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Keeping Ravelry Excellent

Mar. 18th, 2009 | 05:25 pm

Surprise, surprise this entry isn't going to exclusively be about the latest Rav debacle because, quite frankly, it's gotten way more attention than it truly deserves. It's more about now that the poison has been removed how those who remain can keep Ravelry a great place to be.

I found out about Ravelry through the Craftster knitting board. I have been a member of Craftster for three years, so when I heard there was a super-elite, invite-only knitting and crochet community unlike any other I was eager to jump on that bandwagon. Full disclosure, I love Craftster. Since Ravelry came along, I hadn't posted much, but I still lurked. I loved that it was rare for drama and snark to rear its ugly head on there. Anyway, I waited almost three months to receive my Ravelry invitation. I had already taken photos of all my yarn and projects to load onto my profile. I was anxious to get involved in the community.

Something I noticed right off the bat was that the tone on the forums was quite different from what I had expected. Coming from a site like Craftster, where off-topic chat is expressly against the rules, I wasn't expecting to see groups like there are on MySpace, representing topics that ran the gamut. Everything from Christian groups to groups for LGBTQ. Debate groups and silly groups. Recipe and gardening groups. Groups for people who collect dolls and groups for people who have horses and groups for people who have adopted children. It was sort of like MySpace meets the fiber community.

I quickly settled into a few groups. Some were knitting-related while others were geared more toward off-topic chat. Something I noticed rather quickly was that there seemed to be a few different types of people on Ravelry - some personality types I wasn't used to having to confront on a fiber arts-related site. There were the nice, helpful people. That is the type of person I was used to being around by being an active member on Craftster. Then there was the bitter type. The type of person who could never post anything positive - a constant stream of "bitch, bitch, bitch" type posts. Then there were the snarky, know-it-all types who couldn't wait to jump a newbie's shit over a copyright mistake or not knowing about a certain function on Ravelry. Then there are the hypersensitive types. "Ah! Who clicked disagree under my post?! I dare you to come tell me why!!!!" or "gee, I don't understand why you felt the need to post such a nasty response. STOP PICKING ON ME!!!!" even when the response in question was relatively friendly and benign.

Using the internet can be great. For example, before I submit this blog entry I will proofread it for errors and make sure I have not said anything I would be ashamed to air for potentially millions of eyes to see. That's the beauty of the internet - unlike being face-to-face with someone and having to make conversation on the spot, we can delete, add and reword to say things exactly the way we intend for them to be taken.

Of course, on the other side of the token, the anonymity of the internet brings with it an air of permissiveness. A sort of disconnect between the brain and the finger on the mouse. People either choose to not think before they respond or they knowingly post things that are meant to be taken as offensive or mean-spirited because they are hiding behind the safety of a computer monitor and possibly thousands of miles of distance from others.

I know I haven't always been the "model Raveler". I haven't always said the right things. I've posted in haste and out of frustration and come across as rude or snarky. In those cases I usually try and apologize to those I may have hurt or offended. Contrary to what some people (who inexplicably cannot seem to keep my name out of their mouths) think or say, I'm not an evil witch or some sort of Ravelry troll who deliberately looks for trouble. I don't seek out people to destroy their time on Ravelry. I don't knowingly pick on others.

Overall, Ravelry is a great place to be. My dismay stems from the fact that I know even with the most particularly obvious offenders gone there will still be snark, rudeness and drama. Here is my simple, three-step plan for being excellent on Ravelry:

1. When applicable, remove stick from ass before reading potentially controversial posts.

2. If someone says something that gets your hackles up, before assuming the worst and jumping their shit, ask them politely to clarify. Instead of saying, "I can't believe you just said that! You're horrible!", take a deep breath and calmly post something like, "would you be so kind as to clarify what you meant by this comment?" Even better, don't respond. Life's too short to pick fights over other people's opinions - regardless of how stupid or misguided they are. For example, if you love Sundara and someone posts that they dislike it, how does it enhance your life to pick a fight and make them feel like an asshole for not liking a particular yarn that you adore?

3. It's okay to kindly and respectfully correct someone who has made a patently false or intellectually dishonest statement. But there is a proper way to address false statements. If once you have addressed these statements and the person shows an unwillingness to learn, walk away. Here again, life's too short to try and educate those who are willfully ignorant.

