Karie Bookish Dot Net

Category Archives: Blogging

Crafternoons & Coffeespoons

Workshop season is drawing to a close with only a few classes remaining in 2015. The past few months have been fantastic but I am longing to spend time at home. Quite apart from a scary mountain of laundry and a suitcase still waiting to be unpacked, I also spending time with family and friends. However, I am already looking forward to 2016 which has some quite special things in store.

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I am incredibly happy to announce that I’m running two special workshops on Shetland Lace for Aberdeen Art Gallery as part of their Birth & Baptism season. I always enjoy talking knitting in a wider context and while my workshops are focused on teaching you knitting skills, there is a bit more to these workshops. You can book either a Beginner’s Class (where you’ll make a bookmark and also learn more about motifs, techniques and construction) or an Advanced Class (where you’ll try your hand at designing a hap shawl and also delve into construction methods, design decisions and history). It’s a series of classes I have developed especially for Aberdeen, so grab those tickets while you can!

On the subject of workshops, it was a real treat to be on the other side of the proverbial table last Sunday. I took part in a crafternoon at Glasgow’s adorable The Butterfly & Pig Tearooms in the city centre. The Crafty Hen hosted an event where we tried out various crafts using Laura Ashley craft kits. I really enjoyed myself – who knew that craft workshops were this relaxing when you are not running them?! I had a go at two crafts – decoupage and needle-felting. Shall we start with the abject failure?

Okay, there are no photos of me needle-felting and I have nothing to show for my efforts. I have tried needle-felting before and I am ridiculously awful at it. All around me, people were making beautiful things (Jenny made an incredible 3D bird in no time) and I was basically just stabbing an ever more sad looking 2D Christmas bauble (which looked more like an Easter Egg than a bauble). After around 25 minutes of crying into my fibre, I just gave up. Sorry.

But to my eternal surprise, I really enjoyed decoupage. Who knew it was super-therapeutic to tear up pieces of paper and use copious amounts of glue to stick them onto shapes? I could have decoupaged all day long, I swear. If only decoupage would keep my toes warm, it would be my new favourite craft. Pretty paper -> tearing it up without care -> glue glue glue -> result! What’s not to like about that? The kit contained some exceedingly beautiful paper – shades of duck egg, primrose, soft blues, and dusty pinks. As always I tried to match my outfit.


And I ended up with something that I think is pretty respectable for my first go at decoupage. I’ve posed the result on a crocheted hand towel made by my mum (who is really, really getting into her crochet). It’s all too adorable for words. I’ve actually gone so far as to check whether Laura Ashley does dress-making fabric as I’m mildly obsessed with the bird print you can see on the heart (answer: not yet which is good for my purse .. but it does come as curtain material which means a bag down the line?).

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So, craft workshops. Turns out they don’t always involve me travelling and dealing with piles of prep. Sometimes they just involve me trying not to glue myself to a table and how fun that was. The materials were gorgeous and pretty. I also delighted in meeting a lot of cool ladies (who were all so much better at needle-felting than I could ever be) and a gorgeous lemon/polenta GF cake served with copious amounts of tea. I need more Sundays like this.

Flawed Shawls – Responses to Knitting as Lifestyle

Thank you so much for all the insightful and thoughtful comments to my piece on why I worry we are slowly killing off the craft revival. I am going to highlight a couple of responses and then, perhaps paradoxically, I am going to respond to my own post.

Austen wrote about her own personal and professional experiences in Craft/Life and also linked to this fascinating blog post about similar(?) issues in food blogging (skip halfway down for the good bits). Heather took her cues from one of the many Twitter discussions and examined the representation of the Self in everyday knitting. Finally, Ellen wrote quite a meaty response in which she pondered knitting as a subculture.

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I have been mulling over my own response.

