Big snow, big day, big question

Big Snow: Two storms in 24 hours provided Toronto with a huge dump of snow yesterday morning and last night. A few of the faithful gathered for knit night at Lettuce Knit last night and marvelled at the hours of thundersnow and the way the stuff just kept coming. I took some pictures on the way home last night, since as much as I hate winter, I’ve got to admit that it is very beautiful. (In my weaker moments, it is likely only how pretty it is that keeps me and my will to live connected in any way.)




That one is a nice knitter named Alexis trying to figure out if that’s a car or a pile of snow. As we were digging around in it I sort of wondered why we wanted to know. Both answers are sort of disturbing. Either there’s so much snow that it’s entirely buried a car, or there’s so much snow that it’s car sized. Not exactly a win/win.

2. Big Day. Big snow means snow day, which means tons of knitting gets done because seriously…where am I going to go. To that end, the Vintage socks are done, gloriously done and drying after a nice blocking (where the leaves curled a little bit and please me enormously) and I turned my attention back to a half done pair that were languishing, and are now




Meilenweit Mega Boot Stretch, (I love this yarn.) Colour 708, size 2.25mm needles, my ordinary sock recipe.

3. Big Question. I noticed yesterday that some readers who dislike the socks I’m knitting…. said so. Now, I’m not particularly bothered (or at all bothered, actually) by people disliking what I’m knitting. I go to blogs, I look at what other people are knitting and to be entirely frank, I would not be caught dead in some of it if it was week three of a broken washing machine at 40 below. Lots of knitting is not to my taste. I have never been able to connect with any part of me that wants anything fun fur. (Not even a scarf). I am still reconciling my inner self to most things that are pink, and there are a great many uses of intarsia out there that send a shiver down my spine. I would never, ever wear some of it. As a matter of fact, I would never wear the Vintage socks. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not really an embellished sort of person. Now, I do think they are beautiful. I think they have been a treat to knit, and I am exactly the sort of knitter who will knit something just because the process appeals to me and I enjoy a challenge, but the real reason these are being knit is because I know someone who will die a thousand deaths out of sheer joy when she receives them as a gift. They are totally her cup of tea, and nobody in the world will love them more.

Back to the question though. I tend to think of blogs as virtual living rooms. An invitation to visit the blogger at his or her house. So when someone leaves a comment about something being “ugly” I sort of imagine it like somebody walked into a living room, saw the couch and said “Whoa! Your couch is hideous. That’s a seriously ugly piece of furniture. Sorry, but I think someone should say something.” I don’t know anyone who would do that. I know people who would say nothing. I know people who might even say “Holy crap did you see their couch?” in the car on the way home. I even *am* the sort of person who would think it….but would it come out of my mouth? No Ma’am. My mother would knock me into next week if I did. Similarly, I don’t know anyone who would walk up to a woman and tell her that her dress was ugly. I wonder then, what prompts this sort of comment in another context? As a general rule, I’m not seeking permission to knit the things I do, nor will I be tremendously influenced by what you would wear. I return the favour too. Though I may not like your sweater choices, I respect a knitters right to choose. Chacun Γ  son goΓ»t.

It’s an honest question, and I’m looking for an honest answer. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with disagreeing, disliking or dissenting. I even enjoy discussion, debate and discourse on the merits of a particular pattern or colourway. I think there are better ways to inspire that though. “It’s ugly” isn’t exactly critique of a sort that inspires discussion. I knit to please myself and the people I love, and the only way that a comment like that could hurt me would be if it was from the person I was knitting for (and I want to make it clear that if the intended recipient of the Vintage socks left a comment with even a whisper of negativity in in I would have to have therapy.) Generally though, it doesn’t hurt my feelings, and I’m not wounded. I have a feeling that saying “wow, your work is really ugly” is actually a translation of “that is not to my taste and I wouldn’t wear it if you paid me”, and truly…. that’s a fair statement, if unfairly stated in its original form.

I’m sincerely wondering what is running through someone’s mind as they type something that would be hugely out of character for them to say were I standing in the room, especially since I am in the room. (Sort of.) It’s been suggested that perhaps it feels good to dissent, (It does.) and that many of us have an urge not to be taken for a sycophant and occasionally take it too far. (I have been known to do that one myself.) There’s even the thought that not all people have manners….which is the one that perplexes me.

I am almost 40. In my almost 40 years, NOBODY has ever walked up to me and said “I’m sorry, but your shirt is just ugly.” NOBODY has ever walked into my home and dissed my stuff. (I’m sure they thought it. Some of my stuff is pretty bad. Even I don’t like it.) Not only has that never happened to me, I haven’t really heard about that much either. Now, this is pretty compelling evidence that people do (mostly) have a code (or at least a set of guidelines) when we’re standing in front of each other. How does that code change, and why?

I’m not saying we all have to be nice… or agree. We all enjoy (especially) watching intense debate. (I admit I have loitered on the Big Issues Forum at Ravelry for the same reason.) It’s fun. The thing I’m wondering is what provokes it in this personal a context.

Discuss. I’m making tea.

Edited to add: Ok. I think I didn’t phrase this right. (Which is surprising…since I used so many phrases. You would think I would have nailed it just on odds.) I am not asking “Why are people rude”. I actually don’t think dissent is rude, nor did I find the comments that called my work “ugly” rude, hurtful or unwelcome to the point that they need a public slapping. I hope they don’t feel that way. What I do wonder is what anyone thinks is achieved by a comment like that. What, in the purest sense, are they hoping will happen? Do they think it will make me a better knitter? Reshape what I’m knitting to suit their taste? People don’t usually act without motive….and I’m wondering at that motive.

923 thoughts on “Big snow, big day, big question

  1. “your socks are ugly?!?!?”
    Rude much?
    who gives a crap what they think.
    I for one am looking forward to pictures of the finished product. I would never knit them (not that adventurous) I would never wear them (too lumpy) but I still think they are amazing.

  2. I made a pair of socks out of that yarn but I gave them away. I just might have to but more to make a pair for myself – it sure felt cozy!!
    Now. I would never say that your blog, your knitting or your house, or your shirt, was ugly. That’s just plain rude. (Why do people think they can say things online they would NEVER tell anyone in real life?)
    But – I probably would not wear the leaf socks myself. Not that they’re ugly.

  3. How on earth could someone be brazen or rude enough to do that. It’s the anonymity of the internet, which is good and bad. Just take note of the fact that they were here reading. Knitting is personal. The process is personal. I have decided that when I knit a gift for someone, it’s more for me than them. I am not forking over money for some gift, I’m making it. It’s a process for me, and I end up with the benifit of having something at the end of it to give away. Bravo at your socks. And at the tongue biting you must have had to do to write this post πŸ™‚

  4. I’d take it a little further. It feels to me a little more like walking into the delivery room where a mother is holding her newborn and saying “Woah, that is one ugly baby!”

  5. You can’t account for people and what they will say. While those socks aren’t exactly my cup o’ tea, as you put it, I, as a knitter can appreciate the skill and effort that goes into something like that. I still think as long as people can ‘hide’ behind a keyboard, the filter between brain and fingers gets removed, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Short of not allowing comments on our blogs, I think we’re doomed to have to take the good and the bad.

  6. Just amazing what can come out of people’s mouths, or fingers.
    Sitting in unseasonably warm Pennsylvania envious of your snow days and uninterrupted knitting.

  7. I have to say, I was a bit shocked myself at some of the comments yesterday. Even if I couldn’t see myself personally wearing the Vintage socks, I thoroughly appreciated and applauded the skill and effort and fiddlyness that went into them.
    To many of us, this is a virtual-living-room, so I don’t believe that a basic sense of (respect? propriety? niceness?) not-being-rude should be a basic component. There has to be a better way of critiquing an item without flaming it…

  8. I thought the socks were pretty, though I’d never wear them, but I certainly wouldn’t tell someone that something they were spending time making was ugly. I’ve thought that while being at my knitting group, but never commented.
    Was that a car or just snow?

  9. The people who feel it is appropriate to make such comments have mothers that would NOT have knocked them into the middle of next week.
    Sue in Washington

  10. Umm – some people are assholes? Seriously, there is a whole genre of research on communication on the web because of this very thing. People feel “safe” to comment because they aren’t there in person. I’m not even sure these folks recognize how rude they are being. I hope the offender will see your comment and rethink his or her netiquet (there is even a word to describe how we behave on the web.)
    By the way, even though I might *not* wear the Vintage socks (like you, not being into decorative clothing), I think they are amazing. I have very much enjoyed watching the process as you knitted them. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

  11. Amen, Harlot! The anonymity of the internet allows such rudeness – just like the drivers who will flip you the bird. They’d be mortified if they were recognized. I’m all for having ideas and opinions, but they should be shared in a manner befitting humanity.

  12. People have to mind their manners on the ‘net just as much as they would in someone’s living room. The ‘net makes people feel too impersonal and they don’t realize that some of their comments have the capacity to hurt real live human beings on the other end of the DSL/cable connection.There is too much negativity in this world, spread the positive or mind your manners.

  13. Good manners are expected any time you open your mouth – especially to family and friends. I’m not sure which I consider you to be but you can be sure my Momma taught me right. Wish I could say the same thing about other folks – rudeness shows up in all places, blogs, the grocery, church (don’t even ask), but it does occasionally provide a teaching moment to my son. Keep up the excellent knitting!

  14. I don’t get it, either. I make and sell leather goods to historical-reenactment types, and in over a dozen years in business, I can think of only *one* time someone has insulted my work to my face, and it completely floored me. There’s one thing people laugh about sometimes, but that’s ok, it is silly, and I laugh with them.

  15. It’s a matter of manners, as you said. Personally, I think the socks are drop dead gorgeous, and they show your knitting (and sewing) skills to advantage, but even if I didn’t like them, I would never say so in a public forum. Some people suffer from foot in mouth disease, and they are to be pitied. That being said, please show photos of the dried and blocked socks. And I loved the snow pictures, they were amazing. Stephanie, you are my hero.

  16. It is a psychological phenomenon that “allows or makes” people to do things differently if they think they are anonymous. Kind of like how people will act differently if they are part of a large group. They will do things they would normally never do if they were acting alone.
    But a simple rule to live by is “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. Apparently some people forget to think.

  17. On second thought, I would wear them. (Just in case the recipient says something less than perfect!) Let me know if you need my address to send them to! πŸ˜‰ I think they are beautiful.

  18. Dear Stephanie,
    I love those colors. If you name those socks, they would have to be Rainbow Sherbet.
    Regarding the negative comments about your work:
    I think too often, readers get so personally involved with a blog, that just as they love to hear all your thoughts, they begin to think you would love to hear all of theirs. None of us are privy to your negative stuff: you edit it out. But readers might be wrapped in the illusion that they are getting it all from you, and so they spill it all back. That’s my putting-a-good-face-on-it theory. There’s also the possibility that the opportunity to be safely rude from the end of a wire, may be too thrilling for some to pass up.
    Back to knitting stuff: Will we get a picture of the leaf socks on foot? I can’t quite picture how the cuff falls.

  19. I think perhaps people lose their manners online a lot because they don’t experience the shame associated with being so rude. You don’t have to watch the other person’s face when you type “It’s ugly” and hit enter, and some people only use their manners because others might call them out. The rest of us have frightening mothers and wouldn’t dare do anything to prove they didn’t teach us better.

  20. I’m interested in how personal this context actually is. On the one hand, it’s very personal in that a blogger invites people to witness things she might never show in a face-to face setting. On the other hand, this medium affords everybody a large measure of anonymity. If a person on the street told me my shirt was ugly, she would be vulnerable to whatever piece of criticism I chose to retort with. (probably something extremely witty and mature like, “your MOM’s ugly!”) In this forum, however, folks are free to speak bluntly, and rudely, without having to be held accountable. I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. It is certainly interesting. In this kind of forum, people may act more or less genuinely because of the protection it affords.
    I for one don’t think the socks are ugly. I would wear them in a heartbeat! Mine would be purple though.

  21. I think part of it is that people just respond differently when the person they’re talking to isn’t standing right there in front of them.
    Posters know intellectually that the person is reading their comments (although given how many comments you get, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that some posters think you don’t necessarily read them, or at least not all of them). But when you can’t see the person or hear their voice, it just doesn’t click in the brain the same way.
    That’s a pretty common problem all over the Internet, really. In person you can modify what you say on the fly when you see from the person’s respose that you may be upsetting or offending them. Online you just keep plowing ahead in blissful ignorance that you’re upsetting someone, and drama ensues.
    I have actually had someone come up and tell me my shirt was ugly… but she was 3, so that’s not really that surprising.
    On a less serious note… WAS there a car under all that snow?

  22. I too am dying to know if there was indeed a car under all that snow?!
    And I want to thank you, who along with your fellow bloggers, open up your world and share it with us so freely. Shame upon those of us who tramp on your hospitality without regard to manners or even common courtesy. Although I’ve never commented before, I for one am pleased to be invited into your living room day after day for a laugh, a tear, or an “I can so relate to that!” A thousand thanks.

  23. I think the analogy of a blog as a living room may be a bit off. I assume you don’t leave your house door open so that utter strangers from all over the world can walk into your living room and talk with you. Blogs are public – there is no admission fee or even a knock at the door required. So, the public (such as they are, blunt, rude, etc.) reads and comments. I have to say that I am honestly surprised (and pleased) that the commenters on the blogs I read – they are all knitting blogs – are so polite and supportive.

  24. Wow. What gets me is not that some people are asses. We know that. They show themselves, like they did in the comments yesterday. What really gets me is that this is not the first time you have had to address this. and sadly, it will not be the last. Haven’t these people ever heard “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all”?
    And my Mom would STILL knock me into next week if I dissed someone aloud.

  25. I think that if you wouldn’t want to hear it, don’t say it. I have a sign in my office that says “What comes out of one’s mouth is as important as what goes in.” Those are, IMO, words to live (and blog) by.
    Love the socks…seriously…!

  26. There are so many things I want to say about this. Is it that in their life it is okay to do this? It is possible afterall, not appealing but possible. Or maybe Mama just raised ’em wrong in not teaching human kindness. Or maybe they do not realize tehy are being unkind?
    There was a mom of a son’s classmate, who while at a party at my house, asked me when I was going move to a nicer house. (and it was a damn fine house- but that is beside the point)
    I think some people just filter what is okay, very differently.

  27. You know, it’s funny that you bring this up, because I was thinking about it from the opposite direction. My students have to fill out an evaluation form for me. They know that I read the comments, even if they are anonymous. They must also know that I know that some of them don’t like me (that’s part of being a teacher). Yet the evaluations I get are all positive – glowing even. Because they know that I will get them, they are loathe to say anything negative. Yet I have heard them complaining about my class periodically. Is there a difference between reading something recorded on a physical piece of paper and something recorded on a computer – do we think that one is somehow less “permanent” than the other?
    Just an observation.

  28. I have to agree with rams when she made the observation about the newborn baby – I cannot imagine anyone having the nerve to say something like that – I find it very rude, thoughtless and yes, nasty. That in turn applies to some of the comments left on this blog.
    I love the socks and would never knit them myself but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the saga of you knitting them. You go, girl!!!

  29. It seems that in our fast paced culture, technology has developed faster than manners for them. The interenet is so availible that it is easy to forget that a blog is someone’s ‘living room.’ While I would never make or wear those socks, I think they are a work of art and are beautiful in their own right. I respect anyone who is willing to put that much work into something that someone will a) wear on their FEET and b) walk holes in. While I am not that brand in insanity myself, I can appreciate those who are.

  30. Thank you for inviting me into your home- it is lovely. I wish I could bring you baked goods and sit and have tea and chat (though I do read your blog while drinking tea- does that count?) Anyone why thinks its ok to say negative things about what you are doing has no manners and deserves to get a little slap/ reprimand (their mom didn’t do this enough when they were a child??)
    The socks are beautiful- as a knitter I appreciate the yarn, the time, and the intricate detail and in that I see the beauty.

  31. I think there are two reasons at play here;
    1) The magic “anonymity” of the internet
    2) Being negative is easy, it’s positive that takes courage.
    Anyone being nasty out here in blogland is probably just trying to feel superior. Sad really, because it only proves they’re quite the opposite.
    And for the record, if I were invited into your living room I would offer you a nice bottle of Cote de Rhone and bite my tongue should I find your couch offensive.
    My folks done taught me some manners!

  32. Though I do quite like your living room analogy, I have to say that it’s never fully worked for me. Perhaps to me it’s a little as though you brought your living room out onto the front yard. Not that you are inviting criticism in doing so, but that it is more likely to happen when your living room is out there.
    I work at a knitting store, and we hand knit a wedding dress that sits in our window. We’ve had lots of people walk in and tell us how beautiful it is. We also on one occasion had a group of men walk by and one of them said “That’s the ugliest wedding dress I’ve ever seen” loud enough that we could hear inside the store.
    None of that is to say I think that is Right, or Okay for these things to happen. But if we had kept our wedding dress in the very back we would be less likely to hear these criticisms.
    Okay, I have one more analogy. You are a published author. I know from experience that most authors both love and hate having their work published, because after all, some people Aren’t Going To Like It. There is no avoiding that. And Some People Will Tell you they Don’t Like It, or worse. It’s not nice or fun, but it’s a reality of putting yourself out there like that. I don’t think blogs are that far off from published novels.
    None of this is to say I approve, but this is why these things happen.
    Ok, I’m done now.

  33. I think the honest answer is that the internet lends itself to disconnection of people. Chances are these people will never step foot in your living room, will never look you strait in the eye, or even talk to you directly in any form. Its a cruelness you can see in any forum, youtube clip, or blog all over the net. People tend to be more blunt and yes, downright rude, b/c in their mind they will never meet you.
    But calling them out on it is 100% the best thing to do b/c it reminds them that there is a person behind the blog, not just a sock knitting machine that also knows how to take pictures.

  34. I think it’s crass and unnecessarily mean. That’s something you either don’t say at all, or keep among friends who know you very, very well.
    Now if someone did something and they thought it was ugly themselves and invited those kinds of comments, that’d be different. That person yesterday was just rude!

  35. It all boils down to how we were raised. Since this rudeness seems to flow maybe from the thinking that you are a stranger, then it must be okay to forget any manners we may possess. I was taught that the less familiar one is with a person, the more our manners must be utilized – I hope I have passed this on to my children. By the way, I don’t think of you as a stranger, you welcome us into your home and family every day, something I have not yet had the courage to do.

  36. This idea of why someone thinks it’s ok to make a negative comment on a blog v. make such a comment in person, I think, highlights how people think about blogs. You make a good case for the way you react to comments on your postings – as if it were an actual conversation. I certainly agree that that is a reasonable point of view. In defense of the negative comments (and don’t misconstrue my defense to condone the behavior – I have an opinion but I’m staying mum), perhaps they see this as being more akin to journalism? Is there a parallel to the “Letters to the Editor” page? Strong opposition and (arguably) bad manners are often present there – so maybe that’s the way the negative commenters are reacting.
    … again, not agreeing … just putting that out there. I think I’ll go make some tea, too. πŸ™‚

  37. As always you make some very good points. Perhaps people feel they can be brutally honest and/or rude because they believe this forum makes them invisible. Hiding behind their keyboards as it were. If we all would think of ourselves as being truly visible to the world – which I am currently working on – I think we’d all behave a bit better.

  38. I am pretty sure that the reason someone was so rude or blunt in the comments is because of the anonymity. Even if they sign their name, no one can get right up in their face about it.
    Sorry to dork out, but it is what happens in mmos (massive multiplayer online games). People are rude and mean to other people simply because they can be. It is sad that people feel satisfied by being rude to people online, though I think in this case the person wasn’t being rude to be rude, but was being rude because they didn’t have to be nice.
    Though then I think about it and they went to the trouble of writing it on the comments? I am confusing myself now.
    As to your socks, though I wouldn’t wear them and I don’t think I know anyone who would, that makes me a little sad because they look like the most fun to knit. I will have to think more if I know anyone who would want them. I did order the Imbas kit from the same place for myself though. I am dying with anticipation of getting that kit!

  39. Regarding people being rude on blogs, I think that (unfortunately) there is a lot of merit to the point that some people are just rude and inconsiderate. However, I think there’s also a more subtle force at work here — in InternetLand, it can be very challenging to track down an identity to go with a screen name. I think this sense of anonymity gives some people a feeling of more free-rein in their comments than they would feel in real life. However, I try to adhere to the “don’t type it if you wouldn’t want it to appear in your local paper, or if you wouldn’t want your mother to read it” because you NEVER know what will make it back to you. I’ve been tempted to type a few real nasty things before (not here) and that guideline has stopped me in my keystrokes.

  40. I agree. It’s a matter of manners. Sometimes people think that it’s okay to diss someone/something on the internet because they, for the most part, remain anonymous. BTW–all your knitting is beautiful. I say that because you are obviously a talented artist and it comes through in your knitting. Not all of it is something I would wear or even attempt to copy. It’s still beautiful for art’s sake. I enjoy reading your blog very much.

  41. I don’t know. Personally, I don’t really think of any knitting as “ugly” Not to my taste? sure. Not to most people’s taste? sometimes. But. and this is a big But, considering the skill and effort that goes into knitting projects, from the simplest garter stitch fun fur scarf to those gorgeous Vintage socks makes it all beautiful to me. I have to admit that Tsarina’s patterns look awfully fiddly to me as a knitter. Not my cup of tea. They are works of art though, even if I’d never knit them myself.

  42. I think those socks are really beautiful if not particuarly wearable by which I mean that if they were mine(and I wish they were) I’d lie on the couch all day admiring my feet.
    On your point I think it has a lot to do with not being able to see the other person’s face and read their body language that allows people to feel they can be rude on the net.They’re hiding behind a rock and calling out names; childish really.
    I will admit to telling someone their sweater was nasty but I was three and it was itchy (mohair – I know better now and my mum told me we didn’t say that).

  43. Uhm…yeah. That would be just plain rude! I mean…we’ve been watching you knit these things for weeks…even if we didn’t like the colors, didn’t like the pattern, and didn’t like knitting socks, common courtesy should still make us admit that the EFFORT ALONE was a thing of beauty.
    But I love the socks. Even if they weren’t really my color, (and I loved the colors), the design, the tiny leaves…I was just as drunk on those socks as you were, and it was a sparkling high.
    Maybe the person just hasn’t been knitting enough.
    I have to say that now that I’ve been knitting for a couple of years, I went from being very selective, and needing to be ‘courted’ by certain colors, and having a terrible distaste for certain others, to throwing myself into a completely sensual pigment abandon. In short? I’m a color slut. Nothing is ugly to a colorslut. Perhaps the person rude enough to tell you the project is ugly, just hasn’t been seduced enough by fiber to appreciate the orgiastic pleasure of sensual pigment abandon. It’s well known that colorsluts have hearts of gold, silver, copper, sapphire, emerald, ruby, faun, chablis, sunset, azure, blush, violet, indigo, diamond, pearl, mother-of-pearl, orange, canary, lemon, butter, pond-shadow, jade, vermillion, cinnabar, autumn, bronze, cochineal, weld, rose, oak-leaf-shadow, blonde-wood, slate, taupe, baby-blue, powder-blue, baby-shit green, baby-shit yellow, baby-shit brown, mauve, purple, amethyst, willow, delft, sunset, sunrise, and nipple-piercing pink!

  44. I agree with your discussion on people who open their mouths without engaging their brains. I would live in fear of the Vintage Socks, those leaves may fall off somehow, not due to lack of craftmanship but somehow the magic that just makes one-of-a-kind buttons fall off of sweaters sort of thing.
    Have fun (or good luck) getting out from all that snow.

  45. Pity that you have to remind people that blog-readers are blog-guests. I feel very privileged to be able to visit all the “living rooms” in blogland. Thinking back I can remember inspiring projects, interesting projects, amazing projects, clever projects, intentionally silly projects that made me laugh out loud (along with words about people’s lives that covered a wide range of emotions)—–and nothing at all worth insulting (not that I would.)
    Viva Blogland! I’ve found more virtual kindred spirits than I ever would have found in person in my lifetime. Thank you for the effort you put into keeping your living room open. (And I’m dying to see the vintage socks.)

  46. You know, my best ex-friend Cindy is exactly the kind of person who would walk into your house and tell you that your chair/wallpaper/whatever was ugly. (This would be just one of many reasons why she’s an ex-friend…)(Oh, and her mother? Very nice lady. Her father, on the other hand, is also prone to verbal cruelty.)
    I do think the anonymity of email/blog commenting does encourage that kind of outright rudeness. So it goes…and I guess, every now and then, you get to remind people to BEHAVE.
    And the socks? Not for me, but I’m impressed and amazed by the workmanship involved, from the original design to the actual knitting. I hope the recipient faints away in delirium.

  47. I have *truly* enjoyed watching you knit these amazing socks. They are a work of art. It is a shame that people are so insensitive to the amount of time, effort and love that you poured into them. Please know they are not the majority.

