It dawned on me first with podcasts – there’s a LOT of great knitting information to be had online, and many of the people I know haven’t a clue about its existence, much less how to find or use it. I got an MP3 player for work a couple of years ago, and knew I would be doing some training sessions for librarians in our region on how to download and listen to audiobooks through a statewide program. It would be several months before the site was up and running, but since I needed to be really familiar with the concept, I went looking for something besides music to use it for. And I found – ta da! – Knitting Podcasts! Which seriously started me down the road to blogs, then I got a feed reader account, and found lots of other neat stuff that bloggers and podcasters were talking about. I had been using a social bookmarking service for some time, and had a flickr account to share pictures, and … and…
As I said, in mentioning some of these great resources to various people, I found that they liked some of the ideas, but felt like they didn’t have time to go learn about stuff they would probably never use. Well, you can’t argue with that! But when I approached it from the other direction, starting with something they are interested in to begin with, then some of that techie stuff suddenly became relevant!
I ran the idea for a training session past a fellow knitter and co-worker, Julie T., to see if she thought it would fly, and if so, to enlist her as co-conspirator. We fleshed out some ideas, got the boss’s permission, and in September 14, 2007, presented “Knitology: knitting at the intersection of books and technology”. Our registration limit of 32 filled up fast, with a nice variety of librarians from across our region of the state. Each person got a copy of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s “Knitting Rules!” to read ahead of time. Many were knitters, but a significant number were not, which pleased us even more! We emphasized that the things they would be learning could work equally well for any of a zillion other topics.
Julie and I plastered the room with knitted stuff and books (that’s Julie’s stuff in the photo),
I brought my spinning wheel, and we had plenty of giveaways and door prizes.
Since I am the regional library system’s Automation & Technology Consultant (had to look at my business card to be sure of the official title!), I led off with an overview of library services through the ages, then plunged in to the technology “What is …?” portion of the day. I attempted to explain some of the above-mentioned social software/utilities through YouTube and other videos, screenshots and live demos.
Then we had the book discussion during a catered lunch, and everyone was amused to find that Julie and I really liked different parts of the book, as befitted our different perspectives and preferences. We had a lot of good comments, and even the non-knitters enjoyed the read (and we hope were inspired to find teachers and pick up needles!).
After lunch, we split the group, and I took half into our computer lab for hands-on play time, while Julie (Youth Services Coordinator for our regional system) talked about books and knitting and non-knitting programming ideas with the other half of the group. After rotating the groups, we all got back together for door prizes to end the day. A delightful coincidence was that the Yarn Harlot would be in Wichita only two days later, and a pair of tickets were received with delight. (Julie and I harassed the sponsoring bookstore enough that they let us help with that event, too.)
In October, we were asked to share a very brief version with librarians in another region. Regretfully, I lost track of the limited time, and left Julie with only 3 minutes. Literally. I still feel bad about that. We had hoped to present at the Kansas Library Conference in April, but just got word that they could only allow us 50 minutes. Since we already know that doesn’t work, we had to decline.
So what does this have to do with the blog? There doesn’t seem to be any place that this kind of information is gathered together for knitters, so I thought I’d attempt to fill that hole with this blog. I have run across all kinds of great online resources to share, and will be pleased if readers would share their favorites, too. I will still feel kind of funny writing about what’s on MY needles… I’m not quite sure why anyone would be particularly interested in that, but I figure it goes with the territory. Besides the tags for each post, I have created categories called Tech Tips and Knitter’s Resources so that a reader can easily scan the subjects and see anything they may have missed.
Enough for today. Stay tuned!