My current work in progress:

1. Ashburn, designed by Melanie Berg, knit from Woolfolk Tynd in colorways 6, 7, and 8 on a 4 mm (U.S. size 6) needle.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

How Do I Create a Blog?

I’ve had this question posed to me via email many many times since I started blogging.

And several times this past weekend.

I don’t have time to launch into an email discourse on blogging for everyone who asks, so I’m responding here.

First stop: Google.

You knew I was going to say that didn’t you? Type “How do I start a blog?” in the search window and that’ll get you started.

I use Moveable Type and I like it. I started out using Blogger, then switched to hand-coding one day when Blogger pissed me off with yet another outage, then eventually I registered a new domain name and installed Moveable Type. There are many, many more blog tools out there, all of which are completely unfamiliar to me. So I can’t recommend one.

But I will give you my two cents worth on what I like/don’t like to see on blogs.

1. I love photos. Photos, photos, photos.

2. I love frequent updates.

3. I love updates that have content, not ones that say “I haven’t blogged for a while and I have nothing to say.”

4. I love humor, and well-written entries.

5. I hate meaningless quizzes, like “What kind of knitting needle am I?” Particularly when the quiz result constitutes the entire blog entry. Granted, I’m guilty of having posted quiz results myself in the past. But they quickly grew tiresome and I don’t anymore.

6. I hate light text on a dark background. Take pity on older eyes! Make your blogs easy to read.

7. In the “I didn’t but I do now” department. I hate tagboards! Now that they have added pop-ups, they are the devil’s spawn. Yes, I have a pop-up blocker. But I hate them on principal.

8. I hate when I remove a blog from my blogroll and the blog owner emails me to ask me why. I don’t answer these emails. The answer is often “Hello. Your blog doesn’t interest me any more” and I don’t want to come out and say that to someone. I’d rather be passive-aggressive. I’ll often blogroll new blogs to try ‘em out for a while, and then find that I don’t enjoy them, for whatever reason. So I remove them. My blog, my choice.

All of the above is simply my oh-so-humble opinion only.

Cha-cha-changes

You might have noticed that I cleared out my blog sidebar. Quite severely.

My list of blogs I read and links to knit-alongs are now on their own page. There is a link to that page in my sidebar under . . . uh . . . “Links.”

The sidebar has been annoying me for a while, looking too cluttered, so I got out my pruning shears and trimmed it back. I left a few knit-alongs here on the front page. Subject to change at my whim. Why? Because I am the Queen of this blog, that’s why.

Sorry . . . Lucy is the Queen of this blog.

lucy082304 How Do I Create a Blog?

Knitting Pattern-a-Day Calendar

I apologize for not mentioning where to buy this yesterday. Ann Marie found it by Googling and I confirm: the only online outlet I’ve found so far is here. Mine was purchased in a B. Dalton bookstore, which is part of Barnes & Noble (yet Barnes & Noble is not showing it in their online store as of this writing). A couple of commenters mentioned seeing it in Barnes & Noble stores.

Yes, We Have Actual Knitting Content

I’ve got the Alchemy Synchronicity Scarf completed. Here she is with the accompanying hat. Ain’t she purty?

alchemy082304 How Do I Create a Blog?

The scarf took two skeins and is about 6 feet long. This is how much yarn I had left over:

alchemy082304a How Do I Create a Blog?

And I’ve got the back of Liam completed. Ain’t he handsome?

liam082304 How Do I Create a Blog?

Crystal Palace Needles

I’m sorta glad (but not really, if you know what I mean) to see that I’m not the only one who has problems with Crystal Palace needles. Oh, and for the record, I find the join to be particularly annoying too.

Whenever possible I stick with my Addi Naturas and Clover bamboos. I’m finding I like wooden needles more and more over Addi Turbos. Though the Addi Turbos have their place! Like on cabled designs. And on AbFab throws — “sticky” yarns need smooth needles.

Comments

  1. you are right! the more photos the better :-)

  2. I’m right there with you – I do a regular culling of my sidebar links and search around for interesting new replacements. If I don’t see a picture within two posts, I move on. I need eye candy!

  3. Your Alchemy scarf and hat are so chic!

  4. oh, i just love your scarf and hat combo. and liam is quite handsome.