  48. I think some people do it because they feel the internet is anonymous and that they’ll never have to see you, or anyone you know, face-to-face.
    They seem to have forgotten a few important facts:
    1. Internet Service Provider Numbers that identify their location.
    2. The knitting mafia is EVERYWHERE.
    3. DPNS can be used for evil.

  49. I don’t understand the impulse of filterless talking. If anything, I’m pretty much too filtered in public. I haven’t read yesterday’s comments, but I get the drift. You’ve done a marvy job of dispassionate inquiry and not personalizing the rudeness, but I’m going to take up the cause for the designer. Ahem.
    Attention, people – rude people – someone thought these socks up, made them, had a concept going, actually knit them so that the leaves looked like the leaves they were supposed to look like, made them on a teeny scale and then drafted some instructions so that skilled and patient knitters could replicate them. Could we take a moment to quit thinking about ourselves and appreciate that process. Have you ever done that? Have you ever tried to do it? It is hard. It is something to be appreciated, greatly. Maybe until you have gone through that amazing process and come out with something that expresses what you want it to, and then have someone breezily announce ‘its ugly,’ you should express your opinion only to those who love you.
    Back to regularly scheduled programming…

  50. Well said. I admire the time, effort, and talent that went into those socks.
    Your couch analogy reminded me of a story my mother liked to tell. My father was in the Army and Army housing tends to be all identical. A friend’s mother was visiting and took a walk. She accidentally walked into the wrong house after her walk and loudly asked why they had bought such a hideous couch before realizing her mistake. So, I guess some people’s mothers would tell their children that their choice of couches (or socks) was poor, but you ought to make sure it’s your daughter’s couch before you insult it!

  51. Car or snow?
    Appropriateness of comments aside, how could anyone declare your work on those socks – and those leaves – as anything but exquisite? I have been in awe from the beginning, while also having sympathetic anguish as I’ve read the Tribulations of the Socks.
    Now I’m going to go knit myself a pink fun fur jacket for when you come to visit! : )

  52. I agree that it is the anonymity of the internet. They can say what they want, and don’t have to hear or see your reaction. Some probably don’t even think of you as a real person who reads the comments, kwim? You did a wonderful job on those socks. I’m sure the recipient will love them, and hopefully will appreciate the work you put into them.

  53. One of the downsides to the internet and technology is it empowers people to feel as if they aren’t responsible for what they say. Typing it feels anonymous and safe, when in reality, they might as well be standing on a street corner with a megaphone. Without being too dramatic, its a type of cyber-bullying: “aren’t I cool for saying I don’t like what you did?”. While the world would be so dull if we all liked the same things, there is a way to express it. I have an expert-knitter friend who knits things filled with baubles, colors, things hanging off, patterns and god-knows-what, and I am a monochromatic, cable type of lady. But I admire her incredible technique and effort and let her know it. Though I wouldn’t wear it, I would never diss it. Our knitting/art/writing/you name it is a labor of love and we should all be respectful of it. And by the way, I think the Vintage socks are incredibly beautiful. While I don’t know that I’d wear them and I know I’d never be able to knit them, I’d hang them on the wall as art.

  54. Wow, I share the same opinion of all — but this phenomenon has been around at least since email became the communication of choice – it is β€œeasier” to be β€œblunt” without looking the person in the eye. Usually I try to step back and think that perhaps the tone of voice, if we were actually having a conversation, would soften the blow – usually not. And then I type feverishly a smart a** reply… cool off, and hit the delete button, because my mother taught me to use good manners as well.
    β€œBecause Nice Matters” should be printed across the top of each and every computer monitor sold.
    My 2 cents worth.

  55. I’m sorry that people can be such jerks. I personally love the socks. I wouldn’t wear them, but that’s because I loathe wearing socks in general. So nothing specific to those socks. But it still hurts when people decide to make assumptions or tell you things that they’d never say in person.
    I used to run into that a lot at an old job. I was working at a medical billing company and the things people would tell me were unbelievable. I can’t tell you the number of times I was cursed at, threatened, etc. But I would bet $100 that if they had been in my office in person that they would never have said such things.
    So – tell them to stuff it and continue amazing us with your knitting skills.
    BTW – I’m truly frightened by the size of those snow drifts.

  56. I’m right behind you all the way (and in the age thing as well…I’ll see 40 in 3 more years, yikes!)
    Whatever happened to if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

  57. It’s amazing that common courtosy is so illusive on the net at times (more so than real life, which gets hairy at times. Christmas shopping nightmares anyone?) Even more amazing is that we have had to coin a specific phase of “Netiquette” to outline socially acceptable rules for interacting online. Just play nice, people! Internal dialogue should stay internal!
    The socks are fantastic, by the way. Absolutely way beyond what I would ever conceive of attempting, but I can definitely appreciate the creativity in the design (even my b/f appreciated it!) and the shear determination to slough though the tough/frustrating spots! Even though I would never wear them (too beautiful to be worn out and too textured for my feet), I stare at the screen thinking “Holy cow! That’s amazing!!!” The process itself is art.

  58. Hi Stephanie,
    From your post today, its is obvious that the comments do bother you to some extent. However, I think you really should just remember, that if they can’t see the beauty of the process and knitting for the sake of knitting, then there is something wrong.
    I have made tonnes of hideous things that I would never put on my body, but people have asked me to make it for them cause they can’t knit themselves. I view it as a privilege to be able to share my love of knitting with them and the people who end up with the item.
    Manners are lost these days. Just remember, the internet is impersonal, we knitters aren’t. A little bit of our soul goes into everything we create ugly or not.
    Have a great snow day! Knit long and hard.

  59. You have begun a very interesting discussion that is worthy of research. I am taking a university class entitled “The History & Future of the Book”. This class has included an indepth look at how digitization of text changes everything about previously held notions of writing and authorship and now you have opened up a whole new debate which includes notions of propriety, appropriate behaviour and self-awareness. Technology does so much for us – it has also taken away so much but we can’t reallly blame technology, can we? It’s people who find writing this way so easy and anonymous that they feel they can write whatever they like and not think of who they might be affecting. I like the socks and admire the determination it took to finish them. How’s the Must Have Cardigan or is the kitty still sitting on it?

  60. I guess it’s sort of like road rage. People do things driving that they wouldn’t normally do because they have annonimity. Or at least they think they do. I’ve always liked the way you describe the comments as your living room. That said, I want to see a picture of the completed socks. The pic from yesterday with the leaves at the top and grapes on the leg looked neat. I’m glad you’ve escaped with your sanity after knitting all those leaves. Obviously your affection for the socks recipient is boundless!

  61. PS: The radar looks like that nasty storm is going to miss us in Ottawa! Means I have no excuse but to go out and do errands tonight. πŸ™

  62. Sadly in this world there are those people who for one reason or another, never grew out of that middle school phase. The one where the other girl in the class would walk up and say “wow that shirt is ugly.” For others I think for some reason the keyboard/monitor removes the filter of polite behavior…they forget there is a real person on the other end, Still NOT an excuse for bad manners.
    I thought the socks were beautiful, all the more so for the hours of work that went into them
    I also think that the concept for those socks (the leaves, embroidery, embossed grapes) would make an absolutely fabulous hat!

  63. Stephanie, I’m a relative newcomer to your blog and I’ve truly enjoyed reading the story of the leafy socks. The feline invasion of your bathtime has been shared with my cat-loving friends. There’s a mean girl mentality out there that I just do not get –being a smart-aleck, sarcasm, extreme silliness, and constructive criticism I get. But mean, and therefore rude, escapes me. I would LOVE a pair of those socks, and would LOVE FAR MORE the skill to CREATE THEM!
    Is the tea ready? I really need a cup. =;)
    Thanks, for all the neat stuff you share with everyone.

  64. Deb (above somewhere) has a good point about anonymity making people feel somewhat bullet proof; though I think that physical “separateness” fosters a lot of blunt-instrument behaviour; think of some Letters to the Editor in your newspaper. Also, in the same way that alcohol can remove the veneer that some individuals put on, the internet is a mask remover. Unfiltered people can be pretty scary.

  65. I don’t entirely agree that a blog is an invitation to your living room. To me, it’s more like a conversation between friends; and, because we pretty much tell each other everything (in our minds), some of us have less of a filter about what to say and/or how to say it. My husband is an artist (no, really). I met him in college and he taught me a huge amount about art history. One of the things I’ve taken away from that is to recognize quality without having to actually LIKE a particular piece of work. For example: Willem DeKooning. Hate his stuff – it’s angry and misogynistic in the extreme. Still, I know it’s good — well-executed, quality stuff. The vintage socks are kind of like that: Beautiful quality, lovely colors, but not to my taste. There’s nothing wrong with me thinking that or trying to imagine the type of elvish individual who would delight in wearing them. Surely not you, Stephanie, and certainly not me, but there is room in this world for someone who would see them and her heart would go all aflutter, and more power to her. More power to you, too, for knitting something outside your stylistic comfort zone just for someone else’s ecstasy.

  66. It’s the anonymity – I don’t think that makes it right, but it is. And it’s sad. I often think of the “living room” scenario (as you’ve mentioned it before) when leaving comments on someone’s blog. If I wouldn’t say it to them in person, I’m certainly not saying it online.
    But other people, well, they just aren’t that way.

  67. EASY:
    Over the internet, you can say something obnoxious to someone without having to deal with the consequential awkward stare you’d get delivered back to you in real life.
    Unless that someone politely addresses it in the follow up post.
    Which was totally kick-ass of you.
    By the way, nice socks!

  68. ok, where do people get off just commenting like that? i could see if you gave an opinion something to the effect of “wow that looks like you’re having fun knitting it” or “hey, that is totally your style”. however, i don’t think the code changed as far as etiquette goes. i have knitter friends who tell me when i’m making a mistake, but a total stranger just knocking my stuff (which has happened before) simply because it wasn’t in their tastes is bound to get you popped in the mouth. now i’m not advocating knitting violence (dpns would be feared, metal OR wood) but people really need to think about how their words affect other people.

  69. Clearly, I have to start reading the comments more often.
    And though I couldn’t ever see myself knitting those socks, I, myself, knit two sock monkey hats to give as Christmas gifts. At least the socks are lovely and unusual.
    Stones, glass houses, you know the rest…..
    But the one thing missing from all comments (including this one) is “voice”. Writing “electonically” with voice is an art unto itself. I always try to give the writer the benefit of the doubt.

  70. They are probably also the people who loose all sense of decency and manners when driving. Somehow, it seems, when you’re in the car, you cease to be human to the other drivers. You’re just a car. I hate cars for just this reason. I think the internet is dehumanizing in the same way. When one types something on the internet, be it an email, a blog comment, a forum post, etc, it is easy to forget that the recipient is not just a computer, they are a real person with feelings. People say and do things to other people in cars and on the internet that they would never do or say face to face.
    I hate the internet in the same way I hate cars. I still drive places (although I walk or cycle when I can get away with it) and I still blog (although I still prefer my real life knitting group/shop/friends over the computer hands down), but I hate cars and the internet.

  71. I would have to agree with the chorus of people saying: “anonymity of the internet.” It’s like the Milgram experiments.
    I will however also say that the nature of a blog is different than reality in that it invites comments. No one’s ever said something you were wearing was ugly…but do you think that would still be the case if you went out wearing a shirt and asked strangers as they passed you by: “what do you think of my shirt?”

  72. A couple of posters already said what I was thinking. Namely it is the same as why there are rude drivers. You get behind a piece of machinery, be it an SUV or a computer monitor, and pretty soon you forget to be civil. Who cares if you are doing 35 in the fast lane or if you diss someone’s projects.
    I hope we do learn e-manners one of these days though. The world is still full of humans behind the machines after all.

  73. Funny you should write this today. I just came home from a LYS where a customer was modeling a new shawl and soliciting opinions about how to proceed, and the saleswoman actually said “Can I be honest with you?…” (as soon as I heard that I knew it wasn’t going to be good) “…I don’t like it at all.” The poor customer was quite upset. I worked with her for awhile, had her try it on in different ways, over a different garment so the colors worked better, and I think I convinced her it looked good (which, in my opinion, it did).
    So if a salesperson can do that to a paying customer, in person, to her face, I can certainly see how someone will do that in the relatively impersonal realm of cyberspace.

  74. Sadly, more and more people do feel freedom of speech means freedom to be obnoxious. Same folks seem to be most protective of their own delicate feelings. Why is that?
    Personally, I would probably frame the Vintage socks, I’d be afraid to wear them!

  75. I’ve had people tell me to my face that my (insert item here) is ugly. Of course that was in third grade.
    Does this mean we don’t get a finished object shot? I’m dying to see the final results.

  76. Thanks for always reminding us to be nice in the blogging world. Whether it’s the rogue drive-by commenter or someone who just typed and hit post without thinking, it’s always good to remind everyone that there are people on the other end of of the blinking screens.

  77. Our society has turned into a “say what’s on your mind – it’s your right” place. There is no impulse control, no self-sanctioning. Our mothers didn’t teach us to behave that way, and I, for one, will keep my thoughts to myself.
    Have you noticed, too, that it has become an angry world? Too many people get angry over minutia. Let it go – knit, drink tea or your beverage of choice, and be happy. Life is too short for all this negativity.
    Back to the socks – I think they are gorgeous, and I’m dying to know who will get them. I would have to hang them in a shadowbox. I admire your tenacity – I would have given up on the leaves long ago. That’s why you are who you are, and I’m just writing to you on your blog. Seriously, though, they are an extraordinary accomplishment!!!

  78. Personally, I’m not offended if people I know express dislike for something I own, am making, admire, etc. I regard it as part of our intimacy and would prefer to know their real opinions. Perhaps it’s a left-handed compliment that some people who read your blog feel comfortable saying what they really think although, obviously, they don’t really share with you the level of intimacy to which I’m referring. Your own frankness about certain subjects may encourage this.

  79. Anyone who would tell another knitter that his or her work is “ugly” is undoubtedly rude. Personally, I’d have to commend you for the amount of work you put into the Vintage socks. From the pictures you’ve posted, it has really paid off. And, for what it’s worth, I think they’re gorgeous and an incredible display of skill. I don’t think I’d have been brave enough to attempt them, so I admire your verve.

  80. Some people just think it’s okay to be rude in cyberspace. And I think that because this blog is so popular, maybe that commenter figured you wouldn’t really be paying attention or wouldn’t really take it personally anyway, since you get so many comments. It’s still pretty rude and inexcusable, obviously.
    And by the way, I think everything you knit is lovely. You have fine taste!

  81. #1 I personally love your socks and have to wipe the drool off of my monitor everytime you have a new pair up!
    #2 I think maybe the reason people are dissing your projects is the same reason people complain about a movie they didn’t like or a song that they didn’t like (by their favorite singer). They don’t necessarily view the topics in your blog as your hard work and projects you are invested in, they view it as entertainment for them. They don’t like the entertainment you are providing. (I think they should use their own knitting projects as entertainment and learn to appreciate your hard work!)
    #3 Fun fur is really neat to use for knitted stuffed animals. I wouldn’t really want a sweater made of it, though.

  82. I have a dear friend whose mother always says, “SOME people’s children!” when she is particularly amazed at rudeness. So I say, “SOME people’s children!”
    but then my very own mother used to tell me that I wasn’t holding my hands right and I’d never be any good at knitting…now she calls me for knitting help…and I would NEVER say anything.
    and I think your socks are amazing! and I would wear them. I find that as a knitter, hardly anyone ever knits anything for me…alas.

  83. Bravo! Thanks for saying this. I physically cringe when I see some of the comments posted. I have never understood why people feel they can be mean when emailing or posting comments.
    On the snow – how pretty. We just got 10 inches and my kids enjoyed a snow day off school yesterday. I love it when it first falls, but always want it to disappear the next day – ya know, once it starts to look all dirty and slushy. I have to drive about 20 miles to my work, so I’m not really crazy about the slick-factor with snow & freezing rain, but it make me appreciate spring so much more!

  84. I know there are people who seem to lack a filter between brain (such as it is) and mouth, but it seems that there are people who feel that such a filter isn’t necessary between brain and what they say online. To those of you who hold that opinion, I respectfully disagree. Conversing online is still conversing, and the precepts of courtesy still apply. You know who you are. Think of others, okay? (My mother would knock me into next week, too!)

  85. Regarding the “Ugly” comment:
    That is truly rotten for someone to flat-out say something like that about something that takes a tremendous amount of work to create (or anything else). I might say that kind of thing to myself but never to someone else, especially the creator.
    I need to start reading the comments more!

  86. “My mother would knock me into next week if I did.”
    Yeah — my grandmother would have don’e the same thing.
    I enjoyed reading this. As I did your previous exposition of the Pearl Principles. And since I know you don’t work for a living (just joking! please don’t hurt me!) I would encourage you, in your spare time, to write a more thorough exposition of the Pearl Principles and submit it for wider distribution. Maybe submit it to Vibe or Playboy or Elle or Vogue. (Notice no tabloids — I have my own soapbox.)
    The blogosphere needs a moral voice on this issue. Yours is a voice that is articulate and organized. And, your apparently ugly decor aside, I think you are pretty stylin’.
    In the meantime, as my friend the Shepherd would say, Rock Out With Your Flock Out.

  87. I agree with you 100 million percent–it’s absolutely beyond rude! It happens, though, and not just in the anonymity that blogging affords, either.
    A casual acquaintance recently moved to our neighborhood, and to be neighborly we invited them and their 5 kids to dinner. The wife proceeded to insult my knitting (That’s so granny-ish), our computer, (Oh, you’re still using Windows?)and the coup de grace, she saw our wedding photo and asked who the bride was. “Me,” I said. “No WAY!” she said. “The bride’s so SKINNY!! That’s not YOU. C’mon, who is it?” People never cease to amaze me.
    Also, I seem to recall that you dealt with this same issue in a post last year? Maybe the blogishere needs a refresher course.

  88. I think the socks are beautiful and wish I could knit that well. They are inspiring. I don’t really know why people say rude things in blogs and email, but I have been the victim of it too many times. I know how you feel. My usual stance is to confront the person VERY politely in person and explain that they hurt my feelings and I would appreciate it if they would come to me in person the next time. They usually feel incredibly guilty at this point (unless it’s my mother-in-law) and realize the error of their ways (unless it’s my mother-in-law). Passive-aggressive mission complete, without raising my voice or stooping to their level. All the best.

  89. Good discussion. I think it may be how people view the forum. Is it a large discussion group or is it someone’s living room? Judging by how trolls operate, I think there are a lot of people who would not say something like that to someone’s face but feel a sense of freedom online and/or an artificial sense of intimacy. (I know this person well therefore I can talk to them like a very good friend).
    Also, I think some people forget that the poster can and will read the comments. They think their comments are side conversations.
    Personally, I’ve never believed saying something negative was productive, even in a discussion, but then, not everyone has my discussion/debate skillz. πŸ˜‰
    Oh, and for the record, I knit things that even I wouldn’t wear all the time just because I want to play with the yarn. And I still don’t want to hear that it is ugly. I’ve put labor into this people! If I want to knit a giant cat blanket in the shape of a sweater, then I shall.

  90. This is an intersting and perennial debate about human behaviour. Unfortunately, when dealing with unpredictable humans there are really more questions than answers when it comes to the motivations behind someone’s behaviour. I didn’t read the comment yesterday, but I can certainly agree that it wouldn’t have been nice to read about me or my blog (if anyone ever left comments, that is). These questions (which btw are unanswerable because they change from one moment to the next) include:
    What was this person thinking?
    How were they feeling? What are the circumstances of their lives that would lead them to be rude in the first place?
    Had something put them in a bad mood and were they just lashing out?
    Do they really have no manners, sense of shame, or propriety? Or is it that they differ so much from our own?
    Really, it’s the kind of stuff that keeps therapists in business. How to deal with it is another interesting aspect. Someone comments in a nasty way, other commenters react, things may or may not get out of hand. Should we ignore bad behaviour? If we call attention to it, does it reward the behaviour by giving the individual attention? What was the value of the statement to begin with?
    I think what you’ve got is an open-ended and never ending debate. We are each responsible for our actions and we have to live with ourselves based on the things we do and say.

  91. Based on my experience reading both knitting and non-knitting blogs, I believe that the majority of knitters are much kinder and more polite than the average muggle blogger. Of course there are exceptions, but sometimes even those are misfired attempts at being funny. Even when a blogger ASKS for feedback, most of it will be positive. It’s like we’re all honorary Canadians!

  92. Two thoughts:
    1. In this modern world, where many of our previously interactive day-to-day activities can be accomplished distantly and without any human touch(think ATMs and online grocery ordering), sometimes we can forget that actual people are involved.
    2. Some people were brought up very poorly and deserve our pity because they probably have many experiences of feeling distant from others and have no idea why they are being pushed away.
    AND, I love your willingness to dive in and knit complex projects! You rock and you inspire me.

  93. I too have a blog, and occasionally someone will say something REALLY inappropriate in the comments. But I ALWAYS let the comments remain.
    (I’m not saying you are going to delete any by the way)
    I think I realized when I started a blog that I was going to open myself up to criticism, scrutiny, and possibly outright rudeness. All of those things have come to pass by the way!
    While I do expect some level of decorum and would probably draw the line on attacks of my character, I have this sort of …. tolerance for differing views even if they ARE rude.
    After all, they are socks. And though they are an extension of you right now with all the sweat equity you have invested (of knitterly epic proportions), they are not in fact, YOU.
    Ergo, I would not get too vexed at the odd negative comment. But perhaps I have a thicker skin. (Or on the dark side of that quality, I may not give a rat’s… fig what someone else thinks about what I choose to knit. Certainly a less noble trait!)
    If it pleases me, that is what matters.
    And I can tell those socks please you to no end, and sounds like the recipient will too.
    It’s all good.

  94. Hmmm. I have some friend with whom “Dude that is uglier than Satan’s hairy butt” would be appropriate discourse and taken in the exact spirit it was intended, without offense. (I would assume that none of the commenters in question have that sort of relationship with you. It kinda seems like a brother thing.) It might also be possible that sarcasm was intended, maybe like, “Dude, those are so ugly. NOT.” and it didn’t come through. It might also be possible that those commenters didn’t learn the golden rule.

  95. As a designer and knitter I can fully appreciate what skill it took not only to knit but to design the Vintage Socks, clearly the designer is genious. Would I knit them, never in a…but I do admire them.
    Those that choose to voice their opinion just need to think before they type?
    I am sorry that you have to deal with some of the comments, even if they meant no harm.
    The kettle is on!

  96. As a long time denizen of the Internet and having run message boards etc., I have to say, Steph, that you have the most well mannered, polite, supportive group I have ever come across. It never ceases to amaze me how just plain nice your comments are compared to what I read on other message boards,
    Please do not concern yourself with one rude visitor. Out of the 30 to 40 thousand who visit each day, there is bound to be one rotten apple. You have thousands of adoring fans, including me.
    PS I thought the socks were gorgeous, but couldn’t imagine how to wear them!!(g)

  97. I agree whole-heartedly that going to someone’s blog and commenting that something they’ve knitted is ugly is rude behaviour. I would go further and say that it’s unkind, since the person who made the item spent a lot of time on it and may well think it’s the most beautiful thing ever. If something is not to my taste, I just keep my mouth shut. The only time it is appropriate to comment in such a fashion is if you have been specifically asked how you feel about the item in question. Even then, I would err on the side of polite and say “not to my taste” rather than “ugly” which I think is unnecessarily harsh.

  98. What causes people to say things on the net that they wouldn’t be caught dead saying in person? It’s the fact that some folks feel the need to spew vileness and the “faceless” quality makes them feel it doesn’t matter. What they don’t realize is each act of unkindness they give vent to actually eats away at their humanity just a bit.
    But, hey, that’s just my 2pence.

  99. Netiquette. Some have it, some don’t. Many people are basically very frank in person (that would be me); I tend to police what I type a bit because I know this about me and because you can’t convey a smile, a wink or a giggle or an abashed look in text (despite emoticons). I try to be kind as things just seem “harsher” in black and white than they do out of someone’s mouth (as a rule). I read the “I don’t like that” as “It is not to my taste” as well. It is something that you might not wear or use but a friend would love it as you have said.
    I got very upset from my keyboard the other day when a few posters were dissing Old Joe’s poem. THAT is not OKAY to me. Whether you like it or don’t, this is a piece of someone’s soul that they are laying out in front of you. Not a pair of socks or a sweater.
    Again, Netiquette…working in school I try to not type anything I wouldn’t shout from the roof of my building for all the parents to hear. It’s a newer habit over 45 years. Everything just doesn’t have to be said.

