thoughts on blogging, and listicles

I remember that when I started blogging about 11 years ago (!) lists were very popular. Five on Friday, 10 Things About Me, 100 Things About Me, 10 Things I Hate, Random Tuesdays...I've always thought lists are a fun way to get several ideas across without worrying about narrative flow, plus long paragraphs (which I am totally guilty of writing) encourage readers to skim.

I remember one prompt in particular from when I first started blogging, that went something like this: 3 Things I Have But Do Not Want, 3 Things I Want But Do Not Have, and 3 Things I Do Not Have and Do Not Want. That was fun to write. It was, however, at least a decade ago that I wrote it, so I don't remember the items on it.

Since those days, blogging has gotten a lot more visual. The ease of digital photography and posting pictures online is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, ordinary people can take beautiful photos and share them relatively easily. On the whole, I think this is a positive thing.

On the other hand, the emphasis on visual content encourages people to present an unrealistic, photogenic version of their lives that is essentially unattainable. (The words "curated" and "aspirational" come to mind.) I've noticed that to counter those dreamy photo feeds, some people feel obligated to point out that they are imperfect, too. Their toddlers throw tantrums. They have dirty dishes cluttering the counter. Sometimes they get take-out in the middle of the week! I guess that's keeping it real? I only wish my biggest failing was dirty dishes.

But I digress! This post was supposed to be about the lists of days gone by. In homage to the listicle, I present the following, a list of lists:

3 Things I Love to Knit All the Time:
  1. Plain socks. I have several books of gorgeous sock patterns on my bookshelf, but they go mostly unused because there is something so soothing about knitting a plain tube that will fit on your foot with just a little extra magic.
  2. Cables. I just can't get enough of them.
  3. Baby knits. My niece turns a year old in a couple weeks. I'm preparing a package of handmade goodies to send. 

3 Things I Have Knit Once and Will Never Knit Again: 
  1. Toe-up socks. That may have been before I even had a blog, and I hated everything about that project. The provisional cast-on was fiddly and confusing, the fit was loose and baggy, and the bind-off was too tight. I'm a top-down sock girl all the way.
  2. Sleeves two at a time. I don't really have problems finding the motivation to finish a second sleeve, so doing both at once doesn't put me at any particular advantage. Mostly, the yarn gets tangled.
  3. Intarsia socks. Surely I don't need to explain why I only did this once.
3 Things I Have Never Done, but Would Like to Try:
  1. Steeks. There's no good reason for why I've never cut a steek! I guess I just need the right project.
  2. Crochet. It's not true that I've never done crochet. I think I crocheted a couple doll blankets when I was a kid. I don't know how to read crochet patterns, though, and I'd like to be able to make Christmas ornaments and chunky coasters. That's it, really.
  3. Video podcast. Actually, I'm waffling on this one. Watching knitting podcasts on YouTube in the evening is how I unwind from the stress of my day and distract myself from the news. Some days I think I want to jump on the bandwagon and do a podcast too so I don't feel left out, and because it's possible I might come up with something interesting to say. What's holding me back is mainly the time it would take, time that I'd frankly rather spend knitting or writing.
3 Things I Have Not Tried, Nor Will I Ever:
  1. Magic Loop. That just looks like hell. Give me DPNs any day.
  2. Mystery KALs (knit-alongs). I don't do well with KALs to begin with, and I'm too much of a control freak that not knowing what I'm about to knit is distinctly unappealing. Better to wait until the MKAL is done and buy the pattern if I like the final projects enough.
  3. Sock Yarn Memory Blanket. These things are all the craze in podcast-world, but they're just not for me. I don't need to feel sentimental about all the socks I've knit, for one thing, so there is no sentimental appeal. Also, all those multi-colored yarns thrown together in one blanket is just...clown barfy too much.
3 Things I Don't Love Doing but Do Anyway Because It's Worth the Effort:
  1. Weaving in ends. This is, in my opinion, the most tedious part of finishing. I don't mind seaming, and I quite like blocking; both are rewarding and show a big difference before and after. Ends are just ends. Blah.
  2. Knitting thumbs. I don't know why I dislike knitting thumbs on mittens so much, because they go fast. It's just fiddly to be working in the round on so few stitches.
  3. Joining the body and sleeves on a bottom-up sweater knitted in the round. This drives me crazy because everything is so loose and floppy on the first few rounds. Also, the sleeves stretch out when you try and get everything on one needle. I've started using two circular needles and putting exactly half the stitches on each so that the sleeves don't pull so much, and that really helps. 
3 Things I've Learned in the Last Year:
  1. German short rows. I learned from this tutorial. Total game-changer.
  2. Afterthought heels. Thanks to Susan B. Anderson's SOS pattern, I have discovered an alternative to short row heels for self-striping yarn. Actually, I've only completed the one heel but I'm on my third pair of socks with this pattern, so I'll have to do a marathon heel session pretty soon and then I'll have a whole bunch of new socks just as winter is ending. Hooray.
  3. Beads on knitting. I put beads on my Winter Wander Shawl and it was excellent. I need to do more of this.
3 Things I Never Buy:
  1. Project bags. I just sew all my own. And sometimes I just use plastic grocery bags when it's more convenient. In fact, I have 3/4 of a pair of mittens (sans thumbs, of course) sitting in one of those generic "Thank You" grocery bags, probably from the corner grocery.
  2. Stitch markers.  I have the plastic Clover ones that look like fat little safety pins and they work just fine. 
  3. Speckled yarn. This may change. 
3 Things I Buy All the Time:
  1. Scissors. It feels like I can never find scissors when I need then. I finally got a whole bunch of pairs and placed them strategically around the house and in various project bags. I think I'm all set, finally.
  2. Needles. I literally have a gajillion knitting needles and I just bought a whole stack of fixed circulars from Fringe Supply Co. in 16" and 24" lengths. They arrived yesterday and I've already used a couple on a sweater I'm working on for my niece. I like these needles a lot, but I'm not ready to say they're my new favorites. Not yet.
  3. Yarn. Duh.
Anyone else care to play?


Whatzitknitz said…
my Mom hated mitten thumbs too. by the time she got to the thumb she was already to start the next project. the last year of her life I found so many almost finished projects. while we sat together in the evening I would finish thumbs while she started a new hat on circular needles. sometimes I would finish the hat decreases so she could knit a new color. we had a huge garbage sized bag of knit items that visitors would root through when they came to visit.
I grew quite fond of thumbs and the knit nights we shared.
gay said…
This is too many questions for me but I will say that I look forward to trying the german short rows, thanks for the suggestion and I didn't think about steeks when I cut my sweater that was too wide in the sleeves but I will try it now for a more finished seam. Again thanks for the idea! I love magic loop and don't think I remember how to use double points! I also love intarsia but have never and will never try making intarsia socks or gloves and that includes mittens! I have also never made fingered gloves and most likely never will! What I love most about knitting is trying new things, new techniques, new to me stitches but this is probably why I also rarely use my sad. I recently made a baby girl sweater and it was so gratifying, need to knit more baby girl things! Love!
Julie Crawford said…
I'm with you on the cable love.. I've never steeked either! I don't actually understand why it would ever be necessary- I don't find doing colourwork on the wrong side no big deal. I never watch podcasts- they are my least favourite way to get my knitting content fix! I've thought about doing one as well, but only for a very specific thing, not just a general knitting podcast. But I need another knitter to help, and I oddly don't know a lot of knitters in Toronto with flexible schedules! Strange, right?

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