First Some Background
A KAL for February!
And I am now starting a KAL for February 2021. I have been promising to get this together for MONTHS. It is finally happening. From February 1st to February 29th, I will be hosting a KAL for my Mera Fingerless Glove. This is one of my all time favorite projects. I dreamed this up while watching Aquaman and reminiscing about my own childhood fantasy of being a Mermaid. This pattern is free for those taking part in the KAL. To join sign up for my Fiber Group: Knits Where It's At. Right now I have the introduction to the pattern posted so you can start gathering your supplies and, if you want, start a swatch. (Want to learn all about making a swatch in the round? I have a video on that!)
*As a Knit Picks Affiliate I earn on qualifying Purchases. To learn more please visit my FAQ.
Why Are You Not Doing All this On Ravelry?
When learning to knit we are told to "knit a gauge swatch" That's it. But, knitting a fabulous gauge swatch is more involved than just doing it. And when we seek help from other knitters we often get bad advice and incomplete information.
But, I have good news, we do not have to keep living this way. We can get better results from our swatches by following some easy steps. Yes, some of this is about paying attention to details. But, paying attention to details is the difference between handmade and homemade.
To find my top 10 tips for getting an accurate gauge swatch click below to keep reading
Accessible "I Dissent" Projects
Dissent Cowl by Carissa Browning*: $5.00 Currently 20% of sales will be donated to the ACLU. Fall is coming and this gorgeous cowl will keep you as warm as the quiet fire Ruth Bader Ginsburg brought to a dissenting opinion. The cowl features textured stitches and baubles to mimick the beading of many of Justice Ginsburg's jabots.
Ginsburg Coller by Sheila Toy Stromberg: $2.00 Lovely crochet lace collar. This would work up quickly and easily added to a sweater set, Halloween costume, or to wear when you go out to vote. Perhaps make it up in Purple to allign with emPower People Project. (Information on emPower People is on the TFIL main page under Fiber Happenings)
RBandG Tank Top by Stephanie Erin*: $7.91. This very cool top down tank top has a neckline inspired by RBG's Dissnet collar. No need to wait until sweater weather to show off your admiration for the Notorious RBG.
RBG Doll and Finger Puppet*: $5.75 Keep the Notorious RGB memory alive by making one of these toys for a favorite child in your life. Or make the doll for yourself to keep on your desk, a shelf, anywhere you might need to occassionally look up and feel inspired. Because sometimes we all need to ask "What Would Ruth Bader Ginsburg do."
Dissent by Andra Rangel: $10.00 Beautiful, stranded color work yoke cardigan that evokes Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissent coller. Andrae Rangel also has a pullover sweater version of this project.
Dissent Cowl by Carissa Browning: Mosaic Pattern* $5.00. Currently 20% of sales will be donated to the ACLU. This is a knitted Cowl pattern by Carissa Browning. This cowl features mosaic pattern work and is a top down construction. It will also keep you as warm as the steely determination Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lifted weight.
Some things to do:
Want to learn more about Ruth Bader Ginsburg? Here are some suggested reading.
*As an Amazon Associate I may earn on qualifying purchases.
As often happens lately, it all started on Twitter. Someone asked, “Do we really want to go back to life before Ravelry?” It is wise to not assume a tone when reading a tweet. But, the conversation that followed made clear some think without Ravelry, knitting would return to a primordial world where we knit by candlelight and have to rely on knitting magazines for patterns.
My knee jerk reaction was, "What is wrong with life without Ravelry?" Setting aside NuRav and ableism for a moment, Ravelry is helpful for many things. Personally, I think the best thing is seeing other knitters and crocheters finished objects so you can see what a pattern looks like in the wild. It is also very useful for yarn substitution.
But, the fact is, lots of people right now are living their best knit life without Ravelry. It might be by choice or by necessity - cause you know the migraines and vertigo. Also, there are still yarnies who do not know about Ravelry. (Yes, there are lots of knitters and crocheters who have never heard of Ravelry.)
Now I have to again confess my own relationship with Ravelry. I am not longer on the website. Even when I was a member, I was a casual user and it was never the center of my knitting universe. I am way more active on Facebook knitting groups. (It is the primary reason I do not just leave that hell site.)
