July 4th holiday, and some words about Ravelry
Yarn Folk will be closed on July 4th, but catch me on Instagram or Facebook for progress updates on the first day of the Olive Knits 4 Day KAL! I’ll be casting on for the Foxtrot Cardigan, and posting pictures throughout the day! The fun will continue on Friday, when I’ll host a work party at Yarn Folk from 1-7pm.
Oh hey, look what arrived from Leading Men Fiber Arts! Show Stealer fingering weight, merino/cashmere/nylon yumminess!
It’s not often that the fiber arts make their way to the national news, beyond the occasional health or human interest feature.
I shared my thoughts about the situation in my Instagram stories, a format I chose specifically because the national attention had captured the interest of many outside the fiber world, and if there was a vociferous response to my thoughts, I wanted that to be directed at me, and not shared in a way that would be hostile to others.
I do want to use this space to let you know why I continue to support Ravelry, both personally and professionally. I hope that in doing so, I can convey the deep gratitude and respect I have for all my customers, while also being transparent about the fact that my life and beliefs are fully integrated into the way that I operate my business. All of us are different in some ways, and we are the same in others, and those similarities and differences are fluid and shifting all the time. What follows is what I published on Instagram.
One of Ravelry’s greatest strengths is that it is built by its users. The very small team at Ravelry—comprised of Casey and Jess Forbes, and four employees—is responsible for the structure of the site, and for the editorial point of view communicated through its front page blog, but everything else comes from the site’s users. Photographs of projects, thousands of patterns, extensive details about specific yarns, forum posts—all of it is uploaded by users.
With the policy change put in place on Sunday, a specific subject of content has been prohibited. I have heard rumors about what led to the decision, but I have no way of independently verifying the specifics.
That said, in my eleven years of using the site actively—I am user #3553, and there are 8.5 million today—I have never observed anything that would lead me to believe that this was a capricious decision.
As business owners, Jess and Casey Forbes have made it clear that they value diversity and inclusion as fundamental expressions of their humanity. I share those values. As it is written, the policy change maximizes opportunity for continued participation within Ravelry—it does not apply retroactively, users are prohibited from baiting others into violating the terms, project data is always preserved, and more.
Ravelry is me, as it is every user who has ever logged in. But it is a platform that its owners bear ultimate responsibility for, and if a series of events led them to make a very targeted choice in the interest of creating and maintaining a vision of community they believe is the best expression of our shared world, I understand that decision and support it.
I would do the same thing, but I probably would not be as transparent about it.
I’m old enough to have a degree in women’s studies before you could get a degree in women’s studies. (It was labeled a “thematic” at the time.) I believe that the personal is political. I believe it is possible to engage in political discourse with civility and an open heart. And I believe that it is okay to have boundaries. Ravelry chose new boundaries, and I have reason to trust that they were chosen carefully. I stand with Ravelry.
At the center of what this means to me going forward is the concept of inclusion. This is vitally important to me, and is at the heart of many decisions I’ve made. Yarn Folk is open in the early evening hours for people who may work the standard day shift, and is open both weekend days to accommodate the widest range of schedules. I have always tried to stock quality yarns at a range of price points. I choose shop models with an eye toward using yarn efficiently. I work to expand representation among the dyers and designers whose work I promote. I look for patterns that have a wide range of sizes, and I am a Custom Fit shop. I am always open to conversations about how I can do better. Ravelry will continue to have a strong presence at Yarn Folk, and I am happy that you are part of the community here.
If you have made it this far, please know that I appreciate your willingness to consider my thoughts! All of you are important to me.