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:
So, I was sitting Sunday night thinking about my livestream and someone asked if there was any other platform like Ravelry. And honestly there is not. One of the innovations Ravelry brought to the online fiber universe was a centrally located database of patterns and sales. However, with recent accessibility issues that center is not holding.
This is a simple directory listing designers, their links, and short blurb by me. My goal is to make this list accessible and help designs and makers find each other outside of Ravelry. No designer is paying me. I am doing this to support designers who are standing with the disability community, often at cost to themselves. It's truly a labor of love. If you would like to leave me a tip to help support this effort, it would be greatly appreciated.
And of course...show your support by subscribing to my Youtube Channel!
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
Update on Ravelry
It's been quite the ride lately in the Knitting and Crafting world. But, that's 2020. (Remember when we thought the biggest Stories of the year would be impeachment, Australian Wild Fires, and Murder Hornets? Ahhh simpler times)
My latest video is up and yes it's about Ravelry again. I promise I'm not become a Ravelry commentary channel. But, there were things that needed to be said about Ravelry's latest blog post regarding NuRav. (Accessible google doc) One thing that's tough about doing commentary video is a lot of times things I said get lost in the edit. Or things I should 've said never got said. So, couple of things I wish I had in the video but did not.
Know better, Do Better
Hey all y'all,
Since the Ravelry accessibility debacle occurred , I have learned some of the ways I posted craft recipes on this site goes against WGAC guidelines. (Link here to learn more about this). While I work on my making this material accessible I have removed them from the site. If you'd like a free PDF download of any of the craft recipes please click here. (Or on any o the images, or the button below)
Update on the Ravelry Accessibility Debacle
Now, let's talk more about Ravelry. I shot another KNITTING SECRETS REVEALED Video yesterday and an update on the Ravelry situation. If you have not watched the Knit Tea where I discuss the situation, head on over. And make sure you subscribe to my YouTube Channel and Hit the Notification Bell so you will be updated when it goes live!
Ravelry has recently posted an update about the NuRav (nickname for the New Ravelry look) and say Ravelry has taken some steps to address their accessibility issues. I will link to their offsite blog post if you'd like to read it, but be warned it is in the NuRav format. (Someone put up a link to the update on a google doc. But, I forgot to copy the link. If I find it I will give an update)
As for the post itself, in my opinion, it leaves a lot to be desired. I go into detail on this in the upcoming video, but, in short I find it minimizing and ableist. And believe me it gives me no pleasure to write this about Ravelry.
Although my personal use of Ravelry has always been love/hate, I've always held the site itself and the team behind it in high regard. Ravelry has played an important, vital role in the Fiber community. There would be a huge void left behind if Ravelry were to go down. I want Ravelry to succeed. Truly. But, in order for it to thrive, Ravelry needs to get over whatever issues are holding them back and fix their problems.
Again I want Ravelry to succeed. I want us all to be able to enjoy and use the site.
Thank you for reading and as Always Happy 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!