Beginning My Studies in the Internet Stacks

I should probably be writing a post right now, re-introducing myself and my (thus far) history with various fiber arts – embroidery, crewel, needlepoint, knitting, spinning, or the beginnings of my weaving arts journey.

But I find myself eager to talk about something else: the treasure trove of information I’ve uncovered and the (rather scattershot) graduate-level learning I’ve already soaked up from long-lived weaving and spinning blogs, all written by women who’ve kept at blogging far longer than I did.

Part of the excitement I feel when I read these is, of course, is the excitement of learning something new and understanding it. Of discovery.

But another part of that excitement comes from re-discovering why I was so excited about the whole concept of the Internet back in 1988. I remember very vividly, the sheer joy I had at the explosion of information and knowledge shared by  women. Women, specifically. About our lives, our work, our bodies, our experiences. Our art.

Sharing our expertise expanded with glorious abandon in the heyday of listservs, through deep dives and the sudden accessibility of topics and skills via blog entries and videos. I remember feeling not so alone and surrounded by enormously talented craftswomen. Much of that knowledge – the vast majority of it – had previously required a full day of sitting on the floor of a library stack, books spread ’round, or dizzyingly spinning my way through microfiche to find some article I’d looked up via hundreds of paper indexes with tiny print. The latter is still a satisfying adventure for me – the library is my temple. But I have to admit, I dearly love the fact that I can turn to the Internet immediately find someone’s experienced option on how to solve a problem with a countermarch loom and then promptly spend the rest of the afternoon reading through a decade or more of her weaving experience.

It all reminds me why I was besotted with this new (in the late 80s and early 90s) technology – and why it became my career. Twenty-five years later, through the constant din of how a handful of men have decided how interaction should work for us (via their now ubiquitous platforms) its soothing to see that a multitude of voices has survived elsewhere online.

I’m so glad that one of my favorite stores, the Woolery, decided to bring a Facebook discussion to their blog for the following reasons:

“Nancy has been sharing some valuable information on Facebook so we’re sharing it here as well where they will have more permanency and be more searchable to the internet at large.

Yes, yes, YES! In fact, they are valuable bits of information to me right now: TensionAbrasionOdds and Ends

Well. I guess that did turn into an introduction of sorts.

Thank you to all the women who’ve continued to blog on these past two decades. Thank you to all the men and women who’ve shared their tips and tricks and expertise on listservs (whose archives are likely to vanish soon). Your words, wisdom and experience have been invaluable to me.