Don't tell my supervisor (fingers crossed he's not an aficionado of the knitting blog scene, eh?), but an average working day for me involves a lot more messing about on Facebook and thinking about knitting than I'd like to admit to. With that in mind, I'm not sure what animus against my thesis could have led Casey and Jess to invent Ravelry, a fearsomely compelling alliance of social networking and fibre crafts; but surely if my fascination with this wonderful website gets any deeper, the evil genii behind it will be able to take the credit for saving the world from my thoughts on the nineteenth-century novel.
At the moment the website is still in its testing phase, so users are being added by invitation as the site becomes able to handle them (and although the aura of exclusivity this creates is unintentional, it's definitely contributed to the buzz around the site). With that in mind, I hesitate to tell you to sign up as I know Casey and Jess are currently having trouble keeping up with the demand for their service. But if you have the patience to handle the wait, and the strength of character to handle the addictive quality, I thoroughly recommend that you put your name down.
Being in beta, Ravelry is not yet complete, but it already has many brilliant features which make life as an internet knitter just a bit simpler. You have options to catalogue your works-in-progress, your stash, and your needles; you can also manage your "queue" (the projects and patterns you intend to work on), and Ravelry lets you add a button to your bookmarks bar which you can click everytime you find something you like to add it to your queue. Everything is interlinked - so should you have a large stash of a certain yarn hanging about, Ravelry will show you what other Ravellers have made with it. Or if you have a favorite pattern but no yarn for it, you can search by pattern to see what materials other Ravellers have used.
One of my favorite features is the "neighbours" function, which shows you other users making the same patterns as you, which means you can find people who share your taste and through them, find even more things you'd like to make. And if you want to watch what certain people are up to, you can add them to your friends; you can even chat to people if you're online at the same time (of course I'm not brave enough to chat to anyone yet, but it's nice to have the option should I work myself up to it).
The shiny new button in my sidebar (pinched from the clever and funny Half-Assed Knitblog, with thanks to Cyn) will take you to my Ravelry notebook (if you're a member already), or to the homepage, where you can sign up if you haven't already done so. I suggest that you hop to it and hopefully you'll be joining me soon in the orderly, snooperly pleasures of Ravelry.