For April I decided to participate in A Playful Day’s #LoveYourBlog challenge. (You can read more about it here). Each week she is posting a prompt to write about and then we can check out what others had to say about the same topic. I love these events and this seemed like a perfect way to gear up for Knit & Crochet Blog Week next month. Part of the reason I love it is because of community, which happens to be the first prompt.
Playful Day announced the challenge and I read it and thought about it. She then started sharing posts on Twitter. I read one written by Heather at Nearlythere and everything she said made total sense to me. (You can read her post here). And, after reading her post decided I needed to take a closer look at the challenge and jump in.
Until I started going to Thursday night knitting night I had no idea there was an entire knitting community out there. My real reason for going was to make sure I had 2 hours a week to knit – I figured it would help me actually get projects done in a more reasonable amount of time (lo, did I know it would only cause me to become a hopeless ADD knitter with UFOs scattered around my home…). I found I did not spend enough time at home knitting, I have no idea what I was doing with my time because now I knit all the time at home but either way that decision propelled me into the knitting community.
I could say so much about my in person, local knitting community. I talk about them all the time in this blog and they are an amazing bunch of women (and the occasional guy) that inspire and encourage me every day but I feel this challenge is more suited to talk about the virtual community and the interactions from the people I will probably never meet.
As with most knitters, I think my first introduction to the online community was through Ravelry. I’ve always used it to track my projects. When I learned to knit in 2003 the woman who taught me told the class that we should photograph each of our projects and keep an album and write down all the details – little did she know what technology would do for us in a few short years! I’ve been trying to become more involved on Ravelry this year. I participated in a KAL (Ysolda’s Follow Your Arrow 2) and followed along on the chat boards. I also joined the Fluffy Fibers podcast group and have been participating in the chat boards. We just finished an awesome tea swap and she is currently running a gentlealong – a project that will make your life more gentle, which is something I think we can all use. I’ve “met” some great knitters from England through the swap and, of course, Isabelle a/k/a Fluffy Fibers in France.
My first introduction to blogging was when I planned a 3 weeks trip to Australia back in 2008. (For more on my blog history you can read this post) At about the time I decided to also blog about knitting I found Knit and Crochet Blog Week which gave me a springboard. That first year I “met” knitrun4sanity and have enjoyed interacting with her now for a couple of years. Since then I have been slowly expanding my online community. I find the internet slightly terrifying with all the awful trolls out there but it seems the more you dive in the more you get out of it.
There were comments on the challenge post asking if anyone was still reading blogs. I am!! I also have some very loyal readers so even if I feel like I’m typing to myself I find someone is reading. I’m not sure how My Tangled Yarn Knitting Adventures or Funky Air Bear or Windy Wonderings found my blog but I know they are out there reading and I am reading their lovely posts.
Twitter and Instagram also offer some great opportunities to interact with the fiber world. Both are a little like black holes – you start following one person and find other people and still more people. Which leads me back to A Playful Day – I have no idea what Twitter post I read that led me to finding A Playful Day but here we are. I feel jumping into a Twitter conversation with knitter is far less scary than commenting on a more general topic. I also have to admit to being freaked out when I found out how “small” the knitting community is. Once you are on Twitter and you see all your favorite designers and dyers chatting with each other your head kind of explodes. But, most are also happy to chat with me or you which is so awesome!
Instagram is evil – you can follow yarn from sheep to finished product and I should not be allowed on there, all that wonderful hand-dyed yarn that is on display ALL the time! Both give me another way and opportunity to interact with the knitting community.
Perfect example – the other night on Instagram Fiona & Amanda at Knitsocial posted a picture of a sock they were knitting out of Regia’s Fluormania Neon Beach and I had just finished a sock with the same yarn. I used a spiral pattern that really tweeked the color changes so I was amazed to see how their sock was turning out using a straight sock pattern. I commented on their post and was pleased to “chat” about our socks. (And for the record, my picture of my finished sock is my most liked Instagram photo to date 🙂 )
I think those are most of my thoughts on community and interaction. I look forward to the rest of this month’s prompts and to see who they will add to my community!