Sunday, August 20, 2006

on KAL's and Swaps

I've been blogging about my knitting and projecting for nearly a year. Bloggiversary is August 28, and I think I may throw myself a little party and give gifty favors to blog-friends. (that's an aside)
Anyway, I originally started blogging about my projects to try to get a handle on all the UFO's I had around, and provide some accountability for all the yarn and fabric I owned.
Unintended consequences.
There is so much creative energy and motivating influence around blogland that I quickly overindulged myself in projects. And while I cleaned up the UFO's that had been part of my previous knitting life (prior to blogging about it and becoming obsessed), I created a whole new body of work. I joined KAL's. I found Jannette and Cucumberpatch and then the LYS's here, and my stash increased geometrically. I bought bags of yarn. I joined more KAL's. I started knitting things I would not have chosen (orangina comes to mind). I knit the majority of several projects that then got frogged because I didn't like them (Union Square Market pullover, Tempting II)
USMP 1.9.06
I knit a whole sweater (which still needs seaming) from a pattern written in French, with the help of the Colchique Along. Colchique 3.22.06
I knit a whole Lady E and Finished it in the space of 14 days as part of Stephanies Knitting Olympics, and felt a part of the knitting community of the world.
I knit a lace scarf for someone in Australia as part of the International Scarf Exchange (the new ISE is up for this year if anyone is interested in joining) and rec'd an I-cord scarf from someone else in Australia. I swapped color based packages, Secret Pal packages, Bookswap packages, and Vacation based themed packages with others out in blogland, most of whom I really never kept up with, nor did they keep up with me. (notable exceptions are Kim and Jae, both of whom I've ended up with as colorSwap partners, but we were already friends, and the Knit the classics swaps).
However, as a result of some of the KAL's and Swaps, I met many of you whom I do keep up with - this is a wonderful thing. The rest of you I've met because I've followed your comments back to your blog from the people that whose blogs I read and comment on. And some of you found me. Thanks!
It's been an interesting year in blogland. I didn't at all really accomplish my goal of decreasing my # of projects and create a sense of accountability. I did succeed in making friends with a whole lot of really creative wonderful people.
Going forward, I'm taking a break from Swaps. I've met enough people out there that if anyone wants to swap some stuff, we'll just do it, without the structure of the anonymous thing. Notable exception will still be the Knit the Classics swaps, but those are limited to people I already blog with).
I'm also going to concentrate more on the knitting I really want to be doing, and not get lured into knitting something because everyone else is doing it on a KAL. (I really want to be knitting from Tudor Roses!)
This isn't to say I won't do anymore KAL's. I probably will. But I will do them only if it is a knit I really wanted to do anyway.

What's interesting to me is that several of you who read this blog have had a conversation with me indicating you too are wearying of some of the swaps, of some of the KAL's and are in much the same place.
In my next year of blogging I will continue to look to many of you for inspiration and extra motivation. I feel that so many of you who include me in this, the blog community, are so talented and giving adn fabulous and inspiring. I just want to continue to grow as a knitter.
And I will continue to write more sewing tutorials, and stay involved in Sew Retro.

you know who I miss: La Dolce Divas.
they were fun and funny arbiters of fashion, manners and etiquette.

I didn't start out to write this post, but this is what it ended up being. hmmm. Where are you in your blog-life?


Carrie K said...

Not knitting fast enough. Oh, blog life? Being mad at Blogger and Bloglines.

The Swaps are fun, but I think I'm giving them a rest. I'm bad with birthdays & anniversaries (as in, on time) and I really don't want to be a bad swap partner. I haven't joined many KAL's, Tudor Roses and a Fall Cable KAL, are about the only two I can think of. And you know how quick I've been on TR. To be fair, not getting the yarn for a few months messed with my momentum.

Happy Anniversary! A wee bit early.

Jae said...

Well, you know where I am. ;) I did join the ISE3, but only after 5 days of deliberation. I kept feeling the pull and decided that if I couldn't get it out of my head after 5 days than it was right for me. But, that will be my rule from now on - many days of thought before I join something.

Anne said...

Me too, me too, me too - can I join the "I'm tired of swaps and KALs A-Long"? ;-)

I really enjoyed ISE2, and SP7 and Sockapaloooza, but that's enough for me for now (although I am doing Sock Wars, but the set-up automatically means that that won't be overwhelming). I too have an ever-increasing pile of WsIP, and it needs taming. I also want to get more into designing (oh dear, that makes me sound terribly precious, but I'd love to get something published sometime). And my poor husband is beginning to get a bit plaintive about the amount of knitting I've done for other people, and none so far for him...

As for blog life? I need to spend a bit more time knitting, and a bit less time on the computer...

Marina said...

Ditto on a few things like Union Square. If there wasn't a KAL, I wouldn't have knitted it. Eris and some sock yarn were given away. Yarn for Mkt Sq bag was used for something else. I need to stop being so weak.

