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.)
So often I see it on the Intertubes
Well, I am here to tell you, PROVISIONAL CAST-ONS ARE WORTH THE EFFORT! And I promise if you can cast on, you can do a provisional cast on, and they are totally WORTH THE EFFORT.
Besides turning flat pieces into seamless tubes, with a provisional cast on you can:
If you are thinking, "Okay, great, but I cannot do Provisional Cast-on. I have tried it," I promise you are incorrect. The truth is there is no one provisional cast-on. Provisional Cast-on is a type of cast on and there are several methods of accomplishing it.
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.
Perhaps you are a savvy internet buyer and familiar with all the places independent designers are selling their work. But, many of us makers have relied on one place to browse and buy patterns. Many are asking where are we going now? Well, there is no one place to do all the things a certain site provided. But, there are many sites where we can browse and discover the next project that will help bust our stash - or add to it.
Designers on The Fiber Indy List have chosen different solutions to selling their work. Some have shopping carts on their websites making it easy to visit their site, add to your cart and check out. Some have chosen to utilize Etsy*, Lovecraft* and Payhip. It can feel overwhelming when trying to navigate the wide ocean of the internet. One of the reasons The Fiber Indy List was created was to give a central place to find new, or at least new to you, designers.
Which place to go to when you want to "window shop" the pretty things made with pretty string? Where can you browse a browse a wide variety of future projects? If a designer is on Payhip and Lovecraft which link should you click on? In this blog post I'll discuss the three most common platforms on The Fiber Indy List: Payhip, Etsy, and Lovecrafts.
*Indicates an affiliate link. As an affiliate I earn on qualifying purchases. Affiliate links helps support The Fiber Indy List, Knits Where It's At, and all things Carrie Craftgeek. Thank you!
For more details please visit the FAQ
Unlike sites discussed later - Lovecrafts and Etsy - Payhip is an e-commerce platform for designers, writers, and creators to set up an individual shop. Designers will either have their own sales page hosted by payhip or integrate Payhip with their website. Payhip does not have a centralized site for makers to visit and browse all the future projects. But, that is part of the reason The Fiber Indy List exists, to provide a central place for you find new designers.
Payhip pages are refreshingly minimal. It begins with a designer's description followed by a gallery of photos of patterns for sale. Click on a photo of something catching your eye and you land on product page with all the details. And if you fall in love with a designer's catalogue, you can hit the follow button to sign up for updates sent directly to your inbox. (Shameless plug: Too many designer's you love? Too many emails? That's why we now have The Fiber Happenings on the TFIL main page)
On The Fiber Indy List you will also see Gumroad. For makers Gumroad is very similar to Payhip.
As hipsters took over the world, and non-crafters came to appreciate all the unique homemade things, Etsy arrived allowing artists, artisans and designers to set up online shops. Etsy has evolved into a large marketplace where people not only sell their finished work, but patterns and craft supplies. Not only can you find patterns, you can discover independent dyers and spinners.
Etsy is a good place for a little "window shopping" Whatever itch you want to scratch, whether it's trying out macrame for the first time or looking for your holiday gift projects, you'll find something special.
Lovecrafts is a UK based company that started as Loveknitting. And then it added Lovecrochet. And now it's Lovecrafts. If you have fond memory of shopping on Craftsy - rumors are it's coming back - Lovecrafts.com will feel familiar. Like Craftsy it aims to be one stop shop to learn, browse and buy. (No video classes like Craftsy. But, it does provide guides and articles.)
Lovecrafts has a large number of pattens to look through including free patterns. Makers can join the site and as of this blog post receive 15% off their first time purchase. When you sign up you can tell Lovecrafts what crafts you are interested in. Your member page will feed patterns, articles, and other member's FOB based on your answers. If you like to one stop shop, after putting a pattern in your cart, you can put some yarn in as well.
Lovecrafts does have community pages*. Members can upload pictures of finished objects, and when looking at patterns you can see what other makers have created. Or if you just want to browse other people's FOB's, you can go to the community pages to see all the pretty things. Unfortunately the community uploads do not provide detailed project information like yarn use, needles etc. But, who doesn't like to look at all the pretty objects?
