September already?

September 4th, 2007

A really quick update….

The servers came last week. If all goes well, I’ll be able to set up and install them this week and some of our current users can test things over the weekend. Once that is done, we’ll be able to send out invites faster. We won’t quadruple the invitations (as promised) until we take care of a few things – there are several *very* frequent questions and problems that new users run into and we have to tweak the site a bit so that we don’t drown in thousands of messages and forum posts.

Also, Jess and I were away for the weekend which means that we are now buried in email. If you wrote us with a question or problem, it might take us a little while to get back to you.

Finally, many people have discovered us recently and I just wanted to remind everyone that Ravelry is still just Jess and I (and Bob too, but he is only really good for comic relief). We know that many of you have been waiting a long time and we want Ravelry to be open as soon as possible. We are up to nearly 10,000 users and 19,000+ people waiting for invites!

A big ol’ video preview

August 27th, 2007

Still wondering exactly what Ravelry is and how you could possibly make use of it? Just want to see some more screens while you wait? LittleWit Erin put together a really cool video that shows off lots of Ravelry’s features.

Enjoy! (click the image below to play)

Click to play

Are we there yet?

August 19th, 2007

It’s been nearly 4 months since Jess told the world about Ravelry on May 2nd. Boy are we tired!

Those of you who are still waiting have been very patient and Jess and I really appreciate it. There are 8300 Ravelers now and I know that it can be kind of difficult when people blog about a project, pattern, yarn, or discussion that they saw on Ravelry and you can’t get in and take a look.

Many people have asked about our launch date – when will we be open to the public? I can’t give you an exact day right now but I can tell you what our current plans are. It’s going to go like this:

  • Our servers are shipping on Monday and our network hardware is already starting to arrive. The datacenter is going to start billing us in about 10 days (ready or not) so I’m going to get our stuff set up and installed as soon as possible.
  • Once we are in our new home, some beta people are going to help test before we flip the switch and move Ravelry over to our grown-up servers. Testing will probably take 2 days or so.
  • Next, we’ll crank up the invites. I’m hoping to send 5,000 invites during the first week in our new place.
  • Jess and I and the volunteer editors will need to adapt and tweak things as people start flooding in. We’re still trying to perfect our techniques for dealing with email and other feedback. The volunteer editors and I are still working on improvements to the parts of the site that deal with user contributions.
  • Everything will go according to plan and we’ll add another 5,000 the following week ;)

oh that reminds me – for those of you that voted on names for our servers: the “Fiber Arts Terms that Make Pretty Good Names” (Hank, Steek, Tink, Frog, Swift, Hook) are currently winning :)

I’ve got some screenshots in the hopper and I’ll try to post them soon. For now, I’ll leave you some Bob pictures.

First, the official Bob Intervention. Sometimes online discussions can get heated (I know! It’s hard to believe! haha) and talks that that involve Harry Potter, doubly so. Bob, the official Ravelry mascot, swoops in and makes an appearance when necessary.

Also, I’ve retired the lolbob that used to appear during the nightly site updates. Too many people were frightened by the 1 AM Eastern time appearance of a crazy snaggletoothed dog.

(Don’t worry – Bob isn’t plastered all over Ravelry!)

Quick August Update

August 7th, 2007

A quick update for you guys – here is what is going on over in Ravelry-land.

We are up to 7,162 users and 85,001 projects and there are 15,432 people on the waiting list. To repeat what I said in a previous post, we can’t really speed up the invites until we move from our beta environment to our real servers. This should happen during the next few weeks. It’s hard enough to add ~1200 people a week and I’m hoping to do a quick upgrade today so that we don’t have to slow down the invites. Oh, I’m also proud to report that *more than half* of our users have used Ravelry within the last 24 hours – that’s pretty cool. We must be doing something right :)

Jess and I are working day and night to get the site up and open – don’t think that we’re just sitting here having coffee with the people who have been invited and making you guys wait! Ravelry has become an amazing community and a truly useful resource and we wish that we were ready for all of you today.

