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talking back to a knitting blog

Knitting Daily has had a new theme since the beginning of the year—Be a Fearless Knitter. I don't like this, and I was ignoring it and hoping it would go away, but after the third blog post on the subject, I talked back.
I really don't like this "fearless/fearful knitting" theme.

I feel like people, and women especially, pile too many "shoulds" on ourselves and spend too much of our lives feeling guilty and unworthy.

I gather that "Be a fearless knitter" is intended to end that. But I think it reinforces guilt. To me, "Be a fearless knitter" says "It's not good enough for you to enjoy a hobby. You have to turn it into a self-improvement project. You have to be constantly vigilant that you have goals that are challenging enough, and that you are working hard enough toward your goals." "Be a fearless knitter" is yet another way of telling myself I'm not doing "enough".

Affirmations work, but affirmations need to be stated in a positive manner. The word "fearless" focuses the mind on fear and is negative.

Let's say "I am a joyful knitter," "I love to knit," "I love to learn new knitting techniques," "I love to try new projects."
This is not intended to disparage people who find the theme useful.


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 22nd, 2008 12:58 am (UTC)
I found so much of Knitting Daily objectionable that I unsubbed a while back.

That being said, I admire the way you are engaging them. However, I don't think that they will get it.
Jan. 22nd, 2008 01:57 am (UTC)
Was it stuff other than the crochet content that made you unsub?

I don't think they will get it either. Maybe someone reading the comments will appreciate them.
Jan. 22nd, 2008 02:27 am (UTC)
There's something about their attitude that makes me think that these people are in it for completely different reasons than I am, and I neither like them nor trust them.

I realize how completely ridiculous that sounds.
Jan. 22nd, 2008 03:58 am (UTC)
Well, they're in it to sell stuff, I think. I did appreciate that there were a bunch of posts about sizing up knitting patterns and galleries of sweaters on different sizes of women. But if they continue with the Fearless Knitting thing I'm not going to be reading it very carefully.
Jan. 22nd, 2008 01:12 am (UTC)

That's all I have to say. :)
Jan. 22nd, 2008 01:58 am (UTC)
Heh. That says it all.
Jan. 22nd, 2008 03:57 am (UTC)
PS - I really like the icon you used for this post. :)

"Fearless knitting" reminds me of "extreme ironing". :) There really is such a thing. People take an ironing board, iron, and a wrinkled clothing item, and attempt to iron the item in some bizarre place, like on the edge of an icy cliff, or under water (though I can't imagine how much good the latter does). The main point is to get a photo of yourself doing it and post it on the appropriate website.

Anyway, why can't people just accept that knitting isn't about fearlessness any more than ironing is? If I wanted to be fearless, I would drive a race car or go skydiving, I wouldn't knit. These people should accept that they are not doing a daredevil activity and just enjoy it!
Jan. 22nd, 2008 04:12 am (UTC)
Icon: Thanks!

Xtreme ironing: Some people have too much time on their hands.

I do understand about being afraid of knitting or any creative endeavor (I'm afraid of certain kinds of creative writing), but I think making a big deal out of it the way the blog is doing makes it worse.
Jan. 22nd, 2008 01:21 am (UTC)
Experimenting: I am a joyful singer. I am a joyful swimmer. I am a joyful friend.

Yup. I like it.

That Poulenc sonata brings back happy memories of a successful high school competition that I played well at because I played with joy. Now I'm going to check my clarinet shelf to see whether I still have it.
Jan. 22nd, 2008 02:01 am (UTC)
Jan. 22nd, 2008 03:51 am (UTC)
Awww, cute kitty!
Jan. 22nd, 2008 05:01 am (UTC)
fearless knitting
interesting. disclaimer -- i don't read that blog, and i have no problem with your interpretation of the theme, and you telling them you feel that way about it.

