Every so often I have occasion, as a blogger, to stop and take stock of a) exactly how long I have been doing this, and b) why exactly I do this in the first place. It turns out that I have been blogging for more than four years (which is longer than an Olympiad, longer than some people take to change careers, and at least as long as the minimum assumed time to complete a PhD dissertation, and certainly longer than a lot of other hobbies people decide to take up on a whim). And as far as why as I am doing this, well. I started this blog as a part of a pretty simple mission statement (although at the time I hadn’t actually stopped to verbalize it in a specific form):
1. This blog is about knitting.
2. This blog is about my own pleasures, challenges, thoughts, and idiosyncracies about the knitting that I do.
3. This blog is a way to contribute to conversations about knitting within the contemporary blogosphere.
I mean, I could get more specific and detailed and go into things like why I like posting about Works in Progress, or why I like being able to blather about my designs, and why I feel much more comfortable posting photos within posts as compared to making photo-less posts, but in the end, everything really goes back to those 3 things. I knit. I like to knit. I like to talk about knitting. The blog is a way to extend this to a wider group of people. And sure, there are the occasional non-knitting posts like, say, when I run a half-marathon and want to tell you about it. (But honestly? If I do something like run a half-marathon, I’m telling everyone i know.)
Also, I would like to say that in the four and a half years that I have been blogging, the purpose of this blog has not changed. I still like to knit, I still like to talk about knitting, and I still like using this blog as a way to do that. Some things have changed, obviously, that affect the context of my blogging. I am no longer a graduate student, but a PhD-holding member of the labour market currently longing for a permanent job. I am no longer only a knitter, but a knitter as well as a designer, and I find myself challenged by this whenever I have knitting projects on the go that I can’t blog about yet. (Seriously. I’ve been spending the last couple of weeks finishing a sock pattern for the Indigodragonfly yarn club, and I can’t blog about it yet because, well, it’s a yarn club and that means secrecy, despite the fact that I love the pattern and I would really love to blather about it.)
Another thing that has changed in the intervening four and a half years is the number of people who read this blog. I have somehow managed to garner a much larger audience than what I started with. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t tickled by this. None of us wish to toil in obscurity and I read absolutely every single comment that comes across this blog – good ones, frustrating ones, spammy ones – regardless of whether or not I have the time to respond to all of them. It also fills me with a certain amount of anxiety, because believe it or not it is extremely easy to go on blogging as if nobody is ever going to know who you are. I write posts on my little laptop and submit them to the internet, and if I’m lucky, other people will read them, and if I’m very lucky, other people will read them and find them meaningful in some way.
I actually believe very strongly in this process. I blog very infrequently about my blogging or my blogging frequency because I firmly believe that an independent blogger is in control of her blog and is under no obligation to post or not post according to any external demands or expectations. I do have occasional weeks where non-blog-related life or temporarily unbloggable things get in the way of me being able to post as often as I would wish, but those are compared to my own expectations, not anyone else’s. I also believe that my record speaks for itself. My blog and my Ravelry projects are there for public record. They are clear evidence of my pattern design process, my personal skill level and interests, and the yarns that I love to work with and choose on a regular basis. There is very little mystification going on here, and I would not tell you about a yarn or pattern I was working with if I didn’t have a personal affection for it.
I point this out now, because I want to mention that some times a lack-of-blog-posts here is not a reflection of me not having anything to blog about, but a reflection of the fact that I have chosen not to blog about some things. And I point this out, because I’ve recently gone through one of those occasional periods where I receive a large number of unsolicited suggestions/offers/requests related to my blog or knitting life, in which someone else tries to influence my blog content or knitting life in some way. This is a strange and bizarre side effect of having a blog with an increasing readership that I didn’t expect in the beginning and for which there is no real training or preparation. I’ve had to figure these requests out as I go. Often, such requests are quite fine. The fact that I’ve done book reviews in the past and have a few more book reviews coming up in the future is a reflection of this – book reviews fit into my three criteria listed above. They relate to knitting, my knitting, and knitting-related conversations, and often coincide with giveaways. I love giving stuff away. It’s awesome. And I love knitting books and analysing texts. Of course I like to do knitting book reviews on my blog.
Then, there are some of these requests that do not fit into the three criteria of my blog mission statement. They are either not about knitting at all (I am continually surprised that this happens), or not about knitting things that relate to my evident pursuits (if I have never ever blogged about children’s knits, have only very rarely knitted anything for children, and do not have any children of my own, chances are high that I don’t have an interest in blogging about children’s knitting-related things), or which are overly demanding that I take part in their blogging/networking/publishing/yarn-related project that will probably benefit them more as opposed to contributing to my own. These kinds of requests often leave me feeling awkward, uncertain, and occasionally offended or taken advantage of, because they are a reflection of the fact that someone who I would never ever recognize on the street even if they smacked me across the face is trying to capitalize on the small portion of the blogosphere that I contribute to. These kinds of requests, I address one at a time, and sometimes not at all, depending on where they fit in with the above descriptions. If it fits, I go for it. If not, then I won’t.
(I used to think that I had to say yes to everything. I don’t think that anymore.)
Anyhoodle. What I am trying to say is that I want you, my dear and lovely knitterly readers, to know that I care a great deal about the fact that you are out there, and to know that I am very protective of what blog content is going to reach you. And that if you’ve read all of this, then I thank you. And I want you know that I will continue to thank you for your readership by continuing to post content and the occasional free pattern, because that’s part of why I’m here doing what I do.
And if you are a self-centred/publicity-grabbing/clueless schmuck who happened to read one or two of my blog posts and assumed you know everything about what’s going on over here, please. Stay a little while. Think again. And if you want me to ask my blog readers to pay attention to you, know that you should at the very least ask nicely.
And also, that the Pi Shawl (pictured above) is going really nicely, but that I’m a little worried that I’m about to increase from 200-and-something stitches to 500-and-something stitches, and that it’s quite possible I’ll be knitting it until the end of time, but that I’ll try to be OK with that.
Sound good? Awesome.
Keep being awesome, knitters. Because you are.