Busy busy busy

June 15th, 2007

[ If you just want the update on invitations, skip to the end. In short, 2400 have been sent and about 1000 more will go out during the next 7 days ]

Workin' on the Rav

(Yes, it’s yet another photo of Bob. It’s unavoidable – if you’ve got a camera, he’ll get in front of it.)

First of all, thank you all SO MUCH for your donations. We can see them all come in along with your Ravelry username, avatar, and all that and we appreciate every single contribution. I really think that donations are going to make all of the difference – I hope that your contributions will help us get Ravelry up on it’s feet without compromising anything. Also, we won’t have to cry a little when the next monthly server bill hits our credit card :)

Jess and I have been very busy responding to a mountain of feedback and improving Ravelry. I release a new version of the site daily and there are always feature updates, bug fixes, and improvements being rolled out. A few of the recent updates:

  • Last night, I introduced a big change in the pattern editing features. Any Raveler can now adopt a book, website, or magazine and help to add and improve the information that is in Ravelry’s database. It’s been going well so far and I’m really excited about how our pattern database is shaping up. We now have have 6674 pattern pages on Ravelry and more than 1/3 of them have been checked by someone for completeness and general goodness (and that number is rising fast). Once we get a couple kinks worked out, the Yarn section will get the same treatment. Great job, volunteer editors! Also, a really BIG thank you to the super-editors who have been with us since before this feature was added. I see you helping people with their editing questions in the forums and it is much appreciated.
  • A couple new toys like a better search by tag (ie. find projects tagged with “harrypotter”, “blue”, or “ugly”) and a random UGH! browser (UGHs are projects that people have marked as disasters) with a “most favorited” browser to accompany it.
  • We’ve added a wiki-like User’s Guide. There is a lot to Ravelry and we take pride in keeping it easy to use and intuitive. Still, the new community edited guide was sorely needed. The guide will be a great place share answers to frequently asked questions, find out about different tips and tricks, and learn all about Ravelry.
  • Bug fixes, performance improvements, and browser quirk fixes. We’ve still got lots of outstanding IE 6 and Safari issues. They’ll all be fixed, but in the meantime, please give Firefox a shot.

Also, lots of people have written to ask if we could fill the void left by DeStash. Of course we can! We just need some nice stash browsing pages. At the moment, we have over 1600 skeins (635 different stashed yarns) that people have marked as “will trade or sell”.

Finally – a quick update on invitation status. So far, 2414 invites have been sent out. About 800 invites went out in the last week and we expect to send out a little over 1000 during the next 7 days. I know that lots of sites say “beta”, but we *really are* in beta and we just aren’t ready for you all yet. I just want to reiterate that the invitations are going out in the order that they were received. We don’t see any names until they are sent (because we are CCed on the emails). Thanks again for your patience!

oh – one last thing: we still haven’t had a chance to give our blog the Ravelry design treatment, but feel free to swing by if you want to leave a comment: http://blog.ravelry.com.

You twisted our arm…

June 10th, 2007

…and we give in. We are now accepting donations! If you are already a Ravelry user, check out our page at http://www.ravelry.com/donate.

Also, many people who have been waiting for their invite have said that they are interested in donating. That’s very sweet, but we’d like to earn your support! We’ll see you soon and we really appreciate your excitement.

Our dog, Bob (a Boston Terrier, thus the accent ;)

Here is our explanation – reproduced from the Ravelry donation page:

Why donate to Ravelry?

  • Say “Thank you!” for what we’ve built so far
  • Help us pay for the costs of running the site
  • Help ensure that Ravelry continues to grow and improve
  • Get our dog, Bob, the dental work that he so badly needs (kidding!)

What will my donation be used for?

Hey – it’s me, Casey. There are two main things that we are hoping to accomplish. First, we’ll use donations to pay for server costs and other expenses. I’ve been working very hard to make sure that we are getting the most for our money but Ravelry needs a dedicated server and this sort of thing doesn’t come cheap. At the moment, this is our biggest expense cash-wise.