I am not sure where knitting is heading as a community but I worry we are starting to talk way too much about ‘personal brands’ and ‘lifestyle’ instead of talking about the actual things we make. I love the act of making something – seeing something come into existence because my brain and hands made that thing happen – and I love seeing what other people make. Making is an act of story-telling and it is a story so much more powerful than any photo of me holding a branded ‘limited-edition’ purse with needles sticking out. No, the branded purse photo does not exist but it’s the sort of thing I worry we will see emerging on social media a year from now.

(You don’t see this happening? That’s okay. I don’t think I would have felt the urge to write all this if we were already in this place. Like most future predictions, this is all about the paths we choose to take right here, right now.)

So, let’s talk more about making things. Make things you love, not because you think you should. Choose to make things because they will bring enjoyment to you in your life. Share the things you enjoy making and do so with pride. Making stuff is not a race and not a competition – everybody’s life is different and that is fine. Make only that which is beautiful and useful to you at the pace you find most compatible with the rest of your life. And if making something sucks, it’s okay to stop making it even if everybody else thinks it’s awesome.

(And if you do not agree with me in any of this, that is sort of the point too.)

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Yes, part of it also comes down to my personal struggle to think kind thoughts of myself. I have a strong streak of perfectionism in me and I never feel like anything I do has any merit (until six months later when I look back and am surprised by how nice something is). And this makes it tough to accept compliments. Louise once said something to me when I was having a bit of a wobble:

We are [all] like the shawl that gets admired and we cannot help but say – “Oh! but there is a hole here that you can barely see. I am showing you this because I made a mistake. Am I not a less accomplished knitter due to this flaw?”

This struck a chord with me because one of my pet peeves is when somebody comes up to me wearing a beautiful shawl they’ve knitted and then react to my compliment by pointing out all the places they’ve deviated from the pattern. I tell them to own the shawl they have made, to celebrate their accomplishments as a knitter and as a maker-of-things, and yet I do this knee-jerk self-effacement myself when people say nice things to me. Working on accepting compliments is on my list.

So, when I receive emails talking about “lifestyle branding strategies” – well, it weirds me out a bit. Partly because I am not sure why anybody would want lifestyle commandments from me and partly because I’m not really sure who I am. Life is an on-going process and we all contain multitudes – so why try to pin things down? Why not just throw ourselves into this wonderful mire we call life and try to muddle our way through? And maybe, just maybe, try to make sense of it all by making stuff (creating order from chaos!) and sharing our making efforts with strangers who may/may not become friends?

We are all in this together, flawed shawls and all.

Panic On The Streets of Glasgow: Over.

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If you tried to visit this site recently you will have noticed that a) you couldn’t connect and b) now that you can connect, some of the content is missing. The company that currently hosts this site had big issues with a server and finally recovered most of the site after nearly 24 hours. Most. I lost a couple of photos and about a month’s worth of blog posts. It could have been much worse. I once lost four years of blogging thanks to my Danish web host going bust.

So, I’ll be backing up data this Saturday morning and then knitting will commence. Phew.

Make It Work: A Chat with A Playful Day & Twitter Hangout Plans

I recently found myself chatting with fellow freelancer, occasional collaborator and good friend A Playful Day. As we were chatting away, we noticed that both of us were being asked a lot of the same questions. What’s it like to make your hobby your job? How do you make that happen? Can you help me make that same jump? We are both passionate about making the knitting industry the best it can be and somehow our little chat ended up with us making plans.

Plans? Plans. I’ll tell you in a minute.  First, let’s kick off all this by hearing from someone with .. a not so obvious job – Ms Playful Day.

IMG_4491You are A Playful Day – a podcaster, a blogger, an editor and a professional craft cheerleader among other things. How would you describe what you do?
The one question I find the hardest to answer is exactly this! In a nutshell, I freelance within the fibre industry as someone who supports and develops independent businesses. I see my work as very collaborative and strategic, working alongside designers, dyers and other creative types helping them fine tune what they do and communicate to as big an audience in a way that clearly tells their story.