Now that I have knitted or am knitting the more popular Starmores, it's time to go back to the lesser known ones!

knittinbrit_in_wi said...

I'm with you. We discussed this at Stitches, and I think all three of us were feeling tired of knitting items that we didn't love. I have been ripping out some items over the past few days and reconsidering others.

BTW, you look beautiful with the lady E in that picture. Hey everybody, didn't I tell you how classy Marji was?

I think that Jae, you and I, all narrowed down our passions in knitting while away and are better focused.

Saying that, I did like the idea of something from Tudor Rose KAL for the fashion show next year.

Brigitte said...

Hi Marji, I actually started blogging because I felt it would keep me in line - and prevent me from knitting the projects that went *nowhere*! Now I concentrate on only the projects I want, and I know I have a great community of like-minded knitters to support me. Which is why I joined the Tudor Roses KAL - it's a project I wanted to work on.

I'm pretty much a "loaner" in my Knitting Community here in Toronto - marching to the beat of my own drum "knitwise" will do that! But, I do have, as I've said, a group here in Toronto (namely Lorraine and Anne) to keep me focused. (The owner of my LYS didn't even know who AS was...*shudder*...)

I'm a lucky girl to have found my niche - and glad I came across your blog as well. Looking forward to your next year of entries!

rebecca said...

Very thought-provoking. Thanks for redirecting me to your blog!

Wendy P. said...

I love your Lady E picture! Stunning! Congratulations on your blog anniversary. You are one of my favorite reads.

Knit and Purl Grrl said...

Can you send me a link to your etsy store so I can link up?

AR said...

Happy Blogiversary!! You've been busy this last year. That is a great pic of that Lady E. I need to get my poor neglected projects in order. I'm afraid to put up progress bars, because they'll take forever to move. You're inspiring to read. Thanks!

Jennifer said...

Happy Blogiversary!

I'm still liking the swaps, but the KAL's... yeah taking a break from those. I don't want to be constrained on what I knit.

Lynne said...

This is a good post, Marji. We can get so caught up in blogland, can't we? I have felt much the same way, and that's why I really wanted to do a swap that was a bit on the different side with COlorSwap. I was thinking too that after having overloaded myself with swaps (which, for the most part have been great, but I also find myself with some things over the years that I hope someone I may send a swap package to would appreciate more than I...I'm so terrible that I just said that!) I am streamlining. I join knit alongs, but don't follow them with the expectation of finishing them in an alotted period of time. It's more to see what issues others are encountering with the same project, and, for the button, I must confess! I have found myself in positions of knitting socks which I really don't like to knit, or wear, for that matter! Not that I mind knitting a pair of socks for someone else to enjoy, mind you. It's just that I feel the need to be a bit more discretionary about my engagement in those kinds of things so that I maximize my potential for knitting happiness. For others, the swap and kal thing may be just what does bring them knitting enjoyment. I've said a lot, I've said too much, but I do love reading your blog, and your Lady E is fabulous...I think I have to have one!!!!

Donni said...

Ahhh the double edged sword of Swaps. It's like a new yarn purchase/whim isn't it. Oh! A new swap! I Must do it! I've signed up! Buggar! Now I have to send something! And have to wait and wait and wait...sometimes for nothing, sometimes for something that makes you go Ahhhhh....and sometimes you just wonder why you said yes.


The flip side is meeting people like you and Jae - through the ISE2....

I am looking forward to our little personal swap...think that will be the way to go.

Also - you and Jae have motivated me too - not to be so frantic about knitting everything and choosing my projects.

DeeAnn said...

Wow, see, I knew I liked you! Great post, I joined your KAL because I was already knitting two Tudor Roses projects and doing so with like minded individuals seemed very nice. I joined the Kepler KAL last year because the sweater style is perfect for me and Amy is a dear friend. I did a sock swap right after I learned to knit and sent the second pair (or thing for that matter) that I ever knit in yarn I hand blended from select raw fleeces and spun myself, to a woman that just moved to Fair Isle - and boy do I wish I had those puppies! I know, I'm so bad. I tried the KSKS swap since it sounded neat and I was punch-drunk on the computer too late at night. I will probably never join anything that is current or popular - those styles almost never look good on me and I don't like the frenzy. But something like the TR KAL feels more like a report in from your living room than anything else. And I'm a Starmore junkie so I'll hang out knitting some fair isles, designing a little and indulging in some of Meg's great socks :)

Happy Blogversary! You made me realize it's my Knitversary - I'm a whole one knitter year old! We have to toast - Cheers to you!!

Paula said...

Happy Blogversary!
That is so great you have been blogging for a year! Doesn't feel like a year does it?
I have really enjoyed reading your blog and also your friendship. Your energy inspires me.
Although since I have been in blogland I too have experienced overindulgence too in so many neat projects from all those creative energy bloggers out there with KAL's. LOL! Oh if I could just finish them! Oh well!
(Hehehehe, Aug. 28th! that is so cool that is your blogversary!
It is my birthday that day too!)