In the book that I’m reading, the main character bemoans the fact that she spends too much time online contemplating ” the personal musings of strangers who seemed convinced their every thought [was] worth her time.” If she’s talking about blogs, she is mistaken. I think most bloggers are writing for themselves and perhaps some small group of people. Unlike other kinds of writing (including, after all, novels — and there are plenty of folks who don’t consider books like Wolzien’s to be worth their time, though of course I am not among them), blogs do not have to be marketable.

If I disagree with her on the question of blogger’s motives, though, I have to agree that it is easy to spend too much time reading blogs. The knitting blogs are essentially practical; if I am thinking of making something (as, inspired by Voodoo920, I am considering the Sophie bag), I can use google to zip around the blogs of folks who have made it, and thus not only see plenty of example, but also find out what kinds of alterations others have made, the difficulties they have encountered, and so on.

But this is not all the blog-reading I do, is it? No, admittedly not. Even though I have resisted temptations to add to my subscriptions, I have all sorts of other blogs I feel I must read. I don’t want to fall behind, after all. If you skip a few days, you can easily get lost, and then take more time backtracking through entries (and, on xanga, back and forth through discussions in the comment sections), and then you never will get your laundry done. I have to read my family’s blogs, and the blogs of the people I have come to know as friends on xanga, and the blogs of the people they mention (so I’ll understand the stories). And then I feel honor-bound to read the blogs in the rings I belong to.

While I have mastered the Yarn Ho! webring and am able to keep up with it fairly well (and I am told that sometimes people join a webring for the sake of having a funny name on their site, so I am no longer searching for fiber content where there clearly is none), I am still very far from being able to make it around the Knitting Bloggers ring. There are about 600 of us, so if I were to read about 3 a day, I could certainly make it through the ring in less than a year.

It is not so simple, though. For one thing, I do not seem to be able to keep track. That is, I may read three on one day, and then the next day I cannot recall where I was supposed to start again. I probably should not have admitted that. Then there is the linking problem. I start with my neighbor, and she links to someone, and they link to someone, and I have read three — but not in order. If I always read three, but never in any order, what are the chances that I will actually make it around the ring? What’s more, sometimes there are those lists on the side (someday I will have to get one of my kids to show me how to do that) and I recognize someone whom I have previously found amusing and off I go to read that person, and the available time is up. There I am, having to go to work and still not having read anyone new. So there may be someone out there on the other side of the ring whom I would really enjoy reading, and learn a lot from, but whom I will never read, because I never actually make it over to that side of the ring.

Now, I know that some of you can read blogs at work. I often suspect that those who read LOTS of blogs are doing this at your desk, with your hands ready on the button to make your screen look like you’re working if someone comes in. I cannot do this. Sigh.

Well, I have finished the back of Hopkins and joined it to the front. I like to do this by binding off the two parts together. That is, you undo the bind-off of the front shoulder, put it onto a needle, and lay it next to the corresponding bit of the back shoulder. Holding the two needles together, you take a third needle and bind off, treating the two needles in your left hand as one. Some people call this a three-needle bind-off. It gives you a tidy and strong join at the shoulder, from the front (at right) or the back (below). The little hank of yarn is what had bound off the front shoulder. I will use it to sew the neckband facing.

Now you simply pick up the stitches for the neckband. I like a 1×1 rib for the neckband. I do the required number of rows, then reverse it, shifting from k1p1 to p1k1. Then I can fold it in half and sew it down, giving a much nicer edge than I would get by binding it off.

While I do the neckband, I will have to make some final decisions about the sleeves. I have done all the arithmetic, but I must decide whether to do plain gray sleeves (with variegated ribbing, of course) or whether to do some color work at the wrists. I am imagining something rather triangular in shape — perhaps I am influenced here by Rogue, or by the flame-sleeve sweater in S&B Nation. Time to hie me around the knitting blogs to look at other people’s color-work sleeves.