Branding’ is a bit of a naughty word in this business – why do you think that is?
Possibly because it can be seen as restrictive, false or impersonal. I have found over the last few years that people who have a clear distinction between their product and who they are, tend to find the work life balance easier to maintain and can be much more critical about their success. They seem to get better at interacting with their audience and I think having a strong story that is easy to read is actually really empowering for Creatives as it means they can have clear boundaries and fine tune their inspiration across different projects. It is certainly why I strive hard to work collaboratively because most of all, a person needs to be empowered to determine their own story; I really can’t see that working any other way.

What’s a typical working week like?
I juggle the needs of my family with what I need to do in order to support designers and dyers. What this usually means is I’m on Skype or my laptop the minute my daughter is sleeping. This industry is full of people trying to grow their business around family needs, their ‘other’ job, health needs and so I’m in good company I’ve found! It means that there isn’t really an average week as I can be locked into a laptop creating press releases one week, then commissioning a new pattern collection or attending an event another week.

As a female entrepreneur in the fibre industry, what has been the most surprising aspects of starting your own business?
It’s been surprising how quickly I went from a background figure to someone that springs to mind for an exciting project. Initially I found it hard to introduce my role within the fibre industry. For some people, the idea of employing someone remotely to help shape their business seemed too alien and I was unsure how best to develop what I felt was an important role for independent businesses. However, the last year or so has seen something of a turning point with more willingness to promote good products and greater international collaborations. With it has come a rapid interest in the sort of work I do and projects that I’ve been working on which I’ve found a bit overwhelming. I’m suddenly a bit more visible than I used to be when really I’m happiest in my comfy jeans, plotting a great blog post or feature for someone!

journal 2You are so passionate about fostering relationships and collaborations. Part of that energy was channelled into Unwind Brighton where I finally met you (after all these years!). You were really, really busy behind the scenes but what struck me was that you were still trying to foster relationships and ‘make playful things happen’. Where does that passion come from?
Unwind was such a moment in time for me because it represented everything about the way I like to work; the standard was so high and everyone really pulled together and collaborated to bring something amazing together.

I just like to see talented people achieve. I really get a kick out of introducing a talented designer and dyer and seeing the end result and knitters going wild over it. I see how happy it makes others to get that feedback from a creative process and I want to do it all over again the next day.  This is an industry that deserves to thrive and be taken seriously as it’s all too often trivialised by the ‘hobby’ label. There’s a lot of people doing truly exciting and interesting things and I love meeting them, hearing their story and then helping it reach an audience. While it’s a hobby we love, business development is a very important thing and getting paid what you are truly worth is crucial.

Finally, you suggested taking that conversation and make it into a broader discussion.

I’d like people to come and visit A Playful Day to see you answering some questions and then we are taking that conversation further, out on to Twitter. Using the hashtag #makeitwork we will host a live chat to talk about how we make our jobs work and how we keep things creative too.

Yes!

A Playful Day and I have invited some key figures in the knitting industry to join us (and you, most importantly) for a Twitter hangout where we’ll ask – and hopefully answer – some of those recurrent questions. You will get to hear from editors, curators, designers, dyers, podcasters .. and many more. More information to come in the next few days over on the playful blog (where you’ll also get to hear details about my working life).

Some Thoughts on Blogging, Identity & Safety

Blogtacular led a discussion on twitter yesterday about online privacy and safety. I shared a few thoughts but want to expand upon them here.

Get coffee. It’s a long one.

july09 308I started blogging around 2001. I did not use my real name; I did not post pictures of myself and the only clues to my identity were these: I lived in Copenhagen, Denmark and I was female (I used the nom de plume “Ms Bookish”). My then blog was fairly straightforward: I mostly wrote about books and the contemporary literary scene. Around 2004-2005 my blog had become a professional tool and I was widely engaged in the literary blog scene working with publishers and authors. However, I was still completely anonymous.

And then I began noticing a pattern.

One particular blog commentator, Martin (not his real name), left comments on every single blog entry I made. After a few weeks he began sending me emails expanding upon the comments he had left me. So many emails. I didn’t read them after a while. Something felt totally off about the guy and, really, I was too busy.