  100. I hardly ever actually type mean things, but among my knitter friends, and at my LYS, I’m getting a little tired of all the positivity. Every time I walk into my LYS wearing a hat, or holding a WIP, people positively gush. “Ooooh! That’s SO beautiful!” It’s a stranded hat, made from pretty mediocre wool. I don’t need that much validation. When I pull out the heavily cabled knee socks that took more than two seasons to complete, the response is the same. It gets to point so that I can’t trust anybody’s opinion. The sweater that doesn’t fit and really needs to be ripped and fixed, is also “beautiful”. I don’t have low self-esteem; if it’s ugly, I want to fix it. But there’s some kind of unspoken rule that any criticism of someone else’s knitting isn’t allowed, no matter the circumstances. So, all that private snark builds up over time, and eventually spills out all over your vintage socks. It’s not ok, but it makes sense.
    What’s weird is that your socks didn’t have a wonky heel, bad gauge, or color combinations that resemble vomit. There’s no technical problem you need to know about. I didn’t read the comments, because I have a job, and your comments section is longer than my lunch break, but I’m guessing people are saying they would never make those socks because they don’t like them. I think people are lashing out, because unlike in real life, you can’t point out that the afghan I made in orange and purple literally made you weep. You never saw it, so you can’t bring it up.

  101. Remember what Thumpers Mom taught him…”If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” I guess that rude person didn’t see Bambi.

  102. I’m certain a lot of it has to do with there being a perception that if you’re not face to face with someone, you don’t have to use the same societal rules that might apply to personal encounters. I think, generally, in our western culture, there is very little ability or will to disagree civilly and respectfully. People just don’t know how to do it.
    I sometimes look at our local newspaper online and they have a place where people can comment on the story and I’m always saddened by the tone of people’s comments to one another.
    I was brought up that if you don’t have something nice to say or if you can’t say it nicely, don’t say anything at all. If something’s not to your taste, who grabbed you by the scuff of the neck and made you post a comment?

  103. Half of it is asshats (arsehats?) trolling the internet looking for places to be snotty, and the other half is people who would be perfectly normal in person (or on the phone, or via letter) but shed all common sense and self-filtering once on the internet.

  104. I said earlier that watching those socks being created made me want to do them. I have ordered them. I am almost 70 yrs young but I will wear them with cropped pants to various functions just because they are so lovely! My kids say that I am still a teenager at heart, and so does my grandson! Rudeness is not acceptable whether on the net or in person! Thanks for sharing with us. Carolyn

  105. I agree with some of the commenters that feel a rude comment is due to faceless, anonymity.
    But another reason (I think) is the following: I think it is the numbers of people out there on the Internet. We forget how many are out there. How many people read your blog in a typical posting? It has to be in the hundreds. 99.9% are beautiful, normal, kind people…. the kind of people who you would invite into your living room. They are the ones leave kind supportive comments, or read your blog entry, don’t like your socks but don’t comment because their mother taught them: ‘if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything’. However, a small small fraction of your readers are unkind, rude, angry people who have gone off their meds (and shouldn’t have). They are the people that you probably aren’t around if your day to day activities and wouldn’t make friends with and wouldn’t invite them into your living room. It’s a probability and statistics thing . Out of many, many,many people there are, on average, a few unhappy, unbalanced, rude people who think nothing of leaving a snarky comment.
    I agree with you that people should comment like they would comment in your living room. But the sad fact is that the Internet is a very public place for all people with Internet access. It isn’t your living room.
    Don’t waste your time trying to figure these people out.

  106. First time commenter, long time reader.
    Can’t tell you why someone would do that. Just thought I’d add – its probably even worse than someone walking into your home and telling you their couch is ugly. For these reasons: You didn’t spend hours in bed, on the couch, in your head… making that couch. Secondly, the veil of anonymity doesn’t allow you to ask the person “Why do you think its ‘ugly'”.
    Personally, I would never wear the socks but I think they’re cool as hell. I’m also somewhat of a process knitter and enjoy making things I know others will like or just things I find beautiful but have 0 use for.
    Knit on πŸ™‚

  107. FOR SHAME! Rudeness shall NOT be tolerated! If you wouldn’t look someone in the eye & say it, DON’T say it to them in their cyber-living-room!
    Communication over the internet has, indeed, de-personalized the manners and speech of many people. They forget that they are not really speaking to a machine, but to a person who can be hurt by their unkindness.
    As for me, I LOVE your socks! They are almost more a work of art, than of apparel. And if I ever had the confidence to attempt making them, I would most certainly wear them proudly — if only to the annual Grape Festival in Grapevine, Texas.

  108. I think that the anonymity of the internet allows people to say things in print that they would never say in person. That is absolutely one of the things about the internet that I don’t like. Just like the fastness of text messaging has caused a deterioration of language.
    Personally, that sock pattern would make me run away… it is beautiful, but overly fiddly for my knitting taste. It was a treat for me to watch your progress.
    I enjoy watching blogs for things I would not knit. I can see the work and construction involved without actually having to knit it!!

  109. They’re JEALOUS, Baby!!!
    Call me nuts, but I love knitting fiddly things. I knitted a tessellated baby quilt out of 100+ , 5-inch pieces that all had to be sewn together. I loved it so much I started on another one–adult sized–and it will have more than 120 pieces to be sewn together.
    I love the socks and if I were bright enough to figure out how to knit a tessellated LEAF quilt, I’d fiddle myself into knitting heaven.

  110. I have commented on some fashionably trendy or weirdly odd article of clothing – noting perhaps the beauty of its texture, surface pattern or color combination or ingenuity or even just admiring the whole effect and I find that if it’s a fashion more suited to the young or requiring one to be a contortionist to wear it or outlandish or garish or shaped like a cream pie in back or whatever – others often say, “YOU could never wear that.” This is their way, I think, of saying “it’s ugly” and to avoid saying that, they instead manage to convey to me that I am ugly, old or lumpy or foolish or blind and so unattractive I have no right even to admire. I have eyes that can see when something is ugly or weird or whatever but also my eyes can see beauty in the same thing whether I would plop money on the table for it or put it on or not. I’d rather the comment adhere to the article than to me, but either way, I recognize the limitation for what it is. Yet, it stings to have to bear the weight of misplaced opinion about my judgment.
    I would suggest in this context, “it’s ugly” represents a limited critical vocabulary and a poor understanding of the activity. For example, in a production by The Ridiculous Theater Company, an actress wore a frock made entirely of garden gloves, lightly stuffed. Two gloves, of course, lovingly cupped the breasts, but the entire bodice and skirt were constructed of garden gloves, with great blue eyeballs as fringe decoration. I hesitate to tell you what else went on during that play, but believe me when I say that dress was breathtakingly beautiful. Luckily it was not also for sale, or I would have taken my wardrobe in an entirely new direction. That said, could you please make a leaf or two in worsted weight so we could see what other possibilities there might be in knitting 34 of them and shaping them to other parts of the body?

  111. I agree with Momcat! Many people equate freedom of speech with freedom to be obnoxious without any consequences.
    I think of your blog as your “living room”. You have invited us into your life, we should behave as guests.
    The Vintage socks are cool. I would never wear them, but I know many who would. I know I would never make them, because I’m not motivated enough with projects that consist of many little pieces. I have sweaters that have remained UFOs for years because I have not sewn the sleeves to the body.
    The latest socks are definitely more my style!
    Snow days are great for knitting, but I hope you don’t have too many more too soon.

  112. I think it is caused by insecurity & feeling tough behind a big computer screen…or no manners!
    But anyway, are those velvet pants? I love em. The socks look great too!

  113. My first thought when I saw that picture of the socks was “I bet those socks feel really good!”.
    There’s just something wonderful about pulling on a good pair of hand knit socks. I would take a pair of hand knit socks in any color on any day over a store bought pair. Perhaps the person never had that experience. Having a blog is somewhat akin to having your living room on the front lawn so I expect some of that from time to time. This is my first visit to your blog- I was searching out some info on indigo dyeing. enjoyed it and I can see I have some catching up to do.

  114. I believe that people who confuse rudeness with sincerity and truth have serious self-esteem problems. Their need to be hurtful is overcompensation for these problems, which many times they won’t even admit.

  115. There are a number of people out there that engage their mouths (or email) without their brain. I once overhead one woman tell another that her suit reminded her curtains she once owned. Now the suit was not my cup of tea that is for sure but I would never have made such a comment because I liked the person and respected her. Unfortunately, manners and consideration for others are becoming a rare breed.

  116. I don’t know what provokes such rudeness out of some – but WTHeck! I want to see a pic of those finished vintage socks!

  117. Wow, has this hit a nerve….there are about a zillion comments in a few hours.
    Reminds me what my mother said [a zillion times] — if you can’t say anything nice…..But I guess some people need attention and they certainly got it.

  118. I actually think the vintage socks are more than beautiful – but I don’t think I could ever be up to the challenge of knitting them – I think my skills aren’t good enough and I’d probably end up driving a DPN into someone’s heart (probably my own) because I’d have to frog so much!! I’m not sure if I would wear them lots – but I’d almost certainly put them somewhere I could admire them constantly!

  119. Well fiddle on them! I don’t get along with my SIL because of something vile she said about my now husband the first time I met her.
    Enjoy your tea, and amen to reading the Big Issues board, it’s an interesting thing to watch.

  120. Be glad you didn’t go to my high school. I heard the ‘you’re/that is ugly’ all the time. I’m fine now!
    I agree with the comments already posted; I also think that blog readers perceive an invitation to criticize- there’s a foto of something, and comments, etc. and if a reader doesn’t like it, he/she says so. Also, some people may see it as disagreeing with an opinion or viewpoint, not as an attack or direct/harsh criticism. Also, I don’t think that the comment format really lends itself to more thoughtful, nuanced opinions. It’s write and go.
    I like Cathey’s comment above regarding recognizing the quality of a work, but not liking the work itself.
    I like the Vintage socks and would wear them, but not knit them. Too fiddly for me.

  121. Having been told more than once that I am ugly…to my face, in my own living room…well, let’s just say the “code” doesn’t exist for everyone.

  122. it is amazing what will come out of folks’ mouths, and off the tips of their fingers, behind that glass screen of anonymity. Another weblog I enjoy reading, Making Light (where several of the habituΓ©s also knit), is very much a literary salon in its comments section (being the blog of writers and editors); once a rude fellow stopped by to flame and behave poorly, and Teresa invented the practice of disemvoweling. Boy, did this fellow have it coming. Perhaps it’s effective, since you can still make out what a person actually said right out loud there in the public record; certainly it’s a hilarious way to deflate and deflect the nastiness.
    And yes, Nice Matters; these are real people one interacts with across these web lines. It is unfortunate that there are sociopaths in the world; still it’s important to educate the merely thoughtless / clueless that there are social standards & expectations of general politeness when we visit one anothers’ parlours. Netiquette is a tremendous word.
    Check the flamethrowers at the door, play nice or no one will play with you, no one is required to pay attention to folks acting like jerks; little things like that are as true online as when face to face.
    Thanks for bringing it up.
    Oh, as to in-person astonishing things folks say to artists at art shows, like Lon the leather worker @3:15 above – a dear friend carves amber, gorgeous amazing stuff; and collects some of the phrases people have uttered over the years. Mind you, in these parts, a Renaissance Faire is a juried show, and the quality of the artwork tends to be pretty solid (even the silly things). “Is that real or did you make it yourself?” is one of my favorite stumpers in the collection. Of course the cluelessness of folks about hand crafted works of art in modern culture is a whole ‘nother conversation.
    Thanks for showing us the tremendous art knitting that you do, Stephanie, and for writing about the process. This is wonderful, and feeds the soul.

  123. Basic rudeness. They suffer from basic rudeness. My mother always told me that if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. And she was right. The circumstances don’t matter. Nice does matter.

  124. Unfortunately some people are just rude and ill-mannered.
    But the majority are not. πŸ™‚ I’ve enjoyed watching the socks emerge. Not my kinda thing, but the process is fascinating!

  125. Well said. I also agree with many of the comments posted that anonymity fosters both rude and bold remarks that one would normally not be brave enough to state in a face-to-face situation. Another unfortunate factor that I have found is that much of today’s youth do not have decent manners. I work with families from all different walks of life and a wide variety of socio-economic backgrounds and it is a common thread amongst them. And they feel it is perfectly well within reason to treat the professional staff providing services to them and/or their families rudely and disrepectfully. Because they don’t know any different.
    Personally. I have LOVED the socks from the start of the story and am glad that you knit them so that I don’t have to! I can’t wait for them to be gifted to see them on someone’s feet and know what her reaction is.

  126. People think that with all blogs in general there is a sense of anonymity. With that freedom people tend to forget their manners, and say the first thing that comes to mind.
    I also wonder if the mass number of people on the internet adds to it. Perhaps if you walked 400 people through your living room one might say that they think your sofa is ugly. But that is because someones parents never taught them manners. Unfortunately, more parents are taking less time to interact with their children and fail at teaching them how to live nicely with others. shame.
    Whether or not you LIKE the socks, one must appreciate the time, knowledge and effort going into the little viney suckers!

  127. As some have commented here, I have been on the receiving end in real life with people who have no tact and zero in the couth department as well…
    I use to take it personally, but then I realized that these were, at the very least, grossly ill mannered persons, and the most, horrendously unhappy. And they want to share that bit of “black hole of joy” with everyone.
    Now, I’m over 40 yrs old (41 in May) and I don’t give a shite what they say anymore. Recently I responded to a rude person’s comment of my hair color being “unnatural and makes you look like a horse” by saying, “And you seem to be a perfect ass…”
    Go forth and do what the bloody hell you want – there will always be some obliging assmonkey to tell you awful things about it. And they’re assmonkeys, why should their opinion matter anyway?
    BTW, those socks fuckin’ rocked – not that I’m brave enough to try to knit them. Just sayin’…

  128. I think this blog has become, at some point, a forum for people who knit or like knitting or like to read about knitting. That being said, perhaps those who make comments like “that is ugly” have lost site of how personal a blog really is.
    You know that person at a party who says way too much? Well, this blog is kind of like a party. You are the hostess and you have invited us in. We have told our friends and, seeing the door open, they have come in too. Eventually some people arrived who have nothing at stake. They look at it as an event and act as if they are somehow above the situation.
    It’s like talk radio. This blog can be seen as a forum and people want their opinion heard. It is by no means polite. It is a byproduct of success and, as annoying and off-putting as it is, it means people care about what you do enough to disagree.

  129. The Internet is at fault. Digital communication is faceless and people feel empowered to be an ass. I see it in correspondence with students via email. They say things in email that they would never say in person. I am not sure that this is a sign that someone is a bad person (although it may, in fact, reflect on their parents), but rather that this relatively new medium of interaction has some substantial downsides (besides the obvious loss of office productivity as everyone checks for updates on things like socks being knit in a different country).
    That said, oh Lady Harlot, we need to talk about your couch….

  130. Gracious, those socks take my breath away. They are lovely. I’d wear them proudly, even though I’m not a decorated type. The artistry that went into the pattern and the knitting and assembly was mindboggling. I’d love to have the skill level to attempt them. You show us all what is possible if we just make one more stitch!
    Steph, everyday your blog gives me a mini-vacation. During the work week, I can just let my mind stray for a few minutes to color and shape and texture, the smell of wool, and the countless years of people playing with sticks and string.
    Some people are just mean-spirited, bullies, and insecure. I feel like you post today has opened the “windows” of your virtual living room and let it air out.
    Happy Tibetan New Year to you! Tashi delek and good fortune in the new year.

  131. I have seen this happen over and over again on all the blogs. It truly is the percieved anonymity that allows people to be so rude. It is also the same percieved anonymity that some bloggers believe they enjoy that makes them think it’s okay to speak ill of their neighbors, customers, work mates, etc. on their blogs. Even if they think that it’s their blog and theirs alone.

  132. OK, here is the thing. Feet are ugly, except for baby feet. So, socks are probably all ugly too. Except for baby socks. But socks with grapes and leaves and wine-glass heels – it’s beyond a beauty/ugliness analysis. Now you’ve gotten into the territory of ART for ART’s sake. When you take a utilitarian, functional object, such as a sock, that is meant to cover somebody’s (ugly) utilitarian, functional feet, and then you decorate it beyond all reason…I think at that point you’ve gone beyond questions of beauty and ugliness right there. Small minds may be unable to grasp such lofty concepts…

  133. ‘dunno why someone would take the time to leave an ‘ugly’ comment…sometimes I hover over a comment text box, trying to organize my thoughts. I ask myself if what I’m about to say really needs to be said. Half the time, I answer that question by choosing not to comment. I think the world is better for it. I know I am.
    Put another way: Not everyone is entitled to my opinion.

  134. There’s also a matter of someone’s culture to take into account. There are several people that I work with that have no sense of tact. I’ve heard (to my face) the following things about my weight*:
    1. Did you just have a baby? (Answer no) Oh, cause your face looks fatter than it used to.
    2. You have a big butt.
    3. I think you’ve gained weight, your should do X or stop eating Y so that you can get back into shape.
    For some cultures telling the “truth” about something as personal as your weight, appearance, or what they think of your knitting projects may be normal. These people I work with are in general lovely caring people that still hurt my western feelings. So you never know.
    Still, I know that if I had knit those gorgeous socks, and showed them off only to have one of them tell me they were ugly, it would still kind of shit on my parade.
    *For the record I = 5’6″ and 160 lbs, so I’m no skinny mini, but it’s not like I need to be cut out of my house.

  135. I’m with Vanessa on this one – I think this is a back-handed compliment. Maybe it’s because you open up, people feel they can do the same even when they shouldn’t!
    And I find it kind of cheery that you read all the comments – there are so many of them! Just sorry they weren’t all positive, but that is just a tiny minority.
    I personally have really enjoyed the story of the socks, and I really felt your pain when you dropped them the other day!

  136. Right on Steph!
    There’s plenty of things out there that I don’t like, would never knit, but I would never in a million years tell the crafter that they were ugly. How rude!!
    The Ravelry thing cracks me up – some of the ‘debates’ I come across I find hilarious and frustratingly trivial.

  137. The vintage socks are works of art. Period. In the design as well as in the execution.
    That said, I’m reminded of the time my oldest cousin was pregnant. She told us that she just couldn’t stand it when women who had ugly babies thought their kids were the prettiest kids on earth and that if her kid turned out ugly, she would admit it. (Tempting the fates, if you ask me…) And when her son was born, he had a, shall we say, distinctive nose. And she thought he was beautiful (because he was, all babies are. Period.) But my mom, who is rather blunt, said to me “I thought she was going to admit it if he came out ugly.” Which is rude, I admit, but this is the first time I’ve ever repeated it (a good 15 years later) and I know that no one ever said it to her face. Or ever would.
    So I hope the person who made the comment comes back and reads all of the comments from today and feels chagrin for not understanding how personal a blog is.
    And I hope you keep knitting incredible projects like the Vintage socks, they blow me away.

  138. I think it’s a bit like the mean girls in high school. The criticism is done in a stage whisper with the hopes that the one criticized hears it, but can’t respond openly. There are just too many who feel their opinion matters. And, by the bye, I am fascinated by the socks, but know in my heart of hearts that I will not have enough time in my life to knit them

  139. I started reading all the comments, but I’m at work and couldn’t really read further – but so far (as far as I’ve read and I read/skimmed the first 20 or so) I agree with the majority as to why.
    I do know that there are times though (not that “ugly” can be construed in any way other than that so this will not be an excuse for this particular instance) but there are times when typing something out where someone can not see us, our expressions, or hear our tones, leaves for a LOT of room for misunderstanding. I personally try to be much more aware of this and end up OVER explaining what I mean usually so that people won’t take me wrong. But saying something is ugly – no. that’s just not acceptable. Even if it is your opinion – keep it to yourself.
    Enjoy your tea – and thank you for sharing the process of the Vintage socks – while I am not at that level of knitting (and may never be) I still have enjoyed watching you doing them! Can’t wait to see them when they’ve finished blocking!

  140. I seem to remember this conversation here before…. I don’t understand the comments. There are things I look at and wonder about, but I would never say it. You have addressed it graciously.

  141. I’m not sure what provokes it. Probably the anonymity of it all, and the subsequent sense of (misguided) power. I’m with the “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” crowd. Or, as it came across my email box the other day, “if you can’t say something nice, at least be vague”. Glad to know you don’t take it personally. I think a lot of things are said on blogs and in emails are things that no-one would EVER have the guts to say in person. We should probably feel empathy for them….

  142. Steph, I completely agree with you, and believe that anyone who comes to your blog and badmouths your work has no class, and is rude. I really like your living room analogy, I wonder what a living room would be like if it had a comment card box? Certainly blogs with comment sections invite comment, and if one had a box in their living room, it would invite comment too. So, there will likely be some comments that diss the stuff, some that are unintelligible, some really smart and funny, and some that rave about the furniture. However, if a guest left a nasty comment, said your chesterfield was fugly, even though you had invited comments, that would undoubtedly be considered rude. Why would you want to invite the guest back after that? Why would the other guests want them around? Further, what if you had painstakingly built the chesterfield by hand with no help as a gift and the fact that it was done at all was a huge accomplishment? Yup, either way, the comment is still rude.
    Steph, kudos on your post about blog etiquette, which I know unfortunately you’ve had to do before. Perhaps folks forget that this is your virtual living room, and not a forum designed for debate (the craigslist “rants and raves” section is just the ticket for that). And, frankly, kudos on reading all of these comments! I could never do it, nor those socks, nor those books, nor those book events… We are in awe.

  143. Two thoughts:
    One, some people really don’t have manners. My boss’ wife, after taking some pictures of my daughter for me (she’s a photographer), handed me the pictures from the shoot and said something along the lines of “Here are the pictures. She’s really kind of an ugly girl, isn’t she?” On seeing the shock that I couldn’t mask, she back pedaled into “Oh, I meant, she’s not very photogenic, you know?” . That’s one particularly egregious example, obviously.
    Two, I suspect that some people equate blogging about a project to be the equivalent of asking for people’s opinions. Not just inviting them into your house, to continue your analogy, but saying “Oh, you must come over and see my lovely new couch!” while you wait with baited breath for the compliments to roll in. In real life, should someone have chosen a spectacularly ugly couch (or dress or painting), depending on your personal manner and your relationship to the person, your response could, acceptably range from lying through your teeth and gushing compliments to a non-committal statement like “Isn’t that *interesting*?” to an approach of actual honesty (hopefully delivered as kindly as possible). If people feel as if you are asking for their opinions, many will feel comfortable handing you the unvarnished truth, and many of them will do it rudely.

  144. I think the comments about not being raised to consider people’s feelings and the anonymity factor are probably right on, but I also think there is another factor: celebrity.
    As a popular blogger, author, and knitter, you are considered to be a celebrity. For some reason, some seem to get a massive disconnect in their brains when they classify someone as such. In that moment, the person in question goes from “human” to “celebrity,” and the assumption that they have feelings (or the notion that those feelings, if they exist, should be honored in any way) goes kablooey. Despite many heartfelt posts that make it abundantly clear that you are someone who feels deeply on a lot of subjects, the label “celebrity” allows a certain cretinous sort to assume that you are not allowed to have the sort of feelings that might be hurt.
    It’s too bad. Such jerkitude deserves no forum, online or off. (What gets me is that in hosting your website and paying for your domain, you are in some small way actually subsidizing the jerkitude. Kind of like someone criticizing the couch while they are enjoying the warmth of that living room provided by the heater you pay for).

  145. It’s the anonymity of the internet. If it makes you feel any better, “these people” of whom you lament may also be those who type in txt talk (did u njoy dat? l8r!!).

  146. My personal opinion is that it’s more like someone looking in somebody’s window, seeing a couch that they thing is ugly, and knocking on the door to say “Am I the only one out there who thinks your couch is hideous?”
    The point isn’t just thinking it’s ugly. The point is the incredible rudeness of MAKING A POINT OF TELLING SOMEONE ELSE IT’S UGLY. Then standing up for the right to be rude to somebody. Of all the things we fight for in this world, I hate the idea that the freedom to be awful to another human is on the list.
    And…ok. That somebody does have the right to say something is ugly. But I also have the right to think that someone is an ill-mannered human if they do.
    Love you, Steph! πŸ™‚

  147. I believe it is the anonimity of the internet that turns people into raving assholes. There’s not much of a chance of getting caught or getting in trouble for it and no apologies have to be made. Maybe the thought process is “People on the internet aren’t real; they’re only here for my entertainment.” Being a gamer who plays MMO’s (like World of Warcraft) and Halo 3 for the x-box, I come across this all the time. I think the new generation of mothers should be teaching their kids e-manners as well.

  148. I agree with Sue: the rude person’s mother would not have knocked him/her into next week.
    Can we try the benefit of the doubt & hope the commenter has not yet reached chronologic (as opposed to emotional) adulthood?
    Despite being a process knitter, theoretically patient for the end result, I would NEVER, ever attempt the Vintage Socks, especially as all the beauty will be hidden, but I SO enjoyed my vicarious knit-along with you. We do projects for various reasons: sometimes just to see if we can. And you can! Just about anything!

