Back in 2005, knit blogging was a very different experience.
- There were far, far fewer blogs to read. There were a few big names (some of whom are still going today, many of whom aren’t) and of course other people like me who were just doing it for fun, but even so the numbers must have been in the thousands rather than the hundreds of thousands/millions you’ve got today.
- That said, knitblogs were particularly crucial back then because (gasp), there was no Ravelry. No nifty system giving you patterns/gauge/notes/yarns/mods info at your fingertips. No easy way to see who else had knitted the project that you ‘re interested in and switched out the yarn for another one. No means of reviewing all the other projects in the world for the pattern you like in one glance. None of that. Instead, it was a world where you had to scour the internet to find out information (not just Google! also Yahoo, and Bing!), or, more likely, be inspired for what you might make next by what you’d see your favourite bloggers talking about (and then, inevitably, being disappointed when the yarn they’d used was only available in the States, or the pattern was from a print book not available in Europe, etc etc).
- I started my blog, like most other people, as a place to document what I was making, what yarn I’d used, any difficulties etc I’d faced – basically, for exactly what you use Ravelry for now. But I also had a number of knitting online friends who set up their own knitblogs (sadly all, almost without exception, now unused) and we kept each other entertained.
- Taking digital photos was not the take-it-for-granted event of today. Back before smartphones you had to have a dedicated digital camera. And they were spendy! It’s not a coincidence that my knitblogging coincided with my getting a small bonus at work in 2005 which went immediately on a digital camera. Editing and online hosting of said photos was also a bit trickier than now, and high-resolution enormo screens hadn’t yet been invented. So my photos from back then are all cropped really weirdly and really small, but the original source files are lost to humanity (I’m sorry, I know you all feel you’re missing out).
- Blogging platforms themselves (I was a Blogger blogger, back in the day) were… a wee bit clunkier than they are now. We all had to learn a bit of html even to use the off-the-shelf stuff.
- I had a lot more time in my life when I was 25! I see that I knitted four jumpers on 2005. The last jumper I finished recently was in, erm, 2012 (during the blog wilderness years so it’s not even blogged yet! It’s a good one though – I will totes blog it at some point). I really really must rectify the lack of jumpers in my life and get Driftwood and Shinobi finished.
Anyway. It was a different time. But there was one blogger in particular who I always felt stood out head and shoulders above the rest. If you have some spare time on your hands, and you love a bit of knitblog nostalgia, I’d heartily recommend that you have a look at Eunny Jang’s knitblog. She only ran it for two years and, during that time, you see her go from a startlingly talented and prolific home-knitter/adhoc designer to someone who is fully established and launched into the professional knitting world – she finishes the blog at the point that she becomes editor of Interweave Knits. And all in her early twenties! I was super impressed with her skills when I was reading back then, and 12 years later I’m still bowled over by her effortless knitting, modding and designing skills (that last jumper I made, back in 2012, is an all-over fair-isle Eunny Jang design which I now see from her blog she wrote up and knitted in less than a week. WTAF how is that even possible?). And her writing style is such a treat, particularly in the first year when she’s fresher to blogging – she bubbles over with enthusiasm and blogs almost daily sometimes, sharing astonishing knitting productivity and introducing ideas and skills almost bashfully, as if she can’t believe everyone else isn’t already doing the same thing. It’s a little sad to see the posts get more and more infrequent later on and her interactions with her readers become a little more jaded, but such is life (the perils of fame!). It’s basically the most perfect knitblog example, obligingly preserved in virtual aspic.
NB: I’m talking about her a bit as if she’s died – she hasn’t! I did a little Google stalking and saw that, while at IK she presented a lot of their Daily Knitting TV show before moving to Craftsy, and then moved on to other pastures before now occasionally posting foodie pics on Instagram (while, I am sure, also doing other things). It’s sad for the world that she’s not doing any public-facing knitting work now, let along blogging, but she doesn’t owe us anything and her backlog of beautiful designs are there forever (I hope). I actually think that the ones she designed in those early blog days – the Print O’ The Wave stole, the Endpaper Mitts, the Deep V Argyle – are still some of the best she’s ever published. I just wish I could harness the same kind of creative power and chutzpah she shows off in spades.
Enough nostalgia! Tomorrow I jet** off to Edinburgh for a weekend of meeting excellent friends, eating and drinking a LOT and, oh yes, a little sojourn to some kind of international yarn festival. I will keep you posted (follow me on Instagram to see the many, many yarny-pictures I anticipate posting).
* Shh, but I didn’t love it forever – I was going to give it to charity during a flat-move clear-out and then instead donated it to some friends who, bless them, painstakingly ripped it and washed it and turned it into cushion covers. Ahh, Rowanspun Chunky. One of the discontinued Rowan yarns that’s not a loss to the world, that one.
** Actually I train, but that doesn’t sound quite as whizzy.