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On leaving Ravelry behind

It’s been a while since I took the time to site down and write something around here…

Last year, Ravelry released a new UI, and it came with a shitload of issues for many users. I’m going to delve back in the details, you can go check my previous post about this.

On March 31, 2021, they have retired the Classic look, that many of us were still using in order to avoid the issues caused by what’s now called “NuRav”.

Since last October, Ravelry hasn’t released a single update informing on any progress toward fixing the UI aspects that triggered eye strain, migraine, and in some cases, seizures. But a lot has been done to discredit those people suffering from those issues, and even make them look like bullies. And then, they released a “dark theme” that makes thing about as worse as the light theme… And it made me a bit angry.

Like many folks out there, I’ve been a heavy Ravelry user ever since I discovered it back in 2014 (maybe 2013?). I have a lot of the pattern I own hosted there. I used to track all my projects and stash on their platform.

That won’t be the case anymore. My Ravelry account will only serve as a back up access to my pattern library, and eventually to support designer who cannot afford to manage other platforms. I still have my own two patterns for sale there, but it’s until I can setup an alternative here or until I decide to no longer sell them and remove them from the market. Last week, before the massive walk out, I purged all my project, queue and stash from their platform. That’s data I won’t gift them anymore.

So, what am I to do about my stash and my projects and my pattern library when not using Ravelry? Because I am still a data nerd and I like to keep track of things and keep things organised.

I have chosen 3 tools that fit my own needs to stay off Ravelry as much as possible and still keep trask of my yarn inventory, access my pattern library and keep notes on my projects.

Projects notes

For my project notes, I’ll revert to using good all hand written notes, though, since I got myself an iPad with the iPencil for my birthday, I’ll be making it a bit more tech friendly and do it in Goodnotes 5. There are many other apps similar to this one out there of course.

I made myself a dedicated notebook in Goodnotes to keep notes about my various projects and also keep some instructions on specific techniques nearby (things like the grafting stitch, foe example!)

Stash tracker

In order to keep track of my stash, I will be using AirTable. It’s a bit like an Excel spreadsheet but on steroïds.

I’ve looked at other folks’ way of using it to make their own tracker and came up with my own recipe. The general idea is that a single project in AirTable acts like a data base, so you can link items from a table to an other and reuse information such as brands and dyers, yarn types, and keep it all tidy. I like that I can switch into a “card view” so that once I have all my yarn pictures updated, I’ll have a way to see the content of my stash in a visual manner, a lot like the “stash” tab in Ravelry.

So far I don’t have my whole stash registered in there, but it’s a work in progress! It’ll force me to do a full yarn inventory as well which is a good thing, and I’m actually excited about this part.

A screenshot of my stash inventory in AirTable
So, here’s what my stash currently looks like in AirTable! It’s a bit blend for now, because I need to take pictures of everything, but that’s for another day!

Pattern library

I’ve been a long time user of Calibre to manage my ebook collection on my computer and I decided to use it also to store and manage my pattern library. To do so, I used the Chrome/Edge Chromium extension “Down Them All” (thank you Knitorious and Kralalien for sharing this handy workaround!) to extract all the patterns I have in my Ravelry library and took the time to sort through all of it.

Turns out Ravelry slightly changed the way we can see our library list so you kinda cannot just target PDF documents and such, but it’s still doable (I just dowloaded everything and sorted it by file type afterward to keep only what mattered to me)

But, once this was done, I put all of the files in Calibre and started the long process of renaming the files and provide the author name. Today, all my patterns are in order on that front and the the next thing I’ll do, is use the tags to indicate the kind of pattern it is (hat, sweaters, etc.) and the kind of yarn recommended.

Other perks of having my own local library in Calibre : I can access it will being offline at all times, so no more downloading the same PDF 3 times because I forgot where I put it…

There’s one tiny thing to know if you plan on using Calibre with a Cloud service like Google Drive or OneDrive to access your library from all your device : there is no good app for that on iOS (I’ve tried so many…) but there is an excellent one on Android called Calibre-go and I wish there was an equivalent on iOS!

Searching through my patterns

If I’m happy everything is accessible without the help of Ravelry, it’s not necessarily ideal to search through my patterns to match with yarn I have in stash, so for this specific aspect, I may still rely on Ravelry, but I’ll be using the Alpaca App on my iPad to do so (and avoid NuRav UI that kinda makes my eyes sting, especially with the blue light filter on!)

Alpaca isn’t a 100% perfect but it’s enough for me to browse my library and eventually search through my patterns.

I still haven’t found a good workaround for this specific aspect of my knitting habit. But I’m sure I’ll figure something out at some point.

I hope this post can help anyone out there looking to stay off Ravelry and keep their yarn-mess manageable!

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3 Comments

  1. Cindy Cindy

    FYI Ravit works well, although there hadn’t been an update for awhile.

  2. knitterotica knitterotica

    Thank you for sharing your plans/software discoveries. There is so much usable information here.

    I am torn about deleting my project information, etc. From revelry. Part of me wants to let them pay for hosting my information while I refrain from spending any money on their site. This is especially important to me because I said a long time ago that I would not delete my account in order to support designers who could not afford to give up the income from their pattern sales.

    I have a lot to think about and decisions to make. Thank you again for giving me food for thought.

    • I was torn too about removing my data, however this data is also feeding their database and keeping everything working. I’ll try to promote designers and makers through social media instead to give them visibility outside of Ravelry, which is probably even more important! It is a very hard decision to make and I don’t expect everybody to do the same I did, Ravelry has its use but all in all, I really feel trapped by their platform and I do hope that other will start to sprouts soon!

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