  149. Hey there, I totally admire the Vintage socks. They are so beautiful! I love the leaves. I want to knit them, but I don’t think the socks are for me…not very practical, but the challenge of knitting them would be what gets me off.
    Anyway, about the Big Question. I don’t think it is appropriate for someone to say, “It’s ugly.” in blog comments, but I understand why they do it. I think that the internet is great because it connects people who otherwise wouldn’t meet, but the problem with the internet is that it de-personalizes those interactions. So, when we meet people on the internet and sometimes have no clue what they look like or how they REALLY live, some people feel they can say what they are thinking and not think about the consequences. It’s a fleeting moment, if you think about it. I saw/read that, don’t like it, I’ll say that I don’t like it and then I go away. Usually there isn’t much of a response or discussion about it. If there is, the person(s) can still hide behind anonymity because who really knows who people are on the internet? Then again, there are people who are very blunt and say whatever they want and don’t care. I have never met someone who would walk into my living room and rip on my stuff, but I’m sure they exist somewhere.
    I totally love your blog and I visit it everyday. (Still haven’t gotten in to the Feed thing yet.) But, I think that when someone does have a blog, they do open themselves up to that type of criticism. I just don’t think that others on the internet are going to demonstrate what would otherwise be considered a level of respect and tactfulness. Isn’t that truly unfortunate?

  150. Well, some people are that rude. Fortunately they rarely come into our homes, or even too close to us.
    Proof…my son was deaf till he was 3. So, of course, he couldn’t speak properly. One day he spoke to me as he sat in that little seat in the cart in the grocery store. A woman I had never seen in my life before stuck her face down so she was about 2 inches from his face and said “Is he retarded, or just stupid?” Honest to God. Now…is that rude? You betcha. Would she call my chesterfield ugly? No doubt in my mind.
    Barb B.

  151. Your post makes me think of my “love/hate” relationship with the internet. It’s a wonderful tool, but there is no tone of voice or facial expression when you respond online. Sarcasm, for instance, can be very dangerous on the net. I keep telling my kids, that it is very important that you think about what you put out there on the internet in the same way that you think before opening your mouth to let garbage spew out of it (verbally speaking). I think that some people forget that just because you can’t see the response that you are getting from the recipient of your comments doesn’t mean that there is no response, or that you haven’t hurt someone’s feelings. There is a series of commercials in the US about cyber-bullying that actually pertain to any kind of cyber communications, in my opinion. You’re still talking to someone, people, even though you aren’t in the room with them. As I said yesterday, although I adore the socks, I would never make them, because I am tenuously hanging onto my last shred of sanity and I am afraid that the socks would make me release that last grasp…a very frightening thought!

  152. I could think of a hundred reasons, but I keep coming back to manners.
    Striking out in ancient times probably was a protective response i.e. by striking out he/she may be trying to save himself. Not the exactly the same sort of response, but maybe in the same family, the same fundamental root in our most ancient of brain cells.
    But we are supposed to be modern people who are more civilized, who are able to stand above our ancient and impolitic roots…
    This is the part where it gets back to manners.

  153. I think a lot of people in the comments have already said this in one form or another: I think it has to do with awareness of what you are doing. I have lots of thoughts in my head that never get verbalized. Many of them aren’t that nice, and some of them aren’t even what I really believe. But when I go to speak, there’s a filter that kicks in that makes sure what I’m saying is what I mean, what I believe and sometimes if I’m really on top of myself, that what I’m about to say is worth any consequences that might come from it.
    But that filter was taught to me by my mother and grandmother and by friendships I’ve had that have suffered from being thoughtless. I think for some people that naturally carries into writing nice things to people in the comments on the blog, but for others I think it doesn’t. My mother certainly never taught me to behave on the internet. I have had friends who’ve had the consequences of their actions on the internet carry over into “real” life.
    I think my point is that maybe for some people that filter that exists between their heads and their mouths doesn’t exist when they are on the internet. I can certainly see how it’s possible they’ve never been taught not to be rude and to think about the consequences of what they are putting out there in comments and on websites.

  154. Having gone back to read the comments from yesterday, I think that we’re not talking about “the Internet is anonymous” ,since the commenter in question left his/her email – and seemed very surprised at the response to the comment. So maybe it was a completely slap-on-the back comment that was totally misinterpreted.
    I also agree with an earlier comment that a blog is to some extent a published work, and therefore invites criticism to an extent. And some people may confuse blogs with forums.
    All that being said, there were many commenters who managed to make it clear that the socks were not their cup of tea (or even in the same room with their cup of tea) without being crass or blunt or rude, and while admiring the work and dedication that went into making them.
    Perhaps a disclaimer on the comments section – Remember your manners? Constructive comments only, please?

  155. Steph, I think the ugly comments come from people who are both ill mannered and are proud of dissing a well known person. One of my extended family members is very proud of telling us how much she dislikes what someone else has done (especially someone well known) and how she has “told it like it is”. She views good manners as hipacritical (sp?). Of course, this treatment of people does not go both ways – we are to treat her with care …
    I’ll never understand this attitude but it’s hers to have and evidently too many others have a similiar outlook.
    I did find it interesting that when she first met me she thought that I would be a pushover since I wasn’t a “tell it like it is” person. This only lasted a short time – good manners don’t equate to no backbone in my family. We just say so politely :>
    Good to hear the uglies don’t disturb you. I think they hurt themselves most of all.

  156. OK, I have to take the Disney road here, and say that maybe they’re joking? Or maybe they have very thick skin and maybe don’t actually think that what they’re saying could possibly be construed as hurtful? I remember my mom saying something about being “honest to a fault.” Maybe that’s what she was talking about.
    Me, I think that for the most part, people (knitters) want to be nice. Especially to other knitters. Myself, I would never wear a lot of the things you knit, mostly because they’re not colors or shapes that would be flattering to me. While I have grown to love the fallish colors, that was not always the case.
    Let me tell you a short story…years ago, a friend of my dad, well, his mom died. And she crocheted. The son didn’t know what to do with her stash, and since he knew my dad from model train clubs, he was sort of asking around if anyone at the club knew anyone who crocheted. My dad, bless his heart, answered that his daughter did. That was one of the best weeks of my life. I was pregnant with baby #2 and visiting my sis in IL from FL, and we spend the entire week in her basement going through about 20 garbage bags full of yarn. We separated it by colors, so she could have the purples and I’d get the greens. Then, we came upon some yarn like I have never seen. The colors were hideous. I knew no other way to describe them, at the time. We got a bin out, and dubbed it “The Fugly Yarn”.
    Dad came over to see how things were coming along, saw the bin, and remarked how lovely those colors were. We thought he was joking. He wasn’t. I later made him a rug out of some of it, but he wouldn’t hear of stepping on it, so the rug became a lap blanket. I have also since made him a rug, because this second one is too small to be a lap anything, and a seat cushion. If you’re on Ravelry, they’re under my projects. I’m YarnDork.
    After I posted those on Ravelry, I got so many messages about why was I calling them Dad’s Fugly Rug, or something like that. That’s when I took another look at them, and realized that those colors are pretty. They’re just not for me.
    Now, would I call someone else’s anything fugly? Maybe my sister’s. It all comes down to “I can do whatever I want because there’s no reprimand or anything.” Can’t we all just get along? At least about knitting?

  157. Hmmm…
    As per your examples, you do not know people who would walk into your living room and diss your tastes, but you do know people who would walk out to their car and mutter about you under your breathe. That’s sort of what’s going on here.
    The internet allows for the illusion of that same sort of privacy that is necessary for those cat-y car ride home chats. It’s an illusion of privacy with the internet because, while you may pick whatever bogus name and email address you want, and therefore remain anonymous…the other person still hears what you’re saying.
    And in a way, it’s the *illusion* of privacy that is really a driving force here. Who hasn’t imagined saying all those snide car-ride-home rants to the person’s actual face. Of course it’s a fantasy, and we’d (well, most of us, hopefully) never actually do it…but the internet allows us to actually live out that fantasy and say whatever is on our mind, when we want to, seemingly consequence free, thanks to our anonymity (because, let’s face it…if people you actually had to see and deal with day to day might find out you were needlessly rude, you probably wouldn’t do it).
    Of course there is a consequence, which is that we compromise our own inherent good manners…but I suppose that’s a small price to pay for living out the fantasy (for some people, at least).

  158. My mother is the only person who would come up to me and tell me what I’m wearing is ugly or that she didn’t like something in my house. Oh, my grandma, too. However, they wouldn’t say that to “outsiders”.

  159. I just want to mention that I bought two of your books today (the two I didn’t already have), and will be casting on my very first sock tonight. Think good thoughts for me.

  160. I never understood why people feel safe to make nasty comments like that online – they’d never say it in person, so why throw it out there in the first place?
    Also, it takes TIME and EFFORT to post a comment – think of the number of lurkers you no doubt have. Not everyone who drops by leaves a note. Did that sock bother her THAT much that she had to say something? The mind, it boggles.
    I post videos on YouTube of my riding, so friends can see what I’ve improved on, the stupid thing my horse did, whatever, and the flame wars that go on there! (Especially there, when you have to leave your name with the comment!)
    In summary: people suck, think they are safe behind their keyboard, and apparently everything in life is now up for massive debate.

  161. Therein lies the problem with the “new” technology; it can be so totally impersonal that people who normally have good manners seem to forget them! I’ll guarantee that the person who said those socks were ugly would NEVER have said it to your face.
    Like you, I would not wear the socks, but I would frame them and hang them on my wall. They’re fabulous!

  162. Why do you show me a picture of that Meilenweit after I just blew a wad on Smooshy? Not that Smooshy is not lovely yarn, but that slow gradation of colors… must. have. it. now.
    On to the question. I would not dream of saying such a thing, either to your face or on your blog, nor even on my blog where the whole world including you might read it. Maybe people think you get so many comments you can’t possibly read them all? No, that can’t be it. Much as I hate to think ill of anyone, I fall back on the conclusion that some people are just mean.
    (I have actually been wondering if my most recent mention of you might be construed as mean. I hope not.)
    (My opinion on the socks, fwiw: if given them I would wear them with pride, nay, giddiness, and ply the giver with chocolate as long as we both should live. I don’t think I would undertake to knit them myself, because I know how godawful slow I am.)

  163. Unfortunately, it is no longer “hugely out of character” for people to just utter the first think that pops into their head without thought to someone else’s feeling. A sad commentary on our culture and online communtities.
    I do want to thank you for knitting those socks. It’s so nice to know that I’m not the only one out there who knits something just to try a new challenge or technique; that I’m not the only knitter out there that has a black cloud moment, throws down the knitting and stomps around; and that I’m not weird for picking it back up, frogging and reknitting it until it’s correct instead of throwing in the towel or just fudging the pattern. Perseverance and creativity are rewards in and of themselves, not dependent on the project at hand. Also, and especially, thank you for sharing it all with us.

  164. I am amazed by the little bitty grape leaves, that almost look like maple leaves. I think they’re cute. I wouldn’t put them on socks, but that doesn’t mean someone else wouldn’t (and obviously someone else did). I also, however, wouldn’t ever tell you that I thought something was “ugly”. I would say those are awesome but not to my taste…I like this part but not that part…but probably I wouldn’t even do that. I’m always amazed at your knitterly skills, and aspire to someday be half as good at it as you are.
    As to the world today…well, frankly, I think we’re going to hell in a handbasket. I say this after my Jeep was broken into and my knitting removed — and subsequently discarded — by a couple of teenagers.

  165. Just. Plain. Rude. No excuse at all for that. I wonder if the perception is that there is a blanket of anonymity here that doesn’t exist in person.
    My husband would know how to hunt that person down and make her wear ugly socks.

  166. An overwhelming sense of self-importance. That’s what would make someone think to rain on someone else’s parade, such as it is. What toads. Actually I can’t even say that, I like toads.
    By the way, I thought they were totally cool socks. If you ever lose your mind enough to knit them again, feel free to send a pair my way. Speaking of self-importance.
    blessings and peace, Pammie

  167. I didn’t get a chance to read what others think, but my guess is that when someone makes a comment like that (and in this case asks if anyone agrees) that person is trying to draw attention to him/herself, albeit in a negative way. This person had to know that people would be appalled at the comment made. We do love our Stephanie. It could be that this person would like to be able to knit with that level of skill (Lord knows I would!), and feels the need to bring the project down in his/her own mind, and other minds as well.
    Something to chew on…..

  168. Is that the boot stretch yarn you bought when we were in Ottawa?
    On blog comment etiquette, I’m not actually certain that the Vintage socks are analogous to your furniture or clothing. The latter represent your taste, and you’re correct that a direct slag to one of those would be a direct insult. These socks don’t really fit into that category, though, being something you knit from a kit, designed for someone else, intended to be given to someone else, that you knit with acknowledged skill and perseverance. That you were essential to their genesis is undeniable, but someone expressing an opinion that they did not find the finished product aesthetically pleasing doesn’t seem to me to be a strike at you.

  169. I think people sometimes do forget that there is an actual person behind these blogs who reads the comments and who has feelings. I also feel that with the advent of blogging and e-mail etc.etc. that the written word has become cheapened somehow. Words do matter. Thanks for reminding us of it.

  170. Perhaps it’s the same reason that people who would never chase you down and flip you off in the grocery store, if you accidentally cut them off in the aisle, will do so if you cut them off on the highway. In the car, or on the computer, we are in our own sphere without the same restraints and inhibitions we have normally. Of course, in my opinion, neither is much of a legacy of having been given good principles. Too bad for them, I say, there must be some serious sadness in a person who strikes out that way as soon as they have opportunity.

  171. I think to some extent, depending of course on the context of the comment, that there may be some level of knitterly comraderie that causes people to say “That’s ugly.” I know that I’ve knit an ugly once or twice, and I have no shame in saying it. I think all knitters knit an ugly or two in their lifetime, even if it took until it was off the needles for a couple of decades to figure it out. Like what WAS I thinking with that horribly-executed (commissioned!) fairisle scarf?
    I just think if you’re going to paint something with the ugly brush, you better be able to justify it. Is it ugly in a moral or physical sense? ie: are they “ugly” mohair socks that make you want to crawl out of your skin despite their beauty, or puce, pumpkin, and avocado in granny square afghan format that reminds you of sitting in Grandma’s house and is therefore the most beautiful comfortable thing in the world? I think in that case, if someone called my reconstructionist afghan ugly, I could do nothing less than wholeheartedly agree, but it wouldn’t make it anything less than exactly what I wanted. Or maybe it’s boucle yarn (something I’m not personally Down With) in an otherwise mindbendingly lovely sweater (hint: In this case some crazy person might call the yarn (structurally) ugly, while openly admitting the FO is legitimately divine.
    There’s lots and lots of room for ugly in knitting, but unfortunately I can’t explain why anyone would tell a knitter that. They should go find someone with bad acrylic sweater memories and go gripe with them, not bring it to the knitters!

  172. Not that I think the Vintage socks are in any way ugly. I think they are beautiful and the amount of time and love you put into them makes them even more so. Yes, even though they were fiddly and drove you a tad loony for a bit, you made them for someone you knew would adore them – that’s love.

  173. I think those socks are absolutely positively beautiful! My husband came in to see the pictures and he was amazed by them. I would not want to put my feet in them though – for fear of getting them dirty in any way or messing them up. So maybe I could wear them on my hands and say they are mittens!! I know one thing – if I did put them on my feet, I’d be sticking my feet in the air constantly to make sure everyone could see how gorgeous they are. Your skills at knitting them totally are amazing. Way way beyond mine!!
    Linda in VA

  174. I feel that it is the anonymity of the online persona. That feeling of “no one knows the real me so I can give my mouth free reign” that can make a very likable person into a rather annoying and rude one. (Then again I know a few people that are like that in person.) My mama would whoop me for such rudeness. Those socks are not something that I would choose as they are not my style (lets face it, I don’t have the patience for all that fiddly work heh) but, as a knitter I can certainly appreciate all of the extra sanity that you lost at certain points and felt the triumph for you when I read that you had finished. Because of all that I can appreciate the beauty in them.
    I hope that made sense.
    BTW: I adore the simple socks that you made. The colors and the way that they flow are beautiful!!

  175. Even worse than the knocking into next week, my dad would have quietly said “I’m disappointed in you.” And in a case like this, he’d have been more than right.

  176. It’s really interesting what people will say in a relatively anonymous space like the internet (which I’m sure someone has pointed out). The other thing that you have to keep in mind is that the internet is WEIRD. You write about your life and submit that information into a huge vacuum, and the result is that people who don’t know you FEEL like they know you. I imagine this is even more the case if you are a “famous”, albeit down-to-earth sort of person.
    If you were a really good friend, and you were doing something absolutely stupid, I’d feel the responsibility to tell you: and in the world of the internet? Maybe whoever said whatever was ugly actually felt they were doing the recipient of their criticism a favor. It may be rude, and it may be unrealistic and even a little creepy. . . but there it is.

  177. Re: the snow. I have a great building super who plows every. last. bit., including the sidewalk up and down most of our little block. But I’m so over it.
    Re: “ugly” – omfg, I can’t even begin to imagine saying that about someone’s knitting. Or someone’s couch. TO THEM??? I’d rather die.

  178. I spent too many hours in art critique classes to pop off an “it’s ugly” without some rational critical thought.
    I also have spent 40 years as my mother’s daughter, and while I am outspoken I am not generally rude. (my mom would probably still pop me one if she saw me do something like that)
    Strangely, people seem to forget that there is a real person behind this (or any other) blog. So it’s seemingly easier to make rude comments because there is no immediate response. No one to shoot right back at them in person “Oh really? Did your mother drop you on your head? Because that was incredibly rude of you to say so. Why don’t you get out of my house while you are at it?”
    The bloggers only real options to rudeness are:
    1. email the offender (if they were brave enough to leave one)
    2. call them out on your blog (effective.)
    3. IP ban (drastic, but satisfying)
    But I still wonder why people would do something in print that they would never do in public…If the wayback machine grabbed your blog yesterday it’s there forever…
    Oh and for the record (in case you are sending them to me-heh)? I think the socks are lovely. The leaves charm me to no end.

  179. hmmmmm, my guess is that people are more brazen in cyberspace. I think that is one of the big issues with kids texting, emailing, my-spacing, etc. Unfortunately, the gloves are off at the keyboard. ;(
    I think its so sad. My mother taught me if you’ve got nothing nice to say… don’t say anything. Geez…. knitting gives us so much personal pleasure, you would think another knitter would be more than sensitive to a fellow-knitter’s feelings. Anyhow, you’re leaf-knitting-tenacity is more than admirable! Hat’s of to you πŸ™‚

  180. I disagree with the analogy of your blog being your living room. Perhaps if you invited me in then had me look closely at your couch. “Why there’s my couch and let me tell you how I came to choose that couch and how happy I was to get it. It was hard getting it through the door but we came up with a clever way to overcome that obstacle and now just looking at that couch makes me happy.” And I am standing there thinking why put so much effort into such an ugly couch. And feeling like a compliment is in order but I can’t, even though I love you and I love your enthusiasm. And the stress and expectancy is too much and I blurt out, ” But it’s hideous!”
    I think that anonymity does contribute but I also think the ability to immediately react in writing to a blog is the equivalent of a blurt. It would be great if everyone was articulate and took the time to think before they spoke or posted but many people don’t (and maybe can’t).
    And I’m glad no one has ever done the equivalent of a drive-by posting to you in person but it has certainly happened to me. Maybe not in my living room (but I’m a hermit hiding amongst my teetering stacks of old newspapers) but out in the wide world. Comments on clothes, weight, hair, facial expression. Used to make me shrink inside but now I just give ’em a big smile and keep walking.

  181. First, I must apologize, since I’m at work and didn’t read all the other replies. I also don’t comment much, though I read faithfully.
    I’ve heard rude comments in real life before, but most often they’re muttered in a middle school classroom while I (as the teacher) am facing the chalkboard. There’s a drive to test limits and defy authority at that age that can turn nasty really fast. I wonder if the internet is unleashing the inner 12 year old in some folks?
    Also, I do know families who would never make a derogatory comment to a stranger, friend, or coworker, but feel perfectly obligated to put each other down. I am deeply thankful that my family is not this way.
    I’m sorry you have to deal with such inappropriate comments on your blog. We are privileged to get to see your WIPs every day and I hope that this occasional bad behavior will not put you off posting.

  182. While I agree with all the comments about anonymity, I have to also add – some people view blogs as entertainment almost the same way they view television. As time passes, they come feel they are owed something by the person who provides said entertainment, even though it is provided for free. Therefore, they feel as free to comment about the socks as they do to comment on the latest disaster sent down by a designer on Project Runway…and I will admit to having made some seriously unkind comments in my living room. But, in my living room, for the hour that I am watching the television, the designers are not real people and cannot be hurt by my comments, and I can say anything I want because they will neither know nor care. To some, you may be a Personality, not a real person who actually listens, and the other commenters may be people sitting in the living room with them, watching the TV that is you, who may appreciate their scathing and hopefully witty comments.
    I may be totally off. They may just be rude. But, I think it is a common internet phenomenon, that someone sets out to share something they love, and people receive it well, so they keep doing it, and suddenly there are all these people who think that it is provided for their entertainment and not for that person’s own fulfillment, and therefore it should be done in the manner most pleasing to the consumer, rather than the producer. Pretty soon the producer does not want to do it anymore because it is not a passion, it is an obligation, and there are bitter feelings all around.
    Honestly, I feel bad for the designer, who I know has been following your adventure and has probably read the comments as well. It is tough to have your work freely critiqued in a very public forum by so many knitters – good for her for taking it in stride.

  183. And all of us said, “AMEN”.
    What ever happened to the thought process of, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”???????
    I, personally think the socks are gorgeous and an amazing feat of knitting!
    I need to get me some merlot – and soon!

  184. What’s stranger than people? –Answer — More people. Can’t wait to see those socks blocked and I’m sure if you have chosen the person to have these leaf socks she must be a dear friend indeed and you know her well. They will have a good home . Good for you .

  185. Although the perpetrator will not agree, it is bad manners to either say or write such a thing.

  186. Well, the sad truth is that people DO suck. That being said, we do what we can not to follow suit and wallow in the sucklyness. I am struggling with this very thing as we speak.
    You know that old Tom Cruise movie, “Risky Business”? The one with that one liner that seems to cover so many bases>>>> ahhhhhh words to live by.
    “Sometimes y’just gotta say what the *&#@!”

  187. i think you & your vintage socks are totally inspirational. i cannot imagine making them and wish that i could see the face of the future owner of these unbelievable creations.
    lots of people wouldn’t wear these socks, but that’s not the point. What kind of person reads a knitting blog and could do anything other than be amazed and in awe of you for knitting them? bizarre. even my non knitting dh saw the pictures over my shoulder and was amazed.
    you’re awesome and your socks are too.

  188. Having a difference in opinion (be it about fashion, politics, religion or whatever) is normal in this world we live in. Being rude about differences in opinion is not okay. Thats how I try to live my life and I feel that is important to teach my children.

  189. Agree with many of the others – some people are just rude. It’s a sad state of affairs, and I think it’s on the rise.
    And just to note – I see knitted things all the time (and other items that people have made and are are inherently proud of, such as paintings, gardens and children) that are not at all to my taste, and I reserve my “holy crap I saw the most hideous………..” for my husband as a bit of color commentary to our lives.
    Must remember to break this habit when we have children.

  190. It’s just the online environment. And I think perhaps something about the dynamic of blogs with comments in particular. Comments are wonderful for allowing connection between blogger and readers. Comments are problematic in that they can easily sound sycophantic (especially when there are a large number). Not the fault of the blogger or of individual commenters; it’s just part of the dynamic.
    The socks were not to my taste (too fussy) but obviously a lot of people do like them. Not really a big deal.

  191. I wonder if my mother reads your blog. She never hesitated to tell me when she thought my fashion choices were “ugly.” (I was a student. I liked funky vintage things, men’s clothes, big sloppy comfy stuff. I was young and I could get away with looking any way I wanted, and honestly, some of it was really cute.) Drove me *CRAZY*. She didn’t do it to anyone else, just me. I, of course, was not welcome to criticize her (typically frumpy-mom-style) fashion choices in return, so I kept my mouth shut. And I still do. But I love those socks. I’m a big fan of shutting up if I have nothing nice to say. You know?

  192. I remember my parents and grandparents endlessly telling us, “If you can’t say something nice about someone/something, don’t say anything at all.” That being said I still occasionally hear, “I hate your haircut.” And I admit to being guilty of telling the teens and pre-teens that “No, that is not a good look on you. I don’t care if Brittany Spears dresses like that, she looks like a two bit …” Would I say something like that blunt to other than family, no way.
    However, if the blog writer specifically asked for feedback, that’s a different issue. They’ve opened the door to comments both good and bad. But one would expect common courtesy to prevail in the tone of the comments.
    When I was taking design classes in college, I had a professor who advocated “painless” critiques. Meaning if you were going to say something negative about a classmate’s project you had to balance it with something positive. I really try to keep that in mind when asked for feedback on a design/project, regardless of the medium. (For those who haven’t been to architecture school, many design critics believe in ripping a student to shreds, and seem to delight in making them cry. You develop a thick skin rather quickly.)