One other issue with the Community pages is they can be a little tricky to find. You have to navigate to the menu bar for each craft - Knitting*, Crochet*, etc - and you will find "Community. =
The above are a sample of platforms to find designers, and they all serve their purpose. Personally what I find exciting s is we are not tied to any one place whose interface we may or may not love. We have the freedom to choose the experience we want when it comes to looking for patterns and finding our favorite designers. My goal with TFIL is to provide a resource to help navigate these new opportunities.
*As a Lovecrafts affiliate I may earn from qualifying purchases. Clicking on these links helps support my bog and YouTube Channel.
Rule 1: Know Where Your Purls Bumps Are Going
When grafting you enter into each stitch twice:
1st to Prep as if to Knit or Purl
2nd to Work as if to Knit or Purl
To know how to prep the stitch you first have to understand how you need to work the stitch.
What distinguishes a purl stitch from a knit stitch is whether the purl bump is pushed toward you when knitting or away from you:
Knit stitches push the purl bump away from you to the back of the fabric
Purl stitches push the purl bump toward you to the front of the fabric.
When live stitches are sitting on the needle they are in a neutral position. But, knitting into those live stitches, the purl bump gets pushed either to the right side of the fabric or the wrong side of the fabric. The same is true when grafting. So, the first question to ask yourself is which side of the fabric will the purl bumps be when I complete the graft?
On garter stitch the pattern goes, purl bumps, knit bumps, purl bumps. On needle one and two, there were purl bumps underneath the needle which meant I needed a row of knit stitches between them. This meant that I needed the purl bumps on both needles to go to the wrong side of the fabric.
Rule 2: Know What You're Looking At
It's important to remember if, like me, you hold the needles parallel to each other with right sides facing, the the side of the fabric facing you on Needle 1 and Needle 2 will be different. So, how you enter the stitches on Needle 1 will be different than Needle 2.
Rule 3: Prep Opposite What You Work
Remember each stitch is entered into twice.
1st to Prep as if to Knit or Purl
2nd to Work as if to Knit or Purl
Step 2 is what will eventually push your purl bump to the side of the fabric you want. But, before you can work the stitch as if to Purl or Knit and take the stitch off the needle, you need to prep the stitch. When you prep opposite of what you work. So it's either
Prep as if to Knit
Work as if to Purl
Work as if to Purl
Prep as it to Knit
Once you know which of the two you will do for an individual stitch you're ready to start grafting.
Note: When prepping the stitch you leave the stitch on the needle. Stitches come off the needle when working the stitch.
Rule 4: Prep before you Work
Starting the Graft can look tricky, but if your remember Rule 4 you'll always know how to start. When starting a Graft there are no prepped stitches. So you will need to prep the first stitch on Needle 1 and Needle 2 to get started.
Rule 5: Know the Grafting Dance
Rule 6: Ending the Graft you must prep, working is optional
When grafting every stitch will need to be prepped. But, the last stitch on Needle 1 & 2 do not necessarily have to be worked. It's up to you whether you want to:
- Only prep the last sttich
- Prep and Work 1 stitch while leaving the other stitch only Prepped
- Prep and Work Both stitches
I hope this helps you understand how to think your way through grafting. If you have any questions please comment either here or on the YouTube Channel. Or join me every Sunday at 11:00 am Pacific for Knit Tea Live!
There was some shenanigans happening on Fiber Twitter, and I cannot believe I have to say this, but it needs to be said clearly: Neo-Nazis, racists, anti-LGBTQ, antisemitism, and other bigotries are not welcome on The Fiber Indy List.
Since Raverly has unravelled failing to live up to its own values of inclusivity the question keeps getting asked: where are we all going to go? Some projects have popped up. Most notably on Instagram Fiber.Club has formed. So far they appear well intentioned, although it will take some time for them to get their site off the ground. Time will tell if they will be the inclusive alternative to Raverly so many want to see come out of this mess.
Now, this is not the first time people have rushed to create alternatives to Ravelry after a controversy. Last year when Raverly banned MAGA a couple of start ups tried to enter the fray and give a home to Trump supporters who felt called out. Those efforts appear to have crashed and burned, and I won't give them air here. Let the MAGA-rly sites be forgotten like Red Heart Sashay.