At the moment I’m focusing on fixing bugs and setting up some special features for advertisers (Advertisers – don’t contact us quite yet!). I think that I said I was working on these things last week, but this time I mean it! It’s just so hard to stop making improvements to the site.

A few people asked for more screenshots…. Here is one – hopefully it will tide you over until next time. This is the front of the new “pattern source” page – every book, magazine, pamphlet, and website has a page like this. From here you can find related groups, browse designer pages, search and browse user projects, view all of the patterns that are inside the book (or magazine, site, etc) and participate in forum threads that are related to the patterns. Each pattern has it’s own detailed page – I think that there are pictures of that in the old screenshot tour.

The Ravelry Army!

July 27th, 2007

Dear Ravelers, We love you guys! — Casey and Jess

Jess and I owe A LOT to our wonderful users. I don’t know how we’d do this without them. Most people don’t know about the huge role that our users play in creating Ravelry and I thought that I would take this opportunity to explain.

First of all – the donations. We are so grateful for all of the donations! We see each one as it comes in and we really appreciate each person’s contribution. Without your donations, we would have a much much harder time getting this thing off of the ground. We started Ravelry on our living room couch with absolutely no funding and we are so lucky that you guys are helping to make this happen. Thank you!

Now here is something that many people don’t know – nearly 400 Ravelers have donated their time and volunteered to adopt and edit a section of our pattern and yarn database. Ravelry’s giant pattern and yarn index (10,000 yarns, 13,000 patterns) is built with the contributions from each and every user. New patterns and yarns come in every day from people’s projects, stashes, and queues and our editors make sure that the pages are correct, complete, and useful. Without their hard work and dedication, our database would be inconsistent, disorganized, and just not that pretty. People have been going above and beyond the call of duty – digging in libraries, calling up contacts, and going all Indiana Jones on the hunt for yarn and pattern data. Jess and I are so amazed and so thankful for all the hard work that our volunteer editors have been putting in. Also, a HUGE thank you to the sooper editors who wield the special powers that are too dangerous to hand out to hundreds of users. You’ve been doing a great job helping volunteers with their requests, answering questions, moving mountains, and cleaning up spills ;)

Ravelry users can expect to hear from the editors from time to time. Often, you’ll receive a message asking if it’s okay for us to use your photo as the featured photo for a yarn or pattern. Also, you might receive a note with questions about a yarn or pattern that you’ve added. (Especially if you are a person who uses super rare yarns and out of print patterns!) If you decide that you too would like to volunteer, please stop by the Editors’ Group and say hello. We’d love to have you!

We also have volunteer bug/idea trackers who add bugs and suggestions that come up in the forums into our issue tracking system. This really helps me stay sane and it is much appreciated. I don’t have to stress out about forgetting about somebody’s bug or awesome idea and users know that they are being heard (even if I don’t have a chance to reply, which I usually do). It’s also cool because we now provide The List of bugs and ideas on the site. Thanks, trackers! And thanks to all of the beta testers who have shared some great ideas with us (and bug reports too!)

I also want to say a big thank you to the folks over in the new Help! Group. Starting that group was a great idea, guys! – I think that new users really appreciate that there is a friendly place where there is no such thing as a stupid question. I’m also learning a lot from the questions that people are asking and it gives me ideas for improving the site. Thanks!

And of course we have to thank ALL of our users for helping us grow. Using Ravelry means improving Ravelry – without you, we wouldn’t have anything. The projects, patterns, yarns, groups, forum posts, wiki pages – everything exists because of you guys. We’re so glad that you are enjoying our site and spending some time with us.

Our lovely volunteer editors:

oh duh – I should probably post a status/waiting list update. Has everyone seen the list checker at http://www.ravelry.com/antsy? Good. We’re inviting about 1200 people a week right now. I’m trying to speed things invites up, but I’m not sure if we’ll be able to go much faster until we move out of our baby beta environment and into our Grown Up datacenter with our real servers. You guys have been very patient – I can’t believe that it’s been almost 3 months since we started the beta! We’ve still got a ton to do before we open to the public, but as we add capacity we’ll crank up the invites. I’ll post more information as it comes!

