Friday, September 29, 2006

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    No one can understand the truth until he drinks of coffee's frothy goodness.
    -Sheik Abd-al-Kadir

    On Blogging
    You may recall that the beau has been asking all sorts of questions about blogging, and that earlier this week I promised some brilliant insights from that conversation. In trying to explain to him how I know or "know" the bloggers I read and who read mine, and how my dad, my best friend from middle school, and a woman in Iceland whom I may never meet all constitute my audience and all comment on the same post, it struck me that the blogosphere is like a coffee shop. We have our knitterly gathering on the couches, right up there near the front windows. Maybe we're even sitting outside under the awning in nice weather. And as we knit and drink our coffee, our conversation gets loud, the laughter raucous, and we are keenly aware that all the passersby can overhear us discussing zippers, two-handed fair-isle, and different heel stitches. Intermixed, they can also overhear the parts of our personal lives that intersect: the babies due receiving sweaters, the wedding shawls, the boyfriends we won't knit for. The man walking his dog down the block is not our intended or primary audience, but we know that we're knitting and blogging in a public space.

    I'm loving the idea of the blogosphere as a coffee shop right now, because it hits just the right balance of public and private. . . which is just a great balance for blogging in my life. As you may or may not have noticed, I'm adapting to my new city, new job, new schedule (and, yes, new beau). The new plan for Knitting Underway is to post every other day. I find that if I wait more than that, I lose my momentum and sense of the community. I have a bunch of knitting to catch you up on, so I'm optimistic that it'll be a good pace for the blog. And speaking of that balance, Grumperina wants us to dig deep into our knitterly selves and bare our souls. About knitting. Go figure.

    Ten Knitterly Things You Didn't Know About Me
    Slowly but surely Grumperina's meme is making it's way around blogland. I can't promise that all of these are shocking revelations, but at least they all fit the qualification - they are all about knitting.

    1. I taught myself to knit from photos on the internet one night in December my junior year of undergrad. The reason? I was looking for something to do OTHER than studying for biostatistics. The thought came to my head, "well, I've always wanted to learn to knit. . ."
    2. My grandmother had tried to teach me when I was younger, maybe about 10, but I could never remember how when we got home.
    3. My first project was a garter stitch scarf for my mom out of Lion Brand Thick and Quick Chenille. I quickly realized that it was going to be too wide and take too long, so I spontaneously decreased about 20 stitches on one row, thinking no one would ever notice. (They did.)
    4. The entire first year I knit, I made nothing but scarves. Ninety percent of them were garter stitch scarves in Lion Brand Homespun. Then I hit a point where everyone I knew had a scarf. I had to branch out.
    5. I'm thinking of giving up on the whole swatching concept. Seriously, I start over as much after I swatch as I do if I don't. Swatches lie.
    6. In college, people I'd never met used to refer to me as "That Girl Who Knits." It was discussed at parties.
    7. I often choose my reading material based on its ability to lie flat so that I can knit while reading it. Hey - works for The New England Journal of Medicine!
    8. In general, I prefer solid colored yarn to variagated. (Some sock yarns are an excpetion. But only socks.)
    9. I knit. I don't dye. I don't spin. I don't even design. And while I admire those who do, I think it would only distract me from doing the things I want to do.
    10. Knitting is community. It is blogging, knitting groups, and friendly chats in the halls of the hospital with those who have their knitting. I would knit half as much as twice as poorly if I wasn't daily inspired by everything I see on your pages. Thank you.


    Blogger Carole Knits said...

    I love the knit blogging/coffee shop metaphor. Have a great weekend!

    9/29/2006 6:03 AM  
    Blogger Marina said...

    Swatching is just a ploy someone came up with to slow you down!

    9/29/2006 7:00 AM  
    Blogger Lynda said...

    What a great post! I just love my knitting coffeehouse buddies.

    You completely hit it on the head with swatches... hate 'em, and yes, the DO lie.

    9/29/2006 7:02 AM  
    Blogger christine said...