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Saturday Morning Musings

Feb. 14th, 2009 | 01:50 am

Wow, oh wow, has there been too much shit to contend with on Ravelry lately. First the MommaMonkey scandal, then another which is far too complex and migraine-inducing to even delve into. I'm sure most anyone who regularly participates on there knows what I'm talking about. I swear to Bob (yes, that charming little bug-eyed Boston Terrier has become my new deity), I don't know how Casey and Jess do it. I think if I were in their shoes, there would be many sleepless nights with the Pepto, Extra Strength Tylenol and Alka Seltzer close at hand. I feel oftentimes their work goes unappreciated. There are sites out there that can't hold a candle to the comprehensiveness and quality of Ravelry that charge members to use some (or all) features. Casey and Jess have made Ravelry and all of its features free to everyone. That's amazing.

I got to thinking about it all today. No one likes to be the heavy. I can picture Casey being the type of guy who hates to disappoint, hurt or anger others. Let's face it, he's obviously not an asshole. Seriously, how many men do you know of would take the time to do all of the immense coding Ravelry takes to help fulfill their wife's dream? Seriously, mad love there. I think with any growing site, you reach a point where you realize you can't make everyone 100% happy, 100% of the time. But most of us know that 99% of the members are pretty much tickled pink with Ravelry 100% of the time. The tiny 1% are usually not pleased with anything 100% of the time, so it pretty much comes out in the wash. Par for the course.

So hopefully everyone will retreat to their respective playgrounds. For what it's worth (hey, isn't that a song title?), with the exception of a few epic drama llamas who remain sequestered from "the evil ones" (which is everyone on Ravelry outside of their clique), most everyone else I've encountered around the forums and in other groups I participate in and have never, *ever* had bad interactions with them. Guess it just goes to show you a person is only an enemy if you perceive them that way, not based on merit, but religious or political views alone.

Anyway, </ endrant>. It's been a long, weird week. Happy Valentine's Day to all my friends and to those who faithfully keep watch over the inner workings of Ravelry! Thanks for making Ravelry my favorite website. love (1million)!

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Goddamnit! It Happened Again!

Feb. 5th, 2009 | 10:02 pm

I swear to the FSM. Some day, when I can actually get my hands on some Wollmeise, that shit better be made from angel gizz and Jesus' beard hairs. Of course, it's not as if I can get any. What, with all the people who hover around the site 24/7 hitting F5 every second and snagging a skein each in every colorway as soon as it updates. It's amazing I've actually been able to get the yarn as far as my shopping cart one time. Yes, I had a skein in my cart and someone bought it before I could submit my credit card info.

I'm not hard to please. I just want one fucking skein (preferably in the Thriller, Sonne, Frosch or Lowenzahn colorways) and sure, it pisses me off a little when people who literally have fifty skeins of the shit in their stash keep buying it up before others can get a chance to buy their first skein. I realize buying popular yarn is a dog eat dog kind of experience, but I just want one skein. ~cries~

There's my second tale of Wollmisery. I'm beginning to think, just like with Tickle Me Elmo, nothing is worth this much of a bullshit hassle. No offense to Claudia, of course, because she's a dear lady and her dye jobs are the bomb diggity.

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When in Doubt, Fake Die

Jan. 31st, 2009 | 12:13 am

So for the second time (geez I hope there's only been two instances and not more that we just haven't discovered yet) in less than a year another falsified death has shaken the knitting community. The difference between this and the epic fake death of Danielle (of Mystical Creations Yarn fame), is that people thought Danielle was a jerk and knew she was shady before her alleged passing. The most recent fake death was perpetrated by someone beloved by the fiber arts community - a death that shocked and saddened many people.

I'm talking about none other than Gina (Gigi) Silva, proprietor of Socktopia, who offered up gorgeous sock patterns under the name MommaMonkey or Monkey Toes. When the knitting community heard of MommaMonkey's death (due to complications from Lupus) last January, there was a tremendous outpouring of sympathies and support for her remaining loved ones. Allegedly her "husband" was logging in using her Ravelry username and password to upload patterns, posthumously, and all proceeds were supposed to go toward Lupus charities. A good number of good-natured people also sent donations to the family and countless MommaMonkey memorial knit-alongs spread out across the internet.

