Our very first Ravelry Workshop is done! To put it in knitting terms, it’s off the needles, the ends are woven in, and now I’m blocking it to see the final results. To avoid making one incredibly long post, I’m going to break it down into a couple. This post is all about our attendees – how they got there, how they registered, etc.
Registration (on our website and on a hard copy sign-up sheet at the Reference Desk) started off slow – as of last week, there were only two people signed up (both from our Knit and Crochet group.) As of this Tuesday (the day before the workshop,) we were up to eight registrants! Though I started promoting it week earlier (posters went up in the library, I made a Facebook post with the link on August 24th,) there was a late flurry of registration. Our email blast with September events had gone out over the weekend, the printed calendars were distributed shortly before, plus people may have seen the promotions earlier but needed time to check their calendars. We had four sign up at the Reference Desk and four on our website. While requiring online sign-up would ensure that all students were fairly computer-savvy, having a hard copy at the Reference Desk was pretty essential for capturing sign-ups from our regular Knit & Crochet Club members and from people who saw the posters in the library. Thanks to the survey the students took at the end of the class, I learned that two people heard about it through posters in the library, two people heard about it through the Knit & Crochet Club, and we got one each from our email blast, Facebook post, and word of mouth.
In all, we had seven people attend – it turns out one of the online registrations that said it was for two people was likely meant to be one, but I didn’t take attendance to confirm (something I now regret.) This is an amazing turn out – many of our events that require registrations have many no-shows, especially with the rainy weather we had that evening. Because of this, we tend not to use the registration system, but I decided to use it to keep the class small and to make sure that I prepared enough iPads for all attendees.
I had such lovely students in the class, which made it the workshop run so smoothly! The students ranged from beginner knitters to very experienced. They also ranged from people who had never used Ravelry to people who had been using the site for years but felt they could be doing more with it (spoiler alert: everyone could be doing more with it. It has so many neat features, often explained on their Unraveled blog, but the site is a little older and not too intuitive so they can be tough to find on your own.)
Since only two students were part of the Knit & Crochet Club, we did promote the group pretty heavily to the other students. This also shows me that it’s time to promote the Knit & Crochet Club again – we started it off with lots of promotion when it launched last autumn, but it might be time to boost it again now that the cool weather is coming and we’ve added handy iPads thanks to Studio Rhode!
When the class ended, I had everyone fill out an anonymous survey using Google forms (more on that in a post to come) but I didn’t collect contact information. I’m kicking myself now, because I feel like it would be great to start a fiber arts email list. I did show everyone our Knit & Crochet @ Westerly Library group on Ravelry and encouraged everyone to find and friend me on there if they ever have a question (I also gave my professional, at-work contact information.)
Lessons learned: take attendance, ask if people want to join a mailing list, and try many different avenues of promotion (almost all of ours worked.) Also, don’t get discouraged if you don’t get sign-ups right away – you may still have a full class the day-of!