Ask Poops, Please

Putting my two cents in.

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Location: Belmont, New Hampshire, United States

Born and bred in a small New England town, I am convinced that I know something about everything, and that my opinion matters. If only to me. Well, you'll see what I mean. And I love to knit, so you'll see what kind of things I'm doing when I should be vacuuming the living room.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Don't Know If I Should Show This or Not...

Since I started this blog, I've never really given much thought to posting pictures of stuff I've made. That was the point of the whole exercise. I started the blog so that I could share with my knitter friends all the things I've been making. It's why I read their blogs, after all.

This past week, the Yarn Harlot posted the finished pics of a pair of socks she's been working on. Long story short, 800 of her fans gushed about them, and two people said, "Meh." And the Harlot picked out the two less-than-complementary posts and addressed the issue of "why you would comment just to be mean." What purpose does it serve to look at something the poster is obviously proud of and say "I don't like it"? Or worse yet, "Those are the ugliest socks I've ever laid eyes on. What a friggin' waste of time and yarn that was!"

Opinion seems to be divided on the issue.

On the one hand, a blog is public forum. Anyone can read it, though it my case, it's not likely they do. And everyone who comes to visit is entitled to leave a comment, because as the bumper sticker says, "Opinions are like assholes; everyone has one." (And despite all the hits my "Tiny Pussy" post got off of google searches, not one disappointed porn surfer felt the need to call me names. Pervs are people too!)

I guess I don't think of this as being "public" because I myself am not a public figure. People aren't googling my name. I know, I've checked. Unlike the Yarn Harlot, I've never written a book. I don't have legions of fans. When I show off my stuff, I'm lucky if a handful of people even see it here, much less comment on it. So for me it's been kind of like hanging projects I'm proud of on my Virtual Refrigerator Door.

Now, should I get a volume or two published or have my own reality show, things would likely change. My blog, if it still existed, would likely get a lot less personal because presumably more people would be reading it. And where there's crowds of fans, there's going to be a handful of critics and even a few flat-out douchebags in there for good measure.

I guess I think of blogs as being only as private as the life of the blogger in general.

Of course, it could be I've been lucky. Maybe my knitting has passed muster and is generally approved. Perhaps my kids are as cute as I think they are. Or most likely the people that read my blog know me from the Knitty Coffeeshop or in real life and are inclined to come by and check out the stuff I've hung on my Virtual Fridge. And being Knittyheads themselves, they remember to play nice and treat others with the respect they themselves would like to receive.

It's the Golden Rule.

I personally don't visit someone's blog or website and criticize their work, ever. I believe that if you can't say something nice, just don't say anything. Unless your critique is asked for, that is. If you say, "How does the back of this look? I think it might be kind of wonky in you notice it?" I will tell you. Because you asked. And I'd be sure to find something about it I did like and point it out. Yeah, the back is wonky in a couple of spots, but no one really sees that part and I love the colors you used.

I think it's a direct response to being from a hyper-critical family. My mother's family has a tendency to tell you just what they think of...well, just about everything. These people think nothing of telling you that you look like you've put on weight, that your shirt looks like you slept in it, that spending the weekend at a fiber festival is stupid, or that they can't see why you'd spend that much time knitting something that looks so handmade.

They're not much with the praise for things they actually like, either. Not a gushy group. They've done some damage over the years, too. I know my self-esteem isn't what it could be, that's for sure.

Genetically speaking, I know that I have an innately critical nature, but I also know that with practice I can find something good about most things. So I would never tell you that I hated something you made, especially if you made it with your own hands and were obviously proud of it. If I couldn't find something to say, I would navigate away quietly. (Then again, I might do that anyway. I'm very lazy with my comments. You should know that about me. Some days I feel like reading, not typing. It's just how I roll.)

Do I have the right to expect to be treated the same way?

I guess I do expect it. It never occurred to me not to. I've never known different. I think if people came here and told me they hated my knitting, I'd stop blogging about it. I'm not the type of person that can keep putting myself out there to be rejected. I wonder if it would take the enjoyment out of knitting altogether?

Come to think of it, maybe having a blog is a bad idea in the first place...a major blow to my ego just waiting to happen.

I think the Yarn Harlot expected to be treated differently on her blog. Perhaps she is confusing fans with friends. She certainly wouldn't be the first celebrity to do so. Maybe she doesn't understand about the critics that lurk in any mob of fans. Or the douchebags. 'Cause they're out there.

