An open letter to Ravelry

Dear Ravelry folks,
I’m writing with a deep sense of sadness and dismay. I’m one of the people who was adversely affected by the rollout of the new Ravelry: I developed nausea and a headache within the first 15 minutes that I spent on the new site.

I don’t have a history of any visual or neurological disabilities or migraines, so I had a hard time accepting that what was happening to me was real. I tried again the next day, with similar effects. Since then, I’ve been sensitive to screen time, unable to watch video or to scroll on a website without feeling queasy or getting a headache. I assume that this is a long-lasting or recurring migraine, based on my partner’s description of her own migraines. (Ironically, she can use new Ravelry without problem, despite her migraine history.)

It’s been 13 days now. Will you stop and imagine that for a minute? A few days of trying to use your new site, dutifully reporting bugs and providing feedback and then, in the face of continued nausea and headaches, realising that I have no choice except to avoid screens as much as possible and hope that I’ll begin to feel better. As you can imagine, that’s pretty life-changing; it’s made it difficult for me to do my day job (now entirely remote, given the pandemic) and disrupted my daily routines and sense of connection with people beyond my own four walls.

Still, I was confident that I’d feel better with time, that you’d address the problem, and that I would be able to return to Ravelry.

Your most recent front-page post really knocked me for a loop, though. Instead of reassuring me that you’ll find the problem and fix it, I’m hearing “we think most people are fine with new Rav.” I’m hearing “our tools say it’s fine, so that’s what we choose to listen to.” I’m hearing “your experience doesn’t matter to us.”

I’m hearing “you don’t matter.”

It’s surprising how hard it is to write that about Ravelry.

You’ve built a community that has been my online home. I’ve logged in almost every single morning for years. I’ve stretched myself as a knitter. I’ve felt a sense of connection with people around the globe and have met some incredible friends. It’s no exaggeration to say that Ravelry has changed my life: through connections I made online, I learned how to dye yarn, got a job with a yarn dyer, and eventually started my own yarn dyeing business part time. I met my love, the woman who will become my wife. We openly celebrated our queer love in a visible way, and were met with joy and celebration from our fellow Ravellers.

The changes in Ravelry can’t destroy what I’ve already gained. My yarn business will thrive through my existing customers and word of mouth, my partner can moderate my Ravelry group, and most importantly, my love is still here at my side.

But, oh, my heart aches. It aches for the community, the conversations, the new patterns and knitterly tips and support and sense of connection. It hurts to feel excluded, to have my experience discounted, to be facing a future where I can’t use Ravelry and where I might have difficulty doing anything online. That sounds melodramatic, even to me, but in light of your failure to act, it’s also sounding increasingly likely.

Ravelry was unique, a place that felt personal and quirky and welcoming.

It isn’t any more. I mourn that loss.

Marit

Marit Munson, gobsmacked yarn

June update

Thanks, all, for another great update!  I’m working on invoices now and will get packages ready to go into the mail on Tuesday.  Edit: I’ve had a slight delay in packing, so yarn is going out in Wednesday’s mail.

Welcome to the June update, Pride edition!  If you see some yarn you’d like to claim, email me at gobsmackedyarn@gmail.com.  An update can get pretty wild on my end, but I promise I’ll respond to your email to let you know if you got your choices.  I’ll send out PayPal invoices about an hour after the update starts, once things start to quiet down a bit; please note that invoices are due upon receipt (with a little leeway for different time zones and schedules).

Reminders: Colours vary from device to device; I always include a written description of how I see the colour, but please do ask if you’re uncertain about a particular cake or set.  Also note that package delivery is likely to be slow due to measures that postal services are taking against the pandemic.  If you’d like to have your yarn sent with tracking, please ask me for a quote for the additional cost.