  193. Good question. I think people say these things in the comments on “blogs” because they feel they don’t have as much weight as they do if you said them in person. They’re more likely to rip into someone in written form, and may not realize that words are words, and any type of negativity is not appreciated. And yes, there is a difference between snarky, cynical and downright rude/mean.
    I, fortunately, have not had anyone negatively comment on anything I’ve knit/written on my personal blog. Professionally speaking? I’ve had co-workers diss my clothing/hobbies/friends/work to my face at work, and then wonder why I’m choked up and find it hard to work with them for a while. And I’ve had it both in person and on e-mail from co-workers.
    My mother too would knock me into next week if I behaved as poorly as some, and she’s never been one to even lift a hand to spank me.
    I think what it comes down to is we all feel our opinions count and mean something, and therefore whether what they’re/we’re about to say is right or wrong, the person who it’s being said about needs to hear it. Like they’re being done a service to be told that so-and-so dislikes something enough to blab about it online. Seriously, they need to get over themselves and realize that while the Vintage Socks may not be their cup of tea, they are exactly what other people like. And if you are making them for someone, then you know that person’s sense of style well enough to know they’ll enjoy every single teeny, tiny stitch you have knit.
    If I were receiving those socks as a gift, I would be beyond thrilled. I don’t think I’d have the heart to wear them — I’d instead have them framed and hang them up in a prominent place and make sure everyone that came to visit admired them. After all, not everyone is worthy of a handknit, or handmade, gift. And if someone has made me one, you can bet I will brag to everyone about it. I would point out every leaf, every stem and every grape.
    Tell the haters to go shovel some snow (if they need any, I think Toronto and Chicago have some to spare).

  194. Gee, I brought you yarn and needles at one of your book signings and I was thinking as I was handing you this “my God, this woman is going to think I’m this bizarre groupie and is going to start wondering if she’s being followed in the parking lot!” But my message was really supposed to be “Hey thanks for inspiring me to knit more, be brave in my knitting, and not think I’m a screw up if I have to rip”.
    I would never make those socks, but I can easily see how one could get caught up in those leaves. It’s about the leaves and the ingenuity of the pattern not about socks.

  195. 1. So jealous of the snow, as always. =) Add me to the list of people who want to know whether or not it really was a car!
    2. Pretty socks! I agree with whoever suggested the name Rainbow Sherbert – that was the first thing I thought of when I saw them! =)
    3. I’m always surprised at some of the things people say on message boards and in blog comments. I do think people feel freer because of the relative anonymity, but they don’t always take into account the effect their comments will have. There’s still a real person on the receiving end. I think there is also a problem in that inflection doesn’t come through well in typed medium. I think sometimes comments are meant jokingly (I don’t know about yours in particular, because I haven’t read all of them, just in general) but no one can tell when it’s written in black and white.
    I think the socks are neat, so if the intended recipient turns out not to like them, you can just ship them to Louisiana (because I won’t have the skills to make a pair as nice as yours for quite a few more years). Then of course I might enshrine them and never wear them because they were made by *you*, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. πŸ˜‰

  196. I think the socks are gorgeous. I’m not sure I’d wear them, mind. Well maybe at home I’d be into them, and eventually get up my courage to wear them out. But I would absolutely LOVE to knit them. (I even signed up for the Flock Sock Club right after you started blogging about them … because the Tsarina’s designs just look so incredibly fun and a real challenge.)
    But even if I didn’t love them, I’d never, ever in a million years say so on your blog. That is so completely lacking in class.
    But people can be like that. Somebody mentioned course evals. Sadly, I and others I know have had the experience of students saying the most reprehensible things on course evals. Cmments about body shape, fashion choices, and other hurtful things totally unrelated to teaching. I’ve known people who were depressed for weeks after getting their evals back, because (some of) the students were so cruel. Anonymity brings out the a-hole in a lot of people.

  197. I think it’s the anonymity that lets people think they can make these sort of comments. Me, I’ve taught myself to think “now that’s an interesting color choice, it takes courage to wear that” where before I might have thought (never said!) “oh my god that’s hideous”
    I can look at and admire the Vintage socks as art (yes, I read the Tsarina’s blog and had the good fortune to meet her at Rhinebeck), admire you for the courage to actually knit them and still think “not in this lifetime, no way would I knit or wear those”. Not my style. And that’s all it is, just not my style. Like you, I don’t do embellishment. Doesn’t mean they won’t look absolutely gorgeous on someone else.
    I think it’s petty minds… people who are jealous. Or stupid. Not sure they are mutually exclusive.

  198. I have no idea…both of my grandmothers, as well as my mother had personalities like sledgehammers. Mom was a parole officer, for cripes sake. They presented a united front, and it was ground into the very fiber of my being that if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. You don’t have to like everything, and you can think whatever you’d like, but if you don’t like something keep your mouth shut unless your opinion is asked for.

  199. OK, I’ll confess right off that I don’t usually take time to read the comments; my internet time is limited.
    I would like to remind everyone (if it hasn’t been pointed out already – lordy, you people write fast ) that there are “trolls” on the internet – people who jump on *any* list and say something nasty just to get a reaction.
    I’m not pointing any fingers, but it’s possible that’s what you’re dealing with here, not a “real” knitter or fan.
    If the recipient will love them, that’s the only opinion that counts. Any other opinion is worth the price you paid for it. πŸ™‚
    My only thought is “how is she going to top those?!)
    Your snow is beautiful – trade you a week’s worth of rain for it…

  200. I agree. If you wouldn’t say it to their face, don’t say it on their blog. Mumble it in the car on the way home, certainly, but not in the house.

  201. I usually don’t comment despite being a faithful reader (I can only blame this on the fact that you receive so MANY comments that I feel honor bound to read them all before adding anything) this being the case this is the first I’ve heard about negative comments on your vintage socks.
    maybe their mum didn’t hug them enough…..

  202. Oh and forgot to mention – second photo with the frosted trees and glinting streetlight is divine. Very, very well done.
    Thank you for sharing those beautiful bits with the rest of us, in addition to all the beautiful knitted bits.

  203. What surprises me most, is that someone would even take the time to post a negative comment (outside of answering a question or arguing a point). Of all the places one could spend one’s energy, why waste it on critiquing someone’s choice of craft? It boggles the mind.
    Eric in IN

  204. I can’t imagine saying something so rude in person or in cyberspace, but I guess some people figure the anonymity of it gives them license to say what ever pops into their head. Apparently no one told them when they were little that if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all. Yeeesh!
    And for the record – although I would never wear socks like those myself, they are beautiful in their own right, and in the amount of effort and angst that you have put into creating them for someone who will cherish them. Some people are just rude.

  205. I admit, my comment was harsh and inappropriate for this kind of forum, and I appologize to the readers who took offense to my words. I have been reading this blog for a long time. Perhaps I felt that my familiarity with this blog and it’s subject matter allowed me to be overly frank in my comments. For that, I am truly sorry. Indeed, many of the blogs I visit encourage this sort-of blowsy and in-your-face style of commenting and I am not always great at toning things down when necessary. I offer an olive branch to all the readers here, and hope that there are no hard feelings. Please know, people can be rude and still be GOOD people…rudeness is not necessarily a sign of malevolence, in fact sometimes it is exactly the opposite. To all, SORRY.

  206. I once heard a good name for a person like that, i.e. one who lurks in the dark until they can say something unpleasant: a troll. You’ve had an encounter with a troll. It’s more about him than you.
    My husband (a very creative guy) always gives me this advice when I have been tossed a similar barb: There are those who create and those who criticize. The creators are the ones who are brave enough to put something out there, the critics don’t much improve the world at all.

  207. I love, love, love your socks! I wouldn’t make them because I would rather make a leafy, viney hat. πŸ™‚
    Dear Rude People: May your days be filled with cheap poo-colored acrylic! (That’ll teach ’em.)

  208. i will admit that i haven’t taken the time to scroll through all of the other responses, to see others’ opinions and whether i’m just echoing.
    My belief, is there is a freedom of the anonymity that the web affords. whether their name is associated or not (how many Lisas are there? Annes? i’ve even a few folks with my name, too!). And in that context, it is very easy to see this as some sort of open discussion, rather than your living room (a discussion between the commenters) and not really directed toward a “real” person, even though it’s obvious that you’re there and putting this all on for the mass of folks that is the web. It is easy, i believe, to ‘forget’ your manners, when there isn’t a ‘real’ person standing in front of you that will react.
    … that and well, some folks will just say it like it is (for them).

  209. On the part of the blogger, there is an implied “look at this cool idea/thing I have/am doing. Whaddya think?”
    Maybe the commenters aren’t being rude, they are replying honestly to the question they thing you are asking.
    I also agree that a blog is not a living room. A blog is like going to the town square and making an annoucement.
    But I have weird ideas–that’s why I don’t comment very often. Some of your “rude” commenters might be sincerely abashed that you didn’t like their answer to your question–even if you didn’t really ask.

  210. I wonder if rude commenting is the result of what my husband and his friends call “being chronic” – the brain-sludginess that comes with being on a computer for an extended period of time. I would suspect that the commenters in question would never think of saying such things – which is precisely my point: Chronic means you’re not really thinking anymore. You’re glazed over, reading/playing/interacting with people that have become words/images and lost their humanity.
    Wow, that might be deeper than I realized.

  211. I think some (or maybe a lot) of people have some sort of disconnect when it comes to the internet. It’s like they don’t think it counts as “real,” and they say things they would never say to someone’s face. It’s somewhat boggling to me.

  212. Love the socks, they are way cool. As far as someone saying negative things about them, it’s rather rude. My mom would say that people who do things like that weren’t raised right.

  213. Well said Stephanie. Most people that are snotty responders on blogs do it without using their names. They drive me nuts. I just want to say, that you constantly inspire me with your humor, and some of your projects. Although I would never in a million years undertake those socks, you have inspired me with many of the projects on your site. I keep making these stupid shawls, knowing that I would never use them. I love the basic socks though. You just can’t have too many socks.

  214. First on the snow : if you want to swap houses, please do let me know! We didn’t have ANY snow this year (usually we have at least half a day during Winter to enjoy some white fluff) and I love snow. Our furnace is brand new, I only don’t have a garden.
    Secondly : Though the socks would never be something I would actually put on my feet, I would love the challenge to knit them and get them finished. Somehow, sometimes it’s all about the process and not about the finished project.
    And I’m to lazy to read all the comments, but I guess most of them say it all!
    Ps.: I don’t remember in which book you said that something is wrong with your stash when the LYS owner calls you to ask if you still have some of a certain yarn, but it made me laugh so hard! My LYS owner calls me quite regularly from “one ball of that yarn”, and I know my stash is out of control! πŸ˜€

  215. What everyone else said….mostly, people don’t consider a blog “personal interaction” and therefore don’t apply those rules to it. But I think the livingroom is a good analogy to the blogosphere – I often thank people for stopping by “my place” and I really do feel like a hostess. And if someone stopped by and didn’t like the scene, I’d expect them to quietly leave. If someone stopped by in the middle of a discussion on health care, say, they’d be free to voice a differing opinion politely (as someone recently did) and without personal attacks.
    But it is personal, this blogosphere thing. That’s what people like about it.

  216. I think technology, which was/is supposed to be the great “connector” is actually disconnecting us from humanity. People tend to forget that they are talking/writing to another human.

  217. Well, now, I’m one of the people who made a comment that wasn’t totally complimentary. I didn’t say the socks were ugly, because I don’t think they’re ugly (I think they’re beautiful and terrifying). I did say that, as a novice knitter, I take consolation in the sorrows of the superknitters. A little schadenfreude, perhaps, but not ill-intended, reflecting more poorly on me than on the socks or their knitter.
    When we write online, we tend to write how we talk, rather than according to the more formal guidelines for written language. However, we lack the cues — tone, body language, gesture — that we generally rely upon to interpret spoken language, and confusion can result.
    If I write the way I talk, I might seem cruel. If I write the way I write, I might sound like a snob.

  218. Tea. Good.
    If you were my real life friend and I walked into your living room and there sat the ugliest of all sofas, I would look over the top of my glasses (it’s a wonderful old lady affectation I’m enjoying) and I would say “Steph, I love you but that sofa is butt ugly and I can’t BELIEVE you paid money for it.”
    Then you’d either sigh and tell me that Joe loved it and you couldn’t bear to hurt him or you’d look right back at me over your glasses (see how fun that is?) and you’d say “Your taste always has been arse. It’s funky, eclectic and I ADORE that sofa. Sit down, shut up and drink your tea.” And we’d live happily ever after but I’d mock that sofa for weeks.
    We aren’t strangers. We know more about you than some of our friends. Those who share their honest opinions with you may truly believe that they have established such a relationship with you.
    Then again, they may be trolls.
    Me? Cute, kitchy and there isn’t enough vodka in the world to induce me to knit a bazillion leaves and THEN knit two socks, assemble and embroider. Unless my daughter asked me to, then that would be different. πŸ™‚

  219. I agree, one shouldn’t make comments on a blog that are not nice. As the saying goes “if you can’t think of anything nice to say, don’t say anything!”
    By the way, although I would dread making those vintage socks, I think they are works of art and respect anyone who has the commitment to make them! πŸ™‚ cheers to everyone making Vintage socks!

  220. Many good points here on the question you posed and I have to say the “hiding behind their monitor” theory and the “lack of manners” theory are the first ones that popped into my head. People get awfully bold when they aren’t sitting right in front of the “person who made the socks”. You even see it in business which is just as sad.
    Hell, I once had a disagreement with a friend of mine via email (not my choice) who felt compelled to write some of the nastiest things they had ever said to me yet all of which were things they would never say to my face. Needless to say, I still remember what they said long after the argument had ended.
    At any rate, I also propose the “girlfriend” theory. Basically, it’s my observation that some groups of friends feel compelled to say things to eachother that they would never say to someone they don’t know well. Now I haven’t seen the offending comment myself, so I don’t know the context, but perhaps it was a “I’ve been reading your blog for a bazillion years so I feel like I can be honest about my opinion even though I would never say it to your face” kind of comment. I still don’t agree that the comment should have been made, but there’s another theory to discuss should you feel the urge to play devil’s advocate.
    Personally, I’m going with the “no manners” theory.

  221. By the way: Not that I’m defending the relative rudeness of comments in the previous posts or anything, but I think it is pretty horrible that the next logical step after criticism (helpful or not) for some of you was judgment about the person/persons making the critical observations. I am really annoyed that you all feel like it is ok to make assumptions about the quality of “Dan’s” knitting, hygiene and/or personality just because you are trying to be supportive. Acknowledge that the comment was rude without sinking to the same level.

  222. Some people are rude, ignorant boors. Sorry, but true.
    That said, I do think that society is changing in regard to “manners” and while they still exist in person most of the time, manners are forgotten or ignored when in forums that are not face-to-face. People are more rude in writing, because you can’t see how much you hurt someone’s feelings, and you’re sort of immune to rebuke. Blog comments can be anonymous, and often folks take advantage of the anonymity to make nasty comments they wouldn’t make if you knew who they were. We are becoming isolated from others as we sit alone in front of our computers and we can strike with impunity. No solutions to offer, and unfortunately you’ll get stuck with this stuff from time to time.
    Sometimes the blog-reading public is asked their opinion (like which buttons do you like, is this a better color, is this mistake glaringly obvious, etc.) and perhaps some have taken that to a new level where opinions are bluntly given without invitation.
    Sorry there are no solutions and no definitive answers here.

  223. Stephanie, the comment says everything about the commentor and nothing about you or your project. Some people feel compelled to spew out every thought that comes into their brain without any filters. Ignore them. They grew up without proper manners and probably without a strong family.
    Love your blog. Thanks for letting us into your life and knitting thought processes.

  224. I love to read your blog because it makes me feel as if I know you. I also love to read it because it makes me feel good to know that the same pitfalls befall other knitters. Even the really great ones.
    You are always so genuine and open and funny about the things that you have been through. I hope that never changes, even if some badly behaved, no mannered person shows themselves to be what they are, utterly and completely without social skills.
    I loved the socks, they remind me of the lovely mohair and silk lace knit jacket I knit once. It sits in the closet because it’s not me at all, but it was SO COOL TO KNIT.

  225. There is just something about the relative anonymity of the internet that seems to give some people license act boorish. I don’t get it, either.
    What really saddens me is the fact that you are posting about this AGAIN–for at least the second time since I started reading your blog, probably the third. πŸ™
    I guess the most frustrating thing is that there is no accountability. If you are rude to somebody’s face, there is a consequence–they might call you on the carpet, or at the very least stop talking to you. You might even have to debase yourself and apologize. If you’re rude to someone on the internet, what then? Nothing. And if you’re rude to them on the internet anonymously? Even less. It sucks.

  226. You all are being so nice . . . being boorish and ill-mannered is simply that, however, that sort of comment does smack of the ugly narcissism that seems to be running rampant in western culture.
    Just because a knitted object doesn’t appeal to *you* doesn’t mean you need to attack it – because – its _not_about_you_. Yikes! Get a life.

  227. I never comment anywhere, but this post brought up something that has always bothered me, not just about the internet but also about individual attitudes to the idea of good manners, freedom of speech, honesty, and respect – and the intersection of all these. I’ve heard people make statements like the “gosh, that [x] of yours is ugly!” not so much in someone’s living room (selective socializing helps) but rather in classrooms, buses, cafeterias, and other public space. It seems almost that the idea of good manners is seen as “dated,” “old-fashioned,” or some other odd synonym (making people like me feel very uncool…..but then, I’d rather be uncool than unkind), and the idea of honesty and free speech is equated with absence of any sort of restraint whatsoever. This lack of distinction between freedom and absence of restraint is the core of the problem.
    We ——s(I’m not North American, but won’t say what I am) have a distinction that forms a very big part of our culture – there are “truths” and “lies,” but truths are divided into those that can be freely expressed, those that are “unloved,” and those that are “undesirable.” “Unloved” truths are those that one would rather not hear, but that, if stated, may serve a purpose like jolting someone out of complacency etc. (An example would be if someone said to me that I take too long to make my point.) An undesirable truth is, on the other hand, one that does not, and will never serve a purpose of any kind. Except maybe hurting the listener(s), which is undesirable. Such a truth is better left unsaid. Period.
    Any “truth” – which, because it differs from individual to individual, is different from “reality,” which is more absolute – that has no other purpose than “honesty” is pointless. “Honesty” in that sense is overrated…..
    [And, just for the record, the vintage socks were incredible. For the skill and artistry that went into the designing and making of them. Wearability doesn’t even come into it.]
    – vb

  228. I think that this issue probably arises from that sense of “anonymity” that the internet brings — while someone might never say “wow, that’s ugly” to your face, in typing it may not seem so offensive — coupled with the fact that your blog really does read informally and intimately, which I think makes your readers feel at ease to speak their mind (you certainly do!). Unfortunately, again due to the nature of the medium, much of the nuances of spoken communication are lost in print, which makes it difficult to assess whether the comment was meant as snarky, or jovial, or just was *unintentionally* rude. I’d rather assume that someone didn’t realize how his/her comment would “sound” when read, than assume they were unfeeling and intentionally rude. It’s a tough case though — how much allowance do you make for people who are, as you rightly say, sharing your space?

  229. I actually haven’t gone back and read all the comments to find the negative ones, but my take on it is twofold: 1) the (supposed) anonymity of the internet does bring out the worst in some people and 2) I think it is a common phenomenon for insecure folk to believe that they may procure that elusive something they feel they lack by challenging, hurting, or denigrating someone who appears to have it in spades.

  230. I feel like I’m becoming a misanthrope in my middle age. The more I see of people, the more frequently I’m disappointed by their lack of tact, their absurd sense of entitlement, their general lack of manners and empathy and compassion for other people. It’s sad. I really want people to do the right thing — as you point out, we’re not asking for kindness or to be overly agreeable — but just do the right thing, behave the right way — don’t be cruel or rude or selfish. Is that really too much to want from people? Sigh. I’m trying not to be misanthropic, because I am lucky enough to know a number of wonderful people (a few of whom are also friends of yours). But it’s challenging.

  231. To answer your question (and I didn’t see anyone’s comments but the one at the top who says people suck; I don’t agree) I think it’s the same concept that inspires people inside their cars to be much ruder behind the false protection of glass than they would be were they face to face. It’s sort of like being anonymous so there are fewer filters. Thanks for your lovely writing and sharing and I’m awaiting the publication date of your next book!

  232. While your socks are not something I would personally wear, I think they are fabulous (and it’s fabulous that you are knitting them). I’m not at all a “process” knitter-type but I understand how compelling these socks are and if given the opportunity would at least consider knitting them just to knit them because they are so, well, amazing. Except I would only knit one. Although if I were giving them as a gift I guess I’d probably have to make two…unless I could find an amputee who would like them….hmmmm….
    But back to your question….my mind is blown as yours was that people said not-nice things about your socks. I totally agree with your “blog-as-living-room” idea and am baffled at such behavior. I’ve got some wacky patterns on my blog that I know aren’t everyone’s cup or tea but I think I would cry if a bunch of people came over and told me how ugly they were. All that to say, perhaps the mean commenters are cousins of the woman who used to “proofread” your blog entires…similar manners and all.
    Now, on a completely different note, the very pretty needles you are using for said fabulous socks were a small point of discussion at knit night last night and we were wondering if you could tell us where you got them? Knit Picks? Grafton Fibers? Somewhere else?

  233. Your story reminds me of a trip I took to the fabric store in search of fabric for my curtains. The lady pleasantly asked me what I was making with the beautiful blue fabric I had just found. “Curtains.” I say, and she responds with “well, those will be drab.” lol, well you’re an a**. I wanted to respond. I mean really, some people are just rude in person too.
    The Curtains

  234. HMM who would say that sort of crap! Seriously some people think that just because they aren’t actually speaking to you they can say stupid sh*t! Makes no sense to me. Apparently they don’t realize the saying “if you have nothing nice to say say nothing at all” still applies to comments and email!!

  235. I’ve knit lots of stuff I would never wear. I did it because the knitting was challenging and the finished product was artful and interesting to me. Who cares if other people think I’m crazy?

  236. I could be totally wrong, however there was some talk the last two days on ravelry on a long thread in remnants about crochet, and it was mentioned several times you had said you thought crochet was ugly… I am wondering if some immature people came to seek vengeance… if you haven’t received those sorts of comments before it might have been spurred by that.
    I think the entire thing is SILLY… I’m sorry anyone felt the need to comment on your blog and say something not-nice. I can’t imagine ever doing that.

  237. I think people really should be more polite, and seriously, why waste your energy telling someone something is ugly?
    When I was dating online via, I would actually once in a while have guys take the time to write to me to say things like, “I just had to write to you to tell you that I can’t imagine any guy ever dating you.” Wow, thanks SO MUCH for taking the time out of your busy schedule to let me know that you think I am pitiably un-date-able and that you can’t get over it and just HAD to say something.
    I think it’s the faceless anonymity of the internet that leads people to gleefully drop societal conventions. The same sort of people who happily loot their nearest convenience store at the first sign of a natural disaster.
    Of course, I do have one friend who does this sort of thing in person all the time with food. Make a dish with an ingredient she doesn’t like (and these are legion), and she will turn up her nose and say, “Nasty!” I like to make things she doesn’t like just to spite her. I blame her parents…
    Now, I will say that I make one exception to politeness on principle. If someone tells me a name they’re planning to name their baby, and I think it’s stupid, I make it a firm policy of very politely pointing out that the name is problematic. I developed this policy after an acquaintance named their little girl Traylor. When I heard it, my first response was to say, “Didn’t anybody TELL THEM????” She must be five or six by now — how many times will she be called Traylor Trash or Traylor Park? But since nobody is going to surgically attach what I might perceive as “ugly” knitting to their recipient thereby causing a lifetime of pain and stigma, I don’t see any reason to interfere just for the sake of getting my two cent’s worth in.

  238. Hi Steph:
    Do you think it could be some weird mind/body thing? I mean, when you’re in virtual space it’s almost like you’re not you anymore. I think we operate in a different part of our brains when we’re on line. Add the fact that you’re invisible to others and you have a way to behave badly and not feel any connection to the bad behavior.
    P.S. When I’m in your living room I keep forgetting to tell you how well I think you write.

  239. Perhaps you could be proud of the success of your blog that has such a large demographic it includes those without manners.
    Your readers are smart and warm and protective. Through these comments we are setting up appropriate behaviors for your blog and the net. We post because we want to connect with you. We appreciate how much you share. It’s harder to connect as you become more successful, but I think if you met us in a big room (as you have many times on your book tours) you would call us your friends.