Then again, I don't know her. I don't read her blog on a regular basis. I don't read any celebrity blogs. Perhaps she's one of those celebrities that expects everyone in the world to bow low before her. Again, she wouldn't be the first.

Perhaps as a writer and public figure she should grow a thicker skin.

Perhaps as a blogger I should toughen up too. Maybe there's no room on the internet for sensitivity.

I just don't consider myself in the same blogging strata. I'm not a celebrity and I don't have fans; ergo, I don't expect critics. I think of myself as having friends that stop by from time to time to see what Poops is up to these days.

I do expect the occasional douchebag. Those bastards are everywhere. *snerk*

Did I tell you about the time I completely flipped out the editor of our town newsletter? I can't prove it, but my emails back and forth to her might be the reason she quit and we no longer have a newsletter. I was in a battle of wits with an unarmed person, poor well-meaning dear. I hope she's doing well saving the earth with her organic farming and drum circles. As long as she's not editing a public newsletter. *shudder*

But I digress.
I finished a sweater for the Bug last night. She likes it. I like it. And now I'm hesitant about showing it off. Pride goeth before a fall.
It's a basic top down raglan in TLC Cotton Plus, color "Kiwi", with a lace insert panel down the front. You may (or may not) remember that I made a similar sweater that has since been sold at a craft fair. That one had a ruffle at the bottom and on the sleeves with a simple moss stitch collar. Bug's has a moss stitch hood and I omitted the ruffled cuffs and hem to streamline it somewhat.
I actually had a friend from church admire the one in the craft fair and request it in a larger size. Usually, people don't follow up on such requests and I find myself making something that I didn't feel like making only to have to try to sell it to someone else. But she asked about it at a later craft fair, so I figured she was still interested. I ordered up the yarn posthaste and emailed her to double-check the size she wanted...which is when she decided she'd changed her mind and that she'd finished her Christmas shopping and didn't want it after all.

So, now I had four balls of the stuff in the stash. I thought Bug would look cute in it, so last week I cast on and bashed this out for her. She's outgrown most of her handknit sweaters as it is. She was due for something new from Mama.

I should have taken the pictures outside in the sun, but despite the sun it's only 8 degrees out there with a wind chill below zero. You will have to think of them as artsy-type photos and pretend I meant them to look that that.

Before I sign off, I should clarify one thing. I didn't give up the computer for Lent. As a family, we are sacrificing the great joy of restaurants and takeout during Lent. (Except on Sundays which are feast days and one never abstains on feast days.) I only gave up the computer on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday because they are days of fasting, and being pregnant exempts me from that. So I fasted from the computer instead, since Dave needs nourishment.

So that's all for today. My contribution to the fray.


Blogger Ewe-niss said...

Cute sweater :-) I knitted one with the same yarn and the same color, but for me :-) It is a good yarn for kids projects, it washes up well. Love it when my youngest likes to wear what I have knitted for her. My older daughters like it too, but they are much larger. It pains me to see all that work end up on the floor in their room. Youngest smallest daughter takes better care of the items I knit for her.

11:02 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

I totally agree with you...if you don't like what you see, just move on, you don't have to say something mean and hurt someone's feelings. By the way, I love all the mitts you knit!

12:43 PM  
Blogger DancesInGarden said...

I love the sheen on that sweater. I am not a fan of hoods to wear myself (I don't know. Maybe it's psychological but I feel like they are dragging on my neck and choking me) but for some reason that hood MAKES the sweater. I am glad your daughter likes it!

1:35 PM  
Blogger Cindy in (un) Happy Valley said...

I think most of us do just move on....there are way more interesting things to comment on. I myself thought "meh" but saw no reason to type that. When another knitter says "lookie, I finished a wool bikini" and moves on...well, I like it or don't but good for them.

However, I think the difference here, is the absolute gushing that went on, ad naseum, by both Stephanie and the masses. Finally, someone who was in the "meh" camp couldn't tolerate it any longer and said... "meh!" I thought the resulting commotion was way out of line.

And if one expects all comments, in a public forum, to be all sweetness, well say hello to the Dorothy and the lion there in Oz. You can't possibly be living on this planet.

1:53 PM  
Blogger Bezzie said...

Hon, you deserve a pat on the back for using one of my fave words: "douchebag" three times in one post. Hee hee!!

