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April 20, 2009

I’m past the point in my life where I do anything for the sake of pleasing other people. If I practice music, it’s not to make other people think better of my playing, it’s so that I can play when, where, and how I want to play. If I knit, it’s not to give something to someone so that they will appreciate me more. I don’t do yard work for the sake of having the neighbors tell me I have a lovely yard, and I don’t dress so that people will think I look nice.

There are exceptions to this rule, of course. I need to be sure that I do my job well enough to please the people who keep me employed. Luckily this is not difficult. Sometimes I need to do things for the sake of making Emily happy or taking proper care of her, so I do spend a lot of time schlepping here there and everywhere when I’d rather not.

In general, though, I am much less burdened by concern for the opinions of others than I was 10 or 15 years ago, and when I choose to do something I have a certain amount of enthusiasm for it because I’m doing it to please myself.

Writing a blog lies totally outside this mental framework. I’m not a good blogger. I don’t have a voice, or a great sense of humor, or a compelling online identity. My projects are not as interesting and beautiful as Jan’s or Melanie’s. I don’t hate blogging, but I don’t have the enthusiasm for it that I have for knitting or music. Music and knitting are their own reward. Writing a blog is contradictory to my sort of midlife theme of trying to avoid doing things that require me to please others.

This blog has been going on in one form or another for more than five years, and maybe it’s because I’m just not a good blogger that it seems nobody reads it anymore. It takes me longer to take and process the photos and think of something to write to put around the photos, than is worth it for 4 readers. If people want to see my stuff, they can find it on Ravelry, they don’t need to read a mundane blog. Awhile ago someone wondered if Ravelry would kill off a great many knitting blogs, and I think perhaps it will, but only the ones, like this one, that only exist as a place to post knitting pictures. It’s been a month since I last posted, and it’s mostly because I could not work up the enthusiasm to do it. If it doesn’t please anybody, it’s kind of unnecessary.
I am not trying to whine, I’m just puzzling out the question of what does and does not make me happy. What do you think? Does anyone need this blog for anything??

Knitting pictures, because that is what anyone who still comes here really wants.

Last month at our spinning group, the shop’s drum carder was sitting out on the table, and I happened to have my bin of cormo fleece along with me, so I took a break from combing to card a couple of batts as an experiment. It reaffirmed for me that I MUCH prefer combed to carded fiber, especially a fiber as tender as cormo, but I did get two pillowy 3/4 ounce batts and spun up the finest and most even yarn I could given the neppy preparation. I am trying to make a lace scarf out of it. The pattern is called ‘Ironwrought’ and I found it on Ravelry. She has you knit the first end, then the rest of the scarf from the other end, and graft the second end on – this allows you to stretch your yardage.

I have about 220 yards and 1.5 ounces, we’ll see what I can get out of it.

Isobel continues. In reading through the amendment, I discovered that the finished length from underarm to bottom edge is supposed to come out 24 inches. That is two feet. I’m only about 5’3″ so a 2 foot length under the arm seems a little excessive. I’m shortening it a bit. I think it will end up about 20 or 21 and will be adequate for me.

In this photo I am about 1 1/2 inches below the underarm and closing. I am liking the look of the fabric. This is the second time I’ve knitted Galway on size 6 needles and it really makes a durable fabric that shows texture.

I finished the body of the Go Retro jacket, using a total of about 6 3/4 skeins out of 10. I may still make it with my 10 skeins of Cascade 109, but I do have 3 skeins of Cascade 220 on hand to finish with, if necessary. (The color is not as orangey a red as the photo suggests. It’s a bluer red. If you look up Cascade 220 color 9404, Ruby, online, you will get a better idea of what it’s supposed to look like.)

I looked ahead at the sleeves, and I don’t think I’m going to follow the directions exactly. Like the body, the sleeves start on the larger needles in the basketweave pattern, then switch to the smaller needles and garter stitch later. In addition to this, she has you do some decreases as you go up the sleeve, and then increase again to the point where you switch to the garter stitch. Why would you want a big coat to have bell sleeves?? I would want sleeves that are wide enough to wear a sweater underneath, but not wide enough to drag in the rain puddles on my car as I open the door! I think I will skip that shaping business and start with the stitch count as you end up at the elbows.

I started spinning up some pretty wool and silk that Sam brought me as a hostess gift a couple of years ago. I was not planning to spin it on the Mazurka because I wanted to spin it fine, but I was sick of spinning natural colored wool at spinning group so I brought it along anyway. I set the tension as loose as I could get it to go and still give me takeup, and I’m getting the finest thread out of that wheel that I ever have. I do have to treadle fast, but it’s completely doable.

