This weekend some friends visited and we had a fabulous time playing together. One of our outings was to Stitches West, the land of yarn, patterns, and other knitting goodness. I had a wonderful time petting all the yarn, and found myself pulled back into the whole knitting thing. One of the booths was for Ravelry, a relatively new social knitting site. Michelle insisted that this was the coolest site ever created, and that I should take a look (knowing, as she did, that I’m dealing with various cool ways to visualize data). Skud has also sung their praises, which led me to believe that they must in fact be pretty cool. I got a chance to shoulder-surf behind Michelle while she demonstrated the wonder that is this site… and I have to agree. This is an amazing site.
Although I haven’t yet gotten my invitation, I’ve already done a bunch of thinking about why this is such a great site. I think one of the main innovations is the integration with existing knit blogs. People have been knit blogging for years, and most of them have a devoted following, making them reluctant to move their knit musings to a new place. Allowing people to integrate their narrative blog posts in with their more structured data on ravelry, and point back and forth between them gives the most actively posting knitters incentive to use the site and keep it filled with new and glorious content. I do like the stash tracking and the forums, but I have to say that integrating with people’s existing content is inspired. In fact, I think I’ll make a knitting blog again here (and fold it in with this one using MultiBlog) so that when I finally get my invitation I’ll have some posts to look at.
So now *I’m* inspired. I’ll probably offer a hand in making the site better, just because it seems really amazing. But I also spent a good deal of time today looking around for something similar for cooking. There are tons of food bloggers too, churning out content on a regular basis which is all chaotically scattered about the blogosphere.
I have to do some work with Django and Pylons over the next couple of days, and one of the things I’ll be contemplating is whether I could make a similar site with Django. I think it would be great to have a site which integrates existing blogs (like Ravelry does), and also allows users to link to recipes they’ve made (and link to the place from whence it came, with the option to buy the book from Amazon where appropriate). There could be forums and communities for different cooking types or cuisines, and probably other fabulous linky things I’m not thinking of now. There won’t be a stash tracker or anything, although kitchen equipment is something I’m always interested in. I’d love to know who else made a given recipe from one of my 72,000 cookbooks. I’d also like to know who owns each of them and what their favorite recipes are from that book. And what adaptations they’ve made to make them more wonderful.
For now I’ll just play with Django and await further inspiration (and my invitation!) but I hope to have some time to noodle about this in my “spare time.”