I love talking to people who are genuinely interested in blogs and the web. Just before I left for France, Silje Vestvik from the local paper asked if I had time for a chat – it’s hard to fill the culture pages during summer, she said, and blogs seem really interesting. We had fun chatting, and it shows in the article she wrote, which is lovely, and certainly gives a pretty good idea of blogs. Well, to blogs the way I see them anyway.

BT's photo of meShe asked why people would blog, why bother, you know, and I pulled the old line about social writing and how we’ve always written diaries and liked communicating and blogs are both, but then the knitting metaphor came to me. I don’t know if I read that somewhere (seems likely) or whether it just came to me, but I really like the comparison. “Blogging is about doing just a little each day, and building something over time,” I say in the interview, “rather like crocheting or knitting.” You can follow a pattern or make up your own, you can talk about what you’re making with your friends, and the level of ambition can be as high or low as you like. Sometimes your creations won’t please you and you’ll unravel them or just hide them in a cupboard. Other times you’ll be surprised at how beautiful it turned out. When you knit a jumper for your lover you knit a single strand of your hair into each section, creating for a specific reader, binding him to you, though he may never realise the hairs are there.

In Paris I saw a beautiful crocheted shawl that cost a fortune. I didn’t buy it, but I think I might buy some yarn today. Caramel coloured, soft, fine wool, perhaps. After work.

10 thoughts on “blogging is like knitting

  1. Clancy

    I like it! But then again, I’m an avid blogger-knitter. That yarn sounds beautiful; I didn’t know you knit (or crochet?).

  2. Jill

    I used to. Everyone learns to knit and crochet at school here, but I didn’t really get into it until I worked at a nursing home for a summer. All the nurses and aides knitted. A lot. So I learnt, with plenty of excellent teachers. For a while I knitted quite a lot, jumpers mostly, even three-colour patterned once (Norwegian style, you know), and mittens and socks. I knitted lots of baby clothes for my daughter, and crocheted a lovely quilt for her. But it’s been years since I had the patience. Actually, I quit knitting when I quit watching television every evening, and of course, when friends who knitted became scarce. Knitting is wonderful to do when you’re with other people, talking or watching TV. It doesn’t combine well with typing, though.

    I’ve gotten so good at leisure though that I’m thinking I might be quite good at just sitting doing nothing, or watching a French movie, maybe, and crocheting. Crocheting is simpler, far fewer needles to keep track of.

    I didn’t buy yarn today though. I mowed the lawn and cut the hedge instead. Very satisfying.

    Clancy, do you knit while doing other things?

  3. Eivind

    I really like the metaphor, too – so natural and simple as it could be. And the article was pretty good as well!

  4. Jill

    Well thank you!

  5. Clancy

    Yeah, sometimes I bring my knitting along to coffeeshops (if I’m meeting friends. If I’m alone, I only bring reading.). I also knit while watching TV, just to unwind at the end of the day.

  6. LiL

    This is a gorgeous metaphor. Welcome back!

  7. sharon b

    Jill- I couldn’t agree more – I wrote something like this in response to an expression saying that blogging was like quilting or any textile practice and that a blog is always in process but never a UFO (unFinished Object)
    the post is here if you are interested
    http://inaminuteago.typepad.com/sharonb/2004/07/blogging_inch_b.html

  8. Francois Lachance

    IT would be quite the act of coordination to knit and use voice-activated input to compose blog entries, conduct research etc. etc. Thought it would be fun to consider how the metaphor could be stretched into a conceit: knitting terms mapped onto browswer control commands (dropping stitches is like cancelling download; knit one purl two …??)

    Don’t know if you can knit and search a multilingual online dictionary… http://www.wiseneedle.com/glossary.asp
    “tricot” for that French weave.

  9. Lars

    Yes, it’s an absolutely lovely metaphor, Jill. But it makes blogging sound so darn feminine, and it also reminds me of those awful knitting classes when the girls would create lovely little pieces of apparel while we guys came up with useless rectangles of painfully high-strung yarn — you don’t see a lot of men knitting in public, do you?

    How about “blogging is like gardening — creating a personal space made out of the living, growing, carefully nurtured material of language” or “blogging is like owning a vintage sports car — putting a lot of work into mechanics and polishing to enjoy both the sense of freedom and movement it gives and all the attention it attracts”?

  10. Jill

    There are lots of possible metaphors, aren’t there – probably next time I’ll try to include two oppositely gendered ones. Gardenings good – it has that same never-finished appeal. Actually, the blogs as garden metaphor is one of my favourites, too. Tom Matrullo wrote nicely about that a couple of years ago. Here, I blogged it. Kind of.

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