Last month A Playful Day hosted a Love your Blog challenge setting three key discussion themes to inspire people to fall back in love with their blogs. I loved the idea of this but finding the time to post one on each theme during the time slots and them link them up to her blog and cross post etc was jut too much of a challenge. Instead I am rounding them all up here.
Interactions and community:
I like to keep things in boxes especially when it comes to friendship groups, I have my school friends, my uni friends, my ex-work colleagues and my knitting friends. Of these my knitting friends are the ones that are a bit harder to classify some of them I know in real life but the majority of them I only know through online forums and have never met. Despite never having met some of them I probably have a better quality of interaction with them than with some of my real life non-knitting friends. Whilst school, uni and work friends chat about various things such as children, how long it is since we were at school or uni and my aren’t we feeling old now or how things are really different at work since I left my knitting friends talk to me about the things that I as an individual enjoy.
Giving up work to be a stay at home mum meant that I lost some of my self identity (especially in the eyes of others) and I am frequently irritated by people who just refer to me as Erika or Ingrid’s mum without bothering to find out what my name is. Talking to people about a shared passion for knitting/ spinning/ crochet etc allows me to get some of that identity back. I feel valued, interesting and challenged (in a good way not the toddler rearing kind of challenging which is a polite way of saying they are possessed by the devil). The fibre arts community is overall a very friendly one and one that often has me laughing hysterically at things only other knitters would understand. The one thing I do still find strange and awkward though is the initially reaching out to make friends with someone on Ravelry (Twitter and Instagram are easy you just but in and start talking at them) but this may be in part due to the fact that the real life friends I do have are not ones that I went out of my way to make friends with they are people that persevered with me despite my initial surly and probably frowny reactions to them trying to strike up a conversation with me.
Here I am choosing to focus on my beginnings when it comes to knitting, spinning and crochet rather than the reasons behind why I started this blog.
I have been knitting since I was about 5, worryingly that is nearly 31 years now! Some of my earliest memories are of sitting next to my mum whilst she was knitting baby clothes (as one of 8 children my mum always seemed to be pregnant so always had babies to knit for) and wanting to do the same so my mum taught me how to knit. For years this was limited to boob tubes and mini skirts for my Sindy dolls. I have really fond memories of searching through the drawer in the writing desk that was filled to the brim with knitting needles trying to find a pair and work out which size I actually needed – making sense of non-metric sizing was never my strong point.
Next came my toy knitting machine, I loved it to pieces and made endless multi-coloured scarves on it. I dug it back out at my parents last year and thanks to a Twitter friend managed to track down some instructions for it. I can’t wait to show my girls how to use it. Digging it out also gave me a hankering to badger my mum into unearthing my Grandma’s knitting machine that is sitting unloved in their attic. Sadly space in our current house wont allow for this but I can dream.
In my teens my mum also taught me how to crochet or rather she tried to, it was not a total success. I managed to make a granny square big enough for a coaster but then my mother and I agreed not to carry on to avoid further arguing. I didn’t pick crochet back up again until about 2010 when my OH bought me a copy of Hooked for Life because he knew I liked knitting, to this day he still refuses to learn the difference between the two!
Spinning is my newest skill and something I picked up the bug for during a 5 minute demonstration at a music festival in Cumbria in 2011. The next year my MIL and I attended a workshop in Scotland and I honed my skills a bit more but most of my spinning progress has been as a result of trial and error. I am now enjoying teaching my mum how to spin, she has recently bought her first wheel and is already falling down the rabbit hole when it comes to fibre.
Embrace the ugly:
No this section isn’t about all the ugly things I’ve made over the years or the projects that haven’t quite gone to plan it’s about when blogging gets ugly and how I deal with online jealousy. This is quite simple for me blogging gets ugly when things get in the way of the schedule I have mapped out in my head and I make the mistake of looking at other blogs during this time. Perfectly staged and lit photographs are enough to make me want to cry as are clearly themed and planned posts on witty or thought provoking subjects. Any blogging envy or jealousy I feel is quickly kept in check by looking over at my children. Yes my blog could be better and more professional but I am a stay at home mum to 2 very small children, with a partner who works nights and living a long way away from both sets of grand parents. I just have to remind myself that if it isn’t always as perfect as I’d like it to be it probably means I have spent a lot of time with my family that week being a good mummy which at the end of the day is the important thing isn’t it?