Knitting Lists: Online Communities and Comraderie

I belong to a number of knitting lists. I think they provide a valuable service to the knitting community and I generally enjoy them.

Of late I find myself having less and less time to peruse what is going on out there though. Generally I find that I mostly lurk, as I am on digest and the topic generally has passed by the time I read the digest. What this means for me is that I end up not being personally invested in a list, which means that due to my own lack of participation I don’t feel like I really belong.

One more battle for my day that I just don’t have the energy to fight. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t view it as a war or anything negative. I enjoy the online friendships that I see, and the ones that I have participated in. I am just saying that if you don’t (by your own choice and actions) participate much, you are not really “known” by others on the list, thereby making you (by your own fault) somewhat of an outsider.

It is the effort necessary to overcome that on the several lists that I belong to, that rather makes my already somewhat weary mind want to groan.

When my sister and I were growing up, we always had the same circle of friends. Being a year and 4 months apart, with similar tastes and interests, made that an inevitability. I was always known as the one who was outgoing. Typically what happened is my sis kind of held back a bit at the beginning of relationships while I was more outgoing. As we got to know the individual more, I would become more quiet and laid back and my sister would become more vocal.

You see, I am quite content to hang out in the background, but I still like to interact. Not having that getting to know you phase in person makes this style of interaction more difficult though, because there is not that give and take at the beginning where relationships are developed and you can then slip into that companionable hanging out and watching what is going on kind of phase. That doesn’t work too well online. If you are not chatting there is no other interaction. Body language cannot communicate that you are engaged, and on digest things are not happening in real time.

So, perhaps what I need to do is to be more selective. Whittle down the number that I belong to so that I can interact on the ones that I stay on.

For a designer, I have heard different view points regarding belonging to lists. “It is important to get your name out there”. “It is important to have a feel for what is going on in the knitting community”. “It is a good way for knitters to get to know you” (well, that requires participation, does it not?), and “It is a good way for knitters to be aware that you are a designer”.

My personal view point on all this is that you should belong to a list because you have a desire to interact with others with similar interests. While there is some merit in the different points mentioned for designers, those should not be the primary reasons we belong to lists as designers. I was, after all, a knitter before a designer. And the reason I am a designer is because I like to do my own thing.  Since I am a creative person it is a natural extension of whatever I am doing. I love to cook and have a couple hundred (at last count) cookbooks. Unless I am baking I rarely follow the recipe to the letter. I take off on my own tangents.

One of the things I love about being a designer is that I can share that creativity with others. I love the design process, and being able to share that with someone who loves to knit is a win win situation.  In the end, I think that is what makes online communities, when you find one that you enjoy, so great. You have that interaction with others who enjoy the same things.

What are some of your favorite online communities for knitters? Currently I belong to TechKnit, Indiana Knits, Traditional Knitting, Knit Design, Knit Publishing, Knit Teachers, Lace Knitters,  AK Designers (Association of Knitwear Designers list for members), and others. I belong, all in all, to 13 lists. No wonder it is overwhelming!

There are a number that I belong to for designers, and others that are not business related.  I might drop the teaching one, as I do not teach a lot. I teach from time to time and enjoy it, but cannot picture myself traveling and teaching like my friend Beth. Beth is a wonderful teacher. If any of you are fortunate enough to take a class from her (Beth Brown-Reinsel) you will enjoy it.

Anyway, I have some knitting to do so I will close this for now. I hope you are all having a good day. I will be posting pictures of a new design soon. LaMancha is being sent off to my tech editor this weekend, and as soon as I get that back I will be posting a design discussion on that. Also I will be posting about my new Grandson, Ian Andrew Waggoner. Born to my stepdaughter Erin, who is a very good knitter (Hi, Sweetie!) and her husband Andy. Andy is in the Air Force and was just promoted Staff Sergeant.  Lots of news to share, and pictures to come.

Peace and Knitting, JoLene Treace


One Response to “Knitting Lists: Online Communities and Comraderie”

  1. Erin (AKA "Sweetie") Says:

    Hi! (And yes you better put some pictures on this. I’m tired of waiting!)

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