Q and A for Designers with Patterns on Ravelry

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Authored by Cheryl Dee Floyd, crochet designer
July 11, 2019

QUESTION. Will there be patterns and knitting help available on other sites besides Ravelry? I loved Ravelry and spent many hours appreciating others’ creations and I will miss it, but I can no longer support them.

ANSWER. Here are some existing sites with pattern purchases already established: Etsy – https://www.etsy.com; LoveCrafts – https://www.lovecrafts.com; and Makerist – https://www.makerist.com

Here are some new sites that are working to get ecommerce set up: Fiberocity – https://www.fiberocity.com and OurUnraveled – https://ourunraveled.com

QUESTION. I’m boycotting Ravelry and any designers who support them. How do I look for crochet sites/designers that don’t or won’t, use Ravelry?

ANSWER. I would ask that you please consider the angst that Ravelry has caused for designers who would love to “walk away.” One person referred to it as holding us hostage.

I have self-published 31 crochet patterns and was using Ravelry to make a little money from them. After seeing their new No-Trump policy, however, I’m no longer interested in selling my Patterns via Ravelry. However, in order to take a stand against Ravelry’s new policy and extricate myself from my relationship with them, I’m in a real jam.

There are two separate functions involved with self-publishing a pattern on Ravelry. One is creating the pattern INFORMATION page. The other is uploading the actual pattern PDF as a digital download. The pattern information page cannot be deleted by anyone but the admins. The pattern PDF can easily be removed by the designer. I did remove all my PDFs, so that they aren’t available for sale on Ravelry any longer.

The catch 22 here is that, even though the designer may remove the PDF, the pattern information page cannot be removed. And, if the designer deletes his/her account, he/she then loses control of the pattern information page.

At that point, any registered Ravelry member is able to “adopt the pattern” and edit the pattern information page as they see fit. This works fine, as long as Ravelry users are just trying to be helpful to the community.

However, with the recent uproar on Ravelry, I feel as if there is significant risk of losing control of my pattern information pages. Some unscrupulous person could upload objectionable photos or edit the title, tags, and notes section to say indecent or hateful things that would then be attributed to me.

Maybe I’m too paranoid, but after seeing the way Antifa attacked that reporter in Portland, I wouldn’t put anything past some Ravelry users.

The most recent update (6/30/2019) to Ravelry’s new policy states this: The Community Guidelines have been updated with the following language: “Note that support of President Trump, his administration, or individual policies that harm marginalized groups, all constitutes hate speech.”

This further enhances and expands the original statements they published on 6/23/19, that say, “Support of the Trump administration is unambiguously support for white supremacy;” and “Support of the Trump administration is undeniably support for white supremacy.”

So, while I would love to dissolve all association with Ravelry, I feel it is too risky to do so at this time.

Some of the folks who HAVE closed their Ravelry accounts are stating openly in various Facebook groups that they will not do business with any designer who still has a presence on Ravelry. These folks obviously don’t realize how Ravelry’s policies and practices have put us designers in a very precarious position. We were not consulted about the new policy. We were not given a choice.

Ravelry will always have my pattern INFORMATION pages, because I can’t delete them, but I have removed all possibility of Ravelry making money from my patterns.

QUESTION. I understand that designers truly are caught between a rock and a hard place. Can a designer petition Ravelry to release your patterns from their library and sever your relationship because you do not support their new policies?

ANSWER. Please understand that, just because a designer’s patterns are listed in Ravelry’s database, that doesn’t mean the designer supports Ravelry. Take, for example, a pattern that was published in 1980 in a magazine, which would still be listed on Ravelry, even though the publication is out of print. Ravelry will always keep that pattern information page, even though there is no PDF to download. They do this to keep their pattern database as comprehensive as possible. In fact, this is one of the reasons so many of us loved using Ravelry. I just want people to understand that, just because a designer still has patterns that show in Pinterest searches or Google searches as being on Ravelry, that doesn’t mean the designer supports Ravelry.

QUESTION. I understand that some designers would like to fully break off any relationship with Ravelry, due to Ravelry’s new policy, but their pattern information pages cannot be removed. Is there any legal recourse for designers, as far as data protection rights?