  5. Linda Tabach says:

    Two things about blogs – don’t use a tiny font please! My eyes aren’t what they used to be. And syndicate your site – it makes it a lot easier for those of us that use blog readers, which by the way, everyone should use! It makes blog reading quick and easy.

  6. Contrary Mary says:

    I don’t have a blog, but can I register a gripe? Can someone make a rule that all sites linked to a knit-a-long button should include the information about where the pattern comes from, a clear picture of the garment/project (even if scanned from the pattern), and some basic information about the intended yarn type.

    I tend to not want to start new projects until I’ve finished current work, so I’m not really into joining the knit-a-longs. I am interested in possible future projects, and sweaters of proven knitterly popularity are always an option.

    But so many knit-a-long pages are just – “Hi, here’s my pages for the WondaSweata knit-a-long. Here’s how far I’ve gotten in the ribbing. Send me your pics!”

    Grrr. I know beggars can’t be choosers, but still…

  7. Hi Wendy! I use typepad for my site and have been very happy with it. Of course, now that I have been doing this for almost a year, I am feeling the itch to change things around — would MoveableType be for someone who is only slightly computer literate but a quick study??

  8. I noticed the new, streamlined look right away yesterday — it’s great! Love the scarf and hat combo (beautiful colors) and Liam is looking very fine.

  9. I have had the same problems you’ve had with Crystal Palace needles, but I;ve had them MORE with Addi Naturas, actually. I HATE Addi Naturas. The ENDS drive me crazy! I have to keep resharpening, which I never have to do with my Clovers! Ergo, I have decided to stick to Clovers. I have been finding Inox nicer than Addi Turbos (or at least equally as nice) because of the coating and the tip is pointier.

  10. I’ve had just the opposite problem: I hate Clovers! Okay, I shouldn’t say that. I hate Clover circulars! I like the DPNs, but the needle and plastic joins are horrible. I knitted Charlotte on them, and it was really bad–for me anyway. I was thinking of trying Crystal Palace, but if those are bad too, what is a girl to do? Maybe I’m just being too picky–at least I’ve never had my Clovers split. Now the Brittany needles…all of them are split.

  11. Alchemy hat/scarf colors set off your hair very nicely!!

  12. I got rid of the tagboard, too, after a couple people told me about the pop-ups. I didn’t ever see them because I also have an awesome pop-up blocker, but you know, it only took two people telling me about them for me to decide it wasn’t worth it.

    I agree with you on just about everything else, too! I guess the quizzes don’t bug me so much–some of them are pretty funny, but while I take them, I don’t usually post results unless I think they’re particularly apt. But I’m wondering how much email/comments you’re going to get of the “You’re not the boss of us” variety. Snerk.

    I will add, finally, that I am enjoying Typepad immensely, and would recommend it for the person who knows a little bit about coding but not enough to feel confident designing a whole page on her/his own (yet). I’m already dealing with a weird comment bug (like not getting all my comments), and their support staff is excellent. Veyr prompt response.

  13. I agree with you on the dark background/light text thing. Ick. When I go to a blog I’m there to read it, not hurt my eyes. I’ve even run across some that are black background/blue text and that’s almost un-readable. I’ll usually skip them.

  14. Ann, like Wendy said, you’ll need to have server space – it helps if you have your own domain. There are two places where you can learn how to use MovableType more efficiently – Learning MovableType (www.elise.com/mt/) and Movalog: All Things MovableType (www.movalog.com). There is also a MT wiki – there’s a link to it from Learning MovableType, I think.

    And finally, there are two new books coming out this fall/early winter. The one that comes out late October is geared toward the average user and is titled “MovableType 3.0 Bible”. For the uber-geeks (or, programmers who like to tinker around with codes and create cool plugs), there’s “Hacking MovableType” by the Great Jay Allen. Search Amazon for these two books (since Wendy has disabled html and the urls I’d paste in are too long).

    Finally, if you get MovableType, be sure to get MT-Blacklist (www.jayallen.org/comment_spam/). This is one of the best plugins ever created – allows you to stomp spam comments out of existence. The 3.0 version (for use with MT 3.0) is simply fantastic, and the 3.1 version will have this plugin bundled.

    To to go these URLs, simply copy between parenthesis and open an new browser window, and paste into the address bar.

  15. Wendy, I love your hat and scarf set! The colors are fabulous on you. I have been admiring Alchemy yarns at my LYS, but they have 1 skein of this and 1 skein of that. When the new shipment comes, though, I am going to pick up a few skeins for Xmas gifts.

