Confessions. Again.

I have to admit it: I’m a magaholic.

I’ve always known I had a problem.

It’s difficult to avoid – though I manage to do so most of the time, except when I’m trying to make the house look as though someone normal lives here. Mind you, I’ve not resorted to hiding them under the bed, like a teenage boy with porn, or one of my friends with old copies of Interweave.

No, my Interweaves are loud and proud, heaped on top of my Designer Knittings and out on the bookshelves just below my academic books on archaeology.

(My shelving system is not really a system as such, just a series of clumps.)

But Ravelry has made me realise how big my problem is, and all I would like to say is this: I’m adding knitting magazines to the list of things I’m not allowed to buy at Wonderwool Wales.

I’m researching a couple of things at the moment and, as is perfectly normal when a freelancer is working from home, I have been defrosting the fridge / replacing the grouting on some tiles / baking bread / clearing out the hellhole that is the under stairs storage / sorting out stuff. And in the time-honoured spirit of such work avoidance regimes I came upon the much improved ‘library’ feature on Ravelry.

I joined Rav ages ago – in case anyone doesn’t know, it’s a sort of Facebook for knitters, but that makes it sound terrible and it is so much better than the vile FB – when it was still beta testing, and I think I was member 325,000 or something like it. There are now over 2 million Ravellers, and the value of Rav to anyone working with yarn has increased along with this growth. Particularly useful are those databases which underpin the pattern and yarn areas of the site.

And now the library sections which each member can use (or not, of course) have improved as well. You simply enter the books or magazines you own, they ping up in your virtual library – linked, of course, to the databases – and, and this is the true wonderfulness of the whole thing, you can then search through your stuff. Without covering the entire house in magazines and books and adding to – or indeed incurring – any hand or wrist injuries.

Forklifts, in short, are no longer needed.

So when you are in search of the pattern for that nice brown cable cardigan for which you bought some lovely alpaca/wool mix at Wonderwool in 2010, but when you can’t remember for the life of you who designed it, what it was called, whether it was in a magazine or book, whether you even owned it or just borrowed it from a friend – I’m sure this isn’t just me – you just search your virtual library, using appropriate filters (in this case, I knew the weight of the yarn, or I thought I did). No more giant heap on the floor. No more being sidetracked by interesting articles – oh, right, I knew there was a downside.

But on the plus side, I’ve got it. It’s Norah Gaughan’s Nantucket Jacket from the winter 2006 Interweave (and it wasn’t really a brown brown, of course, so I’d probably have whizzed past it in the actual mag). I’m anticipating being able to cable soon, you see.

(image courtesy of Interweave)

How long, I wonder, would that have taken without Ravelry? Mind you, if I had resorted to the making-the-living-room-uninhabitable-for-hours approach, I would have found a fascinating piece on ganseys, something on dorset buttons and a neater method for doing buttonholes.

Guess I’d better get the mags out, then.

(And I’m keeping my vintage stuff  in the real world – most of the fun is in the flicking through. Knitted knickers? I’m not sure even Ravelry is ready for them.)


14 thoughts on “Confessions. Again.

  1. Ria

    Craft magazines are one of the hardest things to resist buying. Even if there’s only one pattern in the magazine that I would make, the price is usually right to convince me that it’s worth it for that one pattern. And the articles. And maybe the chance that I’ll want to make some of the other patterns at some point in the future, so it’s better to have it all on hand now…

    I’m not an enabler, oh no!

    1. kate Post author


      (that is, of course, absolutely it – and I don’t need any help on the enabling front, I’m my own enabler….sigh…)

  2. Annie

    I have rather too many knitting magazines, and every copy of Country Living since 1999. My Mum buys me a yearly Christmas gift subscription to the latter and they are far too pretty to throw away. I wonder if Ravelry could be persuaded to catalogue those too!

