Textile Blogs

In response to yesterdays piece on blogs I discovered Jan of Be mused. Jan describes herself as a long tome quilter but there is a whole range of activities going on over at her place. Quilts galore, felting, knitting and all sorts of crafting activities sprinkle her days. I liked her first post when she described her introduction to blogs

“The blog world revealed itself to me about a year and a half ago when I somehow stumbled onto a knitter’s site. One click led to another and I was soon bookmarking favorites and visiting regularly. I started knitting again…felted bags, scarves, a sweater. It was so motivating! I eventually started leaving comments, then emailing with several knitters. But being a commenter feels like watching a party through a window. Someone might occasionally see you there and wave, but it’s not the same as being inside.”

That just about sums it up!

I am still in the process of checking out leads to blogs that were left as comments yesterday. You can do the same. It is simple, just click on peoples names and it will take you to their site if they have left the URL.

Blogs are like stitches on knitting needle.

I have decided that blogs are like stiches on knitting needle. Grab a cuppa, settle down and I will tell why.

To set the scene, a month ago I ordered the chart for sampler as all proceeds of the sale of the chart went to the Red Cross to aid Katrina Relief. It arrived OK two weeks ago. This morning I received a an email to say they had raised $1,000. Although I have not actually started the sampler as I am side tracked with the All that Jazz Quilts I feel generally good about that as every little bit helps.

That made me wonder how other fundraising efforts were going. I decided to pop over to zeneedle to see how Margine and the online knitting community were going in their fundraising efforts. Gosh they have done well! They have raised as of this morning $92,242.10 with their Give a little project. That is no slight effort. My congratulations goes out to everyone involved.

The success of this project is in part due to the size of the online knitting community. It is large and I think the demographic is young and therefore energetic and enthusiastic about knitting. Knitting has enjoyed a revival in the past few years and it is great to see. I heartily encourage any sort of textile practice. I read their blogs and can’t help but think about picking up my knitting needles more often. Their generous tips and contagious enthusiasm for the craft is put simply catching.

I do wish other areas of textiles were as well represented online. One of the reasons I started this blog was that there were so few blogs that covered other areas of textiles. Thankfully now there are more coming online daily and numbers are growing. This fundraising accomplishment by the knitting community is an indication of how useful it is to join in and be part of grass roots media.

Knitters as I have said are mostly a younger demographic. I have no hard stats on this but just read their blogs and compare them to the quilters and stitchers who are blogging. Obviously this is a generalisation but I am sure you can see my point. I think that the demographic is a great influence on the strength of this online community. Put simply the younger ones ‘get it’, they understand blogging and enjoy it. Many quilters and stitchers that I know simply don’t. They see an ‘online journal’ as being a self indulgent activity which is primarily self reflective. I suggest however that blogs are not like traditional paper based diaries. Blogs look outward towards a community not inward towards the self. As a result blogs both reflect and build a community online.

Everytime a blogger writes about how they are making something, what they have purchased to do it, offers a tip, and documents the process they are going through in order to create it, they are in effect providing good solid ‘how to’ information to readers who might like to try a particular craft activity. This is useful. The information is picked up by search engines such as Google or Yahoo and people new to the craft find it. Unlike the information and tips found on discussion lists which remain behind subscriber walls blogs put it out there for search engines and therefore people to find. Since starting this blog I am amazed at the number of emails I receive from younger women who are wanting to try out either embroidery or crazy quilting.

Blogs help promote areas of textile practice and from that springs communities online. To keep a blog is not a self indulgent self reflective activity. Each blog is part of network of conversations. Each little link is like a stitch on a knitting needle. Each individual stitch has a role to play as from the combination of stitches the structure of the garment is revealed. Every time a blogger writes about what they are making, links to another, provides a side bar of links to other blogs, leaves a comment, joins a flickr group or participates in an activity, it builds a community. The more it is done the stronger the community becomes and strong communities can do positive things. Just look at what the knitters have achieved with this fundraising effort. Once again my congratulations to everyone involved.

On a slightly different note it’s about time I started to do my bit again and resume my practice of highlighting textile related blogs. If you keep a blog leave a comment and let people know you are around. I am off now to do a dash of surfing and then perhaps some sewing.