On Knitting and Blogging

ETA – Great comments, everyone! Several of you have asked where all this talk is taking place. I recall a thread about FO-only posts in someone’s comments (it was before Christmas, I think?) — but I can’t remember which blog it was on.
You may also be interested in this thread on Ravelry Knitting Blogging: steam running out?, where opinions run the gamut from blogs are a dying breed to fewer people are commenting to I’ll never stop blogging.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the state of knit blogging. Should you stop writing WIP posts in favor of FO-only posts? Has Ravelry killed blogging? Has Flickr killed blogging?
For me, the answers are No, No, and No.
The whole discussion of WIP posts versus FO-only posts just seems silly to me. I like to share my FOs, but that’s not the only reason I blog.
I blog because I like to record the evolution of a project. I enjoy going back and seeing how it progressed, and being reminded about the challenges I encountered, or the decisions I had to make, or the frogging that was necessary to make it “just so”.
I blog because I like to share with my readers. I like to let everyone know if I’ve found something useful (or not) and like to share my thoughts. I enjoy writing up tutorials and I love it when someone comments with a different (but well-thought out) perspective as well. And judging by the number of referrers I get from Google I think that you all appreciate it too.
I also blog to help me think through something. Sometimes I’ll post a WIP shot and ask for opinions. Or sometimes, the activity of writing the post helps clarify.
And finally, I blog because I enjoy the writing. I spent most of my school years avoiding writing at all costs. I consider one of my best “mistakes” in life was my decision to attend a liberal arts college for my Math and Computer Science degrees. I despised those classes then, but I look back on them fondly and know how helpful they really were in preparing me to be an effective, persuasive communicator — both very necessary skills in just about any profession you choose.
What this means is that I love the format of a blog, and all that it brings together for me. I can’t imagine *not* blogging.
This Ravelry and Flickr Business
Ravelry and Flickr are great, and both meet needs that the knitting community has had — needs that blogs alone couldn’t meet.
I’ve read that some bloggers are considering closing (or have closed) their blogs, moving to Ravelry or Flickr instead. In my opinion, this doesn’t speak to the fact that blogging is being replaced by these services, but rather that blogging wasn’t the right fit for them to begin with.
Ravelry is an information aggregator. Want to knit a pattern? Check on Ravelry to see who’s knit it and what they thought. Have 10 balls of yarn in your stash and no ideas what to make from it? Check on Ravelry to see what people have made with the yarn. Looking to make a scarf out of fingering weight yarn but don’t have a pattern in mind? Ravelry’s your answer.
The forums are a nice tidy way to get at a lot of information. I’m a member of several designers’ fan groups, specific knitting techniques groups, and local groups in NJ and Philly. The groups are a great way to have discussions with knitters who share a common interest.
And finally, my most-favorite part of Ravelry, the friends activity page and the queue. Oh my, if they don’t just make me want to quit my job and knit all day! and I still wouldn’t have enough time to make everything. I’ve discovered patterns I never would have considered otherwise, and blogs I never knew about before. It’s greatly enhanced my knitting experience, but it hasn’t replaced my blog reading.
Same goes for Flickr. Flickr is another great resource to augment my online knitting experience. The groups are great. Looking for some really beautiful FOs? Try Knitting Art. Want to see handknits modeled on people? Flip through Handknit Street Style. I love how interactive the comments are. Blogging isn’t as conducive to comment threads, but it works really well in Flickr.
I also like the speed at which I can post to Flickr. Take a pic, do a little post-processing, upload, write a small caption, and done! I’m participating in Crafting 365 and Flickr is the perfect medium for it. I get to see a lot of creativity, meet some new people, and look at my own crafting in a different light. I’m really enjoying the commitment to take a picture a day of my crafting, and the creativity it inspires. Look for a longer blog post on Crafting 365 periodically as the year progresses (see? more cross-medium uses…)
As I’ve said before, this is a really interesting time for the internet. It’s saturated enough to make niche sites viable, make the wiki model feasible, and make internet communities successful. It’s not often in our lives that we’ll be able to witness something grow and evolve at this kind of pace.
I’m thrilled to be a part of it.

34 thoughts on “On Knitting and Blogging

  1. I agree, Ravelry is getting increasingly awesome as more people join and the organizers add more features. It’s really, really helpful. But for me, at least, my blog isn’t just about show and tell, it’s a form of expression that can’t be matched on Ravelry or Flickr. I think all three serve their own purposes: maybe blogs are becoming more valuable to the people writing them than to the readers, but either way, it doesn’t mean their passe!

