All set for summer! I bought a couple of sweaters at Goodwill and turned them into yarn, including this very attractive 100% cotton batch. I was unable to get a good picture of the other, which is 70% mohair, and very green. I’d never done this before, and while the price is certainly right (I paid about $5 per sweater) I found the work to be pretty intensive, and I’d definitely take that into account next time. Still, good way to get a sweater’s worth of yarn for a good price. I have been wanting to make a cotton shirt for the summer, and since I took the cotton from a turtleneck, I suspect I have enough here for two shirts, or at least a shirt for me and one for the wee one.
I’ve got a lot rolling around my head, so forgive me if I spin away from knitting for a bit. I’m doing a lot of it, and I’m thinking about it a lot, but I wanted to talk a little about the other things rolling through my head. There’s been a lot of discussion lately, presumably due to the Kathy Sierra affair, about etiquette on the web, and I’ve seen the discussion spilling over into knitting blogs. Cara, over at January One, has a very interesting post on criticism and etiquette on the web. (She also has a gorgeous series of mitered squares that are well worth looking at, but I wanted to talk about creation and media today.) I, myself, have been subject to a grand total of one post on this blog that was decidedly negative, so in some ways my opinion may be moot. Still, when something begins to take form in your head and won’t go away, the best way to exorcise it is to write it. So, out, out damn demons, and you all get to read a little bit of the mess that is the mind of a kninja.
It’s weird to try to figure out where blogs fit into the grand scheme of things. I’ve seen posts likening blogs to living rooms into which you are invited, but I’ve never made copies of my house keys for the whole world and handed them out. This blog is certainly accessible to anyone wishes to see it, and perhaps even those who wish they couldn’t see it. All of us who choose to publish on the web need to realize that we are publishing, and that whatever information we give is accessible to anyone who chooses to look at or for it. That said, there is never an excuse for the kind of personal harassment and cruelty to which Kathy Sierra was subjected. While letters to the editor are a given when one publishes in paper or magazine, are death threats to be expected? Why do we have to decide that this is just the way of it?
I’d been thinking about this anyway, but the ideas came to the fore when I looked over the search engine terms that brought people to Knitting Kninja. Some of these are amusing. I have, on more than one occasion, been found by people who searched the single word “purple”. Sometimes people are looking for James Cagney and cardigans, and as it happens, I’ve mentioned both. But recently, someone searched the name of a knitting blogger I respect and like very much and the additional word “sucks”, and ended up on my doorstep. The idea that there might be writing dedicated to the idea that another knitter sucks was startling, and the idea that someone would actively seek it out was more startling yet. I could not think of anything that would lead to this sort of vitriol, especially given how specialized most knitting blogs are. Anyone who reads my blog regularly would know what I look like, what sort of clothing I like, what yarn and colors I like, and what knitters I admire, and I think, that’s most of it. I don’t usually share a lot of my personal thoughts. I don’t think most of you know my political orientation, or what I do usually apart from knitting, or what my mental state is. I’ve shared some family events, and a few of my thoughts on why I knit, but I don’t offer the entirety of my being here. The knitter whose name came up on that blog search is much the same, and the idea that someone had found something to dislike to that extent in what she puts out there was almost a disturbing idea.
Knitting and craft blogs are a pretty specific category. I read the ones I do mainly because I like the knitting that those folks share, and I find their writing style appealing. I’ve certainly looked at knitting blogs that I don’t like, but I wouldn’t mention them here, because it doesn’t seem fair or kind under the circumstances. They’re putting out something that they made, and whether I like their writing or knitting or not, it’s offering something to share. I can choose to partake or I can say, “No thank you,” and those seem to be the two best options, because nothing they are putting out there is actively offensive or painful to me. There are many styles of blog, of course, and some of them will be crude or controversial or offensive or very disturbing and frightening, and whether people should respond to them or not is something I don’t feel decided on.
What I do feel certain of is that blogging is a two way street. I didn’t really expect readers or cater to them much when I began this blog. It was purely a way to document my knitting projects for my own satisfaction, and really, a motivation, both to knit and write regularly, two things that bring me a deep satisfaction. As more people began to visit the blog, my focus changed a bit. I’m not just writing for myself anymore. I feel a responsibility to anyone who drops by, to provide them with a few moments of interest, and I don’t think I can expect them to extend me any courtesy unless I’m offering some. I hope I manage that.
Beyond blogging in specific, I’ve been thinking a lot about writing. Here’s a little bit more of my soul – I want to be a writer. I suppose I could technically say I am a writer. I write regularly, and I have on rare occasions sold a piece of writing, but I am not really a Writer-with-a-capital-W. Anyway, I’m feeling pulled in several directions right now. I have a finished, but very messy, first draft of a titleless young adult novel sitting about that is desperately in need of editing and revision and a cohesive second draft. I really want to get to work on that, especially as a couple of wonderful writer friends have reviewed it and offered me some wonderful suggestions.
But here’s what else I want to do. I want to get more involved in radio. I’ve sold two small essays to the local NPR station in the past, and I’m an NPR junkie, so that was a thrill and a half. And right now – right this very minute – NPR is holding a contest for aspiring NPR junkies to get a show on NPR. For reals. I’ve heard it referred to as This American Idol. If you wish to enter, you have until May 14th to get into the first round. I want to work up a piece for that.
And I want to get back to school. I started popping out the progeny at a very young age, and in the middle of my sophomore year at art school, and I’ve never finished college. I’m a stay at home mom, and I really do need that degree. Just in case.
And I want to be a better mom. And a better knitter. And I have a bunch of knitting designs swirling around my head. More than that, I don’t believe that one can be SuperMom and achieve everything all at once. So right now I’m torn. I want to fix up my blog and get a version of my novel that’s worth sending around and get a degree in everything I’ve ever been interested in and become Mother of the Year and write a dozen knitting patterns and a blog that manages to be funny and interesting and poignant in turns, and I want a show on NPR and I want it all NOW, but since I’m not willing to work myself to death, I’m going to settle for taking on one or two things at a time, and right now, I’m thinking about blogs.
With any luck, the results of that thought will be worthwhile.