It’s been a while, I know

An update on the new website build is long, long overdue.

I’ve dreaded sitting down and trying to write a summary of what’s going on – what’s happened, what delays there’s been, what we’ve needed to do, what changes we’ve needed to make and what we’ve achieved.

This project has become something much bigger than I ever imagined. I knew it would be big but having never done anything like this let alone outsourced and brought a team together, I really was clueless.

First things first – the website build itself has seen a lot of delays. Nearly all of them pandemic related, either directly with folks catching covid, or indirectly due to the knock-on effects of just about everything that the pandemic touches. We’re a small team and when one person needs to take time out I’m not going to not let them. But it does also mean that we can’t always just pick up where we left off, and this is a side to project management that’s been a tough lesson. It would’ve been nice not to learn all this the hard way with the weight of a pandemic but there we go.

The new site skeleton is in place, we’re working through kinks in the data that we’ve put together and how that codes with the site. There’s a lot of back-and-forth going on but we’re getting there, albeit slowly and in a non-linear fashion. I really want to give you a date but I don’t have one, and I’m not sure it’d be wise to entertain one at the moment anyway.

We’re also going through to check and refine the data that we’ve collected and sorted for every single Woolly Wormhead pattern. Which is a LOT. That task in itself has been huge but I’m really glad we’ve done it as we won’t ever likely need to do it again. And it’ll make for a much more functional database and website. There’s still a lot to be worked out but I’m continuing to remind myself that every delay, every new hurdle, is a chance to do things better. I’m sure I’m not the only one whose patience wanes or whose motivation falters at times, but we are continuing with that premise in mind.

On the front end you may have seen a few changes filtering through. One of the biggest changes is to this blog, with the featured articles and tutorials and such.

I made the decision a while back to archive a truck-load of old blog posts, primarily those that were more personal, less work related. It was really strange reading back through them, trying to determine which should stay and which should go. And it was sad, if I’m honest, as I miss talking openly in this space. I miss all the interaction we used to have years ago when I first started blogging. But it all made me feel really vulnerable too. I’m a different person now to who I was then; Woolly Wormhead has changed and grown so much since those early days. And I figured it was best not to remove all of the posts and my voice completely, but to stick to Hat and yarn and knitting related topics. I still want to be myself here, but giving myself guidelines and boundaries feels really healthy.

Over the years the blog has moved to so many different platforms and with it all of it’s drafts and archives and posts. All of the free patterns and tutorials were blog posts until they weren’t; I hid, archived or deleted so many when I converted everything to free PDF. Now that everything’s going back to blog posts – and I’m trying not to kick myself for messing with things so much over the years! – I’ve been trying to put everything back to where it was historically.

I’ve been conflicted about this, as back-dating didn’t sit easy. Yet most of the drafts still existed and whilst some of the URLs have needed to change and I haven’t got all of the dates 100% correct, they’re close. And I think I’m OK with that. It wouldn’t feel right to suddenly post them all as new things when loads of old comments are still there on the drafts or archives. It’d also make the blog pretty top heavy on recent pages, not to mention be confusing if publication or copyright dates of existing versions out there in the wild don’t match the blog dates.

It’s been a huge mess to sort out yet pretty cathartic at the same time. There’s no doubt going to be a few broken URLs and some inconsistencies or references to posts that are no longer visible, and in time I plan to go through and tweak where needed – I probably won’t be able to do most of that until we’ve completely moved over to the new site and platform. But for now it’s all looking a lot leaner and a lot better organised.

The next huge HUGE task that’s been finished is the pattern reformatting. I only finished this last week!

Long story short – and I really do need to get this into a blog post – is that I’m now an Estonian publisher. I was talking with my accountant about the differing VATmoss rates and they advised that the best way to ensure I’m not paying too much VAT was to get all of my publications ISBNs. I enquired and it turns out that yup, even my single patterns qualify. It surprised me, and no doubt surprises you too, which is why I need to get all of the info into a post!

