Today is my first blogiversary . I started my blog and made my first post exactly one year ago today. Not being a particularly sentimental sort of person, I would ordinarily let this event pass without mention, but since I started my blog with a specific goal in mind, it seems a good time to stop and evaluate how well I'm meeting it.
My original plan was to work my way through the lessons in Deb Chandler's Learning to Weave, focusing on weave structures that I hadn't tried before. The idea was to use my blog as a journal to record my progress. I started with the first weave I hadn't explored yet, log cabin.
Looking back, I see that I did not follow the book very closely. Rather, I have followed both inspiration and opportunity. Inspiration to try shadow weave flowed naturally from log cabin. Problems with warp tension led to learning a new warping technique. Opportunity enabled me to take advantage of Online Guild workshops to learn loom controlled lace weaves, and summer & winter with its variations. Not only have I woven lots of samplers this past year, but also dozens of scarves, dishtowels, yardage, and recently two small rugs.
Of course, being a spinner and knitter with a wide range of fiber and textile interests, I wanted to record those things too. This past year these have included exploring various forms of silk, a variety of other new-to-me spinning fibers, knitting several pairs of socks, knitting progress on my Samoyed lace scarf, and dabbling with modular knitting and woven crochet. Plus I've begun the journey of designing and knitting my Rare Breed Sweater.
Over the past year I've also done a little dyeing, made a number of greeting cards from my handwoven scraps, felted soaps, led a Computer Design Workshop for the Online Guild, attended SAFF, participated in a silent auction fund raiser for the Blue Ridge Handweaving Show, and re-joined the Western North Carolina Fibers/Handweavers Guild.
In starting my blog there were several things I needed to consider. One thing was to decide how I wanted to blog. How personal did I want to get? How far off topic did I want to stray? Did I want to include recipes and family photos? Did I want to include my other interests? From the beginning I determined that my blog would be exactly what its name said it was: a journal of my fiber and textile explorations.
One thing I realized early on was that blogging made me feel accountable to do what I said I was going to do. Even if no one ever read what I wrote, it was still out there for the world to see and hold me to! Many times I have been motivated to finish a project simply because I blogged about it.
Since I am a learner myself, I knew I couldn't consider this a teaching blog, yet I found that I tended to record what I look for when I'm searching the Internet: information. The reward of this has been receiving excellent feedback and suggestions from those more experienced than I, as well as sometimes helping and encouraging others who are learning as well. The exchange of ideas is stimulating! Questions from readers have made me think carefully about what I say and how I communicate. In trying to explain something in my own words, I realize how well I truly understand it.
During the year I found that I enjoyed blogging so much, that I started another one to show off my DH's pyrographics, and later two cat blogs, one for Rascal and one for Catzee.
In evaluating my original goal, I can say that I have made progress, though I didn't specifically follow the lesson plan in Learning to Weave. Mostly I used this book as a resource, incorporating as many other resources into my studies as I could get my hands on. In looking over the Learning to Weave table of contents now, I see that the only lessons I have left to look at are the ones on double weave and honeycomb. So perhaps I've made better progress that I first thought!
To celebrate my first blogiversary, I've done a little tidying up and given my blog a new look. I haven't decided if I like the new template yet; it's not as reserved as I usually like to present myself. I will have to wait and see if I get used to it. Also, I'm including a little Leigh's Fiber Journal trivia:
* This is my 160th post.
* My first comment was from M.
* As of my last post I've received 738 comments.
* As of this posting I've had 18,978 visitors who have looked at 29,362 pages.
All in all, I have to say that I think it's been a fairly productive year. Even so, blogging does take a lot of time and I have to admit that I've sometimes wondered if it was worth it. Now, as I pause to reflect back over my first year of blogging, I can honestly say that I feel I've grown as a weaver, a writer, a computer user, and a fiber artist in general. And in humility. Not only are my successes out there for all the world to see, but my mistakes as well!
As a tool, blogging has been very helpful to me. I now have a written and pictorial record of what I've done and how I've done it. It has given me not only a sense of accomplishment, but of accountability as well. Best of all, I've made lots of new friends.