Now I'll be honest, don't get your hackles up, and I'm not kissing your ass either--but I freaking LOVE that sweater. Ha ha! And the fact that it's made out of TLC cotton plus? Well see my gushing about the word douchebag above--the same applies to my feelings towards TLC CP.

2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the pictures of Bugs are quite arty, especially the one in the shadows.

I looked but could not find the not nice posts on the Harlot's website.

Youa re right, if you don't have anything nice to say...

Finally, I think that people forget the written word is harsher than the spoken one.


2:09 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

The pics look great. Your daughter is the cutest child for miles around! The sweater is beautiful.

(I thought you were off the internet for Lent. Or was Lent short this year. ;) Anyway, glad to see you posting!)

2:31 PM  
Blogger turtlegirl76 said...

The sweater is fantastic! You absolutely shouldn't hesitate to show your stuff.

7:06 PM  
Blogger ChestyLove said...

Dear Poops Blogger,

I am completely and utterly offended about how often you flaunt your knitting on your blog especially when I don't like what I see. Kindly refrain from bringing down the quality of the blogaverse by posting only things that please me.

Mrs. Bertram Gasbottom Fartface, Kent.

I bet people who complain on the comments page are the same ones who sit in a restaurant and fussily rearrange the sugar packets, brush invisible crumbs off the table cloth, and send all the served food back to be reheated (and thus spat in) or re-cooked, all the time maintaining an under-the-breath stream of muttering and shooting puffs of air through their nostrils.

In other words, someone like my MIL.

5:11 AM  
Blogger maryannlucy said...

Love that sweater, the colour is great on her, and isn't she growing up quickly.

totally with you on the "if you can't say anything nice, move on!"

11:58 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Okay first I have to say I love the name Dave!

Now that I said that. I really like the sweater, the photos are cool, I love how she has her hips to the side in the one photo showing off the back....a bit of attitude. I will have to check out TLC Cotton Plus. But after my yarn diet. That is what I am doing for Lent. Only knitting from the stash or what I spin. I did buy some more yarn for dh's afgan, but I didn't have anymore homespun left and I need to finish it for him, its been 2 years since it started and he is complaining now that it is cold again! Okay just wanted to tell you I do enjoy the blog, your frankness and use of cool colorful words (such as DB) make me giggle. Glad I stumbled upon you from another blog!

9:48 AM  
Blogger Batty said...

I love the sweater. Bug looks great in pale green, fabulous choice of color. It's girly without being froofy, and the hood is a nice touch. Fabulous job. And I'm not just saying that to be nice. I think I'd wear a sweater like that if it came in a 34" bust size.

About being nice to people on their blogs... tastes differ. I can't say that I've loved every item I've ever seen another knitter make. Some of them I even found hideous, but then I think of the hideous things I want to make (and I even know how hideous they're going to be when they're done), but making them is going to make me so happy. Don't know what I mean? Just wait till I get around to the awful rainbow-colored bobble socks I have planned! They make me smile. Knitting them will be fun.

I believe in respecting effort and the difference in taste. As a fan, I'm often disappointed when a band I like grows and changes style because I liked their old music, but artists grow, tastes change and evolve, and somebody else is going to like the new stuff better. Something similar may be the case with the harlot. And, honestly, her personal taste and artistic direction is her business. I think you're right, it's not fair to insult a person's taste on her blog. Even if that person is a bit of a public figure.

6:28 PM  
Blogger Crazy Colorado Knitter said...

The sweater? Adorable. It's cute, the model's cute, and your knitting is awesome.

The harlot? Well... I read the harlot. I'm a lurker, and I've ignored the posts on the socks for the most part because I didn't care for them. I didn't comment that I didn't care for them, because I figured that since I wasn't knitting them, my opinion didn't count.

She has fans who fawn over her every word, her every stitch, etc. But if she were to go into a crowded mall, she'd get some of the same opinions. Probably with more "what are you doing?" People would be nice, but there would be a few asking after her sanity.

Fans aren't friends. Friends are friends. And the only opinions who matter are your own and those of the people you trust. And random people who drop by your blog occasionally (or even more than that) aren't your friends.

2:06 AM  
Blogger ZantiMissKnit said...

IMO, that sweater is beautiful and the color looks GREAT on your daughter (who is a gorgeous child with enviable hair, btw).

I'm a lazy commenter. I also don't bother commenting (or reading, to be honest) the "celebrity" knitter blogs. I think us little fish are more entertaining.

10:06 AM  

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