    I have had great experiences with Addi Naturas (though I understand that Skacel has pulled them under that name and is now supplying them as Skacel bamboo needles). The only crystal palace ones I ever used threw a deep splinter and then cracked off at the join (causing knitting apoplexy as they were brand new!). I find the Clover’s snag my yarn more and thus need more babying along in terms of smoothing and maintenance.

  16. Love that hat and scarf, Wendy. Those are so cute!

    I love wooden needles, but have a few sets of Addis too and some flexi plasicy ones that I like. And Denise of course. Love Denise. But I swatched some kidsilk haze on my flexi plasticy #2′s the other day and it was like the stitches were glued to the needle. I think Addis will be better.

  17. You picked a wondeful color for the hat and scarf. Your set will look very stylish all winter!

    I too hate dark backgrounds on blogs. There are a few blogs that I really like that have it, and I wish the owners would lighten it up.

  18. Your Alchemy hat and scarf combo are terrific! Great colors. I can’t wait to start my red/orange hat and scarf. The mittens are on hold until I can move my yarn easily on dpns.
    Happy Day!

  19. It’s always fun to wander over here and find sentiments that echo my own — in particular about Tag Boards and link lists and quizzes (although those seem to be of waning interest lately) and pictures! I love pictures and I love seeing people’s projects progress.

  20. Addi turbos and naturas. All Addi all the time. Clovers and I don’t get along–something about the stiffness of their cables doesn’t work for me.

    That Alchemy…oh my… I need to get some of that stuff.

  21. Cheryl F. says:

    Another suggestion for bloggers–put some info in there about yourself, like Wendy’s 100 things about me. I’ve come across a couple of cool, new (for me) blogs, but I got frustrated trying to figure out a little about the person by reading back through the archives so I could follow it at least a little bit!
    Love the throw–how do you clean those Colinette throws? Dry Clean, hand wash? I know if I gave one to anyone in my “Red Heart” family, it would get thrown in the washer and dryer and ruined. Hmmm.

    Cheryl in AL

  22. I use livejournal for my personal blog – I really like it, especially the friends page. They let you add RSS feeds to it, so I can always see where my favorite blogs have updated. I read Wendy via my friends page.

    I use Moveable type for my knitting blog, and love it. I found it very easy to setup, and I love tinkering with all the plugins. But I’m a total geek, so.

    I know that I’ve found updating my knitting blog on a regular basis is actually kind of hard. I’m about to do one today, but how many times can you post “Did four rows last night because Katie insisted on sitting on the pattern and demanding pets. Boyfriend also wanted dinner. Damn boyfriend.”?

  23. Boy you hit the nail on the head re: dark background/light type/old eyes… however, it’s their blog, so what can we do..

    re: bamboo needles: I’ve discovered what looks like may be a wonderful bamboo needle: They’re made by Tulip and are from the SRK Collection… I’ll be carrying them & would love to hear from people about what are popular sizes to carry since I can’t afford to go crazy and buy a whole bunch of sizes just yet… I have US 8 at the moment… nice (non-metal!!) join, smooth, looks like it has some kind of finish on it…

    BTW, we decided to get a dog (what will the cats think?? LOL, they’ll get over it…) and have been cruising the petfinder pages…I think I got the link from here since I lost the link for our local HS/spca… found a couple that we’re going to check out and we met some yesterday… I did see a dog that, if he’s a good fit for our family would be a great artist’s dog because of the markings…

  24. As long as the Don’t be Stupid button stays! Cracks me up everytime…

  25. Man, you really said it about other blogs. All the things you dislike are pet peaves of mine, too. You were the inspiration for my blog (and many other great ones out there, too)as in daily posts, knitting content, having fun and being possitive. I’m always gleaning my blogroll as I find complaining and infrequent post quickly loose my interest. It is curious why some people even bother to have a blog! Black backgrounds are hell on anyone’s eyes. We can’t read hot pink on black easily. Oh dear, thanks for letting me vent.

