A sort of mission statement

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.

Oct4-KnittingBlogging

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.

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52 Comments

Filed under blogging

52 responses to “A sort of mission statement

  1. barefootrooster

    can i just high-five you and this post? thanks.

  2. You may indeed! In fact, I will high-five you back. ::high-five::

    G

  3. Amen Sista! You blog because you want to! You’re not forcing anyone to read and no one can tell you what to blog about. It’s way more interesting as a reader to be reading about what you really think/like to knit vs. what someone has obviously just told you to talk about y’know? This is your blog and I follow it because I am interested in what YOU say/think/knit.

  4. I can’t believe people try to tell you what to write. I mean, if you have a post that says “hey, running out of ideas, looking for suggestions, thx”, that would be one thing. But just out of the blue? *bleah*

    You have my support to knit and write about what you want to, and to do so whenever you want to. I stick around because I happen to *like* what you want to do. And I’ll just sit out here in the Interwebz and squeal when I see you have a new post, usually with pretty pictures. And drool. Lots.

    Love from the Midwest!

  5. How about we just focus on that gorgeous yarn color!? Wow! That really pops! Is that a shawl-in-progress that I spy? Fabulous!

  6. Amy

    Very, very nicely said.

  7. pia

    Amen to that, lady!

  8. Susan

    I love, love, love reading your blog! Whatever the topic and whenever you post I’ve enjoy it. I don’t always comment ’cause I don’t always have much to add, but I always read. I’ve been inspired to knit some of the lovely projects you’ve posted about. Thank you for taking the time to blog, I hope the boorish behavior of some doesn’t get you down.

  9. Sally

    Yours is one of the blogs I savor and save for last when I have a bunch of posts to read. I am a knitter, quilter, and mother of four (ages 24 to 14), and I find you have just the loveliest balance of life stuff + knitterly stuff. Don’t go changin’! I’m sending all good job vibes your way and delighting in all you do blog-wise. xo
    S

  10. Well, I don’t regularly read your blog, but I follow you on Twitter.
    I’ve been dropping my own blogging ball lately. Thanks for reaffirming that it’s ok not to blog if I don’t have time. :-)
    Blogging, like knitting, is done for fun.

  11. Ooh, a pi shawl. I’m knitting one right now, too. Definitely the most ambitious project I’ve ever done!

    And, I really enjoy reading your blog.

  12. Keep being awesome, Glenna. Because you are, too! I love reading your blog, I’ve been following you since the beginning of the year. I’m happy to here that you plan to continue to blog about the things your love and are passionate about :)

  13. “Knit on with confidence and hope through all crisis.”
    I’m pretty sure that means poopy-pants blog bullies too.
    And don’t forget, “I knit so I don’t kill people.” That might keep some people in their place too.
    Really!
    Make Lace; Not War!! I just made that one up; I like it.
    Beautiful yarn colourway.

  14. Barbara S

    Hi, Glenna….I’ve been reading you for a while now and really enjoy your posts. I realize that life often involves unbloggable material and sometimes my favorite bloggers take a break and deal with larger issues than knitting. Your schedule is your own and it’s a shame that some people feel they can just muscle in because you have a blog….and be rude about it, as well. The impersonal aspect of the internet seems to make some people think they can leave their manners behind.
    Fortunately, I think these people are in the minority…even though they are more annoying.
    I like your knit designs….they have lovely detailing. Just keep enjoying what you’re doing and we’ll be here reading.

  15. Leslie

    Thank you for being authentic.

  16. Susan

    Hi Glenna – I just wanted to say that I highly enjoy reading your blog and am sorry that some people out there are jerks. I don’t comment much but your blog is one of my faves to read and your knitting is always beautiful and inspiring. So keep doing what you are doing and ignore the weirdos as best you can. Good luck with the job search too!

  17. Well said, Glenna. Well said. I’m sure my blog isn’t as popular as yours, and I’m just starting to get stuff like this, and I don’t think I’ve always handled it well- a learning experience, I guess. I think when bloggers are honest about the behind the scenes, it makes us all more thoughtful about how to approach and how to deal with approaches.

  18. Ann in the UP

    Thanks for this thoughtful post. I appreciate that you have guidelines by which you can measure the requests that readers make of you, though that seems quite rude to me. The request-making, I mean.

    I love your designs and love that people who’ve been reading your blog for a time have been able to watch your progress as a designer.

    Keep on, you’re doing great—whenever you wish to.

  19. Jessica

    Hey Glenna,

    Just keep doing what you are doing. I have joined and walked away from many a blog, but I always enjoy your blog and the knitterly things that you do. I even spotted you and your sister in the line-up for Knitter’s Frolic long ago (but hid in the crowd:) and had a moment of “zomg, I follow her in the interwebs!!!”. I appreciate your editorial stance as then it keeps the blog awesome.

    Life comes at you pretty fast, Ferris Bueller says, so you do what you have to do and share what you want, and we’ll go along for the ride!

    cheers!