    1. Lydia

      Ah, hah! Dare I admit that I have every Country Living magazine since 1986 – bar one I lent to ex-mother-in-law !!! Impossible to throw away, massively heavy in dozens of boxes every time I have moved, take up shelf after shelf of much needed book space – and part of me. So here’s to magazines may they live long on our shelves!

      An aside here – “Hooray, Hooray for Wales!!!”. Couldn’t resist it even if I am unable to watch over here in the bush.

      1. kate Post author

        Right, Ravelry definitely need to add Country Living to their database!

        (I have a problem with New Scientist – more Rather Dated Scientist now – and British Archaeology, and Food Illustrated. Somehow I don’t see Rav picking up on that lot – I really must have a slinging session.)

        Yo Wales! (As you can imagine, Saturday got a bit noisy and emotional. Ok, drunken.)

    2. kate Post author

      I’m sure they should go on there!

      (I’ve a bit of an antipathy to those Home mags, I must admit. Years ago I lived in a rather – it has to be said – disorganised houseboat in Chelsea. The owner finally managed to sell it to a couple of designers, and six months later it appeared in House and Garden, and was rather lazily – and I say this as a fellow hack – described in the text as ‘having previously been a floating slum’! It most emphatically was not, ever, and the owner ended up taking legal action…)

  3. Annie

    Goodness me you have a lot to confess my dear 😉
    My solution to the hoard of mags I used to have was to move and recycle them !! Rather a harsh solution I grant you but now I seem to have rather a large collection of books instead. I do buy the occasional mag but I check it out online first to see if its any good;I just hate the knitting mags here in the Uk that are in cellophane and you can’t see what the patterns are like. My favs are still Interweave and Designer Knitting .
    I agree re the libraray on Rav its brill. What would we do if Rav started to charge us to use it I wonder ?!!

    1. kate Post author

      Answer to last question is, I suspect, pay up!! And I’m with you on the cellophane – either put your patterns online so we can check them out first, or take them out of the damn wrapper… grrrrr

      I managed to recycle some very old ones from the late ’80s which have not yet acquired any vintage charm – does that count?

  4. heikeknits

    So good to see I am not the only ‘collector’ 😉 of magazines. When M was still in the Forces and we moved every two years, the removal men used to hate my endless heavy boxes of magazines. I am sure they all thought I was totally potty (which of course I am!). I only buy Interweave & Vogue knitting (why did they have to change the name over here?!?). Oh, and Mollie Makes…oh yes and of course Country Living…and I get a lovely one send from Germany…do I need to say more?!?

    1. kate Post author

      I think ‘collector’ is giving my – um – heap-increasing tendency a dignity it really doesn’t deserve. (I’ve had a similar problem with removal men, and that’s because that’s exactly what they are: men. Mind you, I have lived with a limitless supply of exciting engineering magazines – yawn, yawn – and one of my other friends will buy anything connected to motorbikes and hoard it for years. So it’s not just us women!)

      I had a terrible addiction to French interiors mags – the real Elle Deco, Cote Ouest / Est / Nord, you name it, I’ve bought it and made it into a pile. I’m still hooked, I just don’t go to France often enough!

  5. del

    As soon as I have some time, I’m going to get into the library feature and really understand it. I know it’d make my life easier, because I’m one of those who’ll throw all the mags onto the floor to flip through them one by one.

    1. kate Post author

      Exactly like me, then… it really is worth it (and it only took me about four years to get round to it, cough, cough – though I think it’s easier to use now)…

  6. Liz cumbo

    Just found your blog, was drawn in by the picture of the stack of Rowan magazines that is identical to mine! I have to curb my mag hoarding due to lack of space down to my husbands serious problem which involves 40 years of Manchester city match program’s and fanzines.

    1. kate Post author

      I’m so glad it’s not just me with the Rowan variety of heap – makes me feel more normal. And, excuse me? Man City stuff winning out over wool????? (But at least there can’t be any complaints about the Rowan mags, ho ho, ho!)


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