Community

Posted on | July 21, 2014 | 12 Comments

CommunityImage by Jeff Kubina, via Flickr 

Ever since I started dabbling with sewing again, I’ve noticed something about the sewing community. They still blog! Not only do they blog, but they have a solid community behind them. They know each other, comment on each other’s new makes, and encourage one other to be better sewers.

I guess I’m feeling a bit nostalgic for the days when knitting blogs used to hold the same place in knitters hearts.

Yes, I know we still have a strong community, but it’s different now. And it’s pretty freakin amazing. We have a place that over 4 million knitters call home and a huge database of such amazing information that we wondered how we ever survived before it’s creation.

So why this post?

Maybe it’s the fact that I haven’t been too active in the knitting community lately. Maybe it’s that my book totally drained me. Maybe I’m just feeling overwhelmed by all of the new knitting patterns and designers out there (I can’t be the only one, right?) I haven’t even been to my knitting group in a month, or has it been two?

Maybe it’s that these days, I don’t have as much time to be as social on twitter and Ravelry. I have found a renewed interest for this little blog, but it feels a little lonely sometimes. When browsing the sewing blog community, I can’t help but feel like an outsider looking in remembering when that was the knitting community.

I also wonder if I’m just feeling guilty. It’s so much easier to take a quick spin through my friends on Ravelry, see what they are making and leave a drive by heart. Would it take me that much longer to open up a dialogue and congratulate this person on knitting 60,000 stitches and making something awesome? To me, that’s what makes a community great, forging lasting relationships with someone that shares your passion. Someone who knows what it’s like when you had to rip out that entire sweater. Someone who knows the joy of finishing that project that has languished in your WIP pile for years. Someone to celebrate with when you have made something pretty and would never tell you store bought goods are better.

I guess that is my way of saying that from this day forward, I am going to work harder to try to build back up my community and be a better member. I miss you all!

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Comments

  • Anna Hrachovec

    I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, too. I do sometimes have deeper conversations with people on Ravelry that were sparked by a quick comment, so I think the level of involvement can vary. But I’m pretty sure I have fewer regular visitors to my own blog, which is a little lonely.

  • http://www.threadpanda.com threadpanda

    I think community waves and ebbs. Earlier this year I needed a break from all knitting all the time and I didn’t go to my knitting group for a couple of months, barely blogged, and sometimes just didn’t feel like knitting at all. And then small things changed, mostly in favor of “life” in the work-life balance and now I have a billion projects on the needles. It’s okay to take time away! We’ll be here when you’re in the swing of things again. That’s what a community does. :)

  • http://neoknits.com Melissa Wehrle

    I think the randomness is what gets me thinking. To me, what made blogging great was getting to know your regular visitors and them getting to know you – either through their blogs or their comments. With Ravelry, I think it’s harder to make those lasting connections sometimes.

  • http://neoknits.com Melissa Wehrle

    Thanks Amy! I’ve been walking a tough road creatively for going on almost 2 years now and it has me going crazy!

  • Laura Chau

    Things have changed so much in the knitting world! I feel like people are “too busy” even more these days – or maybe after so much hardcore growth in social media, people are stepping back from it in favour of face to face contact. I love Twitter for maintaining relationships with people I met through blogs and Flickr, but I don’t often find new people on there. I’ve kept my blog going, but environment is very different. People aren’t surfing around the knitting blog webring ;)

  • Nisse

    I think I recognize what you’re saying. I noticed the same thing when comparing the knitting and the sewing communities. I started blogging and ravelling at around the same time, but Ravelry was quite new back then and the atmosphere was still much more personal, just like the knitting-blog community: everybody I ‘friended’ on Ravelry were people who’s blog I read regularly, and I often commented or messaged with those people. I share your feeling that there’s a lot less commenting, and even the non-main forums seems to be falling silent. With the fear of sounding like an old and bitter lady, ‘friending’ now to me seems more a simple mouse-click in order to get a person’s projects in your feed, sometimes hearting a project if you feel generous. I think the enormous popularity of ravelry and the use of various new social media to showcase projects has affected the knitting-blog sphere. Perhaps because one simply cannot message and comment on everyone and on all the social media, people have stopped doing it all together or something?

