Thoughts.

usps-796059_1280.jpg

Have you noticed some deficiencies in the USPS lately? I kinda sorta thought I noticed it, then Amy Singer of Knitty said this in a Patreon email: “When the pandemic hit, I realized that mailing stuff to you wasn’t so smart any more. The mail is also much less reliable now.” She is in Canada, though, so perhaps her experience is very different.

Our county party sent out about 80 fundraising letters two weeks ago; at least a dozen came back as undeliverable. A couple seemed truly undeliverable — “Moved, left no forwarding address”, “No mail receptacle”. But many just said “Not deliverable as addressed”, and I am pretty sure at least some of the addresses were valid. In an act of pure optimism, I put the letters into new envelopes, re-addressed them exactly the same as before, and sent them on their way. We shall see

Maybe any shortcomings are due to low morale, given the rumblings that USPS may fail within a few months. Such feelings are sadly understandable, since the powers that be  in Washington seem not to care.

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ravelry.jpg

I came upon this rant on IG.

In June 2020, Ravelry announced a redesign of their new website. While the aesthetics of the site could be debated, the new site triggered hundred of migraines in migraine sufferers, and at least eight confirmed seizures in users. In response, Ravelry has shut down the “Accessibility” thread in the “For the Love of Ravelry” forum, silencing their neurodiverse user base. Furthermore, their statement of clarification made it clear that they do not (at the moment) intend for their site to be inclusive to those needs…

So. Ravelry’s most recent statement. Let’s talk about that, shall we?

I…honestly had to take a day away from the statement,  didn’t even know where to begin. it was such a heaping pile of ableist gaslighting that I knew I wouldn’t be able to string together coherent sentence in my frustration.

“For those of you who are having issues with the New Ravelry design, we’re truly sorry that aspects of the site are not usable for you.” Do you mean ALL of the site is not usable for some of us? You can’t exactly expect somebody to muddle their way through navigating through the site when they’re either having a seizure, or are experiencing migraine auras that literally half their sight.

“There is no magic bullet for designing websites to accommodate the wide range of vestibular disorders and visual need.” Except there ARE best practices, which Ravelry is currently not adopting. Again, current UI/UX experts will be equipped to discuss these… experts that the Rav team clearly should be hiring to help dig them out of this hole.

“We are being as thoughtful as possible in our approach and research in order to make the best decisions we can to help the most people.” Except you’re not. You’re shutting down and archiving forum threads where these issues are being discussed, you’re making it clear that folks having migraines and seizures are an acceptable price to pay for a pretty new website, and you’re making it abundantly clear that you don’t think inconvenient people like us belong on your site.

“We are currently conducting a readability survey and have sent it to specific groups of Ravelers with different visual needs.” Will this survey also be presented in the NewRav design, like the general feedback survey, rendering it inaccessible to those that most need their voices heard: Who are these specific groups of Ravelers (I mean, don’t name them, obvs, but we need to know where you’re getting your demographics from), and why won’t you listen to the people with those very same conditions you claim to be seeking input from, people who have already dedicated hours of their own time and free labor to share with you their experiences and stories?

Ending your statement talking about the increase in user and Pride banners really was the last nail ing coffin for me. You do NOT get to use the inclusive Pride banner if you’re making it clear that you have no intention to be inclusive towards neurodiverse individuals. Period.

Seeing as the last vestiges of my goodwill and grace towards the company is eroding fast, I have removed all of my pattern files on the Ravelry page. I cannot in good conscience direct folks to a willfully ignorant website that shuts down discourse, turns off comments, and gaslights the hundreds of user who have filled my inboxes over the last couple of days sharing their frustrations and grief over losing their once favorite website. I will not be hosing the #QQC on Ravelry either; the event will be entirely Instagram-based.

I am relatively fortunate in my ability to do so. I don’t rely on the income from my designs (seeing as my designs are free to begin with anyway), and even during the lean summer months where my academic position doesn’t pay me, I can get by with Ko-fi donations for the most part. I know many designers who do rely on the revenue, particularly designers who ARE BIPOC and/or disabled, will be harder hit. I’m sorry Ravelry is breaking our community’s trust. I’m sorry they’ve wielded their monopoly to make it clear that many of us don’t belong. I’m sorry. If any BOPOC and/or disabled designers need help setting up a website (although I’m not the most qualified individual in the room), please send me a DM. We can work something out.

As a more-or-less neurotypical Rav user — I outgrew my migraines at 60 — I have no experience with the issues caused by the new site, but it must be torture for those affected. And given how supportive the Ravelry community was when Casey became Cassidy, it seems… odd how they appear to be non-supportive of this group of users. Perhaps they are regrouping? rethinking? working on it? not ready for prime time yet?

This was all posted on IG several days ago, so things may have changed.