  240. Ah I see that sort of thing in forums, too. I think people rely on the anonymity of the internet and somehow that gives them carte blanche to say what they think without ever really thinking there’s a real person on the other end. I would totally say to MYSELF, “how hideous” I would NEVER say that to you except under very specific circumstances, such as you and I were very close friends and you asked what I thought AND I knew with surety that you really wanted to know what I thought — though my experience is that “Do you like my hair/dress/car?” seldom ever really begs for a true response.
    When I go to someone’s blog and they are knitting something not to my liking I tend to either not comment or I focus on something I do like and mention that. “I like that color” and I leave out the “but I think it will make you look like a rhinocerous with acne” part.
    It amazes me how folks lose track of politeness online.

  241. Oh, Lordy. I need a drink. Since I’m at work I cannot (1) HAVE a drink (2) read through the 228+ comments at this moment, but let me say (or ask rhetorically) just how rude can some people be???
    Some randomness: I’m envious of your snow. I’m in central New Jersey and we haven’t had hardly ANY this winter; I can’t believe you’re not even 40 yet; I’m feeling a bit old right now…; I’m a bit of a shy person (even in my choice of clothing) and would certainly NOT be able to carry off the vintage socks. I might use them as a decoration in my sewing room because they’re so pretty, but I could NEVER wear them. They might call attention to me! Heaven forbid!!

  242. Some people lack filters. Often people simply don’t realize that what they say is difficult to interpret without hearing the tone of their voice or seeing the expression on their face.
    I will never understand what runs through their minds when they say things like that but there’s not much to be done about it. I don’t think calling the person who came across as rude harsh names is much different but that’s just my own opinon.
    The Vintage Socks are really not to my taste either but I’ve been fascinated by them and I thank you for sharing your work on them. That’s why I love this blog so much, there’s always something new to learn about! I think you did an absolutely outstanding job on them and they turned out beautifully.

  243. It’s the same reason why people all of a sudden pick their nose in the car, while in public they wouldn’t even begin to think of it: they think they’re unseen, anonymous.
    It’s just so easy to hide behind a screen and not have to think about your words.

  244. Wow, what a kerfuffle. I’m going to (very tentatively) agree with Ken and Amanda and maybe one other commenter. Stephanie, after I read your question, I went back and read all 220-whatever of the comments, and, as noted, 215 or so said the socks were beautiful, gorgeous, fabulous, etc. When I did finally find the negative comments I noted that all but perhaps one of them started with a disclaimer like, “I love your blog, I love your work, but in just this one case. . .” Hardly the tone of an anonymous drive-by slimer. Here’s my guess. The Internet has blogs, and it has forums. Some blogs are living rooms but many are forums, and they get very, er, lively–indeed, that’s their purpose. Someone who reads both kinds may have gotten momentarily confused and thought that this was actually an occasion for an exchange of views, in which dissent from the general chorus, if phrased without abuse, would be appropriate. That’s plainly a mistake, but I don’t think it implies the kind of hostility that is making you so unhappy. I think the posters are just mixing up their blogs.
    And just imagine a blog that said “Constructive comments only, please.” Would you take any pleasure at all from the compliments if you felt they were obligatory?
    Here, too, I am perhaps erring in thinking it’s okay to express views, rather than just agree. I hope not–my intent is to make you feel better about the episode, not to discount how they actually made you feel. Hope you can take comfort in the 215 (or more) raves.

  245. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Nothing will ever be liked by everyone. It’s all a matter of personal taste.
    My mother always impressed upon me how boring the world would be if we all wore the same things, looked the same, liked the same things, said the same things, and I now appreciate how true that is.
    However, you would not stand next to the artist, the craftsperson, the labourer and tell them that their work was ugly. Like other readers, my mother also lived by the rule ‘if you can’t say anything nice, say nothing at all’. I don’t see why this shouldn’t apply equally in front of people as well as within cyberspace’s anonymity. Unfortunately, it is a sad fact that rudeness and negativity do seem to be more prevalent than politeness and praise in some quarters. Thankfully the reverse is true in your blog.
    Stephanie – the workmanship and your dedication to providing a step by step, warts ‘n’ all, trip through the process of creating are to be celebrated and encouraged. I am with your other readers, keep up the fantastic work.

  246. The socks in question are infinitely interesting in terms of technique and application. I read each and every post in the blogs I frequent looking for just this sort of thing, even if I wouldn’t wear them or anything black or made of yarn variegated in puzzling colours.
    Those who put themselves out there for all of us to look at and learn deserve the respect we’d appreciate in our own living rooms. As readers we shouldn’t be fooled by the anonymity that the internet allows us to say things we’d never say face to face.
    I strive for the pithy but polite in difficult situations and, if I have nothing good to say, I try to not say anything at all.

  247. Bad manners have been on the upswing for a number of years now, and not just on the internet. I base that opinion on what I have witnessed as a Jr. High teacher in the classroom, as your average Joe on the street, and what seems to be an overriding theme of some of the most popular shows on TV. It sickens me that American Idol and such shows have such large audiences. Let’s be honest, other than the payoff in the end for the lucky few survivors, the underlying premise of the show is to ridicule and crush the hopes, dreams and aspirations of the contestants. The more cruel the judges are the more “enjoyable” it is for the audience. It is obvious there are sacrificial lambs chosen for this purpose alone. This practise is obscene. Did you know that Simon guy is the highest paid foreign entertainer (read that as not an actor) in the USA?? (I learned that on Jeopardy) If that isn’t enough of an example for you, how about some of the highest rated “comedy” shows? Take The Office for instance, it is nothing but a series of people in situations in which the characters are nothing but self-centered, cruel, and mean. And this is comedy?
    Obviously you’re questioning of peoples manners has struck a chord with me, and I won’t even go into how a sense of responsibility has been replaced with a sense of entitlement nowadays. I’ll conclude this rant from my lofty soapbox by saying, once we laugh at an injustice or rude behavior, we’ve already taken the first steps toward accepting it.
    BTW was there a car under the snow??????

  248. 1st, I confess I haven’t read the 220+ comments that precede me.
    2nd, the people who will make that sort of comment on the blog are the same people who will pull out in front of you in traffic; fail to stop for pedestrians in a clearly marked crosswalk; ignore you as you desperately try to merge on a busy street; and shoot you dirty looks (but not let you go ahead of their 15 items – in the 10 item or less lane – with your mere jug of OJ) while you try to quiet & soothe the whiny child with a cold for whom you’re buying the OJ.
    In short, they are the people who only see the world through their own eyes and don’t even THINK how someone else might feel.
    At least, that’s what I think.

  249. If you have anything nice (or constructive) to say; even if it’s blandly nice, just keep it to yourself. But sometimes, it’s harder to NOT do something than do it. Still…

  250. I do wonder if those same people do say things like that face to face. As unlikely as I am to talk to someone like that, I’m even less likely to put it in writing, anonymous or not. But you do see that around the internet quite a bit, I know. I shall remain baffled.

  251. Courtney is right – we don’t want to sink to the same level in defense of our beloved Harlot.
    Nancy at 4:21 said that she would totally tell you if your couch was ugly, and would expect Steph to get back in her face and still be friends.
    I hate to say it, Nance (and dan, who expressed much the same view), but if one of my friends did that to me I’d be cordial to them until the tea was gone and might even say “hi” if I ran into them out in public but I’d never ask them back to my house. Just doesn’t work that way for me. Life is too stressful already and I just don’t need the aggro.
    And if anybody told me my kid (or my knitting!!) was ugly I’d say “how dare you!” and coldly and sternly ask you to leave my home. This is Miss Manners advice for dealing with extraordinarily rude comments, and I think it is quite sound.

  252. I think people need to ask themselves if the comment they are going to make is one they would tell someone person to person. It would only take a few seconds for people to realize the comment serves no purpose other than to voice their opinion. You are entitled to your opinion but you are not entitled to share it.

  253. People never cease to amaze me…but, I gotta tell ya – if no one else likes those sock – I DO! I would love to have a pair of them – they are awesome…but, I seriously doubt that I am talented enough to knit them…darn it!!!

  254. Look….and be patient with me here…I’m a bloke on a knitting site (yeah I know that’s ok etc but really it isn’t – and there lies part of the issue which those of you who are quick-witted will get; and secondly, the problem is cultural, not ‘Knitteral’ (hey, my newly invented word of the day).
    A society that upholds Free Speech at any cost, gets Free Speech at every cost. It may be hard to see the bigger picture but some people feel that their right to Freedom of Expression gives them the right to say whatever they like, as in ‘got a problem with that’. The poster who thought your socks are ugly is the same kind of person that upholds the right of the KKK or NeoNazis to stage public demonstrations and spew hatred all the while being protected by the police authorities of whatever crazy State that allows this.
    That one might display some tact doesn’t arise in this situation because by-and-large, American society doesn’t need to rely on tact as much as others…it’s got freedom of speech. That you or any of the other posters above have/had parents who taught them ordinary, decent values of mutual respect is uplifting. What a pity there aren’t more of you.

  255. If you don’t have anything nice (or constructive) to say – even if it’s blandly nice – just keep it to yourself. But sometimes, it’s harder to NOT do something than do it. Still…

  256. Grace @ 4:08 – I’m with you. My dad died nearly 25 years ago, but I still remember earning The Look that said I had done something wrong and he was disappointed. IMO, too many of my friends’ parents were too busy trying to be the “fun” parents in the neighborhood or to be their kids’ friends to remember that sometimes the parent has to be “mean” and set rules and limits – like how to behave in public. Some days it seems like everyone I interact with needs to go back to kindergarten and relearn the rules – play nicely with each other; don’t hit; don’t call names; share; etc.

  257. I’m probably going to get trounced here but I think that there is a time and place to comment – even when unsolicited – but a blog isn’t it. I think that the key is just how well do you know the person to whom you are commenting. A while ago a friend bought an ottoman that was way too big and, to be honest, but ugly. I held my tongue although I was standing right there. upon delivery, it turned out to be nearly the size of the room it was going into and, as I expected, very unattractive. It went away and I heaved a sigh of relief and I thought my buddy would deck me. She asked why I didn’t say anything and I said I didn’t want to insult her taste. I know better now and I freely share my opinions with her but you can be certain that I’ll keep my opinions to myself here, in your living room.

  258. I think your socks are perfectly lovely. I don’t know what other peoples problems are, but I would probably be in a dead faint if I was the recipient of those socks. I WISH I could knit them. To be frank, I am just not that talented…… yet. You watch me though. Give me a few more years, er, decades… and then, I’ll join you in your dance of joy for the cat.
    Be proud. You are accomplished and everyone who disagrees are jealous. c.long

  259. I am with you on this one. I wouldn’t wear them myself but I know folk who would.
    I would also like to see the leaves arranged around the brim, or at the side of a brim of a beanie with i-cord tassle at the top.
    Probably ugly too in some folks eyes but cute to me.
    It would be hellish if we were all the same, but great if we all had good manners!!

  260. Being one of the usual posters on the Big Issues Debates (BID) board I can say that I think posting there is waaay different than posting to someone’s personal blog. In BID there are moderators and rules- you attack the idea not the person. Sometimes it gets out of hand, but in a heated debate that is expected, mostly it all calms down though. I find this entirely different to a personal blog. On a blog you are leaving a comment- hey nice technique, woa- that stinks that your radiator is having problems. I think maybe people are having a bad day and things get them grumpy and they type something terrible to make themselves feel better. They probably relish the fact that they are sitting behind a random screen name and that, well you might not read their comment anyways. Usually bad comments like that I just shrug off, but on some of the comments got so out of hand and offensive I had to write a letter to the editor of the webpage for interweave knits (so I can totally empathize with your situation). Being a petite person I can only take so many pages of people railing that people who have a 32″ bust are not women and are in dire need of a sandwich. But, I digress. I think it comes down to perceived anonymity.

  261. OMIGOODNESS. I just reread my response. I meant GENERALLY I would say to myself “that’s hideous” I didn’t mean that specifically about the socks.

  262. I agree with what Leann said. I would bet money that the person who posted the “ugly” comment is a troll. Perhaps she Googled “socks” and came across your blog and thought she’d chime in. People suck.
    Anyway, I’m amazed you finished (did you?) the socks. I don’t know if I’d have the patience.
    What kind of Scotch do you like? I’ll trudge through our Wisconsin snow to your Toronto snow and bring a bottle over! πŸ™‚ Cheers!
    Ronda in Madison

  263. hmmm. i’ve been known to comment on blogs that i’d make the item in a different color or guage before. i’ve also said things like, “beautiful stitch work!” … these things are true when i say them, but tend to be reserved for an item i’d never wear.
    in general, socks are something i’d never knit. i’ve done it, it hurt my hands so much i had to wear a brace for three weeks, and i gave up the ghost. and so i see all the socks you knit and think, “never, not in a million years.” but that’s not because i don’t love them! it’s because i know my knitting limits!
    for someone to just plain say something is “ugly”? i hope i don’t ever get a comment like that on my blog, because i’d probably block them. although i’m betting there are people that don’t realize it’s like walking up to someone and telling them their haircut sucks, or their kid looks like Hitler. (i file both under “things you just don’t do”).

  264. I’m willing to bet that the person making rude comments will defend herself by saying she was just being honest. Honesty is of course an admirable and desireable trait, but so is being considerate of another person. What is honesty without civility? There are times when not saying anything isn’t a good option, such as when confronted by the beaming mother of an ugly newborn (as mentioned above). My mother taught us in such situations to find something to compliment. In the case of babies, you can note how tiny and perfect her fingers are, or how cuddly she is, etc. I hope the recipient of your Vintage socks is thrilled with them. The obvious care and love that went into making them is priceless.
    I am so jealous of your snow days! Your photos make it all beautiful, and make me wish I still lived somewhere where it was possible to snuggle up in a cozy house while a snowstorm rages outside.

  265. “Des goΓ»ts et des couleurs, il ne faut point discuter” was the way I was brought up. Yet, in the last little while, I have seen a change in people’s behaviour. Perhaps dealing with a keyboard has numbed this self-restraint. Perhaps, also, the fact that they are invisible contributes to the feeling that they can say anything. These people also TALK during a play at the THEATRE, or during a SYMPHONY. It’s the new way, and I don’t like it one bit.

  266. Actually, I’ve spent the greater part of my life listening to people tell me exactly what they think of my hair, my clothes, and the size of the dog I’m walking. Anything significantly (and don’t ask me where that magic line is) out of the ordinary seems to be considered fair game for comment. Different clothes, over/under weight, big dog – they all get comments, and right to your face on the street. Trust me. Adding a layer of pseudo-anonymity may further encourage these jerks, but it’s not required. The fact is they’re jerks, and they simply don’t know it. Different, to some people, invites commentary, and so they don’t feel they’re being rude at all.
    Obviously, they are. But those socks are ‘different’ enough, for sure, to have catapulted you into the realm of “inviting comment” from just that type. Just like any other kind of schoolyard behavior, just don’t encourage ’em. And if they get too close, poke ’em with a sharp stick.

  267. I would never knit these socks because I know my limitations and I would end up poking my eyes out rather than finish them.
    They are totally over the top socks and I love them because they are over the top. Maybe that’s why some people find them ugly. They are outrageous, delusional socks that are high on magic mushrooms. They are adorable. And I think that you are truly a master (mistress?) of pure unadulterated masochism to have actually non only started them, but finished them. I am in deep awe. Want to see photo of finished socks. Want to gaze at your masterpiece of fiddly knitting and embroidery. You are truly an inspiration for Type A, detail-oriented, masochistic knitters, a group I proudly belong to.

  268. I rather agree with Sara above (waaay above) in that the living room has been brought out into the front yard. I don’t feel as if I’m invited into blogs as much as I feel that I’ve wandered down a street where people have put pictures of their work, furniture, children, etc. in the yard for all to look at. That doesn’t excuse rudeness, of course, but I do see a difference between “living room” and “blog”. (I was going to say something about how this was a kit etc., but Ken said it better than I would have.)
    I went back to the last post to see what I commented, and while my comment was directed towards the ultra-fiddlyness of the pattern ending, I can see how it could have been interpreted as a slam. That’s unfortunate, and I apologize if I’m one of the commenters you’re thinking of.

  269. People feel they can say things on blog comments or in e-mail because you they are not talking to someone face to face. I have been working in corporate USA for years and I have received some vicious e-mails. I know the person would never say the comments to me in the flesh, but because it is written down it is okay. Not sure why. I think people write down feelings before they think and just hit send. Whereas, when you are standing in front of something, you think things out more carefully. They might not be bad people, just too impulsive. Of course, they might just be asses. Don’t take it personnally. Knit what you want. Never mind the bollocks.

  270. If I wore those socks, the rest of my (admittedly downscale) wardrobe would shrivel up in shame and slink miserably off into some dark closet to weep over its unworthiness. (This would leave me naked, and the previous commenters did note that this was not actually a viable answer to the desperately knotty question of what one could wear with the socks. Especially since I also live in a snowy climate.)
    That’s why I couldn’t wear the socks, beautiful as they are. But those cunning leaves.. I’m stalking the designer’s blog waiting for the leaf pattern. (The rest of the wardrobe will be horribly jealous, but not completely demoralized if it’s just the leaves.)
    On the question of insensitive and rude commenting- I think the the blank screen is less of a deterrent to foot-in-mouth disease than a person’s face in front of us. We have many years of intense social training from a young age for appropriate interpersonal behavior, with instant parental feedback (in most cases) as to whether we were good or bad. Many people do not seem to automatically translate that to electronic media, though it seems like common sense that one should.
    And on a different subject, since I don’t think I’ve ever said it before- your knitting skill is amazing, but I’m often also wildly impressed with your photography. The leaf and leafy sock photos are fantastic. The winter photos above are lovely. The socks today (gorgeous btw!)- I didn’t appreciate how hard it is to take photos of your own feet until I tried it! The picture of the wine glasses with snow outside you posted just before Christmas was incredibly striking. Love it! And if you’re ever casting about for blog topics and care to talk about photographing knitting, I for one would be keenly interested.

  271. IF you had asked “Do you think my socks are beautiful?” and IF I thought they were ugly, I would say so (probably a bit more tactfully) because, well, you asked. And even if I had thought they were ugly, I can appreciate the time and hard work you put into them. Otherwise I would have kept it to myself, because there are all kinds of tastes in the world and I would hate it (and actually be a bit scared by it) if everyone followed mine.
    By the way, the above was hypothetical. I definitely don’t think your socks are ugly. Quite the opposite.

  272. The internet is a two-sided deal. Some people (like you, and I, and countless others) use it to network and share ideas and art and just stories about the life we are all part of and living and just trying to make it through. And to show the love that we have for our lives and everything they entail.
    Others use the internet to be hateful and mean. On one of the networking sites I belong to, a stranger once messaged me just to tell me that I was fat and ugly. I messaged him back saying, “I know I’m not ugly, and fat is just fat. Stop and take a look at your own life and think about your own reasons for being so hateful.” My sister has been the target of a similar attack by a classmate. While our self-esteem is fully intact and was not affected by these people, many other young people are dealing with this stuff. There have been criminal cases on it.
    Why people see the internet as a carte blanche to be crude and uncensored, I don’t know.
    While I am writing a blog or a message or leaving a comment on the internet, I realize that other people will be seeing it…maybe even years from now. I want to present myself as a respectable human being! Obviously those people do not consider things beyond the tip of their noses.
    This problem also has to do with one’s mindset…etiquette has changed extensively over the last couple of decades, even since I was a child (and I’m only almost 23!)-in the American culture, especially. I think the idea that one can say or do whatever they feel, regardless of what effect it may have on others has now (unfortunately and horribly) been enmeshed into people’s mindsets. Our celebrities get famous by being vile and rude and unkind to people and disregard the need for respect and love and kindness in one’s life to ALL of the people around you, internet contact included.
    I have always been taught:
    “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all!”
    As an adult, I’ve since added:
    “If you have something nice to say, just say it because you might make somebody’s day!”
    When I read your blog, I consider you a person who is a true kindred spirit and an unkind word about you could never leave my fingertips!
    Both my mother and I find all of your work, in whatever color, shape, form, language, style, etc, etc, to be true artwork from a talented person.
    I feel I have more to say, but I can’t articulate it right now.
    Keep being wonderful, Stephanie!

  273. …i’ve always been curious about people who write ‘first comment,’ too. why? what does that mean??
    no qualms about saying that the boot stretch socks are magnificent. look like soft and colourful gloves for your feet. have you ever wondered how many photos of your feet figure on this blog??

  274. There is nothing I can say that so many before me haven’t except this is the first time this winter I’m happy living in Saskatchewan instead of Toronto! πŸ™‚
    I love your knitting. I find it inspires me to try things that allow me to grow as a Knitter (even if the thing I’m knitting is something I’m not crazy about). I also love your blog because you make me snort my afternoon tea 3-4 times a week. Good for the nasal passages πŸ˜€ Thank you for that!

  275. I agree that reading someone’s blog is like being in their living room. I’m with you 100%.
    I made a post on a forum once that took off in the wrong direction. I email the mods, begged forgiveness and asked them to delete the entire thread. Everyone on the thread talked freely about me as though I was not there, about how horrible it was for me to say such a thing (which they were taking completely different way than I had intended it). The mod’s not only ignored my PMs but were some of the biggest participants in talking about what horrible things the OP said in the thread. Finally the thread was locked (but not deleted). But then they started another thread talking about it some more. Then the editor in chief finally stepped in and went on and on about what a horrible person the OP was and how horrible it was for them to say such a thing (again, my intentions were completely different than they way it was taken). Then the editor-in-chief made a big to-do about deleting it and not having something so horrible on their pretty little forum. All that time, none of the mods responded to any of my PMs and everyone talked about me as though I was not in the room. And I read every word. Because I was in the room. After all, I was the OP of the post that went astray. To this day I have absolutely no respect for the mods or the editor in chief on that board. They may be popular in the online world, but I have no respect for them. And note that I have the decency not to say who they are or where this happened. Needless to say, I feel your pain.

  276. I notice the one who left the “ugly”comment hasnt bothered commenting today, hmmmmmmmm. Whether anyone of us would wear them or not doesnt matter, what matters is you are kind and gracious enough to allow us to see your life and your Art work and allow us the priviledge to comment on it. I have also been following the evolution of the socks and I for one (of a million or so) think they are absolutely Breathtakingly Gorgeous. And to the commenter who made the “ugly” comment…Fess up and publicly apologize to Stephanie, I for one will be watching for you to do so. The anominity of the Internet doesnt absolve you of following COmmon Courtesy!

  277. People are so ridiculously stupid sometimes–it boils down to not having any manners. When in doubt people should follow the old adaga “If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all.”

  278. The most blatant case of this I encountered was in Japan, when the speakers assumed I did not understand Japanese.
    A few particular comments stood out. From a conversation behind me in line to check out of a grocery store: “Gaijin have such wide hips, how do they get through our narrow spaces?”
    And directly to me when looking through a bin of T-shirts: “None of those are going to fit you, your boobs are far too big.”
    My favorite was from a 4 year old (asking his sister) in one of my classes “Does Sensei have lots of milk? Her boobs are much bigger than Mom’s”

  279. Dan,
    Well-phrased apology, and good for you for coming back to give it. It sounds lame for me to say “forgiven, forgotten” since it is not my blog, but I hope you appreciate the sentiment anyway.

  280. I wonder if some people see the “comment” area as the rough equivalent of the car on the way home? That the comment is not intended necessarily for you, but for others who have been to the same party?
    Just a thought.

  281. Not everyone was brought up by your Mother and mine. Those people were never taught good manners, a sensitivity to others’ feelings etc. It is their misfortune and they are to be pitied. They must go out in the world with these terrible shortcomings. And, aren’t we the lucky ones!?!

  282. When I first saw the comments I thought to myself “good job it isn’t YH’s own design”, as that would be rather hurtful and then I thought, like so many others, that there just is no need for negative comments.
    Love the socks or loathe them, they’re beautifully and PATIENTLY executed and an extremely thoughtful and generous gift for a friend.
    I see that at least one commenter has since apologised for their outburst – and I can’t help but wonder whether some people who have commented here are now left with red ears.
    I’ve been a regular in internet discussion forums for over 15 years and have left some groups because of the harsh tone. It’ll take more than that to put my of this blog though – ’cause I love it. Thanks Stephanie. πŸ™‚

  283. Seriously, I would never wear those sock, but they’re beautiful. I love them, but would never be caught wearing them. However, the designer and knitter deserve credit for such a bold project. You worked very hard on something you didn’t particularly like, and that is praiseworthy.
    As for the snow, we don’t have as much as you do, but it is enough to close schools and churches alike. It’s time to knit another afghan.

  284. Well my child has been known to walk in a room and tell someone that there dog is ugly and stinks. He however has autism and does not understand the social code the rest of the world works in. We now tell him “social stories” (little stories about what people should say if there are around an ugly and stinky dog). Maybe we should make some for knitting. Oh and I also watch where I take my son.

