniest find: I queued a hat pattern back in 2015 that gave me a jolt when I found it because I recognised the name… A colleague from work who I only met last year! I’ll have to tell her. I might even still knit it!

Most popular designer in my queue: pdxknitterati has the most patterns on my first page but a lot of tincanknits sweaters survived the cull and are hiding in the later pages because I’m still choosing next winter’s toddler sweater. I probably won’t knit them all, although toddler sweaters *are* addictively fast compare to adult ones.

Here’s the yarn that I’m currently planning for pdxknitterati’s Lucky Star design:

But I also have yarn ordered for her Oregon Sky design in Knitted Wit’s Glow Up collection *and* I have yarn (but not yet beads) for her Garland Shawl. That one actually *wasn’t* in my queue — I thought it had been for years, but apparently I’d queued a pile of her other designs but that one was stored only in my head. I hadn’t even bought the pattern though I could have sworn I had. Weird! It’s in the queue now. Her similarly-shaped Fern Lace Shawelette remains the piece I wear the most out of everything I’ve knit. If you met me at a conference in the past however many years since I knit it, there’s a good chance you’ve seen me in it. It’s even in many of the videos of me speaking, beause it’s *perfect* for holding the mic in the right position for me. I think it’s even in the clip of me in the Google Summer of Code video!

Stash diving win: I’ve had this stunner from Fierce Fibers since last year’s yarn crawl. It’s got yak in it, it’s a beautiful subtle shift and I wanted a pattern that would make it sing. I think I’ve finally got one: the Whakairo Cowl. I’m a bit worried about the (super soft, amazing) halo messing with the stitch definition so I might not make it past the first 20 rows, but I’m hopeful!

Most technical? It might be Toph or Dreamcatcher, both of which use some short row stuff i haven’t done before. But I have a feeling that I haven’t found the most technical one yet in my queue triage, because I haven’t found that time I tried to find the most fancy plant-inspired brioche I could.

Most excited about? Seriously, it’s just about everything on that first page. Spilling into the second. This has been a great diversion from casting on All The Things, but it certainly hasn’t lessened the urge at all!

Biggest lie? I keep saying I’m not casting on right now, but two of those things on the first page have knit a longs starting this week, so I’m probably going to cast *something* on by this weekend and wind yarn for a second. Good thing that just like with my queue, I get to change the rules of what I’m doing when I think it suits me better.