  26. I forgot to mention: I also used Blogger once upon a time & didn’t care for it too much, it occasionally lost my entries. Greymatter is nice, but so is Movable Type… I’m using MT now because that’s what Gary set up for me…

  27. I could copy and paste that list, and it pretty much states precisely what I like/dislike about blogs.

    There are a few other things that make me hit the back button when I visit a blog because they keep me from enjoying content: Tons and tons of [enormous in kilobytes] photos displayed on the index page, so that the page download slows to a snail’s pace, even on my ADSL connection. Heavy, overdone or busy website graphics that distract from the content itself. Overuse of javascript marquees. Poor navigation. Script errors that render the page not user friendly.

    This is purely subjective, I know. And I’m sure that there are lots of things that people find bothersome about my blog, but hey! It’s my blog and the way I run it works for me. One can’t please all of one’s readers, so I don’t even try anymore. I just try to maintain my blog the way I like it and in the manner that allows me to do it during my free time, and hope that the most of the people who come in find something of interest there.

    P.S. I have an RSS feed and a short about me page, but I don’t think either are essential and don’t care if my blog reads have these or not. I also don’t care if a blog updates every day. As long as the entry has some good stuff in it, I’m happy with a few entries a week. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t check in with a few of my fave blogs that DO have quality entries every day! :-)

  28. LOL… I usually get asked “will you make me a blog” (sure, for a price is my wicked reply…hehe)

    But I REALLY just stopped by to comment on your lovely hat and scarf – makes you look all ready for Fall! Beautiful colours!

  29. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you for your input Wendy and others on developing knitting blogs. Now that I have my daughter’s wedding out of the way, I can concentrate on other things—like a catchy blog name (there are so many out there that the good names are just about taken.) I’m sure I’ll think of something. I’m anxious to get started!

  30. Right on Wendy! (how to create a “good” blog) I like to be entertained as well as entertain. Your blog makes me laugh! Pictures are a must. The more the better.

  31. All good guidelines!

    I think Blogger is much improved these days. Occasionally you’ll get a little “fart” and you might lose an entry, but after losing a million long, detailed entries in all sorts of formats (bulletin boards, Livejournal, etc.), I’ve learned to do a Cntl+A and Cntl+C of pretty much everything. That way, if you happen to get an error and lose something, you can simply Cntl+V and it’ll all come back. Blogger’s also got a lot of great features for being absolutely free, and you now have the option to not have banner ads at the top.

    I’m definitely taking Linda’s suggestion and making the syndicated version of my blog available (other than just on LJ). I didn’t know they were so useful!

    Great scarf/hat combo, by the way!

  32. First of all…Love the hat and scarf duet! Very Purty!!
    I use Typepad because Comcast doesn’t support Movable Type. I don’t understand that one but I’m very happy with tpyepad.

    I love the looks of the dark background…but they are so darn hard to read. Or light lettering on a light background..for these special looks, we need special glasses!

    Well it is nice to read what everyone thinks about what makes a blog reader friendly…but it is our blog and nobody is forced to read it. We do the best we can. Hey, that sounds like what my Mom used to say to me about being a mother..”I do the best I can” Now that I think about it..There is always room for improvement!! ;-)

  33. I highly recommend Diary-x as a sort of starter blog. It seems much more functional than Blogspot. I used Diary-x when I started and then, like you, bought my own name and installed MT [although now I use Expression Engine].

  34. I adore the scarf but I am having this wierd reaction to Liam (the sweater, btw lol) I am simply in love with it! I get so happy when you post a pic. I have enjoyed watching many of your original designs develop but I am just head over heels for Liam!

  35. Yup, I’m with everything you said, Wendy, except that not all tagboards have popups.

    As far as I can tell, blogdrive’s tagboards, because they’re generated by blogdrive themselves and not something you put into the blog, they’re unsponsored and don’t have popups. And, now that I have a paid account, I don’t even have the ad at the top! Whahoo!

    Which leads to… anyone wanting to start a blog, I am really happy with blogdrive. They’re very simple to use – I had NO IDEA what html even was before I started my blog with them, and have just picked it up as I go, they’re helpful, and you can have a free or paid account.

    Well, that’s my.. err… more than 2cents worth. About $3.50 Australian? Yeah, that’s about 2cents american anyway. Hehe ;)

  36. PS for your amusement and edification, just in case you don’t get around to reading my blog before it archives (yes, I admit, I’m not the centre of the universe! *gasp!*) ;-)

    http://smotlock.journalspace.com/?entryid=53

  37. Liam is quite the handsome guy. So impressive.
    And I’m giggling at how much yarn you had left.

Trackbacks

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