Ravelry and accessibility: Getting off Ravelry

(Last update was May 3, 2022 9:02pm ET.)

Due to accessibility issues on the Ravelry site, and/or distaste at Ravelry's response to the serious accessibility issues, a number of users and designers have been looking at "jumping ship". Here are some alternatives to the features which Ravelry offers if you are planning to stop using the site (note that I reserve to right to ignore any resources which do the opposite of promoting inclusivity).

Note that if you can't even get on Ravelry in the first place to even begin moving your stuff off Ravelry, this Twitter thread might be helpful.

As a user

  • NEW: Review/explanation of a few of the alternative sites mentioned here
  • Total replacement: 
    • LoveCrafts has quite a bit of the functionality of Ravelry, since they have database connectivity among designers, patterns, yarns, and projects.
    • Knitter Liza Rico wants to put together an alternative, accessible fibre platform called Fiber.Club, and has a GoFundMe for it. You can check out updates and more resources via the welcome article which is on the Fiber.Club blog. (Note: I have absolutely zero idea how much skill or ability she and her husband have to put something this together, I am only providing the link here for the purposes of awareness.)
    • I'm not sure how knit/crochet-ish it is, but Textillia is "a community of sewists, quilters, and textile artists".
    • There's another new site in the works called ribblr: website | Instagram (contains more info)
    • Yarn Database has searches for designers, yarn, and fibre, and the ability to save favourites, with no surprise Ravelry links
    • Ravelry user ikkleknitter announced the following in the 'lazy, stupid, and godless' board on Ravelry (post #8563 in the 'Do we have a Plan B?' thread) on March 23: "Given that all this s**t is starting to escalate and plans aren’t happening the way I hoped I have a big announcement. After making an offer to buy Ravelry and ended up ignored we are taking the money and building a replacement. We are partnering with someone from LSG to build a journal/database platform with lots of privacy controls that will be CRAFT AGNOSTIC. There will be forums but they are awhile off yet. Accessibility is the first thing on our list and we will be hiring accordingly. We don’t have a mailing list set up yet but you can message me contact info and I will add you as soon as we do. I swear that I will use my powers for good with your info. Edit: oh and there will be a Rav importer tool for the files you get when you export your data from here." Now with an Instagram account and a Twitter account.
    • Dreamwidth Studios
    • See the Tips to improve your Ravelry experience page for a list of apps which let you interact with Ravelry without being on the Ravelry website.
  • Your overall notebook: 
    • If you hover over your avatar in the top right corner of the Ravelry screen, one of the options in the menu that flies out is 'export data'. This will take you to a page where you can take a number of actions:
      • Download your data: Most data is in JSON format. When you click the 'export data' button under this option, a request will be submitted. You'll see information about when your request was submitted, its status, and a download link to a .zip file (until the download is ready, there will be a message explaining the process, such as "Your export is queued and will start in 10 minutes or less. Once it starts, it will complete in minutes for small accounts and after an hour or so for very large accounts." You are also warned that data exports are automatically deleted after 7 days. There is also a feature which allows you to see what the data download will contain. When I tried it, it told me it would include user profile, project data, project photo files (large size, max 1600 pixels square), stash data, stash photo files (large size, max 1600 pixels square), queue, forum posts, messages, comments, favourites, bundles, library listing, and purchase/download receipt links; but not pro account data, avatar images, additional spinning project data, forum images uploaded with extras, PDF files in library, shopping carts, or needle inventory. 
      • Purchased pattern PDFs: There is actually no native Ravelry feature that does this, the page only links you to your list of purchases. However, check the 'Your library' information further on in this page for how to export all your library PDFs in one go!
      • Library inventory: This feature will download an Excel spreadsheet with your library data. This will give you a spreadsheet identical to that described in the 'Your library' information further on in this page.
      • Stash inventory: This feature will download an Excel spreadsheet with your stash data. This will give you a spreadsheet identical to that described in the 'Your stash' information further on in this page.
      • Printable queue: This feature will pop up a list of your entire queue with a prompt to print it. You can of course choose to print to file if you don't actually want to print out your queue onto paper.
    • Instagrammer @cotswoldcouturier has explained how she replaced Ravelry with Notion
    • Instagram user @atomicagecrochet explains how she's replaced a lot of her Ravelry Notebook with Evernote
    • Airtable (a cloud-hosted database):
    • Twitter user @kat_lookout suggests Trello for managing many notebook areas.
    • Here is another tutorial on migrating your Ravelry content to Airtable.
    • The ever-helpful Evanita Montalvo has created an Airtable database for your stashes (yarn, fibre, books, tools) and projects. Knitting, spinning, and weaving are currently available but she says the database can be easily modified to incorporate other crafts. She has provided a video demo of the database, as well as an Airtable referral link if you need one.
    • NEW: Twitter user @robotfactory is "exploring the idea of creating an open schema for sharing pattern, project, and fiber material information so that the fiber arts community doesn't get reliant on one site again."
  • Your projects:
    • Ravelry has a 'Download your data' feature which lets you export a whack of data from your account, including a bunch of project data. See the 'Your overall notebook' information further up this page for details.
    • Ravelry also has a feature which lets you export all of your project data in JSON format. The link is customized to each Ravelry user, and can be accessed at https://www.ravelry.com/about/progressbars (that URL is not a link on purpose for safety reasons; you will need to highlight it and then copy-and-paste it into your browser's location) - use the link provided under "You can export all of your project data in JSON format by using this URL:" This page also provides a link to export just your WIPs, if you prefer.
    • Twitter user @WhippetKnitter has created a Project Keeper for tracking your projects. She's also provided an example project.
    • Pre-Ravelry, many crafters used blogs to keep track of what was going on with their projects.
    • Twitter user @Knittingand suggests the PrintFriendly Chrome browser extension for saving projects
    • Twitter user @Nynaeve2k has started a website to chronicle her projects, it might be a good example for what others can do.
    • This tweet by @Ruth_Brasch has all kinds of helpful replies for how to save existing Ravelry project information. Things like:
      • Making a subject access request if you're in the EU
      • Create a clipper tool to save it to Airtable.
      • Do screenshots
      • Download to a JSON file and find a JSON reader (e.g. Knime) or simply open it in a text editor
      • Print to PDF
    • Ravelry user TrudiB has been playing with Zenkit for project tracking. She says the front page you create "is where you create your collections. A collection could be an individual project, or I’ve set up two others, one for my pattern database / wish list and one for my stash." Also, "On this page I created an item for every task required to knit a sweater. You can set priority and effort levels for each task, attach files, such as the pattern, and add images. Each task can also be broken down into a checklist of smaller mini tasks, and as you tick them off your task bar changes colour. Once a task is completed you can just drag and drop it into the completed column." And, "Base programme is free with subscription options available if you want more functionality, or you want to create a collaborative project with more than one contributor."
