Year 1 in the AR…Resources for Life After Ravelry

What has come of this world?

Many fiber crafters are being thrown back to a long forgotten world: life without Ravelry.  In the 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 Ravelry, 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 its 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 is the response 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 Ravelry, emerged from the shadows with a statement (this link takes you to the OFFSITE Ravelry blog and does not contain NuRav formatting)   I will probably write a separate blog post about it.   Let’s just say, your mileage may vary and I’m personally taking a wait and see attitude. In the meantime, the list of resources

 

The 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. 

Inventory Management

    

 

Lindsey_Silveredgriffin:
​Stash Spreadsheets Google Sheets

Lindsey is a chainmailler, knitter and gamer.  You can find her chainemaile on Etsy.  She has kindly shared Google Sheets that are perfectly set up to inventory your fiber software and hardware. ​


Victoria Marchant
Airtable Base

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.

​DownThemAll:
Chrome Extension

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.

    

 

FINDING DESIGNERS

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.

Project Notebooks:
Have you heard of a thing called blogs?

Yes, I know blogs are old fashion.  But, before Raverly many people tracked and shared their projects on personal blogs.  But, maybe it was a mistake giving up control of our knitting life content to Raverly.  And maybe we need to get back to having a network of blogs we delight in.  There are several free ways you can set up your own personal blog.  This is by no means an exhaustive list. But, here it is.

 

 

WEEBLY.COM
“Hey, Carrie weebly is in your url. ”  Yes, this was the web hosting site I use for my blog and The Fiber Indy List (I have since switched to WordPress).  I initially 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).  Update: Since writing this blog originally on the Weebly platform I have a switched to a WordPress site.  I wanted to have more flexibility and control, and I found Weebly to be rather slow for what I wanted to do with my stie.  That said, if you are wanting a straight forward, free blog, that allows you more design possibilities than Blogger, Weebly is still a good option 


Blogger
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.)

Dreamwidth
I never heard of Dreamwidth until Romi Hilltweeted about them.  Like Ravelry, Dreamwidth is rebuilding their code, their look, and ran into accessibility problems. The response was like 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.

WORDPRESS
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.  
Update: I have since switched to WordPress blog. Something to note.  There are two WordPress sites.  Wordpress.com and WordPress.org.  The .com is kind of like Weebly – free options, all in one thing. However, .com doesn’t allow you to place your own adds if that’s what you want to do. 
.Org is the opensource, free interface that powers .org.  I’m just learning it and it’s kind of intuitive.  BUT, .org doesn’t host your site.  If you want to use .org you have to sign up with a self-hosting site like Dreamhost.  If this all sounds confusing and intimidating. Yes, yes it is – at first. But, it’s also the most economical way to build your webiste and blog if you’re wanting to create an income stream. 
If your blog is more a hobby I’d recommend going with one of the free blog options.

Trello

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

As always I provide this content as a labor of love. But, it does require time, resources, and coffee.  If you’d like to support my endeavors and show your appreciate you can always “Buy Me a Coffee”  

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