Recently, someone put an e-mail address into the networking site Twitter and it came up with a profile for a person using the same e-mail address as MommaMonkey, only she was now going by a different username. But the profile info was pretty much the same, down to the name. There were children and a husband named Nico. There was also some sort of evidence that the new incarnation had shared photos online of her tattoos, which incidentally matched those MommaMonkey had proudly showed off prior to her "death".

Since the grand revelation, this new incarnation (whose name will be withheld since she still has a profile on Ravelry and is, no doubt, gleefully reading all of the negative attention she has received the past few days) has deleted her Twitter account, her blogs and her Flickr account. Also, the purchase option on the MommaMonkey patterns on Ravelry has been disabled until it can be ascertained whether or not the money was actually going toward charity.

What a sick, sad, stupid thing to do. There are people out there who have Lupus who were terrified when they thought someone so young had died from it. People wondering if any day they could end up being the next Gigi Silva - happily creating beautiful things and then passing away suddenly. There are people out there who were truly grieving over her death. And of course she's also put her business partners in a bad spot. Even if they had no idea she was taking people for a ride, people will always know they collaborated with her in the past and this shady incident casts doubt on them. There are people out there who are trying their damndest to keep their online businesses going and people who need charitable donations, and now people are going to be thinking twice before handing their money over to them.

So anyway, Ravelry rules may protect your new incarnation from exposure and I'll play by the rules even away from Ravelry because, unlike you, I respect the community and those who enjoy it. But you know what you've done and you'll know soon if there are people out there (and I kinda hope there are) who will seek compensation for the money you took from them. Faking your own death, coming back to see all the nice things people said about you, ripping people off and continuing the charade - yeah, I'm glad I don't have your karma.

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Fiber Lust 4: Episode Notes

Jan. 30th, 2009 | 01:40 pm

Thank you to all of my listeners! Your encouraging comments and messages inspire me to keep bringing you the scoop on projects, yarns and other fiber related topics. In episode four there much to talk about. Below are the links for the Etsy shops, patterns and other news pertaining to the episode:

Exclusively Linda Lee
Artemis Artemis
Soup to Knits
Crown Mountain Farms

If you're ever in the Woodstock, Georgia area, please stop by and see the wonderful ladies at The Whole Nine Yarns.

Also, I forgot to mention in my episode where I purchased my Fricke spinning wheel. I ordered it through Susan at Spunsilver Creations. She is fabulous! Free shipping, fast shipping and she's on Ravelry and very sweet. I will definitely do business with her again. She sells fiber and spinning accessories and is a licensed Kromski and Fricke dealer.

Stitches South 2009
April 23-26 at the Cobb Galleria Centre and Waverly Renaissance Hotel in Atlanta, GA.
Class registration is still open and I believe advanced market tickets will go on sale next month through their site.

Ysolda Teague
Fabulous designer, fabulous patterns, awesome blog and online support when you purchase any of her patterns.

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Never Fear, My Popples!

Jan. 22nd, 2009 | 12:31 am

I cannot believe the amazing response to my podcast, Fiber Lust! Everyone has been so awesome, leaving wonderful comments on my iTunes page and sending me kind PM's on Ravelry. I have almost 400 downloads now! I really did not expect people to enjoy my podcast so much, but I'm so glad they do. Thank you to everyone who has downloaded, listened and sent words of encouragement and praise.

Jim, the Husbeast, starts working nights again on Monday, so I will be able to record the next episode. Don't worry, it will be worth the wait. I have much to share and some enabling too ;) So, stay tuned! As soon as I wrap it up and upload it to my host it will be available through the iTunes Store. And it's all free!

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Stuff, Stuff and More Stuff!

Jan. 9th, 2009 | 07:07 pm

Well, it's Friday. Yesterday was a pretty stressful day. I apparently pulled a muscle in my right side just up under my rib cage. At first I was scared it was my gallbladder, but when it didn't hurt all the time I realized I probably pulled a muscle. There was much weeping and gnashing of teeth. It's a bit better today, though. Still sore, but not excruciatingly painful. Then my aunt called my mom and said my grandfather was in the hospital again. He had a mild stroke about a year and a half ago. Since then he's been in and out for various things. He fell at a restaurant trying to get out of the booth and pulled his calf muscle. He fell in his kitchen and split his head open on the corner of the counter. Then back in October he got pneumonia and spent several days in the hospital. Prior to Xmas the doctor found remaining spots on his lungs and he was still coughing pretty badly.