  20. Spring

    Congratulations on your PhD! Thank you for blogging. I’m fairly new to your feed, but I really enjoy it!

  21. Rae

    Congrats on the PhD. Sadly some people online are just like some people you run into in your daily life they want you to do things that pertain to them & appease them well I for one am glad that you stick to your guns & will only blog about what you decide & not let anyone force you into doing other wise.

  22. You know that I think that I blog for exactly the reasons you set out at the top (though I would never have managed to put it so succinctly!) – thanks for the great contribution you make to this wonderful conversation we are all having – and well done you for keeping true to your voice

  23. tinebeest

    We demand more posts about cats!

  24. Bev

    Thanks for keeping up with the blog! I really enjoy (& am in awe) your posts about the Bridgewater and now the Pi shawls. You have really helped me think through some of the issues that we face as knitters.

  25. Sue

    Your blog is awesome Glenna! I only read a few blogs online and yours is one of them. I’m always learning something new from you.

    That being said, in defense of those who may ask you to blog about a technique or something of the sort…I stand in awe of your expertise (sp?). You seem to do everything so perfectly and effortlessly (a sign of your talent is how you strive for perfection and make it look effortless no matter how hard you work to get it that way). Any technique you have blogged about or pattern of yours I have read are all very clear. Its as if you have anticipated the questions people might ask and answered them before they get a chance to do the asking. So I can understand why someone would ask you to blog about a particular technique because you always make it so easy to understand. As for the jerks trying to cash in on you….well, may the cosmic 2 x 4 smack them upside the head for trying to use or abuse our Glenna!!!

    Bless you my knitting sistah!

  26. Hey now, I’m a crocheter!! But I get what you’re saying. I find that fiber arts are a medium for the larger picture. With every sweater I knit, or every afghan I crochet, there is SOMETHING going on in my life that defines that project. Sometimes I don’t even know who I’m crafting something for until divine intervention intercedes. I love that it also brings us closer to each other. 100 years ago, women were knitting & crocheting & sewing to be around each other and have their own feminine moments together. Now we are STILL doing it – just via the web. The medium has changed, but our needs remain the same.

  27. Mary

    I’ve been reading your blog for some time now, and it continues to be a delight (even though I do not knit socks!). I’ve been knitting for a little more than 2 years and love designing my own sweaters, and also love knitting lace scarves for my friends and family. And congrats on the half marathon! It’s been more than 25 years since my last marathon, and I know the hard work that goes into being able to accomplish a long race.

  28. Val Champ

    Glenna, I do love finding a blog notice in my Inbox. I enjoy reading what you have to say, love knitting your patterns, and have found “new to me yarns” as a result.

    Keep doing what you are doing, there are always one or 2 that will totally miss the point…LOL

  29. Marianne

    I almost always read every word you write….thank you! Don’t worry about Pi. When I got over 1000 sts on a shawl I made, I thought too that I would never finish but it happens and you will love it.

  30. Sarah R.

    I enjoy your blog a lot and have been reading it for about ten months now. The thing I find the most refreshing is the lack of “product placement” and constant book, yarn, pattern, etc. reviews. The occasional book review and giveaway is great, but I love that you’re not posting about things you’ve obviously been asked to promote. I feel turned off by other blogs that try to shove products down the readers’ throats. Keep up the good work. One day I’ll try to tackle your fabulous argyle socks! :)

  31. Knitsiam

    I recently found your blog and have enjoyed catching up to the present. Keep doing what you like to do and let the muggles take care of themselves.

    Bonnie (aka Knitsiam)

  32. I always find your blog really inspiring! Thanks for lots of great posts!

  33. jennmoles

    No, YOU are awesome!

  34. Marcy

    It’s your blog to do whatever you want with! I just feel so fortunate that I discovered the knit-blog world after being a knitter for 50+ years, and your blog is one that I have been following for the last three years, and probably the 3rd blog that I started reading. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being out there.

  35. Dee

    You rock!
    thank you so much for being so honest and awesome.
    also, your pi shawl is georgeous! might just work up the nerve to make one now…

  36. Rebecca

    Heehee…so does reading your blog and then accosting you and making you be my knitting friend just because we were moving to the same city count as jerky blog-reader behaviour? Oops!
    In any case…the last time I saw the Pi shawl it was like, 9 stitches! How’d it get so big?

  37. Yay! Keep on knitting and blogging and say whatever you want. We’ll keep reading. And rooting for you!

  38. Ariel

    Hi Glenna,
    I’m pretty sure I’ve never ever commented on your blog before, but I’ve been reading for a while now! I just wanted to say that I find your writing and projects really inspirational. When I first discovered your blog I read all of your archives too because I thought you definitely had a fantastic voice and charisma to your writing that made me just want to read more!
    So anyway, this is just to say, Kudos to you from all the way in Australia. You’re absolutely awesome, keep up the good work :)
    Ariel

  39. I love reading your blog, so I am glad you plan to keep doing what you’re doing! Also, if you’re going to be knitting on that shawl forever, good job with your yarn choice. It’s lovely.