Feet on the Floor & Emerging from Midnight & Knock Loud

Four Quarter: Top: Keep Your Feet on the Floor; Bottom left: Emerging From Midnight; Bottom right: Knock Loud

Giraffe & New Normal

Four Quarter: Left: Why I Don’t Keep a Giraffe in the House (This cake has a few spots of dark green that I consider flaws, so it is discounted to $40 Cdn); Right: The New Normal

Nighttime & Afternoon Nap

Four Quarter: Left: Evening Nap; Right: Afternoon Nap

Feelin Moody & Secrets of Squirrels

Four Quarter: Left: Feelin’ Moody; Right: The Secrets of Squirrels

Melancholy Songs & Thorns and Roses

Four Quarter: Left: Melancholy Songs to Right Our Wrongs; Right: Thorns & Roses

Butterfly Migration

Four Quarter: Butterfly Migration

Here With You & Confetti Fight

Four Quarter: Left: Here With You; Right: Confetti Fight

 

rainbow_hazy lazy

Rainbow minis (12 x 20g, superwash merino, $108 Cdn): Lazy Hazy edition

rainbow_jewel

Rainbow minis (12 x 20g, superwash merino, $108 Cdn): Jewel edition

rainbow_retro

Rainbow minis (12 x 20g, superwash merino, $108 Cdn): Retro edition

rainbow_peppy

Rainbow minis (12 x 20g, superwash merino, $108 Cdn): Peppy edition

rainbow_road trip

Rainbow minis (12 x 20g, superwash merino, $108 Cdn): Road Trip edition

rainbow_solitude

Rainbow minis (12 x 20g, superwash merino, $108 Cdn): Solitude edition

rainbow_summer

Rainbow minis (12 x 20g, superwash merino, $108 Cdn): Summertime edition

rainbow_nightswimming

Rainbow minis (12 x 20g, superwash merino, $108 Cdn): Nightswimming edition

Mud Season & Waiting for Spring

merino fingering: Left: Mud Season; Right: Waiting for Spring

Jester

merino DK: Jester

Silky Yak

silky yak DK: Left: Gunpowder Sighs; Right: Your Dark Shadows

 

Pride in a pandemic

I’ve always been a rather quiet queer: an introvert, not big on crowds or parties or parades.  So for me, I guess Pride in a time of global pandemic is both unsettling (“It’s a global pandemic, people!”) and life as usual (“Maybe I should try to be a bit more visible?”).

One thing I can do is to celebrate Pride in a yarny way, with rainbows– in this case, rich and colourful mini skein sets, every one unique and beautiful in its own right, just like the folks who make up the queer community.  Each set is twelve 20g minis of Four Quarter (100% superwash merino), for a total of 240g.  They’re $108 Canadian for 960m (1045 yd) of awesome.  (Edited 25 June to correct yardage.)

rainbows

A stack of rainbow minis, waiting to be labelled for the June 15th update.

These will be available, along with regular gobsmackers, in tomorrow’s update, Monday 15 June at 3pm Eastern Daylight Time (Toronto/ New York).

Whether you’re queer or an ally, if you’re looking for something fun to do for Pride this year, why not use your favourite rainbow, from gobsmacked or from stash or from your favourite LYS, to knit some love in shawl form?  Here are a few of my current favourites:

Play it by Queer, by Shanel Wu

Bright Side, by Amy van de Laar

Rainbow Relay, by Jane Murison

All Together or First, Love, by Nim Teasdale

Fibonacci, Mark Two, by Ampersand Designs

 

PS: One thing that is quite a bit different in pandemic times is shipping.  I always get everyone’s yarn in the mail as quickly as possible after an update, but please be aware that the pandemic is affecting shipping times worldwide.  Mail between Canada and the US seems particularly slow, with packages that normally arrive in 5-7 days taking two or even three times as long.  Mail is getting through; I haven’t seen any problems with lost packages.  But the current mail situation is definitely going to require some patience on everyone’s part.  If you’d like to have tracking for your package, just let me know and I’ll get you a quote for the extra cost.

March update

Thanks, folks!  Invoices are now out; I’ll pack yarn on Sunday and will have it in the mail on Monday.

To claim some yarn, email me at gobsmackedyarn@gmail.com.  An update can get pretty wild on my end, but I promise I’ll respond to your email to let you know if you got your choices.  I’ll send out PayPal invoices about an hour after the update starts, once things start to quiet down a bit; please note that invoices are due upon receipt (with a little leeway for different time zones and schedules).

Reminders: Colours vary from device to device; I always include a written description of how I see the colour, but please do ask if you’re uncertain about a particular cake or skein.

