Why Casey Forbes is the Worst Knitting Flub in History

Today the husband of the co-founding team that created Ravelry, Casey Forbes, announced that he was….”trans.”

Ok. I feel bad for the guy, I really do. First he was given some bad business advice. “Burn the house down, who ever survives is your core customer base. Everybody else? Let them perish.” Now it seems he’s being given some really bad crisis management advice. “Ok. Claim the highest totem on the victim pole. No one will DARE criticize you.”

I have all ideas Ravelry took a nose dive. Hard and fast. Casey Forbes probably flipped out. The biggest knitting community in the history of the world just belly flopped into a swimming pool devoid of water. They went, “SPLAT!” against the concrete bottom.

Let me also remind you that in a previous post I made sure to let you know that I didn’t want to see Casey Forbes or Ravelry fail. I don’t want to see anyone fail. I’m a capitalist. I want us all to succeed….that is, if you at least TRY.

What this man did is probably the biggest knitting flub in history. He had 8 million followers, his website was the biggest on the planet when it came to knitting. This man probably realized that he was important, fell into some “white knight” mode and decided he was going to save this knitting community….by burning it down. Scorched earth, anyone?

But, then coming out as trans really just….it kinda pisses me off. It’s a cop out. Too easy. I kinda chuckle. You expect this sort of behavior from people who convince themselves they’ve never done anything wrong and the only reason people dislike them is because of their victim status.

No, I don’t dislike you because you are (fill in group name), I dislike you because you’re an A-hole. Yes. I have met many Trans people I loved because of their authenticity and hated countless others because they were just A-holes. Had nothing to do with their victim status, it had everything to do with their personality.

Casey Forbes is the biggest flub in knitting history because he had the biggest, prettiest, most perfectly stitched sweater ever, comforting everyone, inspiring many. Then he dropped a stitch and the whole front came unraveling. Rather than fix the stitch, he just covered it with pretty knit flowers, embellishments and distractions…eventually holding only threads in his hands saying, “It was probably the pattern’s fault….”

The Ravelry brand has now become, “We are a community of victims.” (Of not their race, gender, or sexual orientation, but victims by the choices they made).

My advice to Casey Forbes is to get out of your head, out of your bubble, out of your echo chamber, out of your circle of friends. Go sit by yourself and ask as you demand trans status to avoid the slings and arrows, “Is this really the right thing to do?”

I feel bad for Casey Forbes, I really do. His actions emote those of someone with a mental illness, or of someone mocking someone with a mental illness. Either way, big flop.

If I could tell Casey Forbes and his wife anything? “Sit here, next to me and my friends. I just somehow feel for your own good, you’d be in better company hanging out with us rather than someone telling you that you’re right all the time. There is nothing brave about being trans. But, there is a mighty courage in admitting that you’re wrong.

“You might end up really liking us because we disagree with you. You might find a pleasure in volleyed banter. After all, we’re all knitters, right? Maybe that could be something we can build on? But, we’ll never know until you sit with us….”

(Oh! And for God’s sake, PLEASE don’t post on social media pictures of you dressed in a frock).

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40 comments

  1. First, I’m glad you are both well & still have power.

    So, this couple may have thought their company was too big to fail. Perhaps, they’d been told it is righteous to call people of opposite views vile names. Their business could not be injured. Did reality hit them? It seems so. They’ve damaged their company.

    Now, we have the latest announcement. Is this the reason for the June announcement? If true, then he thinks too highly of himself and he’s a jerk to inflame the fiber art community. I’m reminded of the avalanche that descended on Sockmatician and the damage he personally suffered. Livelihoods have been threatened. This behavior is revolting.

    As usual, Gregory you’ve written a well written article about this hoax, scandal, con, or is it misguided decisions. Well done, Gregory.

  2. All I can say is….wow. I am glad you have words when I can’t even wrap my brain around this bit if news. I think I am getting mad again, but it’s for all the wrong reasons…and really, not worth my time. Thank you for the insight. Stay safe from the storm, Carrie

  3. Where did you see this announcement? I’ve looked for it (with my pathetically inadequate search skills) and could not find it. Can you post a link?

  4. Great analysis of the Rav dumpster fire. It still hurts that my happy place (Rav) has been turned into a war zone and I can no longer participate. I used to have a yarn/pattern business and I’m glad I got out before this happened. Folks that I have gone to festivals with and shared housing with and had virtual knit nights with have blocked me simply because I disagree with Rav’s censorship and labeling. It’s turned Instagram into a shrieking echo chamber and I built my former business on Insta. I feel so bad for businesses trying to navigate through these rough waters. For those who value free speech and an open dialogue but depend on the online community for sales to feed their families, they’ve got a tough road.

    I completely agree with you that many people believe they are disliked because of their marginalized status when the reality is that they are just plain ol’ jerks. Many, many names pop immediately to mind.