However, to make sure that each one did fully qualify I wanted to change the pattern layout a little. We’d planned changes anyway to make them more downloadable and printer friendly and this was one extra step to that. Every single pattern now has a front cover and a back cover, where the back cover provides all the links to the various help pages, groups and more. All the patterns have links for all of the specific tutorials that are needed, so that you can download in-depth photo tutorials that cover far more than the current illustrated ones. And they’ve each been made printer friendly – in that the written and charted instructions have been separated. This was the bulk of the work, easy.

From a database perspective, written and charted instructions can mean different things if they’re not fully defined. I know folks who search for charted patterns on Ravelry or elsewhere often end up disappointed when they find that a pattern is still mostly a written pattern with a tiny chart that can’t work by itself. So I figured that I’d make as many as possible fully charted – which means the chart page, or pages, can function entirely by themselves, or with perhaps only a minor reference to the written instructions at worst. I’m really excited about this but I’m not kidding when I say that it’s been a serious amount of work. The vast majority of my patterns that had any kind of chart are now fully charted – there’s only a few, less than a handful, that had say a chart for a simple stitch pattern that have now lost that chart.

In addition to this, I’ve added notes to 95% of the patterns explaining how to adjust the pattern to your needs, and how to achieve different sizes outside of the range given and or work with a different weight yarns. The few that don’t have these extra notes are mostly those that already include 5 or more sizes, or are easier to adjust, and I’ll be providing a few blog posts about grading by gauge – i.e how to achieve different sizes via changes to yarn or needle sizes – to help with those.

None of these new pattern versions are published yet as we need to host the tutorial downloads on the new website, and I won’t let them go live without tutorials. The few new releases that have gone out in the new format have temporary links but I’m not keen to do that for the rest only to have to re-publish and re-upload all 220+ of them again to however many platforms and online stores – that’s a logistical nightmare, especially on our internet connection.

The tutorials are the other big changes I’m wanting to talk about today, and they relate to both the blog changes and pattern changes.

Most of the old tutorial blog posts have been put back, and they’re in the process of being edited to not only make them clearer but also to make them screen-reader friendly. At some point the free patterns will get this treatment too, though that’s linked into the accessible pattern formats we’ve been working on that I had to press pause on that for a while as there’s only so much I can do, and I need to finish the pattern updates first.

The premium tutorials have all been updated and are in the queue for translation, with two languages done already! Go Czech and Italian!

The updates the premium tutorials have had are numerous. They’ve all got clear black and white photos, so they’re all consistent, which in turn meant some needed to be rephotographed. Most of them have been expanded and more details added. They’ve been through further tech and copy editing as well. They aren’t in a screen-reader friendly layout but neither are the patterns in the new print friendly ISBN format – the accessible patterns will get their own tutorials and shiny new layout.

A lot of the old tutorials that used to be available for download from this site will not be made available as PDFs going forward, and there’s a whole bunch of new ones been written. In short, if it’s needed to support a pattern then it becomes a premium download that’ll be linked within the premium patterns. If it’s not, or if it’s used in a free pattern, then it’s a blog post that everyone can access. The premium tutorials are available as blog posts, too, only they’re not all merged into one file.

I know a few folks weren’t happy about using the free patterns and tutorials on the current blog as it’s not especially accessible, and I am so sorry about the delays in getting the new accessible site up. But creating a new format, or even trying to re-animate the old versions, is going to add to the workload and end up delaying everything – I’d sooner we put our time and energy into the new site which will be better than anything we’ve done so far.

Phew, so that’s an epic update self! I’m wanting to expand on some of this more, especially about the ISBNs and the new pattern formats and what extras they’ll include. For now though my eyes need a break and I imagine yours do, too.

Woolly Wormhead

Woolly Wormhead is an internationally reknowned knit designer, specialising in Hats, technique and construction. Their patterns and techniques have been used by thousands of knitters worldwide. Join The Woolly Hat Society to be the first to learn of their latest projects and special offers!


  1. Christine Guest

    That’s a LOT of work.

    • Woolly Wormhead

      I’m glad I’m now only fully realising how much work it all is as I’m coming out the other side!


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