  2. I’m glad that you made a connection between people closing their blogs in favor of Ravelry and blogging not being the platform for them. It truly isn’t for everyone and if you feel like it’s a chore, then it sucks some of the joy out of it. My sister and I blog about knitting and everything else that we do. Do we sometimes go weeks without finishing anything? Yes, but we often blog about what is leading to that frustration or issue.

  3. I totally agree with you too! I haven’t really gone into the Ravelry forums too much…I already have so much time reading blogs that I would probably never get off the computer. I enjoy seeing my friend’s progress on their blogs and even what else they’re getting into. Blogging is about sharing your life a week at a time.

  4. I’m with you on all counts.
    (Where are these crazy discussions about the WIP/FO posts? I’ve only heard the rumours but haven’t come across any meaty or solid arguments.)

  5. I’d have to agree with you. I use Rav. mostly for ideas and inspiration — I’m a visual person, so I like the pictures! But I also like the blogs as I, too, like to write, and find it a good place to keep my own diary of my projects. Take care and happy knitting!! :)

  6. You articulated this very well. I found some of the doomsday predictions regarding Ravelry/flickr and blogging somewhat bothersome. I enjoy reading blogs, and I enjoy maintaining my own. It’s fun, a different kind of fun (and usefulness) than that offered bu Ravelry (though great) and flickr (also pretty awesome).

  7. I have been thinking about the same thing lately, but do not think of quitting blogging. I love Ravelry and flickr but feel that there’s a need for a place were I can share other stuff, too. (Even if I could never elaborate such a well articulated post!)

  8. I totally agree with you. Except that part about processing photos. I’m strictly load into iphoto and from there into flickr. I HATE playing with photos. But I love that I can so easily put them onto my blog and talk about them. I don’t feel like I can do that on Ravelry and I get bored doing it on Flickr. Plus the puppies can’t make cameos on Ravelry.

  9. I agree with you as well. All of these sites fit different needs for me and my blog is first and foremost a record for myself of activities I wanted to record. I love being able to record my WIP and I love being able to research patterns based on other people’s WIP reports as well! I always check my email first, my blog feeder second, and Ravelry third. That’s just how it swings for me :)

  10. Very well put together post Jodi. I have been going through the same thought process that I miss posting in progress shots, because when I go to look back at a project I can’t always remember all the skills, challenges and successes that I had with it. I do think of Ravelry as more of a fountain of knowledge, and less personal then my blog. Both have a purpose, but one cannot replace the other.
    And besides, what would I read if you stopped blogging? I love your writing!

  11. i’m guilty of not posting about the WIP but i’ve always been delinquent there.
    and i agree. i like ravelry and i love flickr but i don’t think either will replace the blog. i write about more than just knitting.

  12. Delurking to say that I agree with you on all fronts. Ravelry is great and definitely serves a purpose, but so do the knit blogs. I like that people talk about their WIPs, but I usually only talk about my FOs simply because I don’t have much time to blog in the first place. (If it wasn’t for lunch breaks at work, the lack of a home computer would mean I’d have no blog at all.)

  13. First of all, liberal arts colleges rock!
    Second, great post. Like Caro, I keep seeing reference to these “Ravelry is killing the blogs” discussions but haven’t yet found the discussions.
    The blogs I like best have something special to them that can’t be captured on Flickr or Ravelry alone. Great tools, each, and I think there’s enough demand for all of them.

  14. I agree with the sentiments of the last poster–the people I read have a unique voice to their blogs, and it’s for this voice that I read their blogs. WIP or FOs really don’t matter to me as long as their is something interesting to talk about. I also agree that Ravelry, Flickr and blogs all fulfill different needs. Ravelry is a tremendous resource, each time I think I’ve exhausted its capabilities I find some new ‘wow cool’ element to it. Thanks for such a great post!

  15. Great post. I agree with everything said in the comments, too. Blogging isn’t just about the knitting – it’s an insight into other lives and interests apart from the main topic in hand.
    I realised the other day I don’t keep a diary anymore – my blog has taken over, and though it’s not an exact recording of what I do day-to-day, it’s a sketch of where I’m at.
    And I love WIP pictures and hearing about problems, it’s heartening to realise everyone goes through it, and doesn’t just produce perfect finished items effortlessly.

  16. I totally agree – all 3 tools (Flickr, Blog and Ravelry) are great for different things. Together they are the perfect blend for me. I use Ravelry for reference and record keeping, Flickr to do color and FO research (along with Rav) and my blog to describe the process and thoughts. Plus, where would I put my puppy pictures if I didn’t blog?? :)

  17. I like the discipline required to write a decent blog post: a beginning, middle, and end. I like to have a point. For more nuts-and-bolts stuff, I tend to put that on Ravelry. It is beginning to feel tedious to have to enter it into Ravelry, then post it all on my blog. I do have a feeling that my blog will become more about the knitting narrative, and Ravelry more for the details.

