I’ve been thinking a bit about social media and how I share my joy of knitting on instagram. Given the important conversations about identity, diversity, inclusivity, and representation that have been unfolding in the knitting community, I find myself thinking about how i interact with others online and what my feed reveals about me (and what it doesn’t).
I started this blog last summer because I really wanted to document all the making I’ve been doing lately. It had been a hard year so I found myself turning to knitting and sewing a lot more. But I was starting to feel a bit uncomfortable about how often I posted yarn-related things on instagram, especially since I have a number of colleagues and students who follow me on my private account. (I am a professor and I sometimes still feel the pangs of imposter syndrome, despite being pretty solid in my career). And even though I love it when my friends post pictures of their yoga poses, makeup splurges, kids’ activities, whiskey collections, books, coffees, or fancy dinners, I worried that somehow me posting ALL THE YARN would be too much.
My solution, weird as it sounds now, was to just start a separate knitting account, one that will allow me to post at will without worrying if this made me look like an obsessed knitter. But the lovely people in my life followed me there, too, of course (haiiii algorithms!) and so now i have two accounts, no clear sense of separation, and a whole lot of confusion. Lesson learned.
My inner crew knows how much I love to knit. My husband is 100% a supporter (and never bats an eye about the size of the stash) and my kids, my daughter especially, are such cheerleaders for my knitting and making. But I do feel nervous sharing how much I knit with those who know me in other walks of life like my neighbors, my kids’ friends, my colleagues who I know from conferences, & high school friends who I haven’t seen in years.
I am in awe of the people who bring their whole selves to their feed, including their craft. Recently my favorite knitting blogger Dana posted about all the sweaters she’s made since she’s been knitting. 164! ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY FOUR!
I was impressed of course by the number but more so I was shocked by how easily she shared it with everyone. I was acutely aware of the fact that I did not want to make a similar tally of my making. Nope, nope, nope. Doing so would be an accounting (to myself and to the world) of HOW MUCH I KNIT. And that feeling stopped me cold. Why don’t i want to share this on either feed, even the secret knitting one? Don’t the people who know me already know this about me? What’s to lose by posting about it?
I like to knit. I knit for all kinds of reasons: anxiety, joy, boredom, solace and creativity. I knit at faculty meetings, hockey practices, the beach, the pool, in bed, on the couch, on the subway, at friends’ houses, in the car, on the train and on planes.
I am never without a knitting project. Usually socks. i make so! many! socks!
so, ahem, here goes: i’ve made eleven sweaters (Maggie by Kim Hargreaves, Candy by Kim Hargreaves, Scoop Neck Cardigan by Debbie Bliss, Isla Sweater by Kim Hargreaves, Oblique by Veronika Avery, Hayward by Julie Hoover, Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fetig, Honeyblossom by Yoko Hatta, Wee Owl by Kate Davies, Durumi by isabel Kraemer, Uniform by Madder made and I’m currently working on Wool and Honey by Andrea Mowry, with yarn queued up for a Solbein… maybe).
These are grouped into phases. There are the early aughts (the Rowan years!) when I first started knitting and made four of the thirteen. Then there is the dry patch when I got pregnant, had a miscarriage, was finishing my book, got pregnant again and had my son, was trying to get tenure, and then got pregnant again and had my daughter. I’d say there was about five years where there was no sweater knitting. There were some small projects… socks and baby hats got me through those years. (i started oblique when I was preggers with my son in 2009 and finished it in when he was six in 2015). And since then I’ve been on fire, knitting six sweaters in the past three years.
I’m also a keen shawl knitter. So far I’ve made seven shawls (Karis by Sharon Miller, two Birch shawls by Sharon Miller, pi Shawl by Elizabeth Zimmermann, Square Shawl by Elizabeth Zimmermann, Rosetta Tharpe Shawl by Kate Atherly, and the Oblique shawl by Melanie Berg). I think of these as my summer projects (per Elizabeth Zimmerman’s excellent knitting advice in the Knitter’s Almanac). Maybe a Coffee at the Grand for this summer?
I’m not sure how or if I’ll resolve the problem of my extra instagram account or not. Or whether I’m ready to talk openly about why I knit so much but for now it feels good to have made the tally! Here’s to eleven sweaters!*
*compared to 164, 11 feels positively restrained. The bar has been raised!