but i don't interpret it that way. "fearless" strikes me as distinctly different from "joyful", and it touches what's happening for me much more precisely. also, replacing it with "i love X" as affirmation pushes the tone into that zone i dislike, where it feels fake; "love" is totally overloaded for me. i have to be careful with affirmations, because if they feel completely false, they will not take; i will feel too ridiculous repeating them to myself, and will come out of it feeling like a liar.

trying to have less fear is in general really good for me in creative endeavours, because while i tend to have fun and be joyful about it without needing any prompting, stretching my creative envelope needs encouragement. and then my mind is already concentrating on fear (of screwing up, of being unworthy to try something risqué), and the word "fearless" channels that into trying for ways to do it anyway. there's no "should" about it per se (though i think that it's good for me to have fewer of those fears). i don't try to adhere to "fearless" all the time, but i think of it when i am clearly not progressing in a direction i actually would like to progress in, but am held back by a lot of disparaging inner voices.

i don't interpret "fearless" in this context as negative (while i think daredevil 'reality' shows push it in the way you're interpreting it).
Jan. 22nd, 2008 08:51 am (UTC)
Re: fearless knitting
That all makes sense. My question: what does "trying to have less fear" look like for you?
Jan. 22nd, 2008 10:12 am (UTC)
Re: fearless knitting
ideally i would like those voices to just shut up and not tell me that i don't have enough originality to design my own X, or enough knowledge of technique to put it together once i have a design for the look (ie. do a proper structural design). i'd love if i could just forge ahead without worrying, because the worrying stops me so often -- either stops me cold, or stops me by demanding i research things to death, which means i spend all my energy researching and not much actually doing. and these fears are, contrary to some other fears that have helped me survive, completely irrelevant and just a hindrance to artistic growth (it's not like i am trying to make it solely as an artist, so there is realistically NOTHING to fear).

i'm settling for overcoming the fears on a case by case basis for now, but if i could get rid of them altogether, i'd be a happy creator (this applies to every creative endeavour i engage in, not just knitting). it takes a lot of effort to overcome them, and i fail at it often still -- i have a zillion of ideas about which i have done nothing.

ghod, some days i hate my mother. this one too lies at her feet.
Jan. 22nd, 2008 05:36 pm (UTC)
Re: fearless knitting
I really hear you about the researching to death. (Although the researching for me is a soothing OCD thing as well as an artistic avoidance/fear thing.)

What actions do you take to overcome the fears?
Jan. 22nd, 2008 05:00 pm (UTC)
What a great comment!

I don't read the blog, but I went and read the post to which you linked. I agree with you that knitters should allow themselves to feel what they like regarding the knitting that they're doing. I'm glad you added your thoughts to the entry.

I get bewildered over people who assume that knitting is relaxing, for instance. For me, knitting is always a challenge and it's about the furthest thing from relaxing that there is. Sometimes I'm really happy with what I do and sometimes I fail utterly to do what I set out to do. [But after more than forty years, I'm still drawn to it.]
Jan. 22nd, 2008 05:43 pm (UTC)

Knitting is relaxing for me in two ways.

One, physical actions are repetitive in a way that is soothing.

Two, the voices in my head that are always saying "You ought to be doing something other than this" sometimes shut up when I am knitting. The only times they shut up are when I am doing certain artistic things (but unfortunately not creative writing), exercising, or sleeping.

It's challenging and frustrating too, but the way I feel about challenges when the voices shut up is different from the way I feel about them when the voices are clamoring.
Jan. 23rd, 2008 12:15 am (UTC)
For me "fearless" doesn't seem like something to aspire to, largely because I think many fears are useful, either because they point out real things to beware of (jumping off cliffs *is* risky!) or because they help me learn more about myself if I listen to them. (I'm afraid to take on a project because I'm already feeling overstressed would be an example of that, or I want/need to pay attention to other parts of my life.)

Hmmmm..... "Listen to your knitting" is perhaps what I'm going toward.
Jan. 23rd, 2008 12:42 am (UTC)
largely because I think many fears are useful


"Listen to your knitting" is perhaps what I'm going toward.

I like.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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