10 Years of Ravelry

May 3rd, 2017

frecklegirl, casey, maryheatherb, & a lot of Ravelers at New York Sheep and Wool, 2008

In the Spring of 2005, Jess blogged about an idea that we had for an online knitting community. Our idea was to “create an encyclopedia of cool patterns (and yarn too??) and mix in blogging and other social aspects”. A place where people could “share their completed creations, get help for works in progress, and get ideas for future projects”.

Internet friends liked the idea and after a lot of prodding and friendly encouragement and a little tinkering with the idea, our New Year’s resolution in 2007 was to seriously work on the site.

Things progressed quickly after that and our idea grew and grew. Jess and I were completely engrossed in building Ravelry and we barely left our apartment. In February, we had something that functioned and the first couple projects were added. By April, we had 30 friends and friends of friends testing the site. We added the forums and message box so that people could communicate with each other. Somewhere along the way, we decided that our goal was to be able to invite people to try the site during the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival in May. 10 years ago yesterday, the secret was out and we started sending out beta invitations.

The first wave of Ravelers were full of ideas and eager to help and we realized that this project was going to be much bigger than we originally thought. That summer, it became our full time job. By the end of 2007, more than 55,000 people were using Ravelry and many more were waiting to try it. To the 2 of us, it felt like a billion people. It was unreal.

Now there are 5 of us. We’ve been working on Rav for 10 years, which seems like a lifetime on the Internet. We’ve only been able to do this because of all of you. You have generously given your time to moderate the main boards, help people in the forums, edit and maintain the pattern and yarn databases, or run a Ravelry group for others. You have shared information about your projects and yarn, making Ravelry more valuable for everyone else. You have directly paid for Ravelry by advertising selling patterns, or buying a shirt and you have supported those designers and advertisers.

I have no idea what the next 10 years will hold. I’m sure that we’ll have fun. Technology is probably going to get a little weird. I’d love to see more people-centered sites sprout and cooperate and connect with ours. We are going to keep giving our all to this community. We will never stop working in a way that respectful of you: your data, your time, and your contributions to Ravelry.

Thank you for a wonderful 10 years!

❤ Casey, Jess, Mary-Heather, Sarah and Christina

Boston Globe, 2007.
I’m pretty sure our parents were less impressed and more “a website about what now?”

Bobsolda and Ravelers, New York Sheep and Wool, October 2009

[ Picture a group shot of the 5 of us, smiling and waving at you, now a little older and wiser. The next time we are all together in real life we will have to take one! ]