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 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.

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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 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!!

Sad, again

July 7th, 2007

I’m afraid that I have to repost the “sad letter” on Ravelry’s front page. For those of you who don’t know – the beta is open to all and Jess and I do not pick and choose who is invited. We can only accept a limited number of people, so we have a waiting list and we add people each day. I post status updates so that everyone knows what is going on – we aren’t proud of the fact that there are so many people waiting.

Again, we do not select who is invited – people put their name on the list and a computer program sends out a certain amount each day. We don’t even look at the names of the people who have signed up.

If you are upset or confused about what the beta is or why there is an invitation process, please read the letter. It’s a little out of date, but it goes into more detail than I’ve written here.

The beta people have been incredibly helpful while we test and build the site but we just aren’t ready for 15,000 people right now. The site isn’t finished!

Thanks for listening!
Casey, who didn’t have his coffee this morning

Edited so that it is more informative and less of a response to a single person. I’ve got to breathe and count to ten before posting ;)

Quick Status Update

July 7th, 2007

I wanted to our next update post to include pics of some cool new (and coming soon) improvements to the site but that will have to wait. The Harlot blogged about us a couple days ago and people want to know what’s up, so here is a little something…

  • Number of people in Ravelry: 4054
  • Number of unclaimed invites: 791
  • Number of people on the waiting list: 9802
  • (and a fun one) Number of project photos in Ravelry: 85,491

The invitations that went out this morning were from May 18th signups. We’re planning on sending out about 1200 invites during the next week – that will bring us up to May 28th.

We’re adding people as fast as we can! I wish that we could let all 9800 of you in, but Jess and I are working 7 days a week to get Ravelry open to the public and adding tons of people to the site will only hurt us and slow us down. (We were originally shooting for 1000 beta testers!)

Thank you all for your patience! We know that all of the chatter from excited Ravelers makes it hard to wait!

Here is one quick screenshot – it’s the new pattern browsing showing the 516 baby projects (with photos) that people have made. From here, you can click to move on to the pattern page, check out FOs and project notes, read blog posts, and so on. (Scroll down to #7 on the sneak peek page to see what I mean.)

Weekend Already!

June 29th, 2007

Wow, what a crazy week. Casey finished off his day job today- yippi!

My parents, Casey and I, my brother and his new fiancee are heading out to the Berkshires to a celebrate Mom and Kyle’s birthdays, Ravelry’s kickstart, and Kyle and Erica’s engagement. Whew! (You would not believe how long it took me to construct that sentence and I am still not happy with it- hah)

We thought the inn was going to have internet but I don’t think it does- we will be on to check in but are not sure where we can get a connection…

So everyone be good while we are gone-ish!

Next week Casey and I start our first week working on Ravelry full time! We are so excited and can’t wait to get our ideas on the screen for you guys!

Have a great weekend- hope the weather is as nice where you are!

Away for the weekend

June 23rd, 2007

Jess and I are taking the weekend off. Hooray!

Our 2nd wedding anniversary is Monday, June 25th and we’re heading up to Ogunquit, Maine for 2 nights. (Hi readers! Thanks for all of the destination suggestions.)

We probably won’t be checking our email at all. I know that the beta testers will behave and the server will take care of any unruly processes by itself, so we’ll be relaxing and thinking about things other than Ravelry for a change.

An important note: there are several outstanding bugs and I don’t think that there are many (or any) issues that haven’t been uncovered. If you could hold on to any bug reports and wait until we get back and catch up, we’d sure appreciate it. Our email is a constant battle… Also, if you are new try searching the forums – you’ll might find that your issue has already been reported and there may be a workaround (such as “install Firefox” haha).

Invites will go out today but tomorrow’s will be delayed. We are up to 3063 users, 682 unclaimed invitations, and 7303 people on the waiting list. The invitations going out today will be from May 10th signups.

Don’t despair if it seems like your invitation will never arrive – one more week until we are both working on Ravelry full time!

See you later!
Casey and Jess

quick update : we are leaving now and we didn’t get through all of our email – there is a lot of unanswered mail from yesterday and a few stragglers from earlier. We’ll get back to you when we return – sorry!