Saturday, August 29, 2009

Tsk, Tsk, Naughty Little Blogger...

Betzi has been fuming. For nearly a week now I have held my tongue about a blog post by Sharon Pelletier, who authors the blogCeiling Flickers, but no more. Its time to let loose.

The post in question is this one. After having this charming piece of writing come to the attention of many a furious knitter and spinner she received a flood of comments and emails regarding this post--most of which were quite incensed. To her utter misfortune this post ended up on, where even more avid spinners and knitters furiously gathered their pitchforks (or needles and spindles, as it were) and rallied against her.

She had over 60 comments about her post before closing down that option. She then wrote this post, entitled Mea Culpa, a post apologizing for offending anyone. She claims that her true intention was one of satire, that she is in no way offended by handicrafts.

Yes, I can appreciate satire. Love it in fact. I would have liked to have seen satire in this rant, it could have been potentially been quite funny. But Ms. Pelletier conveyed no sense of irony here. In fact, she outright insulted those spinners, calling them "elderly to middle aged, and none of them can honestly be described as 'Beauty.'"

Naturally there is nothing wrong with being elderly or middle-aged, and I wonder why this 20- or 30--something blogger considers it a negative attribute . I think we can all agree that elderly and middle-aged spinners and knitters are vital to the survival of our art. They are invaluable to teaching us techniques we would never have learned on our own. They are integral to showing us traditional, regional patterns and techniques that have never been written down--only passed down to our generation by teaching us one-on-one.

As for the beauty comment, well now that's just childish. Is that the best she could come up with? Really? If you are shooting for clever satire, insulting one's personal appearence doesn't seem the way to go. Its just infantile and common.

Ms. Pelletier goes on to suggest that spinning is something that belongs only in historical museums and demonstrations, and not in full view of the public eye--in *gasp* the public library. In an age where unimaginative and disposal clothes are churned out en masse and sold for a few bucks at places like Wal-Mart (or anywhere for that matter), it seems to me that we have all lost our sense of where stuff comes from. Spinning in public raises that awareness. I very seriously doubt there is a single bit of wool to be found in Wal Mart. And you would be surprised how many people have no idea of where or how wool is made into yarn or felt, and that yarn or felt made into a wearable item. In this blogger's humble opinion, that makes spinning and knitting more relevant than ever.

But I digress, and that is all material for another post. This is a topic that Betzi is very passionate about. Rest assured you will hear about this again.

I certainly don't feel sorry for the children who were "lassoed" into helping the "head spinster" with her fiber, I think those children just experienced something eye-opening--that yarn comes from animals. They would have never experienced that had they not been lucky enough to wander in to the library that day. And yes, there is a reason the parents were "sitting fondly by, beaming". Yes, I think they did make a connection: their children were learning something interesting that they probably will never ever hear about in school, and hands-on to boot.

Another thing that gets under my skin is the blogger's claim that there is a poor, abused little bunny sitting in a cage being cruelly stripped of its beautiful coat. Its a widely known fact that angora rabbits need their coats removed or the animal will suffer. They risk overheating in summer and can become afflicted with hairballs. Unlike cats, angora rabbits do not have the ability to cough these hairballs up and can die from them.

Spinners are keenly aware of the origins of their fiber. We know the breeds and their characteristics and could probably talk your ear off about the exceptional qualities of our favorite types of wool. And though I can't speak for all spinners, I think most are truly animal lovers. We are happy every day we have wool in our hands, and can attest to the value of knowing the animal it came from, of knowing that it was loved and cared for. Find me a spinner who hates sheep or rabbits or goats and I will send you my finest acrylic yarn, Ms. Pelletier.

While I think that it takes balls of steel to apologize for publishing such careless and rude stereotyping, I hardly find her "Mea Culpa" to be entirely genuine. I think it was a rather lame attempt to cover her impudent tracks. She apologizes for offending us, yet justifies and defends her post in the next breath. I just don't buy her "toung-in-cheek" excuse. I don't read irony in "Run Rabbit Run". I just am not pickin 'up what she is puttin' down.

Sorry, Ms. Pelletier, apology not accepted.

On a Lighter Note...

I'm happy to report that my Icarus shawl won first place in the county fair. Its nice to have a third blue ribbon in 2 years. I was a little miffed that there was no shawl or lace category in which to enter my baby, but I guess I have nothing to complain about now, do I? Here is a rather crappy picture of the shawl at the fair. It turned out like that because it was under a thick sheet of plastic. At first I though it was just plain weird, but I think I'm ok with my shawl not being touched by a hundred people stumbling in on a sugar-induced high, scarfing down greasy funnel cakes. Completely ok with it, in fact.

