Well, Sandi, you have asked a very good question! A lot of people are talking about Ravelry and for those that are not register members then it hard to understand the function or practicality of it.
I really don’t know if you would call it a web site, forum, data base, but all I know is it is a one stop shopping place to find patterns, to purchase or for free, it’s a place to keep all of my stash filed in one place, and it keeps all my FO’s in one place, but their’s even more to it then that.
Say I find a pattern that I like, most of the time that’s a free pattern, I will start off by queuing it, this just means that I put it in a file page that I can come back to later if I can’t start it now. ( I have 194 patterns in queue =P ) From there I can print out my pattern and then decide if I want to use any of my stash yarn or if I need to buy new yarn. If I can’t find or afford that yarn then I might want to know if I can use say Red Heart, I’ll look to the side of the page and see that maybe 114 people have made this pattern then I’ll have a look to see if anyone else has used Red Heart of some other yarn that I might be able to afford. I can then see if others have had problems with the pattern or yarn and see if anyone made and modification to the pattern that may suit me better. Then if I come to a part of the pattern that I’m having trouble on I can then send a message to the designer to ask for help, or I can ask someone else that has worked on the pattern for help also. After I’m done I can then take a picture of my work and post it on my projects page for all to see. I’ll get comments for other or just a simple ♥ to say I like your work.
Now, if all that wasn’t enough you even have groups that you can join, it’s a great way to find people that have the same interest as you, or may live close to you. You have a place to file all your hooks and needles, and a place to show your books in your library.
Now if that isn’t enough to get you to sign up then maybe just knowing that it will only take about 3 days to get your invitation should get you to try again. (I had to wait over a month )
If you have anymore question about it just let me know, and do let me know if anyone signs up I would love to have you in my friends list!