Bear with me, if you don’t mind…
I’ve been thinking a lot about Woolwinding; it feels a little as though it’s lost its focus – or perhaps it’s me that’s lost my focus, or maybe I’m out of kilter with the focus the blog has developed all by itself. Maybe it’s got the two-year twitch. When I started Woolwinding, I didn’t want it to be another knitting blog (among many) packed with projects – for one thing, I couldn’t knit very much due to injury. I wanted to explore some of my specific interests such as colour, history, archaeology – and all though the filter of textiles. I wanted to celebrate working with fibre, and I still do.
But now I want to do a bit more than that. Yes, I want to claw it back from the ‘look what I’ve knitted’ territory it sometimes seems to be straining towards, but I also want to broaden it in other ways. Due to formative journalistic training – don’t use the first person too much, and preferably not at all – and the sometime presence of a cyberstalker, I am not inclined to add too much more of my private life. And, above all, I do not want it to become what a blogging friend calls a ‘perfect life’ blog. You know the sort of thing: perfect husband (emphatically not partner), perfect house, perfect children, perfect garden, perfect baking on perfect tablecloth, perfect bunting and perfect pictures that could come from Country Living. The sun always shines but not so much as to mess up the photos with awkward contrast; snow is picturesque and not slushy; even the writer’s adolescents are delightful and never answer back, have smelly feet or smoke dope. I know just what my friend means. There are loads of them out there, and I always suspect that they’re slightly fake, on ‘methinks the lady doth protest too much’ grounds.
Then there’s the essence of blogging: it’s immediate. As a trainee I once messed up a funeral report but was comforted by the sub who reminded me that it would be round someone’s cod and scraps by the following lunchtime, and everyone would forget that I’d matched the wrong wife to the wrong man – he was actually unmarried but widely suspected of having an affair with the woman in question (oops). Obviously the chip-wrapper analogy is not exactly true these days, with online archives and search tools, but I’d like to be able, for instance, to find the post I wrote on retired pirates and the dye trade without riffling through various tags or trying to remember when I wrote it. The immediacy is great, but I’d like some of my posts to have a longer life, for my own convenience (and to respect the research involved) if not for anyone else’s interest.
I had thought, fleetingly, about merging Woolwinding with Beangenie, my gardening blog. But that won’t work – for one thing, Beangenie has a tight focus and an equally focused readership. Many of them (I know) are also interested in textiles and quite a few are knitters or spinners, but garden blogs are garden blogs, and wittering about plant choices, speculating about soil conditions or seed selection doesn’t always transfer over, and vice-versa. And I know, too, that the woolly element would soon be submerged beneath a tide of trowelling, tomatoes and the type of trivia which interests only gardeners. So that’s not an answer.
But what do I want to do?
Well, I want to introduce a bit more variety. I’m not just inspired by wool, I’m inspired by the landscape around me, by the people I know and love and respect, by the country in which I live, by fact that when I’m stuck in a traffic jam behind an idiot driver who failed to understand the meaning of a large sign reading ‘unsuitable for caravans’, I can gaze out of the window and watch a heron flying down to land. I want to include more images, photographs of things other than wool. I want to make it easier to write a post when I’ve lost my woolly mojo, something that happens to all of us (OK, most of us), from time to time. At times I have done this, perhaps bringing in a winter walk or a stay in Shetland, and it’s gone down well – but I’ve always felt that I’ve not stuck to the brief, as it were. My inner editor is breathing down my neck again.
So I’m going to give my inner editor a sabbatical, I think. Probably about time. She can go and carp about colons somewhere else.
I’m going to try and broaden the focus, bring in more Wales, more colour, more images, more history, more – well, more generality. I’m also going to create some specific pages referencing particular topics and linking to relevant posts. There’ll be one, for instance, for vintage: vintage patterns, vintage buttons, vintage garments like snoods (is a snood a garment?). There’ll be one for history and archaeology, everything from spinning prostitutes in Ancient Greece and maids spinning in eighteenth-century Wales to the iniquities of the truck system in Shetland. There’ll be a page where I can link to my posts on colour. And there’ll still be a lot of knitting and spinning, a lot of fibre, a lot of wool and quite a few sheep (try keeping them out). It’ll take a bit of time but I’ll get there.
At least that’s what I think at the moment. What do you think?
I’ll end with a quick and completely unwoolly shot. Happy Easter, everyone!