Wool Work
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Episode 130: WoolWork Was There

This is not going to be a usual kind of podcast, I guess.

At the end of this month, I will have to stop using R@velry due to the changes they have made and the issues I – and many others – suffer as a result.

After 12 years; 163 projects (which were logged on there, there were more!) ; 708 faves; 549 library patterns; 512 friends and 3776 posts and countless, insurmountable-to-encapsulate good encounters; delightful times; pattern searches, yarn searches etc within that community, I am having to say cheerio to R@velry this month.

Those statistics might be a drop in the ocean compared to some people’s use on the site, but let me tell you, for most of that time I have felt that I was part of a welcoming, diverse, inclusive community. A community like no other. And then one day, after so many years of feeling welcomed in, so many of us were made to feel unsafe and unwelcome.

If you are reading this, you really don’t know what this is about and you are  thinking, “What is she talking about? This doesn’t sound like R@velry” then I would urge you, really – right now, to go an look at the #RavelryAcessibility hashtags on social media. there are quite a few blog posts you can read if you google; Liz Corke has a very well written account of things on her blog:

https://www.lizcorke.com/2020/07/26/2020-7-21-ravelry-accessibility/

The visual and neurological issues recorded by users is serious. The uncaring attitude of the team behind the site is in shocking opposition to how they have made themselves appear. It is serious. So much of the conversations about R@v over the last few months have been about these issues. People have called on the community and on designers and yarn businesses who use the site.

Many of the people who are trying to advocate are the users who are affected and small businesses and smaller-scale designers. There has been a deafening silence from more of the well-known designers and businesses and there are a lot of users who claim they don’t know about the issues being experienced. If you care about the crafting community, if you have been vocal in standing up for people’s rights in other ways, but silent on this – please think about that for a minute.

To those designers who haven’t spoken out – you know who you are and we see you. I have made quite a lot of decisions about who I choose to support in my making in light of your silence on this.

People who also felt part of the community you feel such a part of, now cannot spend time on the site, can’t access their patterns, can’t chat in the forums, because doing so is unsafe for their health. Think about that.

I have downloaded my patterns and my stash. However, I can’t take all those communications, all those connections, all those comments, forum posts, all those impossible-to-explain wonderful things of being part of a community. It is a true heartache. In the time I have been a knitter and a member of that site, I started a blog and then a podcast. That site became a second home base and there was a community for my podcast within that space. We chatted, we grew, we knitted together. We grew together. I am sorry that I now, won’t be able to be a part of that space.  I cannot tell you how hard it has been to not be able to participate with my own group there. How many times I want to run over there with a bit of news, a link to something, or just to have a read.

We can still find each other and the podcast is still here, but that was a special place.

Some of the special things we did cos of R@v: Scollayalong

I am working on creating a space off that site to recreate a discussion group. Thank you for those who have made suggestions. This is something that takes a bit of thought – there are lots of things to consider, including data and security, I don’t care for the mighty network type groups. I don’t want to create something that looks like facebook and many of you have told me that you don’t want that either. Keep your ear to the podcast and an eye on the website for that information. Side note: You can sign up to get emails via the website

Some of the special things we did cos of R@v: NaturesShadesAlong

I am so very sad about the fact that I can no longer use the community site anymore.  While I hate what they have done to R@velry, I am heartbroken that I have not been able to use the group. If you have come to WoolWork due to the group there, or if you have participated with anything related to the podcast, or our community KALS etc over there then I want to tell you how sorry I am and how much I treasured all that time and all those interactions.

WipCrackAway Kal

I get upset in the recording and lose my way with what I wanted to say, but I am going to post this up anyway!

I will no longer be able to contribute to the group there.  If you can use it, then I can’t stop you , but the group will not be moderated and I will probably have to think about deleting it at some point.

I have not been using links to R@v for some time and I will no longer promote or link to designers, patterns or information which is only on the R@v site. So many people are affected by the changes to R@v and I cannot in good conscience promote any use of it, anywhere.

Some of the special things we did cos of R@v: The Remakery

Again, friends, thank you for being part of such an incredible group. That is what I am clinging too from this whole sorry affair! I treasure our times on there.

Lets take this opportunity to thank Mazzy, who has been an awesome moderator and great woolly mucker, doing her best to keep the group updated with episodes. After March 31st , we will no longer update the group. Please do ensure you subscribe to WoolWork on your pod apps, or sign up to the email reminders of new posts, in the link above (or in the side bar)

Some of the special things we did cos of R@v: The Good Intentions Club

Pass the hankies!

 

| Important Information

Music used is Dr Turtle, Doctor Talos Answers the Door and David Mumford Sinign’ in the Rain Cover Demo. Both tracks are used under creative commons and are available via Free Music Archive. Images are copyright to those attributed in the accompanying information, or are mine.