4Q_4

Four Quarter: Top left: Grinning Faces in Dark Places; Top centre: An Unbusy Brain; Top right: Brilliant Maps for Curious Minds; Bottom left: Wild Berries for Worried Friends; Bottom centre: Water My Plants; Bottom right: Quiet Together

4Q_5

Four Quarter: Top left: Joyous Colour for Thoughtful Creatures; Top centre: Happy Thoughts for Skittish Folks; Top right: Niblets on the Move; Bottom left: Bright Tunes for Afternoons; Bottom centre: Caring Deeds for Doleful People; Bottom right: Little Snuggler

4Q_2

Four Quarter: Top: Quiet Care for Fearful Felines; Bottom left: Better Than Well Water; Bottom right: Snow Buntings are Dear to Me

4Q_1

Four Quarter: Left: Tiny Big Fruits; Right: Big Hugs for Little Mugs

4Q_7

Four Quarter: Left: Sitting in Silence (gradient); Right: Resurgence of Dolphins (Straight)

4Q_8

Four Quarter: Top: Dance Party Cleaning Blitz; Bottom: Quiet Clatter (Straight)

4Q_9

Four Quarter: Top: Moments of Grace (gradient); Bottom: Pelicans in the Night (Straight)

4Q_11

Four Quarter: Left: Tarnished Silver Box (Straight); Right: Two Comets (gradient)

4Q_12

Four Quarter: Top: a e i o u (gradient); Bottom: And Sometimes Y (Straight)

4Q_13

Four Quarter: Top: Knitter’s Kiln (gradient); Bottom: Cool Bobbles (Straight)

mf_March

merino fingering doubles (one long gradient, dyed over two cakes): Left (top & bottom): Dreaming of Blooms; Centre (top & bottom): Watching Pea Shoots Grow; Right (top & bottom): Watching the Paint Dry

 

ASL

ASL (alpaca/ silk/ linen): Top left: Device-Free Atrium; Top right: Too Bright to Call; Bottom left: Mana-tea Party; Bottom right: Through the Branches, a Wolf

ASL_March

ASL doubles (alpaca/ silk/ linen, dyed as one long gradient over two cakes): Left (top and bottom): When the Skies Are Gray, I Bring You Rain; Right (top and bottom): Whatever You Like

 

ms doubles_March

merino/ silk fingering doubles (one long gradient, dyed over two cakes): Left (top & bottom): Garden-Planning Party; Centre (top & bottom): Generous Hearts for Weary People; Right (top & bottom): Naming the Lambs

Wild Rainbow

merino/ silk double (one long gradient, dyed over two cakes): Wild Rainbow

 

Strange times

This weekend would have been Knit City Montreal.  Instead of setting up in the marketplace and hoping to pick up some bagels for later, I’m working out of my New Brunswick studio, watching it snow as I cake and photograph new gobsmackers for tomorrow’s update.  The speed with which things are changing is all a bit disorienting, but I feel very fortunate to be safe at home with a decent internet connection and a dog who needs regular escapes to wide-open spaces.

20200327_120724

Fennel the dog, checking out the smells as we keep our distance from others.

Tomorrow’s update (28 March) will be posted here on the front page of my site, as usual, going live at 3pm Eastern Daylight Time.  I know that the internet has been a bit slow in some locations, due to unprecedented demands for service.  While I hope that the update will run smoothly, I ask for your patience if you do run into trouble.  Remember, special requests are a possibility if you find that updates are moving too quickly or if you have something particular in mind.

Please recognise that delivery times for yarn may be a bit longer than usual.  At present, Canada Post is running well, though they’re warning that deliveries may be slightly delayed; your postal service may have similar delays.

I hope that you’re finding some respite from the stress and uncertainty of the pandemic in your knitting, your crochet, your weaving, and all of your other creative endeavours.  If you (like me) are experiencing a strong desire to cast on ALL the THINGS, may I suggest that you look into the Knit City Montreal ensemble MAL (Make-a-Long)?  It’s an event, hosted on Ravelry and other online platforms, to encourage folks to work on projects using yarn, supplies, or patterns from a vendor or designer or teacher who was planning to be at Knit City Montreal.  You can find the full list of vendors here and instructors here.  (Note that I’m not an official vendor, as I was to be a guest in indigodragonfly‘s booth.  For this MAL, please support individuals and businesses who are official participants.)