You might have noticed that things look a little different around here now! I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few months working on this new site around all my other work, so I hope you like it! My previous website was on Squarespace. I originally set it up just as a gallery and blog for my patterns. I never really intended to sell through the site. However, when the Ravelry Accessibility debacle began, I wanted to give you a safe and accessible place where you could buy my patterns and that I controlled. As I already had my Squarespace site, it was logical to use that, and Payhip provided a way for me to sell on my site, without having to worry about paying EU VAT myself and dealing with VAT MOSS.
The more I used my Squarespace site, the more I felt like I was fighting with it to do what I wanted. There were stupid things – like you had to enter alt text in the title box for an image – so you couldn’t have both alt text and a title (not great for accessibility). I had to upload the same photo to the site three or four times to be able to use it in different places which were annoying and time consuming. And there were somethings I just couldn’t do – such as adding a search bar.
So I’ve taken a leap and jumped to WordPress! This gives me more control over my site and should make it easier for me to make sure everything is accessible or make any changes that I need to ensure accessibility. I’ve done my best to make everything as accessible as possible, provided good contrast and made sure that everything has alt text and labels. I’ve got an accessibility widget too on the left, which is great at changing to dark mode and changing the contrast. It will also increase the font size but I find zooming with my browser more effective – once the widget has increased the font to a certain size it will start to overlap the text next to it!
All the old pages are still here, pattern pages, all my blog posts and tutorials, and I’ve taken the opportunity to add a couple of pages too. I’ve got an FAQ page, a Terms and Conditions page, and both my About and Contact pages have had a makeover! If you have any problems with the site (accessibility or otherwise), please do get in touch with me so I can fix it! I’ve been going through all my old blog posts and removing any link to Ravelry so there will be no sudden surprises for anyone.
It’s been a while since I talked about Ravelry. They eventually released the Herdwick swatch. I found the colours were still too bright and I only used it for a few minutes. It was enough time for me to get a headache and nausea from the design. Soon afterwards they announced that “Classic” Ravelry will be retired on the 31st of March 2021. Since then they’ve added Spotify playlist embedding (it plays about 30 seconds of the link and directs you to Spotify for the rest), changed affiliate links from amazon to a US-only site called “Bookshop.org” (this was only supposed to affect US accounts but actually affects accounts worldwide) and introduced a new “Debut Spotlight” to show the first pattern that a person has uploaded to Ravelry. So they’ve basically added a whole load of fluff but there’s been no progress on the accessibility front. Comments are still blocked on Social Media, any mention of Classic Ravelry, accessibility or anything critical is still being locked, deleted and archived on the forums, and requests for information about the hiring of an accessibility expert or future plans for accessibility are ignored.
For myself, I have one more pattern coming out this week that I will put on Ravelry. It’s the final pattern of my Four Seasons of Socks collection and I feel like I have to put it up there because I promised my customers would be able to buy them one at a time, on Ravelry, back in April before all this started. So I’ll keep my word. People will have a month to buy Giuthas on Ravelry, but at the start of January I will be removing all my patterns from sale on Ravelry – and I’ll also stop sending patterns to your Ravelry library if you buy through my website. I hope you’ll continue to buy patterns here through my website! I have to take this step because I have no choice. From March the site will make me sick if I try to use it.
The Fasten Off YarnAlong starts this week and I’m really excited to be a participating designer! It’s a crochet and knitalong lasting until the end of the year! It starts with a sale by the participating designers and there will be prizes for those who join in and knit our designs! It’s taking place across Social Media and on Discord – you can find the full details on the Fasten Off YarnAlong site!
I am taking a sort of break for the rest of the year. I’ve got a couple of designs in progress for January and February – head over to my Patreon for all the details (you can get weekly updates on my designs for just £1 a month – that’s about 25p per post!) – that I’ll be knitting up, but Giuthas is the last release I’ll be doing this year. I’ll be taking part in FO2020 as much as I can – mostly chatting on Discord and admiring projects! I’ve got a couple of toys to sew up for my kids (with my sewing machine this time) and a couple of speedy advent calenders to make up (stitching up 48 drawstring bags!) for my husband and myself. And basically enjoying myself over Christmas and New Year!
In January the real work will begin again and I’m going to work on writing a low vision and screen reader friendly pdf for all my patterns – working back from newest to oldest.