Blue ribbon, Icarus

Just in case you don't remember what it looks like unfettered from its rather inglorious encasement, here it is again:

Icarus shawl

and the beaded edge:
Icarus shawl bead close up

Last weekend my best friend visited. I hadn't seen her in years and we had such a great time. As it happens, she too is a knitter (go read her blog here, where she tells you what she has been up to and shares her awesome J Rock finds). We had such a blast, and of course had to partake in a little yarn therapy. We visited 2 yarn shops in Winchester, Va, one of which was decent but lacked a certain sparkle(unfortunate because it was right down town near the pedestrian mall), the other a mind-blowingly cozy little house crammed with yarn and yarny things. This shop is so fantastic, it is slated to get its own blog post, so stay tuned!

At any rate, I was a very conservative shopper. Odd, because yarn therapy is exactly what I needed, and it had been ages since I purchased any yarn at all. I ended up with a beautiful deep teal Cherry Tree Hill merino sock yarn. I also hit the bead store downtown (amazing, you must stop there if you like sparkle and shazzam) and picked up 3 tubes of gorgeous silver-lined seed beads. I am in the process of knitting Rani. I've already completed a repeat--its a great pattern and very quick, despite the thin yarn. I'm giving myself a goal of finishing them next week and will of course post pics as soon as they are finished.

I am so happy she was here, she is such a great friend and tolerant sounding board. I missed her the minute she left. At least I got to share this amazing sunrise with her:

In Spinning News

I'd love to share some spinning news with you, but filling up the bobbin with insanely thin camel is slow-going at best. I have a half a bobbin filled. I love spinning camel, I don't know why I waited so long to try it. It has been languishing in my stash for almost 2 years now. A classic case of the its-too-nice-to-spins. I am taking my own advice from the last post and abandoning this logic. I have cashmere that has been calling my name for at least a year, and some silk that hasn't seen the light of day for just as long. Time to bust em out, one lush roving at a time.

In Other News

The Boy started school this week. To my great relief he really likes it and looks forward to getting on the bus everyday. I'm happy/sad that he is in school: the house is so quiet, but that boy needs constant and undivided attention and action. Its pretty exhausting trying to keep up with his pace. The Girl is loving it that he is gone. I think she enjoys playing with her doll house without having it attacked by the rather persistent and eclectic army of Playmobil Pirates/Knights/Police. I also discovered that when big brother isn't around, she turns on her Chatterbox mode. Its so cute.

Thats it for this week from the Blue Bungalow. 'Til next time!


  1. Congrats on that blue ribbon!!!! I so knew it would be yours. ^-^

  2. Interesting. I followed the links to both posts and read them and all the comments.

    I more or less agree with you in your reactions to the original post. It just didn't seem funny to me. She may very well have intended it to be satire, tongue in cheek, but she seems to have failed at it, given the responses. Most repliers didn't seem to find the humor, although I think many of them may have been previously influenced in how they interpreted it by whatever Ravelry posts there were that led them to the post.

    I'm a little more accepting of the apology, although I do think it was strange that it didn't occur to her that calling people ugly might seem unkind. Even if she were making a more general point, humorous or not, they were real people she was writing about - and posting photos of.

    But I also found many of the repliers to be mean, offensive, assuming things about her personality, ignorant, and everything else they were accusing her of - and seeing how many of them were done anonymously, kind of cowardly.

    I appreciate you pointing it out. It was interesting to read. I thought about posting on my blog about it, but I've decided not to. I think she's gotten too much publicity as it is. Not to say that my blog's a traffic-driver, but I don't want to prolong the attention to it or expand the audience. Whether it was mean, ignorant, or satire, it was a post that I think needs to be laid to rest. You know?

    Anyway, I enjoy your blog, and congrats on your blue ribbon! And your 9th anniversary.

  3. Yay for first place ribbons. The shawl came out beautifully. And the video.... You look amazing. I haven't seen you since our regular virtual web chats. I'm sure your hubby loved the video. Happy anniversary. :-)

  4. Wonderful video!!! hee-hee
    and of course you'd win a blue ribbon! duhhh
    The picture of your work against a light is so pretty~ nice perspective to see all the work that goes into it.Corey

  5. Great shawl, great video. Your haircut looks so cute. Can I do that?