15 Comments

  1. Susan Hobkirk says

    My heart is breaking for you Louise and I’ve shed a tear along with you. I just don’t understand why they didn’t/won’t change it back – or at least change it to something that doesn’t exclude so many of their own. I’m lucky (?) that it has no effect on me but I think it looks awful and much preferred the old version. Be consoled by the fact that your supporters and followers are all still here and we will find ways to meet/chat/interact in some way. Stay safe and be kind to yourself. Big virtual 🤗 xx

  2. No thanks are necessary. I have experienced such camaraderie and inspiration from the KnitBritish and WoolWork communities. I am immeasurably sad about the loss of our shared past together but I look forward to a future some place else.

    • Claire (mithras9) says

      … And another Bristol meetup perhaps, when the pandemic allows? We can make that future, in so many different ways.

  3. The r@v site was already less vibrant, and it will lose another great group and ideas. I would have never knitted a hap, a lush, a scollay, used natural colours, cracked my wips (they do tend to come back though) or have met you…

  4. Dear Louise, I just so glad not to loose you and too still have the pleasure of your company with Apple Podcast.

    Thank You for all you share with us,

    Marie C.
    a knitter from Quebec, Canada

  5. Sarah says

    Oh Louise, I am so sorry. I have so enjoyed the camaraderie of the KnitBritish group and wonderful introductions to proper, local, woolly wools! I was even wearing my Scollay when I listened to this. It’s a bit pilled now, but much-loved.

    Whilst I’ve only had minor eye strain on the new site, I am standing with everyone who cannot use it and minimising any interactions on there. I no longer support by purchasing patterns direct and have been requesting alternative ways to purchase if a designer doesn’t have their own website/payhip/lovecrafts as a way of raising the issue. I remain surprised and disappointed at the responses from some well-known, popular designers some of whom themselves have experience of disability.

    My knitting journey would have looked very different without your input, and I look forward to a new and different way of continuing to build the community. In the meantime, look after yourself and be assured we’ll still all be here, knitting away!

  6. onlydreaming says

    Thank you so much Louise for starting and continuing a very special community – it was an absolute blast! And thanks too to lovely Mazzy for keeping us going.

    I learned so much from the group and enjoyed wonderful company with fellow knitters. It came to mean so much and gave the inspiration to knit my very favourite FOs. I have missed it over the last months. But I am STILL knitting haps.

    I am going to extract myself from Ravelry. It will be difficult- it is such a part of my life and has been a comfort in difficult and lonely times. But I am going to minimise interaction there and buy patterns elsewhere.

    I will now look forward to hearing of a new place to meet again virtually or IRL. We will have such a woolly party when we get back together!

  7. Joanna says

    Louise, you are an inspiration. I’m also not well using Ravelry but not sure how to proceed. I think I need to take a leaf out of your book. xx

  8. Cheryl says

    Thank you , Louise, for lighting the fire in my knitting soul for the love of wooly wools. Before I stumbled on KnitBritish and all the wonderfully friendly and talented knitters, I had just discovered Ravelry. We had a new LYS just 15 minutes from my house and I was making new friends in person and in your group.
    Our LYS is closed now for good and sadly Ravelry will never be the same. Such a year it has been.

    I have been limiting my time on Ravelry in support of all those who find it unusable. I must find a place to download all my patterns, favs and library.
    I will listen to your podcast and look for your emails with your new home.

  9. Isabel says

    Dear Louise, I was deeply touched by this podcast. Although I haven not been affected by the changes in a significant manner, I have been using the classic view and have used that site less and less since the new version was launched, and am considering moving my projects etc to a site of my own soon, as I hate the fact the site owners are doing users out by not maintaining that option. I use the site mostly as a database for my projects, patterns, and yarn, but can understand how important the community part is and how these changes have massively impacted, as I have joined the Woodwork group in the last year or so and found it such a lovely community.

    Looking forward to hearing you in the next podcast, and virtual hugs and solidarity from Yorkshire.

  10. Oh Louise, this episode made me cry. I’m so sorry, this is all total b*llocks. I just cannot believe their attitude.

    You created a beautiful space where I’ve made friends, felt part of a community, learnt new skills and been inspired. That does not go away. I am not affected by the site changes but will be looking to download my patterns and stop using it. I believe that we have tremendous power as consumers by deciding where we spend our money. For those designers who make it possible for me to buy elsewhere, they will be getting my money.

    I look forward to the new space you will no doubt create.

    Sending love and solidarity.
    Kate

  11. Ellena says

    😢 so many beautiful british wool fos that wouldn’t exist but for your encouragement, spread through rav 🥰🐑
    One of a lot of really, thoroughly crappy things that 2020 dumped on us.
    I can still use it and would encourage anyone else that can to join in a ‘green out’ and not log on from March 31st to April 3rd to show how many care about those excluded by the dreadful management of the situation 😡

  12. Kate says

    Just FYI, your popup that announces that there are links to the site has many of the same problems that have hurt people over there–very high contrast, drop shadow, and for me at least it swooped up into place, though it doesn’t move once it finishes popping up.

    • louise says

      Thank you! so kind of you to comment on this.
      Animations for the pop up are off, but I have changed the theme of this.

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