Love your blog: Community and interactions

I love this idea from A Playful Day: Love your blog challenge! In the month of April A Playful Day will post a prompt for writing. This week it’s Interactions and Community. In my post I’m setting out some rules of engagement for myself to get more connected within the community in person and online.

A Playful Day

1. People first: Shrug off THE SHIES

P/hop stall
P/hop stall – This is Travel Knitter with version 2 of the stall layout. It changed all weekend!

I made a mistake at Edinburgh Yarn Festival. I didn’t follow my own rules:

  • People first
  • Experiences over acquisition

I had been volunteering at the P/Hop stall on Saturday when I wasn’t in a workshop. Time flew, but by Sunday at 12:00pm the urge to shop was insane. I went all around the stalls and had a grand old time. But I didn’t talk to many people. I got a bad case of THE SHIES. I even saw A Playful Day in a stairwell and didn’t even stop to say “Thanks for all those podcasts”, or maybe I did a nervous squeak: “hi” as she passed. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME? I went all that way and spoke mainly to people I know.

I did meet Louise from Knit British, but I could hardly form words because of the disconnect between a familiar voice and an unfamiliar face. I wanted to talk w her as one of my priorities for the weekend. Never happened.

I look at the photos I took at the event and wondered: Why didn’t I touch that? Why didn’t I ask about that? I sort of held myself back and poked around a bit. So sad and silly. A little close-up of my life. I made some great purchases, but at the end of the day, I felt like I’d spent the day shopping instead of meeting people. I totally missed the podcast lounge too.

I think there is some truth that no matter the apparently easy to access online interaction; it pales in comparison to in-person interaction. But in person interaction is hard. Hard stuff. I’m awkward and wonder if I’m saying the right thing. So I get THE SHIES and I keep to myself. That really has to stop. I know I’m not going to stop being shy, but I need to put myself in more situations where I will have the chance to interact.

2. Bridge the online generation gap

I think The Internet World has a sort of amnesia. If it’s not on the internet, then it’s forgotten. or – Did it even exist?

I nearly laughed recently when I listened to an interview with a young weaver, I don’t want to call it out, but it was a young weaver who said she couldn’t find anyone who weaves. There are buttloads of weavers. They aren’t online! They are in guilds, they have their own magazines, they meet at events, etc. Just because they aren’t online doesn’t mean they aren’t THERE or don’t exist.

Most of the people in my Weavers, Spinners and Dyers guild don’t seem to be online. Maybe a few use facebook, and one just joined facebook! But they don’t blog, they don’t use twitter, they don’t post pics of their work to Ravelry.

I think as a generation, if I’m in the first online generation, we need to connect to the previous generation of fibre folk.

Very few people are online and live their lives in social media. It would be nice if more people did. It would make it easier to communicate and promote events for sure. Maybe in bridging that gap we can help the previous generation get connected too.

3. Get out there

Having just gone through my stash, I mentally calculated how much I’ve spent on yarn in the last year. I can’t write the number down, but holy moley. If I had that money I could hop over to most of the yarn and fibre festivals this year without question. Travel Knitter keeps a list of the yarny/fibre events in the UK, it’s massive!

So – I think I need to apply my own rules: choose people and experiences first. Get out there, meet more people locally, go to events. Speak to people! Be brave and say more than a squeaky “hi”.

I’m looking forward to this summer. My guild does spinning demonstrations at sheep festival events. They sell a few wee things and show people the wonders of spinning fibre. I’m super looking forward to going to those events.

4. Get connected – virtually

Something totally crazy happened as I was writing this blog post. I began drafting the blog post, and I was originally whining “why is blogging dead, waaaa!” and started feeling like “what’s the point, who’s going to read this? why do anything ever!”

In the comments on A Playful Day’s challenge post, Estella said the same thing, ” is anyone out there listening? The efforts of bloggers and podcasters are sort of getting lost in the flow of detritus online. Had we all missed the boat??

I erased the whining first draft and thought: right what am I going to DO about it? This prompt was about “An Inspired 2015” not a whiny moaning “I missed the boat 2015, so don’t bother doing anything 2015.”

So I wrote my rules of engagement here, and came up with AN IDEA. I imagined a hub where I could gather all sorts of interesting people and things together: and host virtual gatherings to talk with others online, particularly fibrey spinning folks.

I could curate content from people blogging and podcasting and help them get readers. Marketing is something I love to do in my day job. And I was sort of badgering Knit British about Google Hangouts on Twitter a few weeks ago. She didn’t seem interested… So – Maybe I can try and set it up myself?

And boom: I literally just set up The Drafting Zone: An online zine about handspun fun yesterday morning.

