Your purl side is showing

I lost it a little bit on Monday night when I realized that my biggest secret project (Ravelry members only link since the recipient isn’t a Raveler) looked too small. I swatched, and even blocked my swatch, but it was nagging at me. When I measured the center panel it was 9 inches, rather than the 11 the pattern said it should be. There’s no way that was going to block out that much wider without some serious yarn stretching. So…I ripped it all out. I had about 7 inches of the back done. It was painful. Nothing to do but cast on again with bigger needles. Sigh.

Toddler socks? Love them. I forget how quickly they go, and I didn’t have any stitch markers on hand at work on break when I got to the heels. Turns out that paperclips are great substitutes. Heel turns also happen in about 5 seconds on these. This is my pattern, using Madelinetosh sock in Turtle. I could never find the right adult-size stitch count socks to avoid massive pooling in this colorway, but they seem to be working well on the 1-3yr version here. I’m not sure whether I’ll use this yarn all the way up the cuff, or switch to some leftover Colinette Jitterbug in Velvet Oliveturtle

I just finished the chapter in Clara Parkes’ book The Yarn Whisperer, called “Public/Private.” I love all of her metaphors for how elements of knitting apply to other parts of life. Her writing is incredibly clever. If you’re considering some non-fiction and you’re a knitter, this book will probably be dear to your heart. I know this is a book I will re-read many times over the years. In this particular chapter, she connects “right side” and “wrong side” of knitting to our public versus private selves. She discusses how we all possibly show much more of our private selves through self-revelation online. One of my favorite lines from this chapter is, “It’s getting hard to tell if we’re viewing someone’s smooth stockinette facade, a genuinely vulnerable bumpy backside, or a new kind of reverse-stockinette-stitch fabric that’s a highly edited, fictionalized version of our true selves.” It’s something to ponder. In most of the blogs I read regularly, the content is mostly about a specific topic: knitting, or food, or sewing, etc. People don’t get hugely personal that often, but there are always touches about their lives. Most balance this very well.

Occasionally I come across posts or reveals in my Facebook feed (much more often there) that are so passive aggressive or painful, seemingly aimed at someone that should just know who they are. I never know exactly how to respond, but I usually just ignore things like this and move on. These things seem to qualify as the “genuinely vulnerable bumpy backside,” but the communication is so indirect I don’t know how it can be effective. Sometimes we come across as completely polished and perfect, showing our reverse-stockinette selves that are highly honed. I think I’m guilty of this at times, not showing knitting until I can get the perfect picture for the blog or having to re-take pics because I don’t like the way I look. I’ve also deleted some old old posts on this blog that I felt were too highly personal (my purl side was definitely showing) or could be frowned upon professionally. Don’t worry, they weren’t knitting-related anyway. In a time when potential employers demand Facebook passwords, what we put online about ourselves deserves scrutiny. It’s hard to find this balance. I have to think about being myself, while also considering how future employers or clients might view me if they stumble across my blog. Our notions of privacy shrink daily as we highly customize our lives, but I’ll never try to go off the grid like Ron Swanson.

Long post! Phew! Last day of my 30% off sock sale using the code SOCKTOBER. Happy Socktober!

11 thoughts on “Your purl side is showing

  1. I looked at the biggest secret project you’re working on and omg that’ll be awesome in that colorway! Way to go you! The recipient will certainly love it for years to come. I hope to be confident enough in my future knitting to work on such a project.

  2. Love the secret project too! I’m not that advanced a knitter… yet but I’m working on it! I also have used paper clips (in a pinch) as stitch markers and they were quite satisfactory. I try to keep one attached to my keychain for just such a crisis but when you need more than one…
    I will definitely check out the Yarn Whisperer too! Love your blog. I look forward to every post!

  3. This is a really interesting topic! I used to keep a blog waaaay back in college that was not knitting related, just a general life blog, and I cringe at the thought of going back and reading it. I did it because my friends were and it was a way for us to keep in touch/up to date but it’s definitely one of those things that is better off disappearing… but nothing online really goes away.

  4. This is why you started early, right?

    I find the balance of how much to share about my personal life is getting easier to find. I’m happy with a certain amount coming through, but I’m conscious of where I draw the line and also where others draw the line (hence, using just L to refer to my partner).

    I have Clara Parkes’ book on order, and I am so excited to read it – so far, I’ve loved everything she’s done.

  5. thank you so much for this recommendation! I’ve got to write my wish list for my birthday soon, so I’ll look it up …

    I love what you write about showing personality online and especially on your blog. Although loads of people use the internet on a regular, daily basis, we tend to forget that whatever we write GETS PUBLIC and, in most cases, cannot be taken back again (as in the meer people song in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: ‘To late, it’s gone, it won’t come back …'”) …. Sometimes, I think that I exaggerate on the privacy part (that’s why there are no pictures showing my face on my blog or somewhere else), but that’s what I’m comfortable with.

    Oh, and btw: My sympathy for having to rip out so much!!!

    Have a great day! 😀

  6. I feel your pain with having to rip back a lot of work to start from the beginning. I recently had to reknit an entire sweater for my man because it was huge, even though I swatched and re-swatched!

    Good luck picking it back up again 🙂

  7. That excerpt was so true and I too edit myself online, just as I would in public. I’ve moved to almost all knitting posts lately and was just thinking yesterday how I need to get back to varied photography and more personal thoughts since the whole point of the blog was to document my life in a not-too-deep way. My issue has been a very difficult time of transition in my life with aging relatives I care for. I’m sick of thinking lately. I keep putting off reflection for a day when it won’t bring me down to do it. Ha! Maybe these thoughts just needed to germinate. Anyway, I’ve enjoyed your thoughts here.

  8. Interesting post! It’s hard to strike a good balance between editing too much and revealing too much. I think I tend to show my projects warts and all without really getting too personal. Not sure if that’s the best approach, but I just don’t always know how much to say about my real life! I definitely appreciate blogs that feel authentic rather than “airbrushed”, you know what I mean?

  9. Pingback: Hugo is back | knit the hell out

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