Then I attended a blog networking event and Martin was there. He had presents for me and cornered me. How did he know I would be there? And how did he recognise me? I started to feel really uneasy. Martin started leaving seriously whacked-out comments on the blog and, creeped out, I decided to check my emails from him. Well, they weren’t good.

Martin knew when I had been out doing my grocery shopping and he had watched me bike around Copenhagen. It got worse: he wanted me to have a nervous breakdown so he could take care of me, he thought I had an artificial leg (and wrote in great detail about how my prosthetic turned him on), he thought I was leaving him clues on my web site professing my great love for him, and so forth. Gross, bad, awful stuff.

Then I came home to find Martin standing on the other side of the road. You can probably guess what happened next.

By now I had documented as much as I could. I had saved every email and screen-capped blog comments. I passed all this information to the police and stayed at friends’ houses while the police managed to sort things out. I know Martin got psychiatric help but apart from one letter (which his psychiatrist had told him to write) I never heard from him again. I was able to move on from the incident because I knew I had just been a random victim: Martin didn’t know me; he just knew I was female and I read a lot of books. Classic case of erotomania.

I learned some valuable lessons from this:

  • You cannot control how other people read what you write online. I had not peppered my literary blog with hidden clues for Martin to follow. That was his mental illness talking. I was not responsible for how he chose to interpret my posts.
  • It is very, very hard to stay anonymous online and there are many ways of finding out your identity. Martin got my name from somewhere (probably from looking up who registered my blog domain) and managed to track my address very quickly. He also had access to my financial records thanks to his job, so he could find out where I did my grocery shopping and where I liked to hang out. People also talk: my neighbours let private things slip to a guy who seemed nice and harmless. Things like the fact that I was single and that I was living on my own.
  • Document everything. I let some of our early interaction slip through my fingers which I regret as I may have been able to stop him sooner.
October 2011 014

Hello :) I’m Karie & this is what I look like.

And then I decided to take ownership of my identity. I began using my real name and posting photos of my face.

I had spent years trying to lock down information about myself online and had convinced myself I was keeping myself safe that way. In actual fact, the only real way to stay safe is to step out there and say “Hi, I’m Karie Westermann and this is what I look like.” There is freedom and power in that statement: it is my identity and (unlike anonymity) nobody can take that away from me.

Furthermore, when I hadn’t shown my face on my blog and Martin still recognised me, it was very scary and I felt utterly powerless. He knew what I looked like despite all my efforts. Nowadays I have my face splayed all over the internet  and it’s my choice. Occasionally I get recognised by someone who’s knitted one of my patterns or who follow me on Twitter – and I am totally cool with that.

Being a craft professional actually means that I write a lot more about my life online than I ever anticipated. And that brings me to another point.

For me, there are three spheres: private, personal & public. I keep the private sphere to myself – everything else may be blogged.

I don’t write about family or friends. That would be rude and intrusive. I write about some personal things – like the fact that David & I celebrated our 9th anniversary yesterday (and if you’ve kept an eye on the timeline –  yes, Dave played a big part in helping me deal with my stalker) – but I sift through them carefully as personal details can quickly get self-indulgent. And then there’s the public stuff like blogging about an event – where you should totally come say hello to me.

Interestingly the Martin story stayed off my blog for a very long time. I didn’t think it relevant material, though I did write a few pieces about cyberstalking for magazines. It was too private a story for many years and has only just recently become a personal story that I occasionally allude to. And now I am finally writing about it under my own name on my own blog.

Anyway, the best way to stay safe online is to act like you would offline. Oh, and keep in mind that the Martins of this world are few & far between.

  • Don’t announce where you will be on your own.
  • Don’t overshare.
  • Don’t post anything you don’t want the postman or your boss knowing.
  • Respect other people’s right to privacy
  • If in doubt, don’t do it/don’t post it.
  • What happens online can quickly spill into offline life.
  • Don’t forget you will always have an audience (even if you think you don’t). Act responsibly.