    I like the coffee shop idea, but.........I'm often so amused in knitterly blogland that I am at great risk for shooting coffee from one or both nares............could be dangerous. Perhaps I should stick to water.

    9/29/2006 7:28 AM  
    Blogger margene said...

    Swatches do lie but one tip is to wash the swatch and see how that changes the gauge.
    The knitting community on line and in reality IS like a coffee shop. We have such a great connection with our sticks and string. Yarn is truly the tie that binds.

    9/29/2006 7:34 AM  
    Blogger RhettaRic said...

    I'm the woman sitting in the corner eavesdropping...

    9/29/2006 7:45 AM  
    Blogger jennie said...

    I love this meme!

    Amen to #10. I wouldn't be half the knitter I am if it weren't for the blogging community (and by the way, your coffee shop analogy is insightful and sooo true). I've learned so much from other people's mistakes and successes, and am so much more inspired to pick up the needles and knit something. It's made me a fearless knitter, knowing that no matter how something turns out, I've got friends who knit to share it with.


    9/29/2006 8:36 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    What a lovely post, Theresa. The blogging coffee shop (literal or figurative) is one of the few places these days where you can still keep making new friends. I love that.

    9/29/2006 9:07 AM  
    Blogger Punkin said...

    ...uh, excuse me for a moment.... I need another macchiato.....

    9/29/2006 9:33 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    OK, but since I have never commented before that makes me the quiet woman who always takes a table nearby and listens in but doesn't want to comment. Oh, that interesting knitting woman is at the coffee shop again, I hope there is a table near hers. I think she might know some of my friends.

    9/29/2006 10:17 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Teresa, I love the analogy of the coffee shop. It really does portray the balance between public and private.

    The meme is much harder to do than I expected.

    9/29/2006 10:32 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    you really hit the nail on the head! Great analogy. I enjoyed reading your meme. : )

    9/29/2006 10:44 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    All those new things! I think we noticed. I love that analogy and it is a perfect blend of public and private.

    Grumperina's meme gets to the heart of things, doesn't it? It was fun reading your answers.

    9/29/2006 11:14 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Your pages are pretty darn inspiring themselves!

    9/29/2006 1:55 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I'm really looking forward to your new plan of regular blogging! I can't say how glad I am to be in your cafe!

    9/29/2006 4:01 PM  
    Blogger Laura said...

    what a great post! i have been very happy to hang out with you in this virtual coffee shop! :)

    9/29/2006 4:15 PM  
    Blogger Jenn said...

    Great analogy. And I enjoyed the insight from your 10 things. I find that I loose my momentum too, and end up never telling y'all some things I mean to, and remember them a month later, when it's no longer relevant/funny/etc.
    Looking forward to hearing more from you!

    9/29/2006 5:53 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hey, what does it take to get a cup of coffee over here???

    I heartily endorse items 8 and 9. And I'm very amused by item 3.

    9/29/2006 5:56 PM  
    Blogger MandellaUK said...

    Skinny latte with an extra shot please.

    I love the coffee shop analogy. It was several months I wandered over and said "hey, you have a couple of friends who are knitting the same thing as me and to the same deadline too".

    9/30/2006 1:34 AM  
    Blogger Rebecca said...

    I love the coffee shop analogy, too. And, I think we learn from each other which is of inestimatable an example, when you posted about knitting and reading medical journals at the same time I decided to give that a try. Last week I had to read a transcript of a lecture and I pulled out my socks and, voila, it worked!

    9/30/2006 3:35 PM  
    Blogger Disentangled said...

    I followed a very similar course with my knitting as you (only I'm a few years behind), it was after very many flat rectangles that I finally branched out into other things...and my world would be a much smaller place without Blogging. This community is truly the best :-) Thanks for putting it so nicely.

    10/01/2006 5:38 PM  
    Blogger Dorothy said...

    I love the metaphor of blogs as coffee shop. It still amazes me the connection that we feel for other bloggers. I wonder if other hobbies have such a thing?

    10/01/2006 6:23 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I really like that analogy.

    10/06/2006 10:20 AM  

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