Friday, February 29, 2008

So I guess I’d better write about blogging, Janet. (I’m a Barbara Pym fan, I might mention.)

Why do we do it, standing in the garden like this talking to the birds? I went back just now and read some of my early entries – written in 2004, crikey! It sounds as it does today, with no comments. I used to get all excited, then, when a comment came in. I still do. I love them, and I can share your pain, Shandy, at not getting many.

I like best blogs like yours, where little bits of life peep out around the edges of the knitting. I’m not so keen on the Big Shots like the Yarn Harlot and Crazy Aunt Purl. The exceptions are Annie Modesitt and Franklin, both very big shots indeed. And The Curmudgeon and Joe, who are pretty big shots. I think I usually abandon a blog at about the point where its author gets a book contract, but in Franklin’s case, I’m looking forward to sending him a copy to autograph.

And I’m not keen on blogs where the writer’s life doesn’t appear to have a central interest, so that the writer can write about that and only incidentally about him/herself. I’ve entirely given up on Dooce. This is a contrarian view. Not only does she write well, she makes a living at it.

In my early blogging days, I see that I was still a member of the Knitlist. Indeed, a Listmom. Thank goodness that’s over. I think one needs some internet-knitting-input in one's life, to balance the outflow. Blog-reading, Ravelry, whatever. I think you might be cheered by embedding a hit-counter: I use Google Analytics. I would have been delighted when I first did that, to find that I had 50 readers. It turned out there were more than 100. There are about 300 of us these days.

Another thing you might think of is joining a blog like Zimmermania (since you’ve recently knit the Baby Surprise). There you can blog away to your heart’s content, or not, and not feel judged.

A foodie magazine I read said yesterday, in a little piece on How to be a Food Blogger, that you’ve got to post regularly. I feel that, and conscientiously do so, but the people I really want to read – listed above – can post as rarely as they like, and find me camped on the doorstep when they get back.

Well, that didn’t amount to much. Bits of advice, not much philosophy. But I hope you’ll take it up again, Shandy.

It’s a dull morning here, weather-wise, but I’ll take a gansey-picture anyway in a moment. I did the neck last night, and it will clearly have to be revisited. 45% or not, it’s too big. Severe-er decreasing, and more depth, if there’s yarn left at that point.

I like the finish, though: Brown-Reinsel says it comes from Gladys Thompson’s seminal work. A round of knit, two rounds of purl (ugh), another round of knit, cast off in knit. It looks nicely ethnic and nautical.

Angel, I like Brown-Reinsel’s “Knitting Ganseys” a lot, and would highly recommend it. The only caveat, perhaps, is that she doesn’t have quite enough to say to make a whole book, and the effort she has put into stretching it out sometimes makes it hard to find what you’re looking for. But she’ll teach you how to design a gansey, and make it fun – I can guarantee that.

And your blog reminds me – I don’t read foodie blogs, but I love it when knitting bloggers embed recipes.


  1. Anonymous3:49 PM

    I, too, like the finish and have used it before but have no idea where I found it. I wonder if it is something my mother taught me and will have to ask my sisters when I get home. I find even Elizabeth Zimmermann's 40% is sometimes too big. I have seen necks of sweaters that are huge and look good on the right kind of person - those that have necks. I enjoyed your discussion of blogging. Of course, we come here daily because we want to see and appreciate what you have to say.
    Ron in Mexico

  2. I, too, like blogs where life intrudes a little - like a peak behind the curtains.

    To contribute to the theme, I've been reading your blog, Jean, for the past couple of months. I think there are three main reasons why I've been drawn to click to you on a regular basis: firstly, I like the way you write about so many things and seem to encourage discussion; secondly, knitting content - especially from someone who can teach me a few things even inadvertently - always gets my attention; and thirdly, as my anxieties increase about my impending return to Scotland, you are a reasonable voice which reassures me that things haven't gone completely crazy over there in my four-year absence.


  3. Jean I'm trying to follow your advice to get google analytics - but I am having trouble doing that. I fill in all the requested information and then am told to add a block of symbols to my home page - that's where I am having trouble - Any suggestions?

  4. I was really pleased to read your musings, Jean. I love your blog because it appears reliably, and because there is a real sense of a life lived. Some of your observations, such as the one about either being married or not, seem to me so apposite - true, but not indulgent as some bloggers seem to be about the minutiae of their domestic arrangements.
    Maybe I'll try again soon.

  5. I think I'll always think of blogging from this point forth as "standing in the garden, talking to the birds." I could add several other things that I enjoy about your blog, not the least of which is that you persuaded me to look more closely at both Knitting New Scarves and Barack Obama. Plus, I'm virtually certain that we went to the same college in Ohio. I'll think of you when I go to the polls on Tuesday.

  6. I suspect that all the percentage systems for jerseys are wrong at the neck; I followed a recipe from "Knitting in the old way" by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts, and it was far too wide.

    Don't think I have actually commented here before, but I read regularly.

  7. Jean -- just wanted to mention that I got the book Knitting New Scarves after seeing some of your fun examples. There are enough great things in there to keep you going for a while, and also possibilities for stash busting when I finish with the Earth wrap stole. Maryjo

  8. I guess my preferences make me a bit of a hypocrite - I also like blogs where I get a taste of the blogger's life. To me it is like walking down the dark street and looking into the lit windows as I pass and seeing the neighbors.

    I feel I don't share enough about my life. Yet, I'm very cautious of doing that because of the work that I do. I can't talk about my professional life at all, really. I guess I need to figure out a good balance.

    I've also on the bandwagon of buying Knitting New Scarves bassed on your experiences.

  9. Interesting commentary about blog content. I'm often aware that I've got a slightly more public blog than perhaps is usual because I originally started mine with the intent of just using it to advertise the goings-on of the S'n'B I was starting. As the blog is listed in the local paper for meeting details I think I (still) get a few non-blog readers each week to see what's up with meeting time and venue. The group started slowly for the first year, I was unemployed in a new town for the first quarter and so personal stuff started to appear more and more with the avalanche of information about the pregnancy months.

    I guess I've been trying to sanitise it a bit more back to knitting. Shall cease to worry about it!

  10. Tis a fascinating subject for we bloggers, what works and what doesn't, what's liked and what isn't. There's still a certain amount of mystery to which blogs take off and which don't. I know some excellent blogs that appear to be ignored and I just don't understand why.

    But all in all, whether it's the life of the writer, or just the sheer force of personality, there's got to be more than just the knitting or mostly I won't come back.

    Interesting about the book contract thing. I tend to get a bit over those blogs too but thought maybe it was just envy on my part. ;-)