  18. Interesting discussion! I like the point you bring up that people are just gravitating to the format that fits them best. For instance, Flickr is more of a tool for me than a hobby in itself, but I am quite impressed at those who use it as their main outlet. I adore Ravelry, and I think it makes me a more effective knitter, but there’s no way that it replaces blogging for me!

  19. Well said my friend. I might just add that the internet is also rather “here today gone tomorrow” for lack of a better word. I think Ravelry and Flickr are great, but you just never know if they’ll be around 2, 3 or even 5 years from now. I know my blog isn’t going anywhere unless I break it or I decide to shut it down. I’d really hate to loose all that archived thought and work. That was originally one of my reasons for reluctance to get into Ravelry too much. I hope I’m wrong, but you just never know.
    I had no idea there was a crafting 365! Must check that out…

  20. Very eloquently put, Jody. So, you’re a math and science geek too? I guess I gravitate (no pun intended) towards bloggers who are science and/or tech oriented. And thanks for those Flickr links. That’s one arena I haven’t explored yet.

  21. Yep! For me, Ravelry or Flickr and blogging aren’t interchangeable, but supplement each other. I definitely agree about people closing their blogs because they found something that actually fits what they wanted in the first place. For me, I just love blogging for many different reasons. And I love reading about the lives and personalities of other knitters…it’s just a really interesting (and craft oriented!) peek into someone else’s life.
    I love feeling like I’m contributing to this online tome of knitting information and inspiration that anyone can google. Ravelry is great for information as well, but I definitely feel that reading a blog, or even searching for information and then finding it on a blog, provides more in-depth info…for example the tutorials you mentioned.
    And actually, I’ve gotten a bit more foot traffic and comments on my blog lately from people finding me through Ravelry or “friending” me and then looking at my blog.

  22. ha, i was just saying the other day that if i only posted FOs then i would post like 4 times a year at this rate! for people like me who were blogging before knitting, blogging is a way of life and i could never be without it. i agree with everything you’ve said about ravelry and flickr.

  23. I think you make a good point about why Ravelry and Flickr might have taken over for others if blogging wasn’t just right for them. Still, I think I’m a blogger–but tonight, ONLY because Flickr is down, I got through 300 blog posts. I comment on my friends’ photos on flickr and then the blog seems almost moot! But I’m rededicating myself to blogging this year, because I do love it.

  24. For me I have really enjoyed getting more into photography so Flickr has taken up more of my time than anything. Raverly hasn’t made a difference for me when it comes to my blog because I don’t spend time there really. I don’t do the forums really at all and simply go and look at patterns when I am trying to find something. I still try and keep up with my blog since it’s connected to my shop and just use it more for what I want and try not to get down on myself for not knitting a ton.
    Does any of this make sense? lol

  25. I agree. Ravelry, Flickr and blogging are all great for different reasons. Ravelry is perfect for FO galleries, and for deciding whether or not to knit something based on other people’s experiences. Blogging is great for describing specific stages and aspects of a particular project. Blogging is also great for discussions like this one regarding the craft generall its relation to the internet.
    If anything Ravelry had made me more interested in blogging by “introducing” me to the work of many more people.

  26. Such a great and timely post, Jody. Ahhh, I love your blog :) I think that there is a balance to these three associated mediums. Like you mentioned, I love the instant”ness” of Flickr, and the ways to meet new people in that forum. Ravelry also has a special place in my heart, as I am part of some nice forums. I love the Friends page too… there are so many great patterns and it is a great way to see the activities and inspirations of your friends.
    … and then the dear old blog… it came first in the sequence (for me) so I definitely won’t be giving it up. I love blogging, and I love reading other blogs. I doubt that that will ever change.
    Thanks for the post – it was great! and thoughtful comments too. A really good way to start a discussion = the power of the blog!

  27. I hate to be the only one to disagree but for a lot of folks, Ravelry has meant the demise of their blog. About half the knitting blogs I used to read have not had a post since they’ve joined Ravelry. Or their post is concise and consists of links to their work on Ravelry.
    I don’t belong to Ravelry because I don’t have the time for that kind of timesuck. You can’t see inside unless you are a member and they don’t seem inclined to open it up anytime soon. They don’t have to because “everyone” is joining.
    When I started to knit, I was encouraged by all the blogs I found online. I find less inspiration online now and it seems to stem from Ravelry. It’s just sad that newbies coming in won’t have the same rich tapestry of choices when looking for inspiring projects or yarn ideas.

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