    Thanks for your bravery in writing your truth in the face of what must be tremendous pressure to ‘get in line.’ Not many have been able to withstand that pressure. I don’t know where I’d be if I was still trying to operate my business…

  5. Someone coming out as trans isn’t about you or trying to become a victim. Read a fucking book and talk to trans people rather than bragging that because you’ve met some that you like, you can speak on the experience.

  6. I’m so sorry politics got involved. I deleted my Ravelry account. I don’t care about anyone’s orientation, religious/non-religious beliefs, childbearing status, bank balance….. I just wanted a place to quietly enjoy yarn and knitting.

  7. Awesome post as usual. My biggest problem with raverly is not just Casey/Cassidy and wife, but how the whole damn raverly community reveled in self righteous , tattle tell hatred towards those who simply voted differently. They are symptoms of the disease of hatred that is destroying our society. I’m 62, I read a lot and I am constantly stunned by the rabid hatred of the left. The hatred of the right has been in plain sight.. The KKK and supremacists, etc have never tried to hide. The left hides their hatred with woke abbreviations and identity politics. I just want to listen to opera, knit, hang out with my poodles and enjoy the beauty of life, laughing is good too. Its easy for my ‘privileged self’ (although I did grow up below the poverty line) to become discouraged and overwhelmed by their hideous rancor. Jordon Peterson says roughly paraphrased- that the key to the prevention of the horrors of the 20th century is the reconstruction of the soul at the level of each individual. So when I am discouraged, I remind myself I can be a part of something important by ignoring the hatred and focusing on being a more loving and understanding person-which is what I read in your blog posts which are rooted in understanding and kindness.

    1. Gentle correction – the KKK and white supremacists have always been on the left. The KKK was/is politically aligned with the Democrat Party and Democrats (particularly President Johnson) opposed Republicans as Republicans pushed the 13th, 14th, & 15th amendments.

  8. First thought I had when I learned about Casey, now Cassidy, is that his twitter was hacked. then I read the jubilant posts from all his friends.
    In retrospect, I think the Forbes’ were spinning out of control all year. It stared with the diversity in knitting discussion which wasn’t a discussion, really, as edited as it was, then they moved onto support for the current administration, and then, Ta—DAA ! This!
    I did think initially they were just misguided young people making bad business decisions based on their woke-ness…..but now, I don’t know, maybe they just were/are spinning out of control.

    Whatever is going on with them, they surely hurt a lot of people, destroyed businesses, wrecked a successful commercial site……..Yikes.

  9. I left Ravelry because I become just too tired of all the drama that the site was starting. I put up with a lot of the “in your face” crap. They didn’t have to make it the first thing you see when you go to their site. I can get by without them. I am curious about how many other people left too.

  10. First of all, where do you have statistic evidence that Ravelry has taken a nose dive after Cassidy’s announcement? I have witnessed a lot more love and support vs negative reactions, like this post and some of the comments within.
    Second, to spew accusations that she is playing the victim and saying this was some sort of business move is uncalled for. You are not in her mind. You are not a close friend or family member. You have no idea what is going on in her head or her life.
    Finally, be respectful of people’s pronouns.

    1. Here is the evidence for the nosedive.

      https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/ravelry.com

      It’s simple logic. If many of your users leave, and you lock down signups, your numbers MUST go down. The fact that ravelrys professed number did not go down indicates fraud in that number, which should be very interesting to the people ravelry is charging for ad space.

      As for not knowing what is in people’s heads, this started then he decides he knew what was in the heads of trump voters.

    2. She? LOL!! He. He is and always will be a HE thanks to that pesky DNA. If I were to self-identify as a unicorn, I will never, ever, in a million years, be a unicorn. Same goes for ‘ol Casey.

    3. Pretty sure it can also be said that he is not in OUR heads, not a close friend or family member, and he has no idea what is going on in our heads or our lives. So where the f___ does he get off on calling people he doesn’t even know white supremacists or racists?

      And as he would not even afford me the respect to be able to speak my mind without silencing me for pointing out the grave errors of his ways, nor would he answer my query about how anything I said violated his site rules or policies, I decline to play along with the pronoun switch. He’s not a woman. *I* am a woman, and it’s insulting that he plays pretend at it, without even being able to define what it is to be a woman.

    4. First of all, make sure you use the right name, Casey is the name of the Rav owner who decided he needed his 15 mins in the spotlight. It wasn’t enough he created the first knitting community, but he also killed it!
      Second, stop with the SJW I have more virtues than you because I’m on the “right” side of history right now………just wait until you get eaten by him too!