I do not want to discuss Ravelry and NuRav. Not really. I mean nothing has changed since my videos on it, and likely nothing is going to change. Ravelry continues to be ableist while claiming they are inclusive. But, their latest blog post has triggered such a hard eye roll it's distracting me from my sprained ankle.
Let's Catch Up on Ravelry
Since Jess's letter when Ravelry threw Cassidy under the bus and sort of apologized, Raverly has proceeded to do nothing substantial to address the situation.
A group of designers sent a letter asking for Ravelry to hire a consultant and assure the fiberverse they are working to fix their problems. There were four asks:
Below is the Instagram post sharing Ravelry's response to the letter. I would summarize Ravelry's response as: "think we covered it with Jess's later that was non-committal about a consultant. But, thanks a bunches. byeee" â
Raverly released a new Beta function on Raverly called Swatches. It's only accessible through NuRav, so people who can't use Ravelry can't be part of Beta Testing. When announcing Swatches on twitter, Ravelry utilized twitter's new safety features to turn off comments. And on Facebook, they deleted comments from people discussing disabilities. Yes, they able-washed their announcements.
A person on Twitter reports they saw a comment on a Ravelry forum regarding an interaction with Raverly TPTB. Basically, the person used Swatches and sent feedback that brought up issues for people experiencing migraines due to NuRav.
So, yea, that letter from Jess that threw Cassidy under the bus and gave some people a glimmer of hope that Raverly was going to make a meaningful pivot? ð¤·ð»ââï¸.
My interpretation is that Jessica's letter was for show, and the team's intention is to forge ahead believing that people experiencing migraines, vertigo, eye strain, and seizures, are not real? Making it up? Insignificant? And that leads us up to today.â
A New Knot in the Yarn
âToday, the first of September Raverly has a new announcement.
Ravelry is so proud of this step. They are so excited to talk to Ravelers about emPower People that they have again shut off comments on Twitter. I mean, of course, it makes sense that Ravelry is sharing emPower People and craftivism. They are, after all, the inclusive space for yarnies to get together. Well, inclusive for everyone except people who inconveniently experience migraine, vertigo, and eyestrain when using NuRav.
I believe Raverly would promote emPower even if NuRav had never happened. But, the fact is, NuRav did happen. It's still happening. For Raverly to wrap themselves in the cloak of craftivism while they silence and erase disabled crafters is tone deaf and hypocritical. â
What to do: Support emPower and Craftivism, Be a Craftivist
I want to take a moment to plug the emPower People project. It is a craftivism project "aimed at uniting crafters across all mediums to engage people across communities to spark conversation, engagement, and action in the political process to uphold social justice and human rights." â
I have nothing but positive things to say about emPower People and joining in with craftivism to effect positive change. The fact is, we are living in a perilous time. So many marginalized people in the fiberverse are being actively harmed by racism, homophobia, transphobia, antisemitism, ableism, and prejudice of all kinds. (FYI: If you are a White Trump supporter, you're not marginalized. I'm not talking to you. Buh bye.)
âI really encourage you to check out the emPower People website, raid your stash for purple yarn to make your own emPower People Purple Bandana. Or if you don't have purple yarn, buy some.
emPower People is a group of BIPC indepenent dyers. If you can afford to purchase yarn from them please do so. On their page is a list of indepedent dyers.
Personally, I've had some purple yarn in my stash waiting for its moment. I believe its time has come!
NOTE: I have updated this blog and removed some affiliate links. It was thoughtless of me to include them in the first place, and I centered myself when I should have been amplifying the message and cause behind emPower People. I am truly sorry.
But, don't just knit or crochet a purple bandana. Make a plan to vote. Your vote matters. Don't miss out.
As for Ravelry: Be a Craftivist
Again I sincerely encourage you to check out emPower People and take part in the Purple Bandana Project. Also, consider how Ravelry fits into your craft life and craftivism. If you are not prepared to leave Ravelry all together, please consider not buying patterns through Raverly. If there is a pattern on Ravelry you want to buy:
The last two days have been uber frustrating. Long story short, my hard drive failed. It's not completely catastrophic - I don't believe it's physical damage. I think there are corrupted files. But, the result is I am trying to back up data, some of it is working. Bought a new hard drive, that was expensive. (If you'd want to help support my channel please use one of my affiliate links, or buy me a coffee. ?)