Two days ago, after nearly passing out from coughing so hard, he went back to the hospital and they thought the spots were cancerous. Fortunately, after several tests, they determined he is cancer-free, but he still has pneumonia. Then I found out a former employer of mine and a family friend has colon cancer. They removed the tumor and he will begin undergoing chemotherapy this week. So, yeah, yesterday was one big clusterfuck of fail.

But today was better. I have several projects OTN. I am working the handle on the Everlasting Bagstopper from Knitty. Pretty fast knit except for the handle. Now, the pattern calls for sewing a ribbon handle on it, but I figured I may as well use up the Sugar 'n Cream yarn I did the bag in. I'm using a Herringbone stitch to make it less stretchy. That bag is a damn yarn eater. It took three skeins of Sugar 'n Cream. I think I'll knit a couple for my aunt for Xmas this year.

I didn't work on the Swallowtail shawl at all yesterday, because I couldn't keep my mind focused. I'm about 40% finished with my One Row Scarf. I still haven't cast-on for the mate to my mother's Tidal Wave sock. I have almost completed the cuff for my mother's Monkey sock in the *barfs* Panda Cotton. I paid a fair amount of money for that damn yarn, so I will persevere.

So, that's about it. My berfday is Sunday and instead of cake I wanted brownies. Hah!

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Thus far, 2009 hasn't been bad

Jan. 6th, 2009 | 01:16 am

I added a few more New Year's Resolutions. Only, they're not really resolutions so much as it's a list of things I'd like to try and accomplish in the New Year. No hardcore pressure or unrealistic expectations.

1. Buy a cone of base sock yarn, break it down into sock length skeins and dye them up.
2. Set up a permanent dye studio. My bathroom sink can't handle any more Jacquard Sapphire rings around the drain.
3. Open the damn Etsy shop I signed up for over a year ago.
4. Make tiny needle stitch markers. Send samples to Carin and MissViolet. Goodies please them :)
5. Continue working on the Fiber Lust podcast. I've had over forty downloads now. Holy shit!
6. Do Warm up America again this year.
7. Spin yarn to knit a shawl.
8. Knit a cardigan, preferably "Ruby" from White Lies Designs.
9. Spend more on fiber for dyeing and spinning rather than adding more yarns destined to be unused to my stash.
10. Purchase the complete set of Ashford dyes.
11. Keep a journal.
12. Finish Xmas gift knitting by the end of September.
13. Buy a Peter Max poster.
14. Finish up all of my UFOs in a reasonable amount of time. Don't start anything I don't intend to see through to the bitter end.
15. Donate some of my "sad face" yarns to Goodwill and charity knitters. Perhaps the yarn in my stash that makes me feel horrendously sad would bring a smile to someone else's face.
16. Try really hard not to get sucked into Rav drama. I don't want to be that girl.
17. Try to attend KIP Day this year, since last year it fell on my little bro's b-day.

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Fiber Lust: Episode 3 Notes

Jan. 5th, 2009 | 02:50 am

I have twenty-five downloads. Huzzah! I got bored tonight, so I decided to go ahead and record episode 3. This episode is full of wonder and randomness.

"The Pendulum Swings" by Fine Print Pariah
Downloaded from Podsafe Audio

Dettas's Spindle
Studio Karma
Iryna's Etsy Shop

"Swallowtail Shawl" by Evelyn Clark Designs
"One Row Handspun Scarf" by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
White Lies Designs


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Yay! Fiber Lust is on iTunes!

Jan. 4th, 2009 | 12:33 am

I got my approval pretty quickly from iTunes and Fiber Lust is now available for download through the iTunes Store. You can subscribe and/or download individual episodes directly from Fiber Lust at iTunes. It will be a couple more days before it will show up via search, but we're up! I checked my stats on Mypodcast tonight and I've had fifteen downloads! I was giddy when I had just one, but fifteen?! Thank you to everyone who has downloaded my podcast and I hope you enjoy it, thus far.

I'm going to be recording another one here before too long. I've already planned a few good news tidbits, yarn reviews and some enabling so I'm very excited about the upcoming third episode.

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