  285. If my mother hadn’t knocked me into next week, my father would have. It seems like so many children are not taught to respect others. Several years ago I was riding my horse out on a trail by myself. A little boy of about 5 was riding his horse (out of view of his mother) and galloped past me – just plain dangerous. My horse freaked and by the time I got her under control, his mother had ridden up to where I was and he came back. I politely told him that was very dangerous; please don’t do that. His mother told me off for telling her son what to do! No apologies for the danger it posed to me or for not keeping a closer watch on a child that was too young to be riding by himself! (Can you tell this still steams me after all these years?) This has absolutely nothing to do with knitting, but I think it’s a good example the lack of empathy and respect many people have these days. The anonymity of the internet only emphasizes this.
    Stephanie, you are an inspiration to me to try new things, so don’t let the insensitive comments bother you!

  286. I think that the internet is a mask for cowards. I have learned through various forums that people will just give their opinion unvarnished because they really don’t end up having to be accountable for what they said. It’s all anonymous, therefore accountability is foregone. I wish I knew what happened to the sentiment of “treat others how you want to be treated” – people who post such bile need to remember that there’s a real person on the other side of those words.
    As for the socks, I’d probably do exactly what you did. If I knew someone who would really love them, I’d knit them. But I’d never ever wear them myself. It might not appeal to everyone aesthetically, but you’ve got to respect the process of such detailed work.

  287. Hi,
    I love all of the socks you knit! I think you are a true artist. That “rude individual” is just jealous of you. Obviously that person is lacking in so many many departments, I suggest they get a Therapist.

  288. Hi Steph,
    In some cases, I think it’s unthinking malice – it’s easier to get a quick high by bashing someone else’s work than going through the effort of creating your own.
    In most cases, though, I think it’s less cruelty and more that some people seem to consistently confuse ‘informal’ and ‘rude’. People generally give their friends a lot more leeway than strangers in terms of “appropriate” and “out of line”. There seems to be a certain segment of the population who tries to fast-track straight through to “friendship” by adopting a frankness that, from a friend who’s “earned” that right, would be acceptable, but from a stranger is simply irritating and uncouth. They tend to be the same sort of people who find someone else getting hit in the groin the highest form of humour, I’ve noticed.
    My $0.02, for what it’s worth.

  289. You know, it is interesting. I wanted to comment yesterday, but didn’t because I couldn’t figure out a way to say it nice without it coming out mean.
    I think the socks are beautiful….no, GORGEOUS but I would never knit them, nor would I wear them. Not my taste…nor do I look for challenges in my knitting (I get enough of that all day at work!)
    Oh, and sitting here in Chicago waiting for yet MORE snow….anyone who wants it can come and get it. This morning we woke to a driveway that the snowplows had blocked in with 3 feet of snow, that proceeded to freeze and turn to a WALL of ice. Yeah, snow is fun.

  290. “Dude, those lederhosen are ugly.”
    “Ugly” is just one of those words that is wholly subjective and has no real upbeat or positive meaning. Unless the commenter was trying for a witty or funny impact, in which case there was a distinct failure to communicate the appropriate inflection or tone. Not nice.
    The socks are not a wearable aesthetic for me either, but I have succumbed anyway and bought a kit. Just… for the leaves. Oh, and that inlaid toe. ::sigh:: I will most likely amuse myself knitting leaves and inlaid toes until the men in white coats come knocking at my door. πŸ˜€

  291. well, i think the sad and simple answer is that this format lends itself to anonymity. the person who is being rude, doesn’t really have to be accountable for that rudeness, and I imagine, feels that he or she is “off the hook”. there’s not even really anything that obliges him/her to sign his/her actual name! hence, further anonymity… sigh. does this mean then, that we are only as “good” or “nice” as we have to be??

  292. I just wanted to let you know that I had to “sycophant” and it is now my new favorite word! (i think an obvious synonym would be ass-kisser, but it looks like didn’t include that) ha!
    Also, as a knitter, you HAVE to appreciate those socks and think they are beautiful just because of all the intricate work it took to knit them, not to mention DESIGN them! wow!

  293. I’ve never posted comments to a blog before but this one struck me. I don’t think those comments are necessary unless your asking and I don’t believe you were. It all goes back, sometimes, to the “If you can’t say something nice…” Can’t wait to see the finished product.

  294. I’m not sure about the anonymity of the Internet. It seems to me that overall there is a certain cruelness that has seeped into humanity both online and off. Mostly I feel that people don’t like to take responsibility for their actions, and since they aren’t taking responsibility, they have stopped considering their actions at all, particularly when their actions affect others more than themselves.
    Thus we have more unloved children, more senseless violence, and on a smaller but no less important scale, verbal callousness where ever we go.
    For the record, you have never once told me what I was knitting was stupid, ugly, simple, etc. even though I’m sure sometimes it was true. You’re taking time out of your day to entertain us with your personal life. The only thing we should be is grateful.
    And I love it when you’re knitting something I would never try (for whatever reason be it skill, personal taste, or otherwise). When I’m slogging through socks that never end, oh look, there are some finished ones to inspire me. When I’m wondering what I should try next, there’s a cool sweater I’ve never heard of before and might want to look into.
    Thanks, Stephanie, for everything.

  295. By the way, I like the socks!
    And I do agree that the internet has made people feel that they can “say” just about anything they want to and get away with it.
    What makes this world interesting is that we are all different.While we don’t have the same tastes (and wouldn’t it be boring if we did!!), we should have the manners and be mature enough to keep our mouths shut! Like my mamma always said. “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all!” I think it’s a southern thing – I am almost 60 years old and I still tell my daughter that!

  296. Holy crap, someone actually said your socks were ugly? I honestly do not get why someone would post a comment like that. I think I have a similar attitude to the socks as you – wouldn’t wear them, but I can certainly appreciate the amazing knitting and design. Actually, would anyone wear them, even your friend? They’re the sort of thing you’d want to keep in mint condition because of all the work that’s gone into them!

  297. So, Stephanie, I am wondering how far a walk it is to Lettuce Knit from your house, cuz it doesn’t look like any cars are on the road! I am impressed that you would get out on a night like that. Course, our town takes a snow day if they ever forecast snow. We get maybe 1/2 inch every 6 ot 7 years.

  298. Okay, we must acknowledge that anyone who feels they can be that critical either has a very unhappy life and needs to bring others down with them or they have psychological problems. They are more then welcome to start their own blogs and put their heart on their sleeve for others to comment on. Bet they can’t! Great job on the socks!!!! And as for scotch—it is always noon somewhere in the world. Cheers!

  299. My hypothesis is that people feel that they can get away with being jack*sses on the internet because they don’t have to look you in the eye when they do it.
    And because they CAN … they do, because when else can they get away with being jack*asses? I think it’s a power trip of the most petty, meaningless sort.

  300. Some of the comments today have referred to yesterday’s “ugly” commenters as “assholes”, or “people who suck”. I believe this sort of backlash is contrary to the message that Stephanie tried to convey today about civil debate and discussion.
    I applaud today’s comments which refer to “rudeness”, without falling back on the same sort of crassness which prompted Stephanie to post her thoughts today.

  301. Surely you’ve read Dooce at some point? She occasionally posts excerpts from e-mails that she receives from total strangers. The heaps of criticism that she receives on a regular basis from total strangers is mindboggling. It runs the gamut of people complaining about her hair, her color scheme in the kitchen, that she talks too much about her boobs, that she doesn’t talk about her boobs enough, etc. Laurie at Crazy Aunt Purl – who should be applauded for her frankness and willingness to discuss her shortcomings – also receives similar “fan mail.”
    Some people never developed the filter between their brains and mouths (or fingers). A lot of those folks seem to be on teh Internets.

  302. I’ve actually had people be that rude in person with the rationale that they are “helping” me. I have found the best antidote to this “help” is to thank the person very cordially for helping me to realize that I’m very satisfied with the choice I had made now that I have her opinion. Rude people rarely can handle such a response.
    I love grapes and grape-embellished anything, but like you, I am not big into embellishment on my person. However, if I had the time and skill to knit those socks, I’d do it just to have them. Looking forward to seeing their FO debut.

  303. I have a theory that the Internet gives us the same sort of feeling of safety and anonymity that driving in a car can give us. Most of us would never flip someone off, yell rude names at them, or any manner of other things that we do all the time when separated by two walls of sheet metal and 20 feet of road space. Somehow, that separation, whether real or cyber, dehumanizes the other person, and we get all centered on ourselves and what we think and feel, forgetting that there’s a real human being there with feelings and desires very similar to ours. That’s my idea about all that, anyhow.

  304. this is why I think that a semester of aesthetics should be required for everyone who goes to school- when I took it, we spent an entire january term (3 weeks of 4 or 5 hour classes mon-fri) trying to define things like beauty, aesthetics, etc, and also whether there were such things as universal standards of beauty (and thus, the opposite)
    one of the things we did early on was bring in two objects; one that we thought was a good example of beauty, and one that we thought was ugly. we lined them all up for discussion. someone had brought in a kongetinn goblet (carved pewter and glass), and someone else had brought in a model PT Cruiser- both for the beauty.
    up until that point, I would have, if asked, described the PT Cruiser as ‘ugly.’ now, about the only thing I can use ‘ugly’ as a descriptor for is behavior.
    it’s like when we were trying to define Art. once we started talking about gilded toilets we gave up and decided that whatever it was, if someone, somewhere, decided it was art, fine, it was Art. there wasn’t Art/Non-art, just good Art and bad Art. (we’d already decided that ‘good’ and ‘bad’ were only valid for individuals and were to be ignored unless you were the one who’d said/written it…)

  305. I think it all comes back to the fact that some people were never taught say something nice or do not say nothing at all. I would never leave a comment on a blog unless it was positive and honestly don’t know how I would handle a negative comment, as my blog has a total of about 10 comments.
    Though someone did leave me an anonymous comment that my sockapalooza socks were on their way. Have I recieved them yet? No, of course not. Which makes me sad (and who would do that?), but I am still knitting socks. I just don’t know about swaps any more.
    Well, anyway some people are just rude and mean. Don’t let them spoil your fun.

  306. Oh my god–this is why I hardly ever comment. I am now CONSUMED with guilt over whether my last comment was taken as a criticism of the socks (which I must admit to admiring way beyond sense, but know my limitations well enough to not launch into knitting them).
    I take it all back. Whatever it was.

  307. I have admired your progress on these socks and think of them as more a piece of art. You know how much we all admire your hard work and willingness to attempt such a challenge. Disregard ignorant comments from mean people.

  308. I won’t tackle your big question cause I don’t have an answer. But I do want to know if we are going to see a picture of the finished (controversial) socks?

  309. Ok, I am responding without reading the 265 other comments…so if I repeat what anyone else has said, I am sorry.
    I think that a lot of it is that there is a feeling of freedom in blogs. One can say things that they would never say to a persons face, because they can’t see their faces!
    I don’t agree with this, and I am certainly not defending those who do it, but I think that’s the reason. In a virtual living room, it is just that, virtual. You’re not seeing a real person and therefore can spout off and say what you want. Sad but true.
    On a side note, I like the socks. I’d never wear them, but I think they are fantastic!!!

  310. i am not wading through 300+ comments, im just going to say that i am married to someone without an internal filter. everything that crosses his mind comes out his mouth. suffice it to say, i ignore him 95% of the time. the other five percent, he pisses me off greatly.

  311. I haven’t read all the comments today, nor did I go back and read comments left yesterday (but I’m tempted to search for “ugly”). Right now I have tea at hand also, so – some of the more bald comments might not be so much rude as a little more like an empathetic friend saying she never really liked that boyfriend anyway, after one has given him the heave-ho. You have written a couple negative posts lately – in the spirit of learn from my madness, I think – some might feel this to be an invitation to speak openly and without moderation. The socks are a work of art but even as I read about you attaching the top leaves and the i-cord stem and the embroidery, I was wondering if there was a way to integrate the leaf knitting into the leg knitting. But then how would I block the leaves before sewing them down? The world will NEVER know.

  312. Just because we have an opinion, and have the ability to express it, doesn’t mean we should. Whether this person meant to be insulting or not, it came out as one, and became the one comment that stuck in your head. I’m sorry for that. I wish people would make sure that they are writing with “Right Intent” before they press the post button.
    I am in shock reading a couple of comments here about in-person incidents that go beyond all common decency, like the one about the yarn shopkeeper who told the knitter she didn’t like her shawl, and the photographer who told the mother that her daughter was ugly. For crying out loud! They don’t have the excuse of anonymity, either.

  313. Wow you get a lot of comments. I can’t read ’em all but I wanted to put in my two cents (though you’ve probably heard them).
    We (another blogger and I) have been waiting for the living room lecture. I’m glad it is here.
    I think people say rude things on the internet because they feel like they are anonymous. To them, it isn’t like being in your living room. To you and I, it is. It’s like driving. Seriously… the nicest humans in the world get behind the wheel of a car and feel anonymous and become jackasses. I think every car should have a gigantic “Hi my name is” sticker on the rear window so people would be a bit more accountable.
    If you go to other parts of the net – rude behaviour is RAMPANT (the comments on the page with your hamster game is an example). I’ve been in forums and comment sections on sites about video games, learning HTML, youtube and a dozen other places and folks are unbelievable.
    Thank you for calling the nasties out without lowering yourself to their level. You’ve got class lady.

  314. It was the same working customer support for computers, or worse… when I worked for UPS answering their 1-800 line. They would cuss, and threaten to sue you, your boss, your parents, anyone who’s ever met you (cause it’s your personal fault their package is lost).
    Perhaps knowing that you’ll never actually have to look that person in the eye and be accountable for your behavior gives a person some unconscious ‘permission’ to step over the line.
    There is also a new, less courteous world evolving today that exists online. Via email or chat, folks seem more willing to flame, bash, or otherwise behave less than their mother expected. Maybe it’s because it’s so easy to type a response and hit send before thinking…

  315. I remember in the early years of the knitlist there were several posts from two individuals that really struck me as being lacking of common courtsey.
    One poster went up to Melissa leapman and said to her “When are you going to stop designing the crap you are doing and go back to what you use to do.” The poster seemed to take great pride in discussing how Ms. Leapman’s face had the deer in the headlights look. I thought good god where were you brought up? and furthermore is this the way you were brought up?
    The second poster reaccounted how she met Kaffe Fassett and said “look what I am doing, it is better than your stuff, and quicker.” After I sat there for a few moment I wrote before I wrote the poster. I explained that coming up to anyone saying I’m doing something better or quicker, or whatever is rude. I also explained that the person was doing a book tour, and that he was probably tired and really didn’t want to hear that.
    They are both names in the knitting/quilting world. I think people are really jealous.
    Lastly there are people in the world who seem to like to get their digs in. They tell you they mean no harm, but are telling you for your own good. Like hell. They need a sense of power, vindictiveness and are generally blaming other for their own failure. They also view success as a really bad and that if they don’t have a gallizon hits, pretty socks, etc. then they’ll leave a nice, abeit jab in a blog, of course anynomously.
    Dissent, is good, let’s talk about why you don’t like the socks. But there is a difference between dissent and jealousy.

  316. Okay – I don’t know if you are going to get this far in the comments, but I don’t think rudeness is okay – but here is my take on it:
    I am not rude to people I hardly know, but if I am friendly with someone – I feel comfortable letting them know if I don’t agree with their choices. Example: I have jokingly told a friend that her couch is loud and garish and I am a little afraid to sit on it. So – now here is the leap – perhaps people feel comfortable with you because they read your friendly blog everyday and feel like “one of the family.” Perhaps they are just voicing their opinion as a friendly aside?
    Okay, maybe I am a little “green” – but maybe?

  317. I believe that civility is waning….and that good manners are the exception anymore. There is little regard for others’ feelings and a self-absorption that makes blurting out the first thing that comes to mind okay.

  318. I think it can be several things. Often it’s just the anonymous feeling of the Internet that others have cited. You seldom have to worry about coming face to face with the person and the repercussions. Plus there’s no body language with a text response. It’s easy to misinterpret intent. Forget a smiley and the whole thing can be misinterpreted. Second, I feel some people see rudeness as entertainment on the Internet and just don’t think about the person on the receiving end. There are plenty of web sites that promote this kind of response. Then there are people with problems that go way past plain rude comments. These are the people you might not invite in your living room but they come in anyway.

  319. I actually have known a couple of people who would walk into your home and say your couch is ugly, or say something snotty about your hair. (I have lived longer than you, I’ve known all kinds!) The one I am mainly thinking of seems to have no feeling for what people think of her or the things she says. It’s like she landed from another planet and doesn’t know our ways. On the plus side, you could insult her 6 ways from Tuesday and she wouldn’t get it. However, she is now a *former* friend, as it all got too tiresome.

  320. Those socks with the leaves are beautiful! You are extremely talented (as we all know). Whoever is getting those socks is very, very lucky.

  321. I got about 1/3 through todays comments before my “time’s awasting” meter went off. Here’s my 2 cents worth:
    1. If those socks were given to me I would wear them. And wear them. Until my long pink toes and my skinny white heels were making public appearances. Then, I would display them. Why? Because someone spent Hours (or if they were a knitter of Average Speed…Weeks) making them for me. I would wear them with skirts. I would pull up my pantlegs to show them to all my friends. They are awesome. I wouldn’t knit them because turning a heel successfully is cause for Happy Dancing.
    2. People are people. Some nice. Some not so much. There you have it. Choose the ones you want to be around and let the others spend their time with their miserable selves.
    Steph, you’re…unbelievable. Thanks.

  322. There are over 300 comments. I’m not reading them all. If I say something remotely new, bully for me. If not, I’m chiming in.
    People do it here because there’s a big buffer in not looking someone in the eye. Despite your living room analogy, nobody has to say straight to your face, “Ugly socks.”
    I think people also feel freer to express their opinions because they think it matters. They think you’re sharing because you desire feedback. And if they give their honest feedback… well, they’re part of your process.
    note: the contents of this comment do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the commenteer. Just spouting.

  323. Ooh, great question! I haven’t read the comments yet, but I just have to say, I’ve been wondering the same thing! Why do people leave nasty comments on other people’s blogs? What is going through their minds when they hit that little “Post” button?
    … Now I’m going to go read all the comments on this post!

  324. I find it odd, too, in the sense that I wouldn’t say anything like that even to someone I disliked — but there’s something about the disinhibition of being anonymous on-line that seems to open some people’s mouths and allow garbage to come out. I’ve seen it happen on other blogs, but interestingly, it never happens on the smaller, more intimate sites where everyone knows one another.
    What does the person hope will happen? I suspect not much, except that you will be affected in some way by his or her judgment. Perhaps the person thinks it will make you feel like less of a person, so he or she can feel like more of one? (That’s the usual motive for rudeness, in my experience. That and just plain ignorance of the social standards.) In other words, I think it’s a way of exerting power, albeit at a distance and over someone (that would be you) whom the commenter doesn’t know personally.
    As I think of it, perhaps it stems from the same motivation that makes all of us blog-readers hit the “Post a Comment” button: we want to be part of the conversation, and we want to be noticed. You know how there are always a few responders who are very excited to be the first to post? Not that I think that’s wrong in any way, but in a sense it’s the same instinct: to be important, to be seen, to make one’s self visible in an inherently invisible place.
    You know how, to a kid, any kind of attention is vastly preferable to none? So if the “ugly” poster can’t get positive attention, either by thinking of something very clever to say, or by getting his/her dibs in there first, maybe s/he will get noticed by virtue of being rude.
    Or maybe we’re over-thinking it. There are an awful lot of really obnoxious people out there, who say all kinds of silly-ass stuff under the guise of “just being honest” and “telling it like it is.”

  325. Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 – 1983)
    While I would never make or wear socks with leaves on them, I certainly appreciate the effort, the skill, and love it took to make them.

  326. Maybe the Nasty Nellies are hoping that you’ll post a series of photos in which you are madly frogging the vintage socks, with contrition written all over your face.
    (uh, don’t do that.)

  327. I’m on the knit for fun bandwagon. I enjoy knitting bags/purses, but I hate them! So not my cup of tea, but they are fun and rewarding to knit! In fact, one of them is currently hanging at the local library in the “With Womens’ Hands” Show. The lady putting the show on said, “is it for sale? How much?” Immediately I though, “PERFECT!!! Now how much is someone willing to pay to get this thing out of my sight?” But I would be slightly offended if someone commented (or walked up to me) and said “That is one ugly bag.” No matter how much I hate it, considering how much work went into it, I really just don’t want to hear about it!
    On a positive note, I love the new socks! You don’t do pink and I don’t do orange, but those are LOVELY! Beautiful work. Fantastic job on the vintage socks, too!

  328. Perhaps this is cynical, but I believe there is no hope of outcome involved at all. That scenario would imply forethought. Imagine the commenters as all ID with ADD: “Those socks are ugly. Why would you knit them? Oh, look a pop-up for finding my old classmates. There’s my neighbor; I will go share with her every thought that runs through my head.”
    In other words, while you treat the blog world as you would your living room, they treat the rest of the world as they would a blog: brain dump.

  329. People just write those comments because they either feel bad themselves about their own creations, or they have nothing better to do than make people feel as lousy as they do. I just try and ignore them, as us knitters know our own worth in the creations we make, and if someone doesnt like it they should just keep their mouth shut. I hope you have a lovely WARM day, although I couldnt imagine how cold it would be in all that snow.

  330. That is a really interesting question… I don’t think people are really looking to get anything out of it.. because I think when people say something like that they just aren’t thinking… I think it stems from two things..
    1) the anonimity and false empowerment of the internet… it’s kind of like driving your car.. you might not think twice about giving someone the finger, or even singing at the top of your lungs, even though you’d never do this walking down the street. In your car, you’re not as vulnerable, you’re almost invisible. The internet is the same thing.. you’re alone, people don’t know where you live, who you are…
    2)More and more society seems to have a sense of entitlement… I could get into what I mean about that more broadly, but I’ll stick to the subject at hand. What I means is.. as wonderful as democracy is… it can also makes us feel like everyone is entitled to our opinion… no matter if it’s unhelpful, negative or just down right rude and when coupled with “invisible man syndrome” it can be a recipe for rudeness
    Now I, for one, would never wear or knit those socks… but I can appreciate their beauty and the skill that went into designing and knitting them. They are… fascinating… and you should be proud for knitting them.
    And we all need to remember that age old adage.. if you don’t have anythign nice to say don’t say anythign at all!

  331. I, like you seldom wear anything “embellished” but from day one, I have swooned over those socks purely as a work of art. The blood, sweat and tears that went into them were certainly worth it. You are an artist, and there are always people who will feel intimidated by art in some way.

  332. Without reading all the comments, I don’t know if anyone has mentioned the thankfully-defunct site “You Knit What?”. This was the epitome of assuming that anyone who had different taste in knits was a moron. I prefer to celebrate our differences, and can’t we all just get along?
    Thanks for this post. The attititude you espouse can certainly be applied to the bigger picture of everyday life and all the choices in it.

  333. I have often wondered the same thing about people when they present themselves as friends and then make surprisingly rude or negative comments – what is their purpose? what answer are they looking for? what are they trying to accomplish?
    I’ve been tempted a couple of times recently (right here in your living room) to react pretty strongly to something another commenter has said, but then I hesitate because maybe THAT would be inappropriate and overstepping, since, after all, it is not MY living room, right?
    So, I’m glad you’ve brought this up in such an articulate and open way. Now I’ll go back and read all the comments, hoping to find a respectful and enlightening discussion πŸ™‚
    If you were here, I’d hug you. If I was there, I’d say, “So, where might a person from out of town score a bottle of Screech?”

  334. I’d tend to agree – it’s not a constructive criticism. It doesn’t inspire discussion. What’s to be gained from saying, “Wow. That right there is the epitome of ugly” (or similar). I think alot has been said before about how the anonymity of the internet can bring out the mean or callous. And as you ask, I don’t know what they’re expecting will happen. My mom used to say my aunt “talked to hear the sound of her own voice.” Maybe it carries over to the internet too.

  335. I think there is no thought about what could come if it. Long ago I realized that there are stupid rude people out there who say and do things for no reason other than to make themselves feel better (which, I might add, rarely happens, since then they’d stop saying and doing stupid rude things, but they sure do try).
    The internet also seems to magnify the stupidity of some people. Just like some people believe everything that they read on the internet, some people haven’t grasped that there is another real live person on the other side of the comment they just posted/email they just sent.
    I know that you don’t need my approval, but I wanted to add that I really like you and your blog, and your books, and my knitting is frequently encouraged and motivated by your knitting (even though some of it I would never ever wear, just as probably most of my knitting you would never wear)! πŸ™‚

  336. Didn’t you just win blog awards? Maybe these people are the ones you beat and they are suffering from sour grapes?

  337. They were dumped into daycare as infants and no one learns good manners in day care. Children do however, learn to be rude, unkind, disrespectful, gross and to stand in lines for everything in day care and hate being abandoned. They think they then have the right to be coarse as they’ve had to defend themselves and their space since birth. They lack and need loving parents. I see this all the time in public schools – it’s a means to get attention. Sad, eh?

