Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Knitting and Writing

I just came across this article published in Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies, which is a case study of the Yarn Harlot’s blog.

In particular, the author examines Stephanie Pearl McPhee’s own language, or what Katie and I would call her rhetoric: her effective use of language for specific purposes. In particular, McPhee uses language (and knitting) to build a community. Here’s a quote:

Yarn Harlot is an accomplished writer who not only has a facility with language but also manages to deploy images on her blog in ways that add to the humour. These features are an important characteristic of the blog and its appeal. It should not be read as a judgement on those blogs that are ‘less’ accomplished in their writing. But it is one of the reasons why this blog has become popular over many other blogs written on similar material. The writer of this blog is creative and a communicator who writes in ways that move people – to laugh and to participate. That these qualities have attracted enough people to create a critical mass means that this particular community is different (but not better or worse) from some of the smaller audiences of other knitting blogs.

This analysis seems to hold true, in part. But I know that the blogs I like best combine interesting writing with other elements, such as good photography, or projects that I might like to knit myself, such as top-down sweaters.

We’d like to know what you think. What are your favorite knitting blogs? Do you favor blogs for the quality of the writing, or for other factors?

Citation: Sal Humphreys, “Grassroots creativity and community in new media environments: Yarn Harlot and the 4000 knitting Olympians,” Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies 22.3 (2008): 419-433.

Note: You may need an institutional subscription to access the article!


Anonymous said...

I actually do like a blog with a certain literary quality to it, however, I have to agree with you that other factors ( photos, tutorials, patterns I like and other forms of inspiration) probably get my interest more often as I read blogs on the fly and often don't have the time needed to appreciate a "well written" one.
I save that brain power for books.

Kelly said...

I like many blogs including your own, Attic24, and Creative Breathing. I like good reading, good creativity, and good photos. I have long been thinking about the rhetoric and reasons for blogging. Why is it I do what I do? Write what I do? I began blogging with my writing students in an effort to offer them an alternative to writing, by hand, a journal. Students love their blogs and add and manipulate media of all kinds in order to create an online rhetorical identity and space. Once I began to blog, I was hooked. I teach, volunteer and mother. With my crazy schedule, traditional scrap booking is far too messy and fart too time consuming. The blog preserves our activities, recipes, gifts, thoughts, dreams and a closer look at the little things in our lives. I don't think I could leave a better representation of who we are for our children. Just recently, my husband shared my blog address with an owner of a historical house in our neighborhood that we are interested in purchasing. The owners read my blog and are now convinced we will love and care for their home. They claim to know us now. They claim the house chooses us. Looks like we are moving into a 1912 Neo-Classical Foursquare in May. Thank you for sharing this article. I will certainly be looking for it. ~Kelly

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