Paper Diary Days

WoodsI have bought a paper diary to keep track of my life. I usually keep track of things digitally, but I felt the urge to have everything written in ink on paper. It makes my life feel more tangible, more tactile. Right now my life is pretty much that of the mind: I write a lot plus I keep sketching and swatching for new designs. My brain is very fertile right now – but it does not make for great conversation (or indeed blogging).

I have been somewhat obsessed by indigo recently – that great, troublesome colour that is neither blue nor purple but somewhere in-between. Old Maiden Aunt does a great colour – midnight – and I have a skein of it in a dyelot that comes very close to indigo. I also have a skein of Assynt Lochs, a beautiful sportweight merino from Ripples Crafts. I look at the two hanks and I wonder if this is the beginning of a new colour obsession or whether indigo just reflects this odd in-between time which feels so intangible that I need a physical diary.

No Mood Indigo, though. It is all good. Decisions have been made and new directions are being mapped.

My Doggerland collection is coming on in leaps and bounds. It has been unwieldy beast, but I am getting there. It is all those tiny non-knitting aspects that have eaten up time. I have been fighting with the layout quite a bit and it has been a steep learning curve. I have been so used to writing long text documents that I find it a New & Interesting Experience to incorporate charts and photos. Of course I have published patterns before, but this is on a very different scale and of a very different complexity. Photo shoots have also been giving me problems as the weather has kept us on our toes. Still, I have been able tick off plenty of things on my to-do list and things are no longer moving at a glacial pace (pun intended).

People keep me sane. People keep giving me work. I like people. My paper diary once more comes to my rescue as I can flick through weeks with my fingers and the trailing pages tell me no, yes, maybe, no. And people understand.

And with peace of mind comes a creeping sense of bodily awareness. I live in my head so much that I neglect my body. My beautiful red bike was finally fixed this week. I revelled in taking it to my local bike repair shop which is owned by a kick-ass lady. Apart from fixing bikes (and selling refurbished vintage ones), she also sells vintage knitting patterns and 1970s vinyl records. No artisan beer or fair-trade coffee, but I bet you it is coming. I love my neighbourhood. I must remember to enjoy it more this summer.

Knitting. I must get back to it. It will be so good to finally show you all the things I have been working on. Not long to go now.

My Lifestyle Guru Disqualification

Online identity, knitting celebrities and internet jealousy. We have covered a lot here recently. I’m going to return to the discussion but first I want to share a slice of what it is all about (for me, anyway): knitting.

Doggerland Sneak Peek

This morning I cast off another sample for my Doggerland collection. I think I first mentioned the collection about a year ago – well it has been a long journey to get here and I’ll write more about this as I release the patterns. But I just love looking at this pile of samples (plus random bits of yarn). The pile looks so right even if the samples still need to be dressed and it is lacking a couple of core pieces still to be knitted.

I am getting there! Woo!

And I think that brings me neatly round to the topic that Fourth Edition has been circling around recently: success.

Some people want a big car. Other people want to be recognised in the supermarket. All of us want to be able to pay our bills. I have spent a lot of time thinking about success and how I define it. I like being able to pay bills, but I am definitely not concerned with driving a car or being stopped in the street. No, I really truly love when what I produce resembles what has been going on in my head. When my brain and fingers work together to produce something that stays true to the core idea and tells the story I want to be telling.

‘Story-telling’ was a recurrent word in the discussion. It is perhaps a post-modern conceit that we tell stories in order to construct ourselves but I think I do relate to my craft and my designs as forms of story-telling. I want to explore my Scandinavian heritage; the landscapes both inside and outwith myself and try to make sense of the world through knitting.

I somehow worry(!) that I hover between textile art and textile craft – that somehow my ideas are too absurd and abstract for the relatively simple pleasure of working a piece of string with two sticks. I have spent almost 12 months trying to nail Doggerland because it started out as a huge, unwieldy idea. When I showed my introduction to some friends, the feedback was enthusiastic but agreed that maybe I should try to be a touch more accessible.