We’re dreaming a little, but your donations could be enough to get us to work on Ravelry full-time. We didn’t create Ravelry to earn some extra cash. Honestly. It wouldn’t have been worth the trouble – haha. Jess and I built Ravelry because we thought that it was something that the community needed and we thought that we’d have a fun time doing it. Since mid-January, we have been working very hard building this site for you. Jess works long days editing, emailing, planning, and managing. I start coding as soon as I get home from my job and work late nights and weekends. It’s really hard to keep this up and we’ve been wishing that Ravelry could be our “real” job. We’ve always dreamed of having a business together and we’d really like Ravelry to be our job.

Can’t you earn money some other way?

There are many ways that Ravelry can earn money and we’re hoping that we’ll have the freedom to pick the options that are the best and the most fun for everybody. We’ve got big ideas like online and local yarn store connections and comparison shopping and smaller ideas like advertising, more book sales/commission programs, and pattern sales. Getting this site up off the ground is tough and your donations will be a huge help!

Do I get anything for my donation?

You get a huge thank you from us!

Quick waiting list update

June 6th, 2007

The posts here go to our blog (which many waiting list people are subscribed to) as well as the “beta news” page inside Ravelry. I don’t want to over-do the communication, but since I put up two member-related posts in a row…

1931 invitations have been sent – 437 of these invites have gone out in the last 50 hours.
See what you made us do? ;) The invite request list is now just under 5700 people long.

We have about 250 things (large and small) that we still want to add to the site. Beta testers suggest new ideas and add to our list on a daily basis. There is just SO MUCH that Ravelry could do – what you see in the screenshots is just the beginning.

Okay – my little bug notifier is telling me that a Blackberry and a Sony Ericsson W810 phone are having trouble getting on. Hold on! You are way ahead of me. I’d love to do a nice mobile Ravelry but I’ve got a lot of more important stuff to do first. What are you guys trying to do anyway? Just playing around?

PS – if you dig in the forums you’ll find that you can text Ravelry (from most US carriers) and get information from your needle inventory. Maybe that will keep you busy.

A big part of the beta is improving the way that we manage the data that flows in from our users. (We currently have 4900 patterns and 6676 yarns in Ravelry.)

Have you noticed the little red flag button that appears on some pattern and yarn pages?
This allows you to flag a pattern or yarn as duplicate or erroneous and leave a little note if you wish.
(If the flag button doesn’t appear, that means that you are looking at a pattern or yarn that has been approved by the editors.) We’ve got almost 40 volunteer editors who have been helping us whip our data into shape and your flags are a BIG help.

2 days ago, I put together some Yarn admin pages that make it easier for us to keep the yarn database clean. Here is a picture of me merging a duplicate Rowan yarn:

Note that this dupe never should have happened – I recently tweaked Ravelry so that it’s a lot less likely that people will add duplicate patterns but the yarns still need some attention. If this were a pattern, it would have reminded the user twice that something with the same name already existed. The pattern suggester even catches typos and variations in spelling and naming.

Anyway – go forth and flag!

Our inboxes runneth over!

June 5th, 2007

So much email!
(Those spikes are invites going out – yay!)

I put up a publicly viewable sneak peek. I figure that the cat is out of the bag and people are already posting screenshots to Flickr and stuff. We might as well show people what they are patiently waiting for!


Hi all. I just posted an important letter to http://www.ravelry.com/tour/sad.

It’s linked the the front page that you see if you are logged out or if you don’t have an account.

Please – don’t make too much of a fuss over this. I don’t want to start any trouble, I just want to try and communicate with the people who are patiently waiting to get in.


May 28th, 2007

I updated the site several times today and a nasty bug snuck in. Sorry about the 500 errors dudes.

I know that many of you have taken *really* nice photos of your stash yarn.

Ravelry needs featured photos for yarns and it will be a little while before we have time to go through and send a photo request for each yarn. So.. I opened things up a bit more and made it easy for people to send in their stash photos.

Share your pic by clicking the “Help! Ravelry needs a pretty photo.” link on any of your stashed yarn pages. If you don’t see the link, it means that someone else beat you to it. First one to click gets their photo in the spot :)