I recently passed my one year blogiversary. Of course I missed the big day (just keeping up my role in the universal… to be perpetually late…), but it’s still close enough to mark off the event. And of course how does any introspective, naval-gazer mark off important events? With personal writing that you, my three readers, have to sit through. Gee, how fun for us all, right? How has blogging changed my life? (Not to be melodramatic or anything there…) What have I accomplished by blogging? What have I learned? What have I enjoyed? What will keep me doing this for another year?
I’ve tried to explain the blogging concept to many a friend and while I think it sounds gloriously fun, I get the feeling that most walk away thinking I’ve gone off the deep end with this knitting thing. Granted, this is true, but still, one must ask the question, why blog, when you could be knitting?
As far as the actual outcomes of blogging, it’s been good for my finishing motivation, which is sometimes woefully lacking. There’s a bit of excitement when I get to post about a finished object which propels me to zip through the boring bits. And then there’s the sense of community that many bloggers have written about. Of course there’s the housekeeping part of it which appeals to my inner organizing guru. As you saw in my Amazing Lace challenge, I have a tendency to forget to write things down… like what needle size I’m using when I rip the set out to start on another project. Oops.
But the greatest personal reward in blogging has been in developing my sense of creativity and a validation for the work that I do. No, I’m never going to design the hottest new project or knit the object which causes jaws to drop on keyboards everywhere, but I’ve been truly inspired to do what I love to do… create beauty where I can. Yes, my knitting is probably more “craft” than “art,” but by always looking for the next picture for the blog, I’m noticing beauty in unexpected places. I’ve always been one to notice beauty, but by blogging it, at even just thinking that something would be great blog material, I’ve made myself look a little closer at my world. And not just look, actually get my hiney up to grab the camera. Somehow if you pose a scarf on your porch ledge and take a whole slew of pictures of it, it becomes more than just the product of a hobby. While my pictures aren’t design magazine quality, the challenge in coming up with a decent shot forces me to stop and think about the details, the colors, the textures of what I’ve made. Blogging seems to give worth where I too easily dismiss my interests as mere procrastination.
The payoff for this elevation of my hobby, at least in my own eyes, is that I’ve really gotten back to thinking about what is important to me. Sometimes I feel so small in the face of the problems of my life or the greater problems of the world, I feel like one little person with her nose in a book probably makes no difference at all.
If I had to describe my personal philosophy, it would be that oft-cited passage from the end of Middlemarch:
But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculaby diffusive: for the growing good of the world is not so ill with you or me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.
I’m still pretty sure that my knitting doesn’t really improve the world, but the point of including this philosophy here is that it’s all about the small, the local, the insignificant. I don’t want to be the next famous knit designer or blogger. I’m perfectly comfortable looking at a pattern in a magazine, making a few adjustments to suit my taste, yarn budget and knitting expertise and knitting for pleasure, following the directions while I enjoy the sunshine on my back porch. I’ve written about this before, but this year has really been about accepting being average (or wherever I happen to be the continuum of knitting, running, writing, and so on) and realizing that I’m happy there.
I’ve heard through the grapevine that I can be a bit of a stressball. Really, can’t imagine that to be true, but I suppose the clenched fists and teeth grinding have to come from somewhere. I may just be a wee bit susceptible to the pressures of work, work, work and those pressures don’t make for a very happy camper. I sometimes look at the blogs and get angry. “How do they have time to do all these great things? Why can’t I be crafty and fun? It’s not fair! Why can’t I be as talented as they are?” And then I write a post. No, I’m not knitting as much as the superstars nor am I throwing out super impressive projects, but I am knitting. Creating beauty is a priority for me, maybe even a greater one than being successful in the traditional sense of career, esteem and monetary gain. Blogging is my little chance to celebrate the silly things that make me smile. The pleasures of merino wool… funky fabric colors… the thrill of a project that works… the comedy of a failed project… It’s a reminder that I am taking what I have in terms of time, resources and talent and making the most of it.
Sure, blogging occasionally brings out the competitive side in me, wanting to post a picture that others will appreciate. My competitive side is rarely about other knitters, but about the ideal that I often see on the blogs and wanting to push myself to be better. Yet as I’ve been growing more comfortable with my own limitations, I’m also more comfortable with my blog being just so-so, something that I want to work on and improve, but also something that is just fine not being perfect. I don’t have time to knit every pattern out there or try every yarn. That’s fine. I have a lot of written and photographic proof that the past year I’ve done a lot of pleasurable crafting. Maybe my life will never be Martha Stewart perfect, but sometimes within the frame of my blog picture, I can aspire to a few square inches of charming beauty.
Anyway, it’s been a good year. Happy blogging to all and to all another year!