Honestly don’t know why I started this right now, but there ya go! Well maybe I do know… I don’t blog about sad things here, because I want this to be a happy place. I think with the amount of illness and death happening in my family right now, I need a change, I need inspiration, and a purpose. And I think connecting to other people would help immensely.

Good on ya, A Playful Day, and thanks for the podcasts 🙂

26 thoughts on “Love your blog: Community and interactions”

  1. I wish I could go to my local WSD guild but they meet 15 miles outside the city and I can’t drive and to pay for a taxi there and back is prohibitive. I agree that there is so much wealth of knowledge out there. The knitting group I go to when I’m well enough has an incredibly experienced spinner and dyer and I’ve picked her brain an awful lot during my spinning journey. I agree that we are the bridging generation, the ones that do remember there was life before the Internet, but also know how to navigate the online world and embrace it.

    I would love to take part in Google Hangouts but the only UK one I’m aware of is the FO and Dye one at 9pm on a Saturday night, which is usually one evening both me and my other half sit down and watch TV together and I am nearly always crashed by 10pm anyway. I thought seriously about starting one myself but know that I can’t commit to something far enough in advance to let people know it’s going on. Have you thought about starting your own? I got a few people interested when I raised the issue on an episode, so if you decide you want to try hosting one, let me know and I can let those people know and possibly even manage to join you myself on a good day. Let me know if you decide to give it a go, even if there are only 2 or 3 to start with, it can be fun.

  2. I agree about the generation gap, there are many people in my local knit and spin guilds who barely use ravelry or facebook, but they’re getting more numerous. It’s really great to connect with other crafters in a more thorough way than a status update or tweet, so I don’t think blogging will ever really die. (If it did, I’d have nothing to do on my downtime at work!)

    1. Yeah – I hope blogging doesn’t die! Maybe it will morph into something.

      I hope some more of my guildies get online, and I’d like to help more. There’s so many ways it would help them promote their own work, events, etc. But in the end I want to connect in person more too. That’s why I’d love to do the live online events. FUN!

  3. Great post! Much of it feels really familiar. I did chat to a lot of people at EYF, but there were so many I missed and so so many I just sort of lost my nerve before I managed to say anything intelligible.

    I’m not a weaver, but I’m with you!! Count me into your fledgling fibre community:)

    1. Oh cool! I’ll have more news soon, as I just figure out how it will all work. You don’t have to be a weaver or a spinner. It will feature yarn making, but knitting, stitching, lace, all good! Thanks for stopping by 😉

  4. I loved your post. Thanks for giving me a name for The Shies! It’s so easy to get wrapped up in them (and so deeply annoying when it happens).
    I’m so impressed with your new community idea and the fact that you took actions straight away. I’m not a spinner but I think it sounds like a brilliant idea and I’m looking forward to seeing it develop. Hx

    1. Yeah it The Shies suck all the fun out of stuff. But I think with context and more facilitation, in-person events can pull people out and connect in a way that we can’t online. I’m super excited about it. More info coming soon!!

  5. This is a fantastic post, Heather! I haven’t fully gotten to clicking all the links as I am sick in bed BUT well done on the handspun zine – love the name and I look forward to what you continue to create!! Also, I’m with you on “waaa on one blogs anyhow” but funny how I think that’s starting to change again 🙂

    1. Aww! Thanks Rachel! I hope you feel better soon! I am inspired by your podcast. I really wanted to do video this year and set it as a resolution. But when I tried it was going to take so much longer with editing. So! I thought of broadcasting instead!

  6. Ooh can I join The Shies group? I’m not proud of it but at least now I’m not alone:)
    I loved your post and I’m definitely coming back to read some more. I have an event coming up on the weekend in my city that will have a lot of indie shops up. After reading your post, I’m raring to go and TALK to some of the people there. Usually, I would just go into a shop, pick up something I like and leave in spite of wanting to tell them how awesome everything in their shop is. This time I don’t intend to let things go unsaid. Phew, wish me luck!

  7. I agree about people not being online! I will admit that I’m always slightly surprised when my customers tell me that they’ve never heard of Ravelry, or don’t use youtube videos to learn techniques. Hopefully I’ve introduced a few of them to Rav! Love the idea for your new zine 🙂

  8. Wow! Fantastic post! So proactive & positive. It would be great to achieve some of those things myself 🙂

  9. Well said that woman! If the response to the Love Your Blog challenge is anything to go by there is a chunk oath online world that is about more than 140 characters several times a day!

  10. Wow! I could do with following every one of your suggestions! Thank you for such an uplifting pot, I’ll be back for more!

  11. This is such a great idea. I am a knitter, crocheter, but I want to learn how to spin my our yarn. (I’m sure I was born into the wrong time.) I would like to join, however I’m not sure about the time zones, I am in Canada, and think that I’m about 7-ish hours behind you. Not sure that it would work.

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