Ravelry has more than 360,000 members, and if you like to knit or crochet, it’s an indispensable tool for networking. The site allows you to explore thousands of patterns, some free (download PDF’s and try them yourself) and some for sale. The ability to see other people’s versions of a pattern is amazing, especially seeing photos that show how the same pattern looks not only in different yarns but on a hundred different people.
The profile feature is helpful as well. I was in a yarn shop recently and wanted to purchase yarn but couldn’t remember exactly how much I needed. I had posted the pattern details on my Ravelry profile, so the shop owner was able to look it up for me and retrieve the information I needed. I also use the favorites feature, to keep track of patterns I see that I like and might work on in the future.
A feature I haven’t used yet is the Stash. Users catalog their spare yarn (always good to know what you have on hand), including extra yarn they’re willing to trade or sell. So, if you start a project and need just one more skein of yarn of a certain dye lot, you may be able to find someone else who has it. Otherwise you’re out of luck.
Of course, Ravelry also has groups for regional get-togethers, and forums to post questions and answers and share discoveries. It’s a great site for connecting with others who share your passion.
[Membership is free but you'll need to request an invitation. Invitation requests are typically returned within a day -- ES]