    Actually, I’m very grateful for the existence of Ravelry. I think Ravelry is one of the best things to happen to knitting – it’s a great introduction for new knitters, an easy archive for anything you might need, and a great way to get inspired by peoples projects.
    But when I fell into a knitting rut about a year ago, I needed something else for inspiration. To me, coïncidentally, that was the sewing blog community: when I started reading sewing blogs, and sewing my own clothes my inspiration for knitting returned. Perhaps because it was something fresh, and as you say, something more ‘communal’?

    Sorry my first comment on your blog became such a lengthy one! I did not know when I started typing it!

  • http://neoknits.com Melissa Wehrle

    Ah, yes, the knitting blog webring. Those were the days!

    That’s the thing I’m wondering though, are people just “too busy” or are they overwhelmed by all the data and social media? Or have we just become information consumers that aren’t interested in giving back anymore?

    Twitter was my way of keeping connected as well until I just got too busy to keep up. Maybe I just need a dedicated list to make me feel less overwhelmed!

  • http://neoknits.com Melissa Wehrle

    Yes! Exactly! It’s so easy to just click a button and have the information come to you. I think that it what bothers me about the whole thing. We’re consuming information, but hesitant to give back to the community for whatever reason. The amount of information is also so overwhelming! I know I sometimes feel guilty for commenting on one, but not the other.

    I love Ravelry and what they have done. I certainly credit them for helping to get my name out there and helping my hand knit designs to take off. I would never want to go back to prehistoric Ravelry times! Again, I guess I just feel overwhelmed by all of the new patterns and knitters and projects. I just don’t even know where to begin with making new connections!

    And thank you for taking the time to reach out and comment, lengthy or short, they are all very much appreciated!

  • Samantha Nagtegaal

    Hi! This is my first comment on your blog too, but I have to say I totally empathise with what you’ve said in your post. I started my blog back in (I think) 2008, and, although I have persevered with it despite having barely any views, I am too busy to give it the attention it needs to bring it to more peoples’ attention. I’m also the same as you in that I was doing a lot of knitting (ok, nothing like you in terms of talent ;-) ) and then I suddenly started doing a lot more sewing, and all those fantastic knitting blogs I used to read, which introduced me to the incredible world of knitting, were thrown to the back of the pile as they stood aside in my blogroll for sewing blogs. I am really keen to (eventually) publish my own sewing patterns, and have been talking to a very tech-savvy friend who has advised joining twitter as it’s the best way to get yourself seen and be more active, but I really don’t have time. When I do have time, I want to create, and then, when I can fit it in, blog about it. I find even the idea of keeping up a presence on something like twitter quite daunting and, as you said above, overwhelming. I’m really enjoying your blog though, so thank you :-)
    Sam
    http://www.wingsofgoose.blogspot.com

  • http://neoknits.com Melissa Wehrle

    Thank you Sam and I’m happy to hear you are enjoying the blog! I will say that when you don’t have a lot of time, Twitter can be quite useful. I think of it as quick blogging when I have a small idea or a link I think is interesting, but don’t want to dedicate a whole blog post.

    And as long as your blog makes you happy, don’t give up!

  • Kym Terranova

    I had to stop blogging with my original knitting blog after I didn’t have enough time to knit for a period of like 2 years. The people I had met thru our knit blogs (you, Jessica, Carrie, and Leah) are all my fb friends, so I still get to catch up with you guys and see how things are going. HOWEVER, I absolutely miss seeing the depth and detail everyone would put into their blog posts and the supportive comments. No one talks about knitting on fb (they should!). I’m trying to put more effort into not only writing my new blog, but reaching out to other bloggers and participate in discussions. Part of me wonders if we can get back the sense of community that I felt back in the day. I hope so.

  • http://neoknits.com Melissa Wehrle

    Yes! While some people do go into detail about their projects on Ravelry, it’s not quite the same. I don think we’ll ever go back totally to the good old days, but if you work hard enough to build it back up in your little corner of the world, that’s not such a bad thing!