  • Your favourites:
    • Twitter user @scotjess3 says you use API information to get your favourites information out of Ravelry by going to your profile and clicking "export data". "You have to wait for a while (don't have to look at it when it does its thing, click refresh after a while). It gives you json file of your data. Can't say what's on the file yet as I had to turn off bc pain. Hope not having to go back." (Note that there are online tools that will let you convert the JSON API file to a format that spreadsheet programs can use.)
  • Your queue:
    • Ravelry has a feature which pops up a list of your entire queue with a prompt to print it. You can of course choose to print to file if you don't actually want to print out your queue onto paper. The link is a printer icon near the top right corner of your queue screen.
    • Try Pinterest
    • Twitter user @PhoenixSquirrel's solution solution for holding patterns-to-buy is to clip pattern pages to Evernote, tagged "wishlist" +craft, always using designer's own site if they can; they also suggest the possibility of adding a Ravelry tag to differentiate. (They note that this is not a complete solution and won't work for many users because you still have to be on Ravelry to harvest the data you want to keep.)
  • Your stash:
    • Ravelry has a feature which allows you to export your stash into an Excel spreadsheet file. The link is an Excel icon at the top right of the yarn stash, used up, will trade or sell, or traded/sold/gifted tabs in the stash view (you will get the same spreadsheet exported no matter which tab you export from). The spreadsheet contains the following data points: Brand, Yarn, Color family, Colorway, Color Attributes, Weight, Grams/skein, Yards/skein, Meters/skein, Skeins, Total yards, Total meters, Total grams, Remaining skeins, Remaining yards, Remaining meters, Remaining grams, Dye lot, Stored in, Purchase date, Price paid, Purchased at, Spinning project started, Spinning project completed, Comments, Has photo, and Tag List.
    • Instagram user lindsey_silveredgriffin has created a yarn stash template in Google Sheets. She says it "contains validated columns for colors and yarn weight, and calculated columns for things like total yardage. There is also a graph to show total yardage by weight. I'd like this to be as useful as possible, so I welcome any feedback."
    • Ravelry does have a feature whereby you can export your stash to an Excel spreadsheet. (Just go to your stash, the feature is on that page.)
    • Designer Rachy Newin has shared her rudimentary yarn tracker, which she explains more about in this Twitter thread.
    • NEW: Low-tech option - the Yarn Inventory Book (an organizer notebook to keep track of yarn); independently published in September 2020
  • Your library: 
    • Ravelry has a feature which allows you to export your library into an Excel spreadsheet file. The link is at the bottom of the left-side library navigation (not the overall notebook navigation, but the navigation specific to the library), and it's called "export library data...". The spreadsheet contains the following data points: Type (e.g. pattern, free pattern, pattern book, etc.), Title, Author, Publication date, ISBN, Location, Notes, Date added, Ravelry link.
    • This video shows you how you can download your entire Ravelry library in one go using a Chrome plugin. Be warned that the video does contain screenshots of the "Classic Ravelry" state that still caused problems for many users. (Thanks to Twitter users @GwwgReads and @Sarah_Dawns for the video and the warning, respectively.)
    • If you have the paid version of Knit Companion, you can have it display your Ravelry library. Twitter user @got1eyeopen has kindly tweeted a screenshot of what this looks like (warning: contains a swear)
    • Twitter user @CatKnitting is organizing her library with Diaro
    • Instagram user masteryarnsmith says that if you can't access Ravelry and don't have someone to help you, and need to get all your patterns exported, there's an app called Alpaca: "You can download the patterns you don't want to lose, and then transfer them to our laptop...This is time consuming, but at least you won't lose your patterns."
    • Twitter user @WitchyGamer86 recommends the Pocket Crochet app (for either iOS or Android) as a place to have your patterns on the go - saves patterns in a cloud or email so you always have backups.
    • Instagram user stitchedinthemiddle is using Calibre to store and manage their pattern library. They also recommend the app Calibre-go (for Android users only, unfortunately).
  • Your needles:
  • Search and shopping capabilities:
  • Accessing Ravelry updates:
    • Designer Rachy Newin has kindly made some Ravelry blog content available off-Ravelry, with the new design elements stripped out and made to be screen reader compatible format. Also now available is the text of the July 30 letter from Ravelry co-founder Jessica.
    • For the July 24 update from Ravelry, multiple users on Twitter responded to Ravelry's announcement tweet with the actual content of the update (for the benefit of those who can't get on Ravelry safely). I suspect this will keep happening for future updates. Therefore, moving forward, if you notice that Ravelry has tweeted an announcement that there's a new update on their blog, but you can't go to the site to read it, instead, read the replies to the tweet, and it's likely you'll find that one or more people have posted the content of the update there for you.
  • Community:
    • Online magazine Digits & Threads runs a community calendar
    • The Uplift Make Along is an "online event created to celebrate and show off the work of independent knitting and crochet pattern designers."
    • There is a new, off-Ravelry, off-Facebook community called Everyday Knitter.
    • A dozen designers from around the world are putting together a stitch-a-long. This is a 5-week event, kicking off with pattern sales, starting August 12. You can find out more at the @AroundTheWorldSAL account on Instagram.
    • Twitter user Nynaeve2k's aforementioned new website also includes a community building forum
    • On social media, you can follow these hashtags:
      • #OffRav
      • #InclusiveYarnCommunity
    • There is a completely off-Ravelry alternative to the annual Indie Giftalong on Ravelry, called Fasten Off Yarnalong
    • The annual Indie Giftalong is still happening on Ravelry but the moderators have put together a spreadsheet listing alternative places online to purchase patterns from participating designers.
    • Twitter user @knitswhereitsat maintains The Fiber Happenings, a list of events, discounts, and other happenings to help you keep up with what's going on in the fibre world
    • According to Twitter user @greensideknits, several groups from Ravelry have moved to Mighty Networks. This includes a number of designers and other fibre artist type people or businesses, such as podcasts and tech editors, so check the websites of your favourite fibre artists to see if they have a new group you can join!
    • Twitter user @CraftsUntold recommends Lettuce Craft as an alternative crafting forum.
    • Instagram user @spin.turtle.spin has created a new Discord discussion server "so that those, myself included, effected by the NuRav theme have a place to gather, chat, post photos."
    • Fiberkind. Apparently they are also working on a stash/project area. Note: Potentially problematic - they have Amazon affiliate links and were originally created as a response to Ravelry's June 2019 Trump ban. However, around early 2020, the site was apparently taken over by new ownership, and the founder stopped recommending it in favour of an explicitly pro-Trump site. Political discussion is now apparently only allowed on Fiberkind in a specific subscription-only area. But use with caution. 
    • Reddit r/knitting
    • There are fibre-related groups on MeWe.
    • NEW: Bi-monthly chat hours to connect with stitchers off-Ravelry. They have a (protected) Twitter account, and there's a hashtag, #OffRavChat. (First hour-long chat was on May 24.)
    • NEW: There's a Universal Craft Blog Directory.
  • Miscellaneous:

As a designer (or possibly other fibre-related business)


Cat said...

Thanks for this extensive help list!
I'd like to mention 2 things:
- the app Stash2Go can also display your library without having to go on the website.
- another good resource to find designers and dyers is www.yarndatabase.com

Kathleen said...

Hi Cat, thanks for this! The Stash2Go app is mentioned on the 'Tips to improve your Ravelry experience' page (big list of apps there, but I'll mention it on this page, too, thanks), and Yarn Database is one of the top links on this page. Hope that helps!

Keib said...

I can't thank you enough for this wealth of information! It seems that the last vestige of inclusion disappeared without a sound. I didn't know that the toggle option was discontinued until I opened Rav elry yesterday and had to deal with the retina burn. I'm going to try one of the extensions you've mentioned here after 2 April but I think staying off Ravelry will be the best solution for me. I had a lively blog before Rav, a dust off should make it useful again.

Orange_Crush said...

This info makes me so happy. I got a "waggy finger" from a Ravelry moderator today bc I asked about which sewing machines to use for.... wait for it... steeking!! OMG! ("Since this post is about sewing, I'm going to archive it." wtf?)
I mainly use Ravelry as a place to store patterns, yarn, and catalog my needles. I'm thrilled to see all of these alternatives and create my own notebook. Thanks to everyone for all the hard work!
MM, Portland OR

Catherine said...

You should also include Threadfolio (https://threadfolio.com). It's looking to be a promising alternative!