But, something happened today that reminds us that we have to be careful as a new crop of Raverly alternatives enter the field.
What happened on Twitter
On June 28, @ElizabettaCarrarra tweeted.
On August 2 Elisabetta tweeted a roadmap for Beta Testing and a name for her site: Yarn Room.
Based on these two tweets it appears Yarn Room is a legitimate enterprise and well intentioned.
OH NO, OH NO, OH NO. Not the case at all. This morning we all found out that Yarn Room is just another MAGA-rly looking to make a home for people who were kicked out of Raverly in 2019.
A twitter dialogue read in WTF
Twitter: Okay...This is one of those statement that on the surface seems okay. But, flags went up and a couple of people asked Elisabetta how she planned to handle harassment on Yarn Room.
Twitter: Wait, what? Like some patterns are blatantly political. You wouldn't let patterns with Nazi symbols on them. Like duh.
What? No. IT'S NAZIS!
BANNING NAZIES IS TIMELESS LIKE SHETLAND LACE!
IT'S A FOREVER MOOD!
Yes that did happen...
These screenshots are just a sample of Elisabetta defending why inclusivity requires accepting neo-Nazis onto her platform to sell their wares. Rarely have I seen a start up burn down it's brand so quickly.
Yes I have to say it explicitly
2020 has taught me many things. One big lesson is never assume that sharing a passion for knitting means we share anything else. And it does not mean I have to make space for you. And unfortunately this means that we all have to be a little skeptical when new projects launch. People don't always reveal themselves as quickly or blatantly as @ElisabettaCarrarra77. But, people generally do and taking a wait and see attitude is not a bad thing.
So, I'm going to say it clearly, so there's no doubt: The Indy Fiber List is not the home for bigotry and Nazis. I'm human. I will make mistakes along the way. But, I will do my best to keep my endeavors in line with my values. I will not include designers on The Fiber Indy List who take part in Yarn Room specifically, but any site that makes space for racism, and does it in the name of inclusivity is not a site I want associated with me.
Thank you for listening,
Happy Health and Happy Knitting
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
Do you know it's only been two days since I drank a couple glasses of wine and started to build"The Indy List?" Well it has been, and the response has been so positive from designs and crafters alike. I am so glad I am able to put together this resource for people.
Many of you have generously tipped me while I started building this list. I want you to know where those tips are going toward and why.
Because of my experience on YouTube, I knew at some point "The Indy List" would require a need that that love and effort cannot fulfill.
And, sure enough, it has. When I started this blog on Weebly it was because I hated Blogger. In High School I was the Editor in Chief for the school newspaper. Anyone who reads my tweets knows I didn't earn that position with proofreading. Nope. My skill was writing and layout. (I want to put text and photos where I want them, damn it!) Weebly gave me that ability with their free website builder. No coding skills needed. Perfect.
Before AdSense is set up, I will have to commit to upgrading my site to a paid plan. Switching to a paid plan will not only get a unique domain name, it will help me add better searchability to the "The Indy List."
Thanks to your generosity, I am 29% of the way to getting the paid plan fully funded for the year. I am so incredibly grateful to all of you. And I am working to live up to the faith you have placed in me to get this done, and get this done well.
Many Ways to Offer Support
- Visit this "Indy Site" regularly for updates to the list and check out the Designers work. Ultimately I was inspired to star this project to connect Indy Designers and Crafters looking for each other outside of Ravelry.
- Subscribe to my YouTube Channel. Currently my videos focus on my love of knitting offering my tips, tricks, opinion and preferences, and every Sunday I Livestream at 11:00 am PDT to talk about ... you guessed it knitting.
- Subscribe to my Newsletter. The sign up form is at the bottom of every page of the site. When you do I will send you a free knitting pattern and you will receive occasional updates on what's happening with all things Carrie CraftGeek.
- Favorite and shop my Etsy Shop. Currently I am selling handmade Fashion Facemasks, but I do want to start offering original handmade jewelry as well.
- Follow me on all my social media:
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!