But, the biggest problem ... The one that's breaking my heart is, my latest video is trapped in digital limbo.
I have been trying to rescue her. But, it's not going well. Pretty sure whatever is going on with the disk is right where the file is living. I can't get it to copy over to my back up hard drive.
The good news is I still have al the raw media files so I can always start over editing....from scratch...like I'm just back at the very beginning.
No, really it's going to be fine. One thing about starting an edit from scratch. (?) are you already made a lot of decisions and you do not have have to make them again. Now that I think about it, it is not unlike knitting and frogging. The thought of starting over is so much worst than the actual starting over. Once I buckle own and do it, it will be fine.
The Comfort of Low Tech
All of this technology failure has got me thinking of the comfort of physical, low tech stuff. Maybe this is why I prefer pen and paper for knitting patterns and recipes. It's definitely why I have never embraced knitting apps to track my work. Paper is easy to replace, a tablet is not.
So how do I keep track of my work? Stitch makers!
And this week I had a really fun twitter discussion about stitch markers and progress trackers.
I learned a couple of new from this conversation
1. There are things called progress trackers. They are used to mark rows of knitting and track shaping
2. Progress trackers are distinct from stitch makers
3. The tools used for progress trackers and stitch makers seem pretty much the same to me
4. I have been using stitch markers as progress trackers for years. Why did no one tell me there was a name for it? Rude.
If you have watched my vides: What's in My Notions Bag, or Intro to Knitting Fundamentals, or Tracking Shaping Rows with Stitch Markers (oh I guess that would progress trackers) then you know I have strong feelings about my bulb pins and plastic interlocking stitch makers.
I ❣️ them.
In addition to bulb pins, scrap yarn makes great progress trackers and stitch marks. Knitters and crocheters, we always have scrap yarn. In my notions bag, there is always a small wadded up ball of it, ready to grab and use to mark out a repeat.
And because my bulb pin or scrap yarn is part of the work it never goes missing the way row counters, ore scraps. of paper can.
The thing is I usually love computers and technology and finding an app to make my life easier. I have a much easier time keeping files on my computer organized than pieces of paper in my house. But, actual, tangible things can be comforting and satisfying. And don't we all need a little bit of comfort and satisfaction right now.
What has come of this world?
Many fiber crafters are being thrown back to a long forgotten world: life without Ravelry. In this first few months of Year One in the AR (After Ravelry) many of us are floundering about trying to find new solutions to old problems: tracking our stash, inventorying our tools, keeping notes on our projects, organizing photos... you get the idea. There is in this world people are working to create alternative sites to Raverly, but that will take time. Meanwhile, there are squishy packages arriving and that yarn ain't going to inventory itself.
Today's blog post I'm going to give some open source and/or free resources to help you organize your life outside NuRav.
Check back this blog for updates. I'll be adding to the list as I become aware of new resources. I have a new option under Notebooks: Trello.
First Some Backstory
If you have been following the Unravelling Ravelry Saga you know the once beloved yarnie website monopolized the fiber craft space with it's notebook functions to inventory stash, tools, track projects and of course, the giant pattern database. But, they released NuRav which has been an utter debacle with reports of it triggering migraines, vertigo, eyestrain, and yes seizures.
Until this week the most charitable description for Ravelry's response has been .... tepid. The unvarnished truth it has been gaslighting and ableist. But, this week the mask has completely fallen with the appearance of form letters from Ravelry:
People are abandoning hope that Ravelry will do the right thing and are either deleting their account, or leaving a skeleton behind as they walk away.
Thursday, July 20 Jessica, co-founder of Raverly, emerged from the shadows with a statement (this link takes you to the OFFSITE Raverly blog and does not contain NuRav formatting) I will probably write a separate blog post about it. Let's just say, your milage may vary and I'm personally taking a wait and see attitude. In the meantime, the list of resources
I have not used or tried many of these resources. My own organizational systems are a bit more analogue...Unusual for me to be honest. But, I hope for those who need it, you find this helpful. If you want to skip to different sections I provide a menu at the beginning of each section.