I’ve also switched the Mazurka over to double drive, it seems to run smoother that way and give me takeup all the way to the end of the bobbin. I didn’t think I could make it spin a yarn like this, so I’m really pleased with the little thing.

25 Comments leave one →
  1. April 20, 2009 10:05 am

    I have been reading this blog for quite q while and I luv it. I luv the pics of fibre, spinning, knitting and prep and your beautiful wheel. This blog has it all. So there!! From another midlife blogger πŸ˜‰

  2. Melanie permalink
    April 20, 2009 10:46 am

    Caroline, I love seeing your spinning and knitting. Your work is so skilled; it inspires me, and always has. The photos here are so much better here than on Ravelry.
    OTOH, I’m finding it difficult to find the time to even post pictures to Ravelry, let alone prepare a blog post, and I read fewer and fewer blogs of late. I’d rather be knitting or spinning than taking photos or sitting at the computer.
    Your Cormo scarf looks soft and squishy, and I love both of your jackets. Isobel is going to be very striking. You certainly have got a fine singles on the Mazurka and it’s a lovely colour.

  3. Katie K permalink
    April 20, 2009 11:03 am

    I don’t have a blog, but I enjoy reading them. It’s not the same as ravelry. Seeing what you are up to with your process descriptions is different then seeing individual projects in a somewhat fragmented fashion, and much more personal. Recently I’ve noticed a lot of knitting bloggers have fallen off posting, and as a regular reader, I’m sorry this is happening. You do beautiful work. I bet you have a larger readership than you think, but even if you don’t, what you do is appreciated.

  4. April 20, 2009 11:46 am

    Post when you want to. Those of us with feed readers easily will see when you have something new to share. That said, if it is no longer enjoyable, stop! Life is too short to spend time doing unfun things.

  5. April 20, 2009 1:20 pm

    I think the knitting blog is a different animal than Ravelry. I prefer knitting blogs for seeing the continuity of knitting projects and getting to know the blogger. Blogs evolve and change like the people who keep them. I don’t feel that someone has to blog with a particular frequency or consistency – I visit whenever the blog has a new post, like June said above. To me, Ravelry is more like snapshots. It isn’t the same.

  6. Karen permalink
    April 20, 2009 2:10 pm

    I do love to hear about you and Emmy, see your spinning in progress, and “hear” your process thoughts — not things that Ravelry can provide. That said, it’s your time commitment, and therefore your decision. But you do have regular readers who would miss you, even if we’re not all chatty.

  7. April 20, 2009 3:24 pm

    The thing that is different about blogs as compared to Rav is that they give people a voice. I tried the no blog thing and found that I got a bit bored with Ravelry in that I didn’t know what people thought etc. Maybe I am just a nosey parker and like to read about people!
    I have enjoyed your knitting, it inspires me too. But do waht pleases you, I am sure you will. I will miss your blog.

  8. April 20, 2009 4:38 pm

    I agree with June, but I (for one) would miss it if you stopped blogging! I’ve found that the longer I go between posts, the harder it is to post and the more I find myself wondering if I should blog. These are the times I make a conscious effort to blog MORE, because I love interacting with people and that’s (as stated above) the difference between blogs and Ravelry – the interaction.

  9. Paula permalink
    April 20, 2009 4:45 pm

    I do like reading your blog, and have it bookmarked. Always interesting projects,and quite often stitches or garments I would like to try. I spin, knit & dye, work fulltime, and read lots of spinning and knitting blogs, yours is up there among my favourites. paulaspindyeknit on Ravelry.
    in Brisbane, Australia.

  10. April 20, 2009 5:38 pm

    Well, it’s so nice to hear from people I never knew were reading! I didn’t set out to flush you guys from the bushes but it is nice to know people find something to like. If I know people are reading, it won’t be hard to keep up posting, and it’s interesting to hear about the pros/cons of blogs vs. Ravelry too. I hope more people will weigh in with opinions!

  11. April 20, 2009 8:35 pm

    Delurking to let you know that I read your blog and enjoy it very much! I love reading blogs vs just using Ravelry – there are so many forums there that I think its easy to lose track of people. I hope you don’t stop, but then you have to do what makes you happy!
    Beautiful projects – Isobel is gorgeous!