  40. Beladona

    Atta girl! Stay on our own path and don’t let others sidestep you.

  41. Nancy

    “1. This blog is about knitting ”

    That’s great because I LOVE reading about knitting (and talking about knitting and knitting and buying yarn…)…..yea!!

    “2. This blog is about my own pleasures, challenges, thoughts, and idiosyncracies about the knitting that I do. ”

    That suits me as a reader as I enjoy your writing and particular knitting idioncrasies..and sometimes I learn something and sometimes I find a new pattern…I am always entertained…

    “3. This blog is a way to contribute to conversations about knitting within the contemporary blogosphere.”

    Indeed and I appreciate that you take the time

    Just saying thanks..

  42. Yay! You said exactly what I feel. I love to knit, I love to talk about knitting, I love to teach knitting. And now I am about to venture into the world of blogging about knitting. I started blogging 4 years ago and then took a break for about a year. Today I decided to pick it up again and start blogging about my knitting world. Who knew knitting could be so exciting to non knitters as well as knitters? I’ve had several people interested in my knitting on facebook and blogging about it just seemed to be a natural place to be.

    Thanks for the inspiration! I will be back!

    ~Karolee

  43. Kathy

    Just wanted you to know how much I appreciate your blog. Thank you for the inspiration!
    Your shaw looks beautiful.

  44. Nebraska Knitter

    I enjoy your blog, designs, and perspective on knitting. Please continue to write from your own heart and soul.

  45. The yarn for that Pi shawl is gorgeous but I boggle at 500 stitches…I knit pretty slowly and struggled enough with the rows of just under 400 on the shawl I knit. Good luck with it though, I look forward to seeing the finished product when you get there :)

  46. ocbchick

    Love your blog, it’s one of my favourites. Keep up what you are doing. I love the Canadian voice (as a fellow Canuck) and I totally enjoy your humour, your creativity and your yummy photos.

  47. To the last paragraph of this post …  it reminded me of one of my “end of time” projects when I was knitting an insanely large shoulder wrap. I swear it took me 2.5 years (of on and offs) to finish it, and when I did I had no desire to accessorize it as I initially designed, so I put it aside … Now 4 years later, my toddler “lives” in it! It’s a perfect blanket, a stroller throw-on and a picnic something for all of her toys. Long story short, all “end of time” projects are there for a reason (beyond the obvious love for knitting) .

    Your post about ½ marathon is very inspiring. Living in downtown T.O. and cheering on the runners, I’ve always wanted to try but never had guts for it. Way to go and kudos!

  48. Maureen

    I’ve been away on a trip for a few weeks and am just catching up with my blog reading. Yours is in a class of its own…ignore the naysayers and hit the delete button! Thanks so much for sharing your love with me…I savor every word your write! It’s gourmet dining at its best!!!

  49. I’m impressed. You make a lot of sense. Thanks.

    (Ann in the U.P. sent me, BTW. )

  50. radmeister

    I always look forward to reading your blog and seeing your latest projects. You inspire me to step outside my comfort zone and try new yarns and more intricate patterns. And I really appreciate it when you talk about your own knitting challenges so I feel a bit better about the fact that sometimes I just can’t count. And the half marathon? Amazing! Keep up the inspiring work!

  51. Anon

    I find this so odd. Why is it offensive that people might approach you with a view to requesting ad space or sponsorship or a feature of some kind? They are opportunists and this is what social networking is about. That it is of no interest to you does not make these people schmucks or rude.
    Furthermore, there is nothing wrong with accepting such requests. As a reader I would be happy to learn more about where you buy your yarns and which books you’re reading or which patterns you recommend. It would make not one iota of difference to me if people were paying you to share this information, because (naive or not) I like your blog and I value your opinion. If anything, I find your lack of link sharing a little irritating sometimes. You don’t really link to other designers, blogs or sellers, link love is good, is sharing, it’s networking, it keeps everthing spinning round and whilst you’re not obligated to do so, it does kinda contradict your mission of sharing and communicating or talking about knitting? I really love your blog, I don’t know why this post irked me so much… but it really did.

  52. Dear Anonymous commenter

    I can indeed reassure you that I do not find all solicitations or requests offensive or rude, nor did I infer as much in this post. However, I can also reassure you that the variety of such requests that I receive is extremely broad. If it is unreasonable for a blogger to assert control and decision-making over what she chooses to post about and accept in her own contributions, then I am quite willing to be unreasonable.

    My blog is my own, and I receive absolutely no revenue from it. It is my contribution to the knitting blogosphere, which I take pleasure in directing as I choose. I do indeed frequently link to other educational and yarn-related blogs and websites in my posts, as the posts currently visible on my blog front page show.

    All the best to you in your knitting work, Glenna