ANSWER. There is no need for legal recourse here. It’s totally fair for Ravelry to keep a pattern INFORMATION page. There is no data theft or intellectual property theft in that. If a library keeps a card catalog of every book in their collection, there is no foul in that. If you see a book list in a magazine, do you assume the authors of those books support everything that magazine stands for? No. All I’m saying is that, just because my pattern information pages are still on Ravelry, please don’t take that to mean I (or any other designer) support Ravelry.

QUESTION. Are you saying someone else could alter your patterns’ pages and you’d lose the right to be in control of your intellectual property?

ANSWER. Yes, **IF** I delete my Ravelry account, any Ravelry member could alter my pattern INFORMATION pages. However, as long as I keep my Ravelry account, I can edit my own pattern information pages.

The pattern INFORMATION pages are not my intellectual property. Just like a card in the card catalog in a library isn’t anyone’s intellectual property.

I’m probably being too paranoid. Hopefully I’m not a big enough fish for any leftist to go after. But it IS possible that someone could mess with my pattern information pages and make me look bad and I would have no way of fixing it.

QUESTION. How can we know, then, whether a designer does or doesn’t support Ravelry?

ANSWER. I ask that you just be patient and understanding. It’s much more difficult for a designer to break off a relationship with Ravelry. The process is VERY time consuming.

Right now, I’m going through every one of my patterns and removing any links to my Ravelry store. It’s very tedious and time consuming. After I do this, I save the new version as a new PDF and re-upload it to my Etsy shop and my LoveCrafts shop.

I’m also going into every blog post and YouTube video I’ve made and removing any reference to Ravelry. This is an absolute nightmare!

I get very frustrated that I’m doing all this and then see people saying they won’t buy from designers who have anything to do with Ravelry.

I spend a lot of time in FB groups explaining this, because I completely understand people’s desire to support designers who believe like they do.

For me, posting in Facebook groups is the best way to share with a wide audience that I’m not at all supportive of Ravelry’s new policy, even though I haven’t deleted my Ravelry account. It’s just very frustrating that so many people are just flat out stating they won’t support any designer that has any relationship with Ravelry. I wish I could explain my situation to every one of them, but that would be a monumental task.

QUESTION. Thanks for all this info. Retaining control of your pattern pages is crucial. You have to take steps to protect yourself as some of the Ravelry supporters have shown themselves willing to badger (or worse) those not supporting Ravelry.

ANSWER. Thank you for understanding and grasping the seriousness of this dilemma.

QUESTION. Would it be worthwhile for a designer to rename her patterns and make new PDF files for future sales and sites? At least there would be some separation from those Ravelry pattern information pages.

ANSWER. Thank you for helping me think through this. I could rename all my patterns, but I choose not to do that. Here’s why…my patterns are almost like my babies. I’ve put hours and hours of work into each one. Many of those hours were spent choosing the pattern names, including searching to make sure my names were different than any other patterns that were already published by other designers.

Another reason is that I sometimes send updated versions to the people who have purchased in the past. Having a new name would be too confusing for my customers.

Then, there is the issue of collecting statistics on my pattern sales. Having new names would be way too confusing for my little brain.

QUESTION. Wow I didn’t realize all that. Have you thought about Etsy for your patterns? I realize that doesn’t stop the association with Ravelry, but it would give you another outlet.

ANSWER. Yes. I already had my patterns in my Etsy shop, as well as in my Ravelry store and my LoveCrafts store, when Ravelry’s new policy was announced. So, I just went into each of my Ravelry pattern information pages and put in a link to my Etsy shop. I also removed the PDFs from Ravelry, so Ravelry will no longer get any money from my sales. By the way, these options were available to designers all along. There has always been the choice to provide PDF downloads via Ravelry or to simply link to another sales outlet.

QUESTION. If you can alter your pattern info pages on Ravelry, can you alter them to say…find my patterns at such and such a site? Bet they’d remove every one if you did.

ANSWER. That is what I did. Ravelry won’t remove them, because they want to keep their pattern database correct and up-to-date.

By the way, the option to link the pattern information page to another site (ex. Etsy, LoveCrafts, etc.) has been available all along. This is nothing new. It’s just that Ravelry’s fees have always been lower than Etsy’s fees and that made it easy to decide to use Ravelry. But, no more! *sigh*

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