Victoria was the first person I saw on twitter who started an alternative database for herself. Airtable is a web based database and it has free membership options. This takes stash inventory up a level from spreadsheets and it may feel more intimidating. But, Victoria has offered a blank base (Airtable talk for a database) to help new users get started.
If you need to download your patterns off of Raverly before walking away, this Chrome extension is a good option. I've used it myself. I did not find it intuitive, but I was able to figure it out and it works. Evanita Montalvo has a video tutorial on how to use this. The YouTube has screen recordings of OldRav. Please be sure to like her video if you watch it.
The Fiber Indy List
This is my baby. It's a centralized directory of Designers providing accessible e-commerce solutions for people who cannot or do not want to use Ravelry. This is a work in progress so more designers will be added (I have some in the queue right now) and I'm hoping to add other functions. But, it can be a jumping off point to discover new ways to discover patterns and subscribing to anDesigner's newsletter shows you support their efforts in being inclusive and accessible.
Have you heard of a thing called blogs?
"Hey, Carrie weebly is in your url. " Yes, this is the web hosting site I use for my blog and the FTIL. I chose Weebly because it was free and I liked the ability to have a homepage, blog page, etc. The design interface is fairly intuitive and it requires no coding knowledge to get a spiffy looking website and/or blog. Unlike some other blogging sites (Blogger I'm looking at you) I can easily arrange blocks of material to get layouts that feel more like a newsletter and less like an inline blog post.
This platform isn't as well known as Wordpress so the widgets are more limited and the easy integrations with MailChimp is non existent. (It's actually not hard to do, but if you're not used to copying and pasting html into places it can be intimidating) But, if I can afford to upgrade to a paid plan, it is less expensive than comparable sites I've seen, ie Wordpress. And, if you have aspirations of building your own e-commerce site, membership, or whatever Weebly has those tools with paid plans.
The Weebly Signup link is a referral code and I will receive credits with Weebly to help pay for additional features.
Ah old faithful. Free. Easy. Powered by Google. Blogger comes included with any Google account. What's not to like?
Blogger is definitely a good option if you want something straightforward and no fuss. But, if you're like me and in High School was in charge of laying out your High School newspaper, for which you won awards, Blogger is kind of limiting. (That's not a humblebrag. That's just bragging. And you are free to judge me for bragging about my High School accomplishments. I'm fine with it.)
I never heard of Dreamwidth until Romi Hill tweeted about them. Like Raverly, Dreamwidth is rebuilding their code, their look, and ran into accessibility problems. The response was like a 100 times better. I haven't dug into it but they describe themselves as a blog/journal for creative people. It sounds a lot like Livejournal but for creators. So, not only can you blog, you can connect with others who are into the same thing you are.
The World's most popular website builder. How do I know? They have it in big honking letters on their homepage. Wordpress is an industry leader. I can't speak to how well all their tools and widgets work or how intuitive it is. But, being the big site on the intertubes does come with privileges. Widgets are designed to work with their API (Am I using that abbreviation correctly? I have no idea. I'm that person who knows how to use the tools, but now how the tools work) and sites like Mailchimp offer easy integrations.
Blogs not your thing? Do you like pinboards and notecards? Trello may be the project management option for you. A mutual follow on twitter pointed me to Trello and operates like a virtual storyboard or inspiration board. Getting started looking at blank blocks can feel overwhelming. No problem. Trello has free Templates to help you get started organizing ideas, brainstorms, tracking projects, taking photos, etc.
In Summary: holding out my hat
A THIRD Survey for NuRav
I took the "readability" survey. If you have any concerns about the site causing you harm be warned the whole thing is pretty much screenshots. And it's looking at some really subtle differences between contrast and line spacing. 1/x https://t.co/noNKJDiEv1— Carrie CraftGeek (@knitswhereitsat) July 8, 2020
Last week, was a tough week for me personally. A major allergy attack - which is new for me - kept me from getting in front of the camera. But, Sunday I finally felt well enough o shoot a video and it's a banger.
Finally, I'm doing the long awaited video: Knit Tea: English vs Continental Death Match!
Yes, I sat down and went through why I prefer English knitting over Continental. I hoping to have the video up by the end of the week!
Yarn isn't just for knitting!
I'm Carrie CraftGeek. I've been knitting for 20 years and crafting my whole life. I love to share my passion with the world!