Awhile back a friend of mine published a knitting design. I didn’t like it. Well, that’s not true; I liked the design just fine but I didn’t like how it was advertised. I disliked it so much, in fact, that I planned on posting about it here. Said friend did not think that was a good idea, though, saying something along the lines of criticizing the design publicly like I desired would likely not be the best way to help the knitting community.
That took me aback. It’s just criticism after all, right? Well, I thought about it awhile and realized there was merit in the words. Our community is small after all, relatively speaking. When I walk around the streets of NYC or sit and knit I feel so alone. People glance at me sometimes, rarely they’ll talk to me about what I’m doing, but I’ll never have a fellow fiber artist walk up to me and strike up a conversation. I don’t know if this is because they’re all too shy or busy or if they just don’t travel in the same areas I do. It isn’t until I go to a knitting specific place like a group meet up or a local yarn store that I start to run into knitters and crocheters.
The point I’m trying to make is that even though there are a lot of people on Ravelry and a lot of knitters worldwide and even though I live in a densely populated city, when you compare our knitting community to the people of the world, we make up an extremely small percentage of the population. To that end, it is my belief that us knitters, crocheters, spinners, weavers, dyers, and other types of fiber artists should all stick together. To me that means we need to be wary of being overly critical towards one another.
Of course, that isn’t to say we shouldn’t be critical at all or that we shouldn’t dislike a design or yarn or anything like that. We should try to avoid being too public about it, though, too callous and hurtful. We shouldn’t try to destroy someone’s reputation just because we don’t like that person or something they’ve done or made. I, myself, have very strong feelings against a particular designer who’s a little too keen to demand credit for things. While I do talk openly about this to people in my knitting circles, however, I would never, ever post any details of that on here or Ravelry or any other highly visible public forums.
After all, if we start turning on each other, who will have our backs? How will we represent ourselves to the greater community of people? We deserve representation, right? We want to bring new artists into our fold and for people to recognize the hard work and dedication and beauty we create.
If you’re on Ravelry you may have noticed that there isn’t a “dislike” button anywhere. There’s a “funny” and a “disagree” button that can kind of be used like that, but there isn’t an outright “dislike” button. I like that. I think it shows the creators and moderators think along these same lines. We’re very close-knit (pun intended), and we should be. Thus, while I will still be honest and critical of some of the things our community produces (I wouldn’t feel right otherwise), I will always strive to avoid being “too” critical. I believe we should all strive for that and remain the same strong community we always have.
That’s my opinion, at least.