And so I am here looking at a pile of unblocked knits and I feel so proud. To me, this is success.

And this is who I am: I design knits inspired by psychogeography, land art, and Mesolithic archaeology. I wear red and green together. I am quiet in public and most happy when I’m with just a handful of friends. I love early 20th century culture and T.S. Eliot is my favourite writer. And I think the Eurovision Song Contest is the best thing since sliced bread. All that combined pretty much disqualifies me for any position as a lifestyle guru. Also, I eat the cake as soon as it’s out of the oven.

Besides, the idea of a knitting celebrity is still weird. If the founder of Wikipedia has trouble identifying himself as ‘internet famous’, I think it’s fair to say that we need to re-assess the whole idea of internet fame. The internet is an awfully big pond.

What Would Happen If You Had To Be Yourself?

Something very cool happened in my comments section yesterday. A really interesting discussion started to unfold – people started to talk about the whole “yourself as a brand” and “performing yourself in public ” aspect of the craft/knitting business.If you’ve been reading Fourth Edition for a long time, you’ll know this is one of my major hang-ups as an indie designer and tutor. (I even wrote a long post about it as part of the work I did with Glasgow University last year).

I want to share some of the points made in the comments because I think they are asking some very important questions about branding, marketing, social media and (for a want of a better term) ‘cult of personality’. It may not be straight up yarn-related but I hope it’ll provide an interesting glimpse into what it means to work in the craft industry.

I was disquietened by her comments about the need to be positive all the time. Admittedly she is using herself as a brand and may want to keep back some stuff and have a private life. But the more we have this “you must always be positive” message around, the harder it is for us to be honest with one another about how we feel

– Stephanie of The Foggy Knitter

 

I find it’s very hard for me to come to terms with “personality as brand” and “public persona” but I realise that it is how the business works. I have struggled with this for a long time (how I would prefer to just lurk in the shadows!) but the podcast made me confront myself regarding this.

– Karie of Fourth Edition (that’ll be yours truly!)

 

I struggle all the time with the need to be a “public persona,” or a “personality.” Especially since part of what I do for a living is teach classes! There’s a certain online pressure to be this happy, successful person who can share all the secrets of success. But what I’d rather do is gather quietly in classroom spaces with my students, and give them my all. That doesn’t make for sexy marketing copy, though. :-)

– Sister Diane of Craftypod

 

That “have to be happy” is a pressure we feel from both the big, lovely craft bloggers (my gorgeous living room! My sleeping baby!), but we also feel it from the inside of our own heads! No one wants to feel like a loser…and telling the internet that you’re not perfect (in a space dominated by the perfect) is a quick way to loser-town. (At least, in my own head.)

(..)

At the heart of all this is *expectations*.
My expectations of myself. My reader’s/student’s/client’s expectations, and then all those expectations that I’m making assumptions about. Who even knows if they exist? But they certainly guide the way we act/present ourselves in this space.

Tara Swiger

 

The podcast gave me a lot to think about & the blog post has added more. I, too, struggle with the personal brand idea. I’m quite shy which may be why.

– Anniken Allis of YarnAddict

 

Not in the comments section, but on her own blog, Vanessa reflected:

I’ve found that acknowledging that I’m feeling envy and it’s probably unfounded helps me let go of that anger. Then I try to really analyze just what pushed that button. Once I get to the root cause, I look at it from all sides. Is this image that person is presenting the whole truth? What am I not seeing? A messy house, uncombed hair, other to-dos that fell to the way side. Those aren’t presented on the internet.

There is so much to unpack here but the central question has to be What would happen if you had to be yourself?

 

Knitting & Social Media – Reflections 2

This post is one in a series of posts extending the talk I gave at Glasgow University as part of the Handknitted Textiles & the Economies of Craft in Scotland workshop series.

Ms Bookish

Brand or person?

Social media and knitting are closely connected.

