Tag Archive | ravelry

My response to the Yarn Harlot’s response to the USOC

You can read the Yarn Harlot’s post here: http://www.yarnharlot.ca/blog/archives/2012/06/21/now_that_you_ask.html

It is nice to have a calm voice rise above the mob. I agree with much of what you said. However, I believe you missed the mark on this one.

You are correct that the USOC is not asking Ravelers to abandon their games, only rename them. (I say “their games” because I don’t personally play along, although I am an active Ravelry knitter.) I don’t know much about copyright laws, but what you said made sense, except that I agree with the people who pointed out that, unlike your Sock Summit example, nobody would confuse what we do with THE Olympic games.

You missed the mark in your comparison of knitters to athletes.

The difference is NOT that we are knitters and they are athletes. The difference is that they have a world-wide competition every four years to find who is that best at running 100 meters or playing table tennis or shooting an arrow. We have not had a forum, on the global scale, to compete with our peers. If we did, I’m sure we would be eager to see who would win at Cable Construction or Turning a Heel or Working Without a Pattern.

You said, “We are not, however, spending our whole lives trying to be not just someone who can run 100 metres, but trying to be someone who can run 100 meters better than every single other person on earth.”

Perhaps not. But we would! If there was a global competition to be the best at something knitting-related, there are those of us who would train and compete in those events. At whatever cost. In my home state of Connecticut, our local fair is having it’s 100th annual event. (http://www.goshenfair.org/contests.htm) Among it’s contests are Needlework, which include knitting and crocheting. Competition is fierce. Those medals are displayed with much pride.

The Olympics only highlights athletes. (Can I use “Olympics” here? Is there a jar I should throw a quarter into?) We don’t know, every four years, who is the best typist on the planet. Or the best electrician. Or what construction team can frame a house the fastest. For some reason, long ago, certain sports were chosen to highlight achievement, and we continue to raise our athletes to demi-god status. Perhaps it’s because it’s not as much fun to watch someone type, or wire a house, or even knit a sock. It doesn’t make for riveting television programming.

You said they “put more sweat and training and work into that than anyone else ever has in the whole world.” I understand that physical training is different than knitting but you, of all people, should know how hard we train! Just like the athletes who want to be coached by the Great Ones, knitters travel to your Sock Summit, or various retreats to learn new techniques, training with those in our field who are recognized professionals. Somehow these knitters find time, funding and passion to better themselves at their chosen endeavor. It just happens that they are improving knitting skills rather than rowing or sailing skills.

You said, “We are not like elite athletes.  We are really great, but we are not the same as they are.” Well, of course not. The same way my surgeon is not the same as my accountant, but if I said that my accountant, by doing a great job on my taxes, “saved my life,” I’m not denigrating the work that my surgeon does. In the same way, Ravelry’s competition, using a derivitive of the Olympic name, does not somehow belittles their athletic efforts.

As for being an elite athlete: You are not, perhaps, an elite athlete (recent bike-riding notwithstanding), but you are elite. Let me say that again really carefully: You, Stephanie, are an elite knitter. You belong to a small, select group. You are paid to travel, teach and learn about knitting and knitters. Many of us would choose that as a vocation were it an option, however, because our craft is not held in high regard, there are few people who could command enough money in this field to make a living at it. You are an exception. You are doing what many of us would like to do but can’t. Your profession is made possible by the devotion of knitters to their craft.

The USOC said that by spending time knitting, competing amongst ourselves, and doing it in our own forum during the same time the Olympics are held, we were, being “disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes and fail(ing) to recognize or appreciate their hard work,” which in turn implies that anyone can, without any time or training or effort, pick up needles and knit something – basically failing to recognize or appreciate our hard work. I’m not advocating pitchforks and angry mobs but is it any surprise their words were met with such hostility? They added their voices to the many who already can’t believe we pay upwards of $20 for yarn to make one pair of socks or that we value giving a handmade hat that took 15 hours to make instead of simply buying a store bought item. And you defended them.

It’s a fine line to walk. I agree we must “Stay Classy.” That doesn’t mean we should accept the abuse, nod our heads and move on; it means we express our outrage in a civilized manner. I don’t know how sincere the USOC’s apology was, but we wouldn’t have received one had the knitting community not risen up together in anger. Now, I believe that, for the most part, we have been heard and it’s time to move on.

What does this say about me…?

Maya Angelou said, “You can tell a lot about a person by the way (s)he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.” That may be true. I believe you can also tell a lot about a person by their browser bookmarks (or “favorites,” depending on the program.)

Like most people, I have some boring sites bookmarked. I need them, but I don’t necessarily enjoy them. Like my bank’s website. I may want to check my account balance, but it won’t make me laugh. Most often it doesn’t even make me smile. I also work on my computer, so I have to visit my office website. I don’t hate doing it, but it isn’t fun.

For fun, I have a bunch of spots on my toolbar so I can get to them quickly and easily. In no particular order, here are some sites from my bookmarks:

http://Facebook.com – If you aren’t on Facebook, it’s probably because you made a conscious decision not to join it. If you don’t know what Facebook is, I can’t help you. And by the way, how did you find MY blog?

Ravelry.com – a knitting website. Like Facebook for knitters. There are patterns, people, places to keep track of your projects and places to brag about the things you’ve made. It’s also home to some of the nicest people I’ve never met.

Pottermore.com – for people who want more Harry Potter. It’s only recently opened to the public. It’s supposed to be for kids, but everyone I know who signed up for it is an adult.

Pinterest.com – “Pin” a picture. That’s all. Look at other people’s pictures. Get ideas. Don’t think to hard. I love it.

Places I haven’t bookmarked, but visit semi-regularly, when I want to waste time and get a smile:

ANY of the icanhascheezburger.com-related sites. My favorite being the lolcats.

There’s failbook.failblog.org – which is the best, that is to say the worst, of facebook entries. Of course, if you are actively avoiding facebook or don’t know what facebook is (Really, is there anyone on a computer who doesn’t know what facebook is? Really?) you won’t find these funny. (Foul language warning.)

If you have ever texted with an iPhone and had the auto correct change your text to something unintentional or downright embarrassing, you’ll love damnyouautocorrect.com. (More foul language here, as the title may suggest.)

Along the same “texting with an iPhone” theme, I recently discovered textsfromdog.tumblr.com. These are supposedly texts between a dog and his owner. Lots of foul language – but if you’ve ever had a dog, you understand that.

Thinkgeek.com – wonderful place to find geeky gifts. Where else can you find things like a lightsaber umbrella or a Star Trek inflatable Captain’s Chair.

If you’re feeling melancholy or want to reminisce about the good old days, visit dearphotograph.com. Pictures taken from the past are held up against the present landscape.

If, after all of this, you can’t find a website to fit your mood, try out coolsiteoftheday.com. Something for everyone. 🙂

If you have a favorite website, please leave it for me in the comments!