We have spoken with Elder Son several times recently. His hospital continues to get covid-19 patients but is not overwhelmed. McKinley County, where he and Gallup are, has one of the highest per-capita rates of infection in the US at 4,179 per 100,000 population. I scanned this map looking at rural counties with a high rate of infection; while there are any number of counties with infection rates over 1,000 and a fair number over 2,000, the only one I found with a higher rate was East Carroll County in northeastern Louisiana, which had nearly 6,000 cases per 100,000 of population.

But he gave us good news, too. Whereas early in the US pandemic the death rate for those who ended up on ventilators was around 80%, better ventilator management and pulmonary treatment have reduced that to around 30%. That was very comforting news to those of us who are vulnerable because of age and other conditions.

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P1000876 2

Speaking of Ravelry, I recently did something rather depressing: I downloaded a spreadsheet of my stash.

Y’all remember how much I love spreadsheets, right? “There is no problem that cannot be solved by a spread sheet.”

According the s/s, which is not perfectly reflective of the state of the stash but is close enough for my purposes, I currently have…

::drum roll::

.

.

.

.

::wait for it::

.

.

.

.

27 miles of yarn. 

Yikes.

What is even more alarming is that in January 2015 I had 22 miles of yarn. More alarming yet was that I had resolved in early 2013 to Buy.No.More.Yarn.

Clearly, I have been slacking on that goal.

Somehow another five miles of yarn sneaked its way into my stash, one skein at a time. In my defense, I have two sweaters and two afghans on the needles; the two sweaters will use about a mile of yarn, and the afghans will eat up another mile or mile-and-a-half. Just typing that sentence made me realize that my efforts to knit up my stash are doomed to failure. The stash has truly reached S.A.B.L.E size.

We know what this means, right? I absolutely positively can never, ever buy any more yarn, no matter how appealing it is.

::sob::


Let’s end on a happy note, m’kay? Duck thread.

This entry was posted in Friends, Miscellaneous, Politics, national, Rants, various, Ravelry, Yarn. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Thoughts.

  1. kayT says:

    Maybe those of us with amazingly large stashes should form a support group, like AA. (YSA?) I haven’t even had the courage to calculate how many miles I have, but I do know it has gone up since the “pandamnic”. We had scheduled a knitting cruise and I was able to remain on a yarn diet while that was planned, but then the cruise was cancelled and, well, we all know what happened next.

  2. marijo1951 says:

    I was congratulating myself the other day on having got more or less on top of my stash. I have a couple of autoimmune conditions and for a couple of years when I was on higher doses of steroids I did a lot of knitting for charity during the nightly bouts of insomnia, and used up plenty. Then I suddenly remembered the four large plastic containers up in my loft which I haven’t examined for a while…

    Regarding Ravelry, I’m neurotypical so could cope with the new look. However when I first saw it, I found it very ugly and unwelcoming and immediately clicked on the button to take me to the ”classic” look. That’s where I intend to stay.

  3. Ellen D. says:

    My mail has been fine – no problems at all. So many people still depend on the USPS. It could depend on individual towns / cities and the personnel they have?

  4. Andy Howarth says:

    I get stuff via USPS whenever it’s offered as a delivery option. Haven’t noticed any decline in service. When forced to choose FedEx by a seller, I cringe. A recent delivery took three weeks from Georgia to New Hampshire via Florida, Louisiana, Texas, California, and Iowa (where it must have been pre-occupied with the World’s Largest Frying Pan, as it lingered for three days). It would be difficult to call that a decline, though. My most recent pre-COVID deliveries included an envelope left in the middle of my driveway during a snowstorm, and a package delivered to my neighbor’s house and thoughtfully left, unwrapped, under the downspout on a rainy day.

    Andy

  5. gayle says:

    Hmm… I think you can continue to buy new yarn as long as you get rid of old yarn at the same rate. You could give it to Smokey, for instance.

  6. Kathleen Walsh says:

    On your sob that you cannot buy more yarn, Phil, your brother, calls “wishful thinking (he really said BS)” He says that you will stop buying yarn when he stops buying books! Here is a suggestion, to swap yarn with others on this blog who knit. Then you are getting sparkly new yarn and so are they, but your stash stays the same or begins to diminish.

  7. As far as the USPS goes, the only noticable decline in service that I have noticed is that some things take longer. Given that I heard more things are being mailed instead of hand-delivered (since people are theoretically staying home) this makes sense to me. I will continue to use the USPS as long as I can, though. I am a fan of snail mail, and will do what I can to keep it going. UPS/FedEx just aren’t the same.

    Thank you for the duck thread! Much appreciated.

    I haven’t had any issues viewing the New Ravelry either, but their (lack of) response is starting to concern me. I’m used to great customer service from Rav. This isn’t what I had expected when people started complaining. I’ve been starting to wonder if I need to find a new home for my digital knitting content. I hope not. I like Ravlery. Still, I wonder.

  8. k says:

    My mail has been fine. I hear there are problems from Europe to here.
    I think everybody’s done in by the chaos. It’s my only explanation for everything.

  9. notewords says:

    What’s going on with Ravelry is shocking. And so sad.

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