    5. You can look up the statistics yourself using traffic count sites on the web. R has lost over half of their traffic in the last few months and it is declining very, very fast. It is also pretty clear that Casey looked in a mirror and saw the face of a white man and hated himself, so he had to reinvent himself into that which he saw as ‘special’. Having known many trans people over the years and wept with them through their struggles with self identity and social acceptance, I too, was angered by Casey choosing that particular identity to ‘try on’.

  11. Casey is a Communist. It’s not a very kind or sane thing to be. Could be a sign of mental illness.

    Ravelry is no longer relevant. Lovecrafts has an app that lets you move your Ravelry library over to Lovecrafts. You can leave Ravelry without leaving your patterns behind. All you leave behind are the a-holes.

    Lots of new knitting websites and forums are opening up. It’s so much better than what I left behind at Ravelry. I asked for technical help on Lovecrafts, and within the day someone got back to me and actually helped me. Not like Ravelry, where if you asked for help you would only get abuse, if they got back to you at all.

    I feel sorry for the designers who were hurt by Casey’s poor business decisions. I don’t feel sorry for Casey. Casey is just a jerk.

    1. qwuertism, the only issue with the LoveCrafts app is it bulk transfers the patterns. So none of them are categorized. Which is fine unless you have 1300 patterns, as I do. Then you have to sort through each one individually so you don’t have a giant mass of unorganized patterns sitting there.

      If you import your patterns, do they remain in the LoveCrafts app, even if you delete your account? that is something I would be worried about.

      LoveCrafts is wonderful! Someone stole my yarn out of the shipping package. I contacted LoveCrafts by phone and within 5 minutes they had a new skein of yarn mailed to me for free. For. Free. I cannot say enough good about their customer service, sale prices, and even their low cost shipping. It is $4.95 for 4-7 business days. I usually get mine within a week or so.

  12. Very well and entertainly written! I withdrew my membership shortly after the new “policy” was announced. I can get free patterns anywhere & certainly didn’t like the idea of contributing to Ravelry site’s profits when he is silencing 1/2 his members who have different opinions. Not that I have ever posted or responded to anything political.

  13. @vivianlouise I don’t know if you can import files from a deleted account. It might be possible if Ravelry is like facebook and only deactivates accounts rather than truly deleting them. You can ask the people at Lovecrafts. In my experience, they are polite and professional and answer questions without accusing anyone of being a monster. I wasn’t even asked who I voted for (what a shock!).

    They have separate apps for crochet and knitting.

    https://help.loveknitting.com/hc/en-gb/articles/360001575687-How-can-I-import-my-Ravelry-patterns-to-the-app-

    It might also be possible to add your own PDFs to the app. You could ask. Another option for organizing pattern pdf’s is knitCompanion, which is a subscription service.

    https://www.knitcompanion.com/

  14. One other tip I have for those who still have Ravelry accounts… Use an Add Blocker! If you are a Firefox user, then AdBlocker Ultimate is a good option. You may have to click on any adds that get through and block individual ones, but they won’t come back. Most of the revenue taken in by Ravelry comes from adds. Plus, the internet is generally a much happier place without adds.

  15. @Keturah , I agree. It would be nice if the Loveknitting app organized things better. I’ve noticed a number of new knitting apps are out there, so it’s only a matter of time before a really good (hopefully free) app comes along. Lovecrafts does keep updating things, so maybe that will be something they address in future.

    Lovecrafts has been really good when it comes to customer service. It’s just such a welcome change from Ravelry, which has never been good in that respect.

  16. Wow, I am very sad to see such negative comments about a web site that has served us all so well for so long. If you don’t like the owners or their character or politics, just sign-off. No need to be so mean. And Ravelry will let you take your patterns with you. Bye!

    1. @Betsy Baird, Ravelry didn’t serve us well at all. It was an abusive and toxic place. People need to be warned. The love bombing and clever marketing will suck you in as effectively as any cult. But like cults, it isn’t there to help you. It’s there to push a harmful agenda. You should read up on Stalin.

    1. Which Jordan Peterson? His work is not well-regarded by other neuroscientists. If people are posting transphobic garbage under the guise of promoting his work, I can imagine why it’s not being allowed. Nothing to do with Marxism (??)

      1. The pattern had nothing to do with transphobia. It says:
        – STAND UP STRAIGHT
        – BE PRECISE IN SPEECH
        – PET A CAT
        – PURSUE WHAT IS MEANINGFUL
        – TELL THE TRUTH
        – BEFRIEND THOSE WHO WANT THE BEST FOR YOU

  17. I deleted my ravelry account as soon as I saw that I was still welcome there as long as I kept my mouth shut no matter what anyone else said. I would like to think I would have done the same if it was my opinion being reinforced by squelching others. No political discussion at all, I would have happily accepted. Along with deleting my account I felt obliged to contact friends and family that I had encouraged to join ravelry and let them know what was going on. I felt that was my responsibility since I had recommended the site.

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