Knitting blogs gave young knitters a space to talk about their craft and enabled them to interact with each other. Ravelry is now the mothership for all online knitters nowadays: we interact in groups, we search the pattern and yarn databases, we amend database entries, we add photos of our knitting, we marvel at others’ creations, and we connect.  I use Twitter much more than Ravelry these days, though. Twitter allows me to schedule things, ask/answer questions, meet interesting people, and laugh/cry – and do all these things with ruthless efficiency and a great signal-to-noise ratio.

The trouble with having a visible social media profile is that you need to perform yourself in public.

Despite my online presence, I am an introvert. I find social interaction draining and difficult. I am much more articulate when I type than when I speak. I find a roomful of strangers quite daunting. As you can imagine, working throughout Wool Week has been simultaneously incredibly inspiring and immensely draining.

Social media is a fabulous way of branding yourself. I am not a natural marketeer and I find the “B” word a mite upsetting in some respects – but I view social media in two ways: it is a great tool for connecting with people and it’s a way of telling the story of your work.

But I am tired of Karie Bookish. Let me qualify that: I am tired of performing Karie Bookish. She is me and I am her, but I am exhausted. I love knitters and I love talking about knitting (even if I have a complex relationship with the practice) but I get so very tired of myself. After fifty minutes of working my bit of Wool Week, I wanted nothing more than escape and find a sequestered place far away from all social interaction. But how could I do that when I am essentially my own brand? I can see I will need to find a strategy for coping in the future, as I am due to work more big events and I don’t want to end up as burned out as I was Sunday afternoon.

(Strategies on a postcard, please).

When you are are so visibly your own brand, social media come with added responsibilities too. I have seen dozens of businesses crash and burn through ill-considered use of social media: bitching about customers, admitting to fraud, blowing off responsibilities or just coming across as very unpleasant individuals. Sometimes ignorant use of social media is worse than no use of social media: if you only tweet adverts for yourself and refrain from interaction, people will unfollow you. There is a reason why it is called social media. I tend to recommend that you set up anonymous accounts on social media sites in order to learn the relevant etiquette if you are completely new to this way of communicating – that way you do not have to worry about potential faux pas affecting your business.

Despite the many pitfalls, social media are important components in making knitting flourish. It has allowed charismatic, enthusiastic people to ‘spread the gospel’ of knitting not being a time-capsule craft. The new channels provide a way of interacting with other people who share your interest across the globe. Knitting is a craft that is very much alive and kicking – and thanks to social media you can find and interact with people who share your passion.

Addendum: I met a lot of fantastic people this past week – many of whom I had only met online prior to Wool Week. I was lucky enough to have a stall next to Helen of Ripplescraft at The Lighthouse – I can only recommend having Helen as your stall neighbour: she kept me sane and caffeinated. Fellow designer Joyuna and I had coffee in the middle of Glasgow on a sleepy Sunday morning – she’s just made the front cover of Interweave’s Jane Austen Knits 2012! And I met with book artist Josie Moore following Friday’s Glasgow University workshop. I took great pleasure in discussing William Morris over cream tea – I needed that.

Handmade Living

Handmade Living feature

Handmade Living landed on my doorstep this weekend. It is a lovely, accessible and crafty lifestyle magazine which encourages people to make a go at things themselves.

And (probably because I am the sort of person who likes to have a go at things herself) I am in this issue.

Handmade Living feature

There I am. Hello you.

Blogging (and micro-blogging on Twitter) may give you the impression that I am a bubbly extrovert person, but I am not. I am quiet, introvert and only truly relaxed when in a small group of friends. I am never very comfortable talking about myself – and giving the interview to Handmade Living was really difficult for that very reason. Like pulling teeth, I tell you. Luckily, the journalist was very patient and kept loping me some very good questions that made me relax and open up.

So, if you have arrived here thanks to Handmade Living: hello!

It is a funny old world. One day a girl may be in the depths of despair as her world tilts on its axis, then she decides to “make a go of things” out of sheer bloody-minded determination and a few years down the line, magazines ask her questions about herself as though she was somehow special or interesting. Yes, it is a funny old world.