I struggle with avoiding the echo chamber. If I’m not careful, I end up listening to the same music, reading the same news, hearing the same friends and, of course, browsing the same knitting patterns. I’m hardly a novelty freak, but it’s important to not cut myself off from new things completely.
There’s some work involved: raw piles of data aren’t helpful, but over-filtered information gets kinda samey. I try to get around it by finding other people to do the work for me: For music, I follow music blogs and have a handful of friends who report to me with the names of bands that OMIGOD I HAVE TO CHECK OUT, and occasionally google phrases like “the Vietnamese Tom Waits” to inject some unfiltered noise into my comfortable habits.
On Ravelry, I watch my friends’ activity like a hawk, and I obsessively check test-knitting groups. It’s a great way to scope out new patterns, and I like occasionally signing on for a test knit and donating a little extra time to proofing patterns.
Hence: This hat! It’s brioche stitch, which I love; the cables are awesome; and with bulky yarn, I cranked it out in no time flat. It’s warm and plush and RED. The test pattern was already pretty polished, so I didn’t have to spend a lot of time counting and double-checking. Total cakewalk. And as an inveterate indie-rock hipster-wannabe, it’s like getting into a band before they’ve even released their first EP: total bragging rights.