A long overdue website update

You’ll be forgiven for thinking the new website build had stopped or disappeared somewhere into the ether never to be mentioned again, but it hasn’t. Team WW haven’t stopped working on it backend and it’s taken up an incredible amount of headspace and time, and we still haven’t inched much closer to launch date.

Over the last almost 2 years since the new site was originally due to launch I have hinted at reasons for delays. The reasons for the delays are not necessarily my story to tell and I’m not at liberty to divulge reasons other than my own, but the short version is that the developer I hired hit a series of life-changing personal events and given my own continual personal issues, I made the decision to stick with the developer and wait.

Over the last 2 and half years I’ve been coming to terms with first my ADHD then learning that I’m also Autistic. And not just for me, for Aran too. Anyone who’s gone through such a diagnosis, especially if it’s later in life, will tell you how all consuming it is. It literally turns your world upside down before you slowly start to rebuild with a new understanding of yourself. And often, there are many parts of the pre-diagnosis life that you never return to. We’re all still going through that adjustment, which has meant me having very limited capacity to work, create, outsource or even talk to people.

One very clear aspect of my Autism is how hard it is for me to reach out to people, explain my needs and limitations, and build new relationships. I’ve always known this about myself, only it never had a label before. And it has without a doubt affected my decisions with regards to whether I look for a new developer or stick with the one I’d started working with. When the first big delay hit it I was in no position to start looking for a new developer, knowing how long it had taken me, and how exhausting it had been, to find the one I had found.

My website is huge. And my plans for the new website even bigger. I didn’t, and still don’t, want a replica of SquareSpace. I need a decent eCommerce site and a searchable database. A native teaching platform. Forums and member accounts. And the ability to auto-translate blog posts as well as pull products available in various languages. And on top of that, it needs to be accessible for folks with Autism and ADHD, and to visually impaired crafters.

These are no small tasks and finding a developer who has the skills and good references, and who has experience with accessible websites, is harder than you might think. Throw in them having some concept of the fibre industry and being willing to work with a team of neurodivergent folk who don’t think or work in a linear fashion, then it gets even more difficult.

So I made the decision to stick with the developer and wait; to make good use of the extra time to reformat all of my patterns, tidy up existing tutorials and create lots of new ones, and organise and edit all of the pattern data for the database. And between us we’ve done all of that, it’s all looking seriously polished! Except for some time now we’ve been taxiing on the runway, unable to do anything else, as delay after delay hit.

These delays, and not yet having the website I’ve promised, have absolutely affected my business. When you’re expecting something new interest understandably dwindles the longer you wait. My community has been fractured, split due to Ravelry’s harmful re-launch, and my moderators and myself have been trying to manage support across various spaces. I’ve been unable to run my annual Mystery Knit-a-Longs because I can’t physically support folks across different forums during a KAL, and I’m not willing to further exclude the folks who can longer safely use Ravelry. I feel like I’ve lost trust and I’ve certainly lost ranking and traffic, which in turn means a loss of sales.

And these delays have affected my mental health. The worry about things not being ready; about letting folks down and not reaching expected dates or targets. And with this huge website build and all the hurdles we’ve needed to navigate, I’ve been unable to think about anything creative. These are difficult circumstances to work under, especially with my disabilities; if I’m not able to give something my complete focus without interruption, it doesn’t come to fruition.

There have been other factors affecting my work and my ability to make firm decisions about the new website and whether I should change developer, too. I’ve had numerous medication changes over the last 2 years, which have been exhausting. We’ve been battling the various authorities to get the support Aran needs in school and arrange his disability benefits. There’s also been changes to our living situation and going into my studio comes with a risk of a panic attack, because I can’t trust that I’ll be able to work without interruption.

All of this has made things that much harder to find a new developer or otherwise move the project along. I’ve had help for which I’m incredibly grateful, but they’ve not been able to give this project 100% of their attention, either, because I’m not the only person they work with – I can’t afford to pay freelancers full-time and a number of folks who help me do so voluntarily. So as each delay has hit it’s taken us a while to pick up the pieces, work around them, and get going again because we can’t all just drop everything at once. It’s kinda like herding cats, and project management is a skill in and of itself.

Now though, I’ve tentatively started talking to one or two new developers to get quotes and time estimates. Unfortunately the new website is probably going to cost double the original quote, given the 2 years delay, the affects of the pandemic on online businesses, and the strength of the dollar. So now I’m facing some very tough budgeting decisions. The original developer is still working to get things back on track, but I can no longer continue without a back-up plan. I still don’t have any dates yet but for the first time in a long time, it’s starting to feel like we’re no longer taxiing.

I’m incredibly disappointed that what promised to be an amazing new website project has taken this long, and I am so sorry for asking you all to wait so long. I’m pissed off at having lost so much trust and business, and dread the amount of work it’ll take to rebuild all of that. And I’m exhausted; CPTSD and Autistic burnout are not to be taken lightly. Mostly though I’m incredibly sad because you don’t yet have the website you need from me. None of this is anyone’s fault, it’s a very unfortunate set of events caused largely by the pandemic and a series of life-changing incidences.

I realise this may read as a list of excuses to folks not accustomed to large projects like this or to living with various disabilities, but these are reasons and explanations about things that couldn’t have been avoided. As I’ve said, I’m not willing to compromise anyone’s privacy or talk about events that have happened to anyone other than myself and I hope you can appreciate how difficult and nuanced the circumstances have been.

But, we’re working on getting things turned around as soon as we can. A new website, freshly reformatted patterns and a new teaching area awaits. Thank you so much for your patience and sticking with me through it.

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. Helen Mathey-Horn

    I’ve always found you to be an incredible fighter. Keep on keeping on. 🙂

    • Woolly Wormhead

      I’ll keep on keeping on! I’d just like a break from the fighting from time to time 🙂


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