Yarn Nerd

July 25th, 2007

Yarn Nerd

Yarn Nerd yarn is hand-dyed by Adam, an Electrical Engineer and Fiber Nerd in Albuquerque, NM.

Yarn Nerd’s signature colorways include such favorites as Caramel Stout, Printed Circuit Board and more. All colors are available in a variety of base yarns, including 900 MHz (Sock), 1500 MHz (Sport) and 2400 MHz (Worsted). Plus, you can even create your own colorway by choosing up to 5 colors from the solid colors gallery, and Yarn Nerd will dye up your signature creation just how you want it.

The shop is updated at least twice a month, and information on the next shop update is available at yarnnerd.com. Sign up for the newsletter and get the inside scoop on updates, as well as coupons and sales!

Something for everyone

July 17th, 2007

Several bloggers have posted things like “I don’t want to take photos of all my projects and stash so an organizing site like Ravelry is not for me” or “Ravelry is a social site with forums and friending and all that – *so NOT my thing*”.

I hope that we can change your mind! We’re not just for organization and we’re not just for socializing.

Here is one little example.. Let’s say that you are an antisocial, disorganized crafter ;) who wants to make Stef Japel’s Orangina. (I picked this one cause it’s at the top of the ‘Popular Tanks/Camisoles’ page). Maybe you’d like to see what people’s finished objects look like? Take a peek at what Orangina looks like with different yarns/different colorways? Why not swing on over to Ravelry where we’ve currently got 108,000 photos of 62,000 projects from our users. Here is a screenshot from the Orangina page:

(Hey guys – sorry that I put your boobs on the Internets)

Jess and I have been trying to find ways to get our email under control because more email to answer means less time to work on Ravelry. Lately, we’ve been bombarded with emails from people who want to know where they are on the waiting list. This is our own fault, really, because we told you to ask us if you were feeling anxious. So.. there is now page (linked from the front of Ravelry.com) where you can check your position on the waiting list.

Don’t pay any attention to the numbers – I used an old copy of the database to make this screenshot.

Also, I’d like to explain the waiting list again because there is still confusion. The list goes in order – we don’t prefer some people over others. We choose how many invites to send out and a computer program sends that many from the top of the list. We have the list because everyone wants to get in even though the site isn’t ready! A new version of Ravelry goes out almost every night and we are still very much in beta. We’re adding new people as fast as we can.

When will Ravelry be open to the public? We don’t have a date set but it looks like it will be at least 4-5 weeks. We are signing with our datacenter on Monday and they said that they will be prepared for us to bring our servers over in 20-30 days. We’ll be VERY busy in the meantime – there are only 2 of us and we’ve got a lot to do!

In other news, the Groups feature that I blogged about previously is going really well! Lots of Ravelers are finding the right groups for them, meeting new people, and having a good time. 2,335 people have joined at least one group – which is awesome! Here is a little pic of all of the current group badges:

Edit – an hour later: I modified the checker so that it will look to see if your invite was unclaimed and re-send it if necessary (in case it was lost or eaten by a spam filter). Wow – lots of invites have been rescued from limbo already. If you checked your spot when I first posted and it said “that email address isn’t on the list” (or whatever it says), you might want to try again.

On Monday, we added a new Groups section to Ravelry. It’s a pretty cool new feature and Jess and I think that it will be very important as we try to preserve our small and friendly feel in the face of an ever-growing community. Groups draw in many aspects of Ravelry and shrink them into little cozy rooms. The influence of groups will spread throughout the site so that you can easily find your friends when you are looking at yarns, patterns, or anything else.

(Thanks to all of the beta people that helped get groups in early – having your stuff in made it a lot easier for me to polish things up and add features yesterday)

Growing Pains

July 9th, 2007

We are having some difficulty this morning- Casey will be back from his meeting with a data center (more servers! yay!) in a little bit… hang in there, kids!

Thanks so much!!