  12. Pamela permalink
    April 20, 2009 10:28 pm

    Hi Caroline — I do enjoy reading your blog and following both your spinning progress and Emmy as she grows up. Cormo — I too love this fleece, but have never been able to get one processed (even by the best available processor) without getting nepps. Only the commercial stuff seems to come without it. Why do you think that is?

  13. April 20, 2009 11:29 pm

    Well, as someone who has almost fallen off the blog-earth myself, I certainly understand what you mean. However, yours is one of the few blogs I still read, so you would definitely be missed. You have one of the only knitting and spinning blogs left – I love the hard core fiberness!

  14. Linda permalink
    April 21, 2009 1:26 pm

    I completely agree with June.
    Time is limited. Do what you love!
    According to the top of my Bloglines feed, you have 193 subscribers. Maybe this number depends on which feed you’re using?

  15. April 21, 2009 2:53 pm

    193???!!!?? Holy moley, well that’s an interesting number! This has been a very informative conversation! The thought I came down to was that, unlike just about everything else I do, for this it actually matters if it’s pleasing anyone. I suppose this was the only way to find out whether it was!

  16. April 21, 2009 4:49 pm

    I have a blog myself, and while I don’t post as much as I used to, that’s because I’m lazy.
    I don’t think that blogs fill the same niche as Ravelry. Looking at someone’s finished project is not the same experience as reading a blog post about the thinking that goes into a project or the tragedies and triumphs of the knitter. It also doesn’t allow for the kind of connection that readers make with the blogger. I don’t mind the occasional posting myself.

  17. Gillian permalink
    April 21, 2009 9:11 pm

    Whenever you post, I read. I rarely look at Ravelry unless I want info.

  18. sue permalink
    April 22, 2009 11:47 am

    I am in agreement with many others. Do not blog yet but have been reading your blog for a long time. I am first a spinner/weaver and then returned to knitting. (I also love the repitition of practicing my music) Yours is one of the first blogs I located that spoke in an authortative voice about spinning and weaving. I have really enjoyed this bog and while a member of Ravelry but not a digital camera owner yet I do not get as much out of Ravelry. It is enjoyable to just check and see if you have posted again. So as others have said, we read but if you are not enjoying it don’t post.

  19. Jan permalink
    April 22, 2009 7:39 pm

    I love your posts, your work, your comments on it, and the glimpse you give into your life. I am sorry I am such a bad blogger, and promise to post more often, not just the Big and Finished events in my fiber life, but the everyday progress of things (uncooperative camera and all). You and Mel and Sam are a real inspiration to me.
    And speaking of which…your sweaters are gorgeous and your spinning, as always, is awesome.

  20. Sam permalink
    April 23, 2009 12:53 am

    I suspect many more people read than comment, and I’m guilty of that myself! I enjoy seeing what you do, and am a worse blogger than you. I hope you stick around here. πŸ™‚ I enjoy your detailed posts, and it’s fun to catch up with you and Emmy!

  21. April 23, 2009 8:07 pm

    I am very much a lurker … but I like ur blog! πŸ™‚

  22. April 24, 2009 11:20 am

    I like Ravelry, of course, but the “slices of life” I get through the blogs are still my favorites. As you well know, your blog is on my short list of must-reads so I would definitely miss it if it went anywhere. I check it every day! That being said, if you’re not enjoying it, that should be the ultimate decision-making factor for you, fer sher. I don’t post to my blog as much as I used to for a variety of reasons, but every time I do, I still enjoy it as much as the first time so I keep slogging along.

  23. April 26, 2009 9:37 am

    Hi Caroline, I have to say I am in the same boat as you! I love showing what I am working on, however, the response is usually underwhelming to say the least. You have to do what is good for you! I am always floored with the amount of projects you have almost finished and I do read you, often, if not faithfully!

  24. April 27, 2009 12:03 pm

    Please keep blogging! I read your blog faithfully and admire the amazing work you do. I know it feels a big iffy–sending your thoughts out there and wondering if anyone is reading. (I am!) I love your Isobel and find this chance to see your projects so encouraging. I’ve got all the info I need to begin mine, except? I’m so overwhelmed in other parts of my life just now I’m afraid I can’t concentrate on it. I do have it in my “mental” queue though. Can’t wait to see how yours looks so I can anticipate mine. πŸ™‚

  25. April 27, 2009 12:37 pm

    I much prefer blog reading because I get much more information from blogs than Ravelry. To me Ravelry is a tool to be used, not a place I go hang out to see what others are doing. That’s not to say that you are now required to continue blogging, just that there are reasons why blogging is good, and as a reader, preferable to Ravelry.

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