Yesterday on Instagram I said I was cutting ties with Ravelry as a user but I wanted to talk about my relationship with the site as a designer. I think it’s probably going to take more room than I can fit in just an Instagram post though, so here we are.
First, I want to do a flashback to March 2019. I was a designer on Making Things when it launched. It was a nice little boost to my monthly incomings, but it never made me big money. I joined because I have always tried to give knitters as many places to find my patterns as possible, and because relying just on one site has never made me comfortable. (I also had my patterns on Craftsy and Patternfish before they disappeared.) On March 17th 2019 when it came out on IG that they did not support diversity or inclusion and were silencing people who asked for those things, I immediately sent them an email, withdrawing my patterns. This was a really easy decision for me, because Ravelry was there, holding up the majority of my sales, so I was still earning money. Ravely enabled me to leave Making Things without a second thought. Of all the sites I’ve sold my patterns through over the last seven years, only Ravelry and LoveCrafts are still around.
When I started designing, it was mostly a hobby on the side of my day job, but even back then it was important to me that designing paid for itself. So far my designing has covered all the costs involved (yarn, tech editing, software, etc) and while it is nowhere near paying me a real wage, it has continued to grow and cover my costs. It even occasionally helps to pay big bills, like the car insurance, or cover emergencies. It’s done this mostly because of the way my patterns can be found by anyone through Ravelry, even though I’m still a small name designer.
Now I’m a stay/work at home mum, designing is the only income I can contribute to my family, which is really important to me. Given our circumstances, the chances I could get a job that would do more than cover the cost of childcare here are slim, so designing allows me to earn money for our family, while also looking after my children. For this reason, it’s more important to me than ever that my design business continues to support itself at the very least. That means I have to earn enough through sales on LoveCradts and Payhip (through my website) to cover all my costs on a monthly basis (yarn, tech editing, software (I use Adobe InDesign and Photoshop to put my patterns together and edit photos) and web hosting.). As soon as I am able to cover those expenses regularly, I will remove my pattern sales from Ravelry.
I believe inclusivity is the only way for us to live. I believe that we should all be equal regardless of race, religion, disability, whether you are LGBTQIA+ or any combination of these. Ravelry is not inclusive. They have demonstrated that over the past six weeks. I will leave as soon as I can. Every pattern you buy will help me get there sooner 😉
I have loved Ravelry since I joined in 2011 as a crocheter. Until six weeks ago there had been very few days in the last nine years when I haven’t been online to read the forums, look for patterns, update my projects or interact with those who were knitting my designs. I’m heartbroken for myself and for so many other users who have lost access to their communities on Ravelry. But I’m looking to the future now and I have my fingers crossed for @fiber.club.
Full Disclosure, I wrote this post before the blog post from Jess (this link will take you to Ravelry’s external blog page, the design may or may not be problematic), but it hasn’t changed my feelings. So much trust has been lost and I need to see real actions and an apology (to everyone who has suffered, but especially @ktb38 ) before I trust Ravelry again. I still want them to set the classic look as the default look for the site and have the new look be opt-in rather than opt-out. I’m really happy for anyone who finds the new look easier to read, but logging into Ravelry to use the new look will not cause them harm. For many users, if they accidentally follow a link to the new look Ravelry they can and have suffered migraines and seizures before being able to log in. This is about preventing harm until the new look is safe for everyone. No matter what Jess is saying now, MH kept using screenshots with drop shadows and all those little icons for six weeks after she was asked not to by users, and the emails changed after 4(?) weeks to the new style. If they’re sorry and they understand, blah blah blah, why didn’t they stop? Why were the emails changed? If they believe that the new look is causing harm, then they are actively causing harm to their users by keeping it as the default and continuing their changes. That is not acceptable.