  338. What do they hope to accomplish? Well, my theory is that they watch too much TV/movies/video games, therein internalizing the (inhumane and uncivilized) characteristics presented to the audience as somehow socially acceptable.

  339. You know, I grew up with a friend of the family who would, indeed, walk into someone’s house and tell them their stuff was ugly, just because she didn’t like it personally. And, she has told me she thought something I was wearing was ugly. Which is why I am not at all troubled by the fact that we no longer bother to speak to each other! I hope you have the same luck with negative commenters!

  340. Thank you so much for being brave enough to put this idea out there.
    It constantly amazes me what people are willing to write and post online AND would never utter to another human being.
    I enjoy your explorations of color, texture, design and your courage to (as my sister would say) keep pushing your bean. (I know what it means I have no idea from where it was derived)
    I totally enjoy this thing called Yarn Harlot.

  341. This is an interesting observation, and I’m totally with you on the likelihood of me telling someone (either in person or in a comment on their blog) that something they’ve knit/are wearing/like is totally ugly. However, I have at least one friend (from a different culture – maybe that has something to do with it?) who walked into my home, took one look at a wall I’d just painted a color of blue that I adored, and said, “Wow. I really hate that color. I’d never paint a wall that color.” The only thing that redeemed it for me (a little tiny bit) was knowing that if I chose to walk into her house and say something like that (which I wouldn’t) she wouldn’t be offended, so there was no hypocrisy in it. On the other hand, the fact that my MIL comments every time she walks into my house how much she hates that wall and that color and that she wouldn’t in a million years have that color in her house, is a bit hard to swallow. I have also had people walk straight up to me and comment on my parenting (long story short, couldn’t breastfeed for medical reasons, and I can’t tell you how many comments I got about being a bad parent because I had a bottle in hand; it never occurred to anyone that I might want to and not be able to). As to the question of what people think they’re going to achieve with comments like that, over the years I’ve come to the conclusion that they’re justifying their own decisions to themselves. It’s the only thing I can think of.

  342. Regardless of who likes or dislikes the socks, WOW! I haven’t been knitting for that long, but one, for someone to complete a complicated project in such a short amount of time, with everything else that goes on in life “YEAH FOR YOU!”. They look really cool! I hope I will be able to do such things one day!.
    TWO, another “YEAH FOR YOU” for speaking your mind. I mean really, You share as much or as little of your life as you write each day to the entire world. Those of us who read it (or any one else’s blog for that matter) should feel privileged to be invited into that persons virtual home.
    and finally, I mean really who of us hasn’t had that really annoying friend/ family memeber that just couldn’t keep their mouth shut? Gotta love ’em anyway!

  343. I have to agree with Sabine. People think they are anonymous (even though you know who it came from) on the web. It’s just like gossip. Someone will make a nasty remark about you to someone else but won’t make it to your face. As my Mother always said, “Consider the source”, meaning of course that the person making the statement was just too lowdown to even think about. (This was very hard for me to apply when I was very young.) I loved YOU making the socks and the whole procedure was just hilarious. Your blog entertains me every day. I, personally, wouldn’t have a use for the Vintage socks but that doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate the skill and tenacity it took to complete them. I was just fascinated! Everyone is entitled to an opinion — just not entitled to voice it to my face.

  344. ok, quickly I apologize for counting in that comment, I sounded quiet odd!
    – – feel free to visit

  345. I’m wondering if they were just at a loss for words? Or don’t understand that writing, unlike speaking, carries *no* inflection. It’s hard to convey in writing how we speak. Most people don’t write the way they speak (thank goodness!), and there is a kind of formal-ness that comes with writing. But I’m old enough to remember letters (actual, pen & paper, with a stamp letters), and I took Creative Writing in HS. I know (most of the time) how to behave in another person’s house (or blog). Some people just don’t.
    Just like some people would never, ever throw their trash on their living room floor, but have no problem whatsoever chucking it out the car window.
    There’s a series of PSA’s here that talk to kids about internet etiquette – basically, they say if you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t say it on the internet. I think that’s a pretty good rule of thumb. Now, if we all just had thumbs!

  346. I went back through yesterday’s comments. Maybe some folks think they are being clever, or that snarky is fun. And, maybe it can be among person-to-person friends. But really, most of us are not your personal girl/boy friends. We are commenters and admirers of your knitting, your writing, and well, your lifestyle. If lucky, we may have met once or twice. The leap to negative public comment is a pretty big one, and inappropriate IMHO, but (hopefully) not meant to be hurtful. Still, it does seem a gentle reminder is in order every so often.

  347. TOTALLY off topic, but you’ve made my day. Before I knew there was such a thing as designated sock yarn, I bought a skein of yarn and made socks out of them…and promptly threw away the label. Turns out that it was designated sock yarn, but I’ve never been able to figure out what it was.
    Your languishing socks are IT! Looking at your feet is like looking at my feet! And, now that I’m knitting up a different pair with Mega Boots Stretch, it makes perfect sense!
    The world makes sense again….

  348. I was born into a family in which rude and coarse comments seem to be taken as a source of pride, and married into a family in which fishing for compliments seems to be a sport. In either case, the family members are essentially demanding that I agree with them, at all times, on all subjects. Knowing that my opinion isn’t what any of them really want to hear, I opt to keep my mouth shut and just keep knitting. It’s the only way I know to keep the peace.

  349. I find it interesting – and I mean that sincerely, not sarcastically – that people are so quick to ridicule and fling epithets at someone they know nothing about. Talk about being hypocritical.
    What happened to giving people the benefit of the doubt? Some people just speak before they think, and – given his post above – that seems to be the most likely scenario.
    I’m not saying Dan was right in saying Stephanie’s socks were ugly, but are we really that right in calling him an asshole, etc? Two wrongs don’t make a right.

  350. Aaaaaoooouuuuu! I Must have those socks, and the linked website doesn’t show that colorway.
    Steph, I’ll never have the skill or the patience to do the Vintage socks, but I could probably manage the Mango Surprise socks you show on this entry. But the yarn’s not available!
    Sorry, but the issue of rude people dissing your work on your own blog pales in comparison to the idea that *I can’t have those socks!*
    Let me gather my composure… There, that’s better. The people who diss you in your virtual living room have not absorbed the notion of campassion. They need what I call “Golden Rule Training.” They need to be taken in hand, and asked to think deeply on how they would feel, if they were to receive the same treatment.
    Beautiful pictures of the snow, by the way. Spring will come soon.

  351. My best, well-rehearsed comment is this:
    I respect the skill to make “insert the thing I’m looking at that I will never EVER knit” , but it’s not for me. I react in similar concern when people wonder why on earth I’d knit a *dishcloth*?
    I may be appalled at some of the things people knit, but it doesn’t hurt me for them to knit it, and it doesn’t help me to tell them of my horror.
    laisΒ·sez faire knitting, that’s my thing.

  352. “People don’t usually act without motive”
    But sometimes, people do – we usually call it “thoughtless behavior”, because it’s truly without thought. Open mouth, words come out, insert foot, internal cringe. And sometimes, being called out on it makes people defensive and they lash out even worse. I agree that there is a decline in basic civility these days, but I don’t think it’s that much worse than any other time. Jane Austen wrote about impossibly rude people, too. (I tend to blame cell phones over the internet, but that’s just my personal pet peeve.)
    As to the motive: I know I’ve seen garments on blogs here and there that have been gushed over and praised to the skies – and I was stunned because I thought that whatever-it-was was the ugliest thing I’d ever seen, ill-fitting, horrific yarn choice, and just a bad idea all around. And the urge to SAY that is at times, overwhelming, because in my mind, there’s a little voice screaming “what is WRONG with you people?!” And yeah – alongside that little voice is a little fantasy that someone, somewhere will chime in and say “dude, you are so right. blech” and thus, I achieve validation, and there’s someone on my island of ugh with me. I am no longer one voice of sanity against a tide of crazy.
    And that’s where e-mail comes in handy. I can shoot off an e-mail to one of my friends, and we can discuss the pattern in private – I satisfy my selfish need to go OMG NO GAH MY EYES, and yet the pattern designer or knitter is none the wiser.

  353. First: you don’t scare me. I fully intend to make the pinot. My co-workers insist that I wear them to the wine show when finished.
    Second: methinks you protest too much. Beautiful(17), exquisite(2), unbeleafable, incredibly beautiful, most beautiful(2), adorable, they’re art, amazing(2), gorgeous(13), lovely(2), magic, awesome, then I quit counting the accolades.
    Third: It’s a little known fact that the meanness of an online attack is inversely proportional to the size of the poster’s member. Because it’s another little known fact that most mean-spirited posters are men.

  354. The person with the unfiltered fingers is the same person who sits stopped at the green light, then turns around to flip you off if you toot.
    The person with the unfiltered fingers is the person with eleventy million yogurts (or cat foods) in the 15 or less line, thinking she can get away with it because a) she doesn’t have over 15 DIFFERENT items and b) everyone elses Mother slapped them into next week for mouthing off at strangers.
    And finally, the person with the unfiltered fingers obviously doesn’t know how to behave in public because they’ve couched themselves in front of a computer all day thinking mean thoughts about others (see Nancy right before me).
    I only know the symptoms of anti-social behavior, I don’t know the cure. It’s probably too late for someones Mother to slap some sense into her, but you see more and more of this and it disheartens me. It makes me feel bad for the hostess of this and other blogs that share mostly nice and humorous stuff.

  355. I don’t think the Vintage socks are for me either. Do you know what would be a really awesome conversion? Vintage wine cozy. Now that is a project I could make and not worry about rejection. Aren’t wine cozies allowed to be a bit more playful?
    I’d like to agree with Sarah: blogs aren’t really like living rooms. I like the comfort and community that they can sometimes give you, but they are a public forum. I think the fact that we access them from our living rooms gives us all a sense of safety, writers and commenters alike. But we are actually putting up notices on a public bulletin board. I try to remember that every time I post.
    This is a huge problem at the place that I work. A lot of my coworkers have blogs. We also have customers. Sometimes people feel safe in their blog, and so will vent about the bad day they were having because one of their customers was difficult to deal with, and that company finds out. It not only looks bad for that person – it looks worse for my company. But the problem began because my coworkers were acting as if their blog was their living room.
    (This isn’t a problem for you because you’re a very positive person. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed you being negative toward a person in your writings – weather doesn’t count as a person. πŸ˜‰ It’s one of the reasons I like your blog so much.)
    I’ve always thought that blogs were much closer to having a column in a newspaper, or a nightly talk show on the radio. You’re putting yourself out there and connecting with people, but this is also a published work. It doesn’t matter that you published it yourself. And lots of people send letters in to NPR telling them how much they suck. They pay cash money for the stamps to send this information, when all they really had to do was change the dial. I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t be more constructive, but they are often just mean. They don’t have an argument, they just have an opinion, and they want it to be heard.
    Even when I’m just walking around, while I don’t notice a lot of people coming up to someone and telling them how ugly their shirt is, I hear a lot of people loudly tell their friends about the “ugly” poncho that someone “must have gotten out of the Goodwill reject pile”. Not even exaggerating. I even heard a teenaged girl loudly telling her friend (and everyone else on the city bus) how she hopes Santa would bring her a car, and she thought Santa wore red, not orange. The man sitting next to me was a utility worker in a hunter-orange uniform, and he had a rather large, white beard. The gentleman deflected it with aplomb, but I know she was actively trying to be hurtful. Some people really do feel better by belittling others.

  356. THANK YOU!!! Why is it when people chat on the internet that they forget their manners. Is it the cloak of anonymity that leads them to believe that the typed words are not rude because they are typed and not spoken. So many people seem to have forgotten the golden rule “If you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all.” They also seem to forget that no actually asked their opinion and no, they are no free to give unsolicited comments. – martha

  357. Honestly? I love the socks, but I can also see how others might not. I agree that telling someone that an item they have worked so lovingly and hard on is “ugly” is a bit harsh, but the original comment didn’t seem horrible to the extent he has been attacked since. He has also apologized and *I* was raised to accept an apology and move on (granted the apology here was not directed at me!).
    I try to be careful when offering opinions on line because tone is so difficult to get across in a post or comment or email, that said I also try to give the person I think is being offensive the benefit of the doubt because life is too short to hold a grudge.
    I love the socks, am not certain I have the fortitude to make them myself and wish you a speedy end to Winter!

  358. I don’t buy the living room analogy.
    Living rooms are not public. Living rooms do not have open comments. If something is trully personal keep it private, or atleast disable the comments.
    I went to art school and one of the hardest lessons learned was how to take criticism. But it was important to learn to see my work from an outside perspective, and to be able to let comments roll right off my back if they are in any way rude.
    I don’t think the commentor was really meaning to be rude. He did say that the socks were “beautifully rendered.” Clearly he respects Stephanie’s skills. He did not say that Stephanie has bad taste or that he hates the blog. He was just offering his differing opinion. Everyone should cut him slack.

  359. In my defense (if I’m the one you’re talking about) I did NOT say that the socks were “ugly.” I merely mused on what context the socks might be worn in, and then said that I wouldn’t wear them. I then went on to say that the socks were plainly a work of art, and that as such I’d have to frame them. Seriously, they would end up in a shadow box on my wall, which is really a compliment when you think about it, yes?
    Having said that, I still admit to a lot of curiosity about where, when and with what these socks will be worn? How often will they be worn? Because, as I said yesterday, I wouldn’t want to take the risk of damaging them through actually wearing them.
    ’nuff said. I’m not even going to go back and look to see who said your socks were “ugly,” because you’re right, that’s just flat out rude.

  360. Yarn Harlot,
    I never knew there was such a thing as blog drama until I started reading the comments to yours. Drama drama! Good luck with it all. Personally, I love all your knitting endeavors…and you sharing the process with us and in such a charming way. Thank you!

  361. I agree with some of the other commenters who quoted the line from Bambi: If you can’t say somethin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all. I think that manners, in general, have really gone down the tube lately. I think some people have lost the art of being tactful (ie. not saying everything that comes into your mind).

  362. “Third: It’s a little known fact that the meanness of an online attack is inversely proportional to the size of the poster’s member. Because it’s another little known fact that most mean-spirited posters are men.”
    @Susan: Wow. That’s just ignorant, untrue, offensive and hurtful.

  363. I don’t think that the person(s) who left that horrible comment meant to create discussion or gave much of a thought at all. There are (stoopid) folks all around that, for some unknown-to-me reason, feel compelled to be negative, put-down, and just basically be a hater. These (stoopid) folks see all the responses that you get and there’s a *pink* noise in their (stoopid) head, and the next thing you know, they’ve left a (stoopid – did I mention this) comment or loudly mutter something horrible under their breath.
    No reason, no logic, no sense. All you can do is shake your head, move on, and hope that they have someone that can still love them, despite all that flaw.

  364. I like to think the answer is that people, especially with the luxury of anonymity, are thoughtless. It’s a nicer reason than that they are stupid and much easier on the soul than the idea that they meant to be hurtful
    I have a version of this to share myself. Recently, a blogger I used to enjoy reading was complaining bitterly about a teenager on a subway who complimented her hand-knit hat and then went on to tell told her that her grandfather used a loom to make hats like that. She was insulted that someone would compare her carefully crafted hat to something knitting on a – horror of horrors – loom. Worse than her own remarks were the comments – anonymous and not – which said things like (and I paraphrase here) “Saying your knitting looks like it was done on a loom is the only thing more insulting than calling it crochet.”
    Wait, what?
    Though according to that person, both of those things would be worse than calling it “ugly.” If that’s true, then in that vein, let me say that your socks are lovely and look neither loomed nor crocheted.

  365. Perhaps, they felt that they know you enough to know that it would not be something that you would wear and it was meant as a bit a “wow, those are ugly socks, you wouldn’t be caught dead in them, would you?” “Let’s all have a laugh” type of thing? And perhaps even more, they felt that “we know how much work you put into them and yet we know that you personally would never wear them”. Or maybe they are jealous that no one would put that much effort into socks for them that the person making them would never wear themselves? I, personally, would kiss the ground that the person walked on if they made me those socks. I am madly in love with them and perhaps those socks and I can have a rendezvous if they ever come down to sunny Fort Lauderdale, Florida for vacation? They can stay at my place. All expenses paid.

  366. The rude people are merely jealous of you and your skills as The Harlot. I know people who can make them go away. Very far away. (I know people in China)

  367. I haven’t been reading the comments regularly, so I don’t know if there was more than one rude person.
    I did like the socks and ordered a kit for myself.
    A lot of other people also ordered kits, so I am on a very long waiting list while the yarn is being dyed. The rude person is clearly in the minority and risks incurring bad sock karma.

  368. I’m responding to your edited query (everyone else has superbly covered how I felt about the first posting). You are generous enough to share a lot of yourself and your life with us and we appreciate that. We commiserate, cheer your valiant and noble (and sometimes fiddly efforts!) and thoroughly enjoy you. So much so, I think some folks feel like you’re a sister or good friend, which is where lines get crossed – as they do in family and friendships from time to time. I’m betting the comment wasn’t meant to be hurtful. After all, you made it clear from the beginning the socks are to be a gift and if the recipient is going to love, cherish and call them George, then they’re worth doing.
    Oh, and one of the joys of reading your blog is your adventures into knitting projects I just gape at! I can’t imagine a reader wanting to direct your efforts or change that. Sheer silliness, that is. BTW, LOVE the snow photos. Here is Texas where I live it’s 67 degrees and there isn’t a cloud in the sunny, blue sky out there.

  369. First, I need readers of what follows to know that this is what I said yesterday about the socks: “They sure are beautiful. Fiddly things often are. And knitting these beats knitting a mile of garter 4″ wide, mustard yellow and acrylic!” Just in case someone reads this and is tempted to think I said they were ugly. I didn’t, and wouldn’t. Even though I wouldn’t wear them, I totally see the need to knit them.
    Second, this isn’t your living room and we aren’t your guests. Maybe once upon a time that was true about blogs on the internet but it isn’t anymore unless your blog is private, and read by invitation only.
    Perhaps a more accurate analogy is that you are on a corner in Times Square showing people photos of your life and knitting while you talk about it. You’ve gathered quite a crowd, lots of knitters, and most of them are respectful and cheering you on. Some just aren’t either one.
    And some do not get process knitting at all! Poor souls.

  370. i can’t believe someone would say your socks were ugly. i was amazed that someone actually knitted them – that’s intermediate work to me! it’s a shame when someone has to make an ugly comment to someone who worked really hard on the project, which posed so many challenges (as you so wonderfully described in your blog).
    to those who don’t appreciate knitted work – well, they just don’t get anything knitted from me. i only knit for people who appreciate my work.

  371. Honestly, it’s a question I’ve asked myself many, many times and I’m not sure there’s a good answer for it. Until recently I worked for a media company with message boards, and have read my share of brutally honest, often rude and sometimes downright vicious diatribes/attacks (not saying anyone did any of the above here) towards other individuals. Quite often the people posting on these boards were moms (these were parenting forums) and I could never shake the disturbing visual of some woman typing such hateful words against another mother while her children played in the other room, or maybe even with a baby sleeping beside her or nursing at her breast… and I wonder what this same person would say if their kid spoke to another kid in such a manner? Would she say “Good going honey, you were just being honest”?
    But I’m digressing in a huge way… I understand completely what you’re saying. I think there’s a certain anonymity to the internet that gives people a sense of security to voice something that they wouldn’t ordinarily say to someone’s face. I think when posting/commenting on the web, people tend to forget that the person they’re talking to is a flesh-and-blood human being just like they are, and not just a faceless computer screen. :S
    As for me, my rule of thumb is to never post anything on the internet that I wouldn’t say in front of my mother-in-law. This most definitely keeps me in check. πŸ˜‰
    YAY for finished socks!!!

  372. Wow, someone actually called them “ugly”?
    I do admit the socks aren’t my cup of tea. They look a little bit too fiddly for me to enjoy making, and I can’t think of anything I own that would show them off properly. But to each their own. I’m quite sure that the OP owns and has made their share of “ugly” things in their lifetime…

  373. I don’t think “those socks are ugly” commenters were trying to accomplish anything, i.e. to influence you to knit something else (or blog something else), make you a better knitter, etc. I think they were merely sharing their opinion without stopping to think how it would sound to the sock knitter/designer/people who like the socks, or to people with manners. They were not thinking about anyone else when they said that or about the relative appropriateness of dissing someone’s virtual chesterfield in her virtual living room (I noticed you uncharacteristically said “couch” in your post — you must have been para-quoting would-be commenters :)). In their zeal to share, the rude commenters were thoughtless enough not to consider the possible effects of their words. I’m sure I’ve been guilty of this, though not in this particular way. Your post is a good reminder to interact virtually the same way we would “in real life” (though online often seems pretty real to me). For those who have trouble interacting appropriately in real life… well, that’s a whole other ball of yarn. Maybe some of the commenters fall into the category, maybe not. I’m glad you didn’t feel personally attacked, though. Good for you!

  374. Maybe they recognized the amount of skill, perseverance, ambition, fortitude, effort, and focus that the vintage socks require, and were trying to make themselves feel better and distance themselves from your socks, because they didn’t want to look for the same set of qualities in themselves?
    I read the sock posts and regardless of whether or not I’d wear the socks, that doesn’t diminish the fact that they are an accomplished undertaking and a tremendous learning experience. And since when do we knit only to be able to wear things? Sometimes the actual knitting is better than the wearing.

  375. In the last year I came to a realization that, although I have an opinion about pretty much everything, that doesn’t mean everyone wants to hear it. It sounds like common scence, but it has really lowered the level of stress in my life. If you do not give your whole, honest opinion, then you don’t usually have to defend it.
    I think that too many people have not followed this same path to its logical conclusion, they get to “why does that person think I care”, but not quite to the rest of the story. πŸ™‚
    They just spit out there thoughts without any thought.

  376. I find that there’s no accounting for people. There’s a guy I work with that won’t say “Hi” to me as I pass him in the halls, but will come back an hour later to my desk to discuss some mundane occurrence or something as if we’re standing by the water cooler. Some people are just wired differently. Thankfully, the percentage of these people is small, but every now and then, you run into them and you have to deal with them…I feel your perplexed-ed-ness….??

  377. In my HO, I think it’s about power and powerlessness. I have had a complete stranger walk by me and say I was a “dog” (yeah sure it was in high school, a mere 30 years ago but I still remember it like a sharp stinger stuck in my skin forever). Someone else told me I have a fat nose to my face (I don’t – also a high school moment). People say stuff that is appalling sometimes. Of course I never screw up like that (sure I don’t). But really I do think it’s about people feeling compelled to try to feel powerful by trying to disempower somebody else on turf that is completely irrelevant to the truth.
    I had an attack on my blog like that from a couple of people, only worse once. It really shook me up for a good while and because it is so socially unacceptable to speak like that to somebody, it is like a barb stuck in you. You know, like why. As I thought about it over time though, I realized they were very weak, felt protected by the cyber interface and would have never let out their attack in polite company. It took a while for me to recover from this notion (especially because they even found my unlisted number and called my home), that the anonymity gave them power to behave in a way that they never otherwise could and save face. I also think these people are sometimes simply not the brightest bulbs in the box.
    As an aside here, since I’ve never posted on your blog before, I just have to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. Your honesty and humility and humanness is so refreshing I can’t tell you how great it is for me to read it all. Thank you.

  378. One answer is here:
    …and I think it’s a valid one.
    But it’s also true that some people like to make remarks that are hurtful – and sometimes damaging – and that they justify themselves by claiming that ‘they’re being honest’ or ‘just tellin’ it like it is’.
    They don’t seem to understand that having an opinion doesn’t mean you have to broadcast it.

  379. Posters are thoughtless and disrespectful only because anonymity runs free on the internet. Lashing out into the darkness is a fruitless endeavour.

  380. Sigh. I agree with you about the living room part. I also agree the socks are lovely, and they’re not to *my* taste either. However, I find the leaves fascinating, and can see them around the brim of a little hat…. πŸ™‚

  381. I agree that there is no reason to offer such critique as “it is ugly.” Ever. (No wait: I might utter such a thing in my brain to myself, but never to a person. Or a blogger.)
    One thing I will say in genuine wonder, however, about the socks: How in the world did you have the patience to do all that work? ANd then also (yes, I know, it is 2 things), how did you manage to make something so complex turn out so nicely? Those are things I simply cannot wrap my brain around.

  382. About the rude people– I’m responding only because they asked.
    I suspect that they would, in fact, say that very same thing to a good friend. (My brothers and their friends, for instance, say things to each other that blister my eardrums.) Some people apparently find that a great way to communicate, which I don’t understand. (My friend Sarah’s mom bought me a book to learn to crochet a hat, which I wanted to do. So I showed her my first attempt. Sarah’s dad burst out “Wow, that’s a really ugly hat!”)
    And one of the fortunate or unfortunate consequences of a blogging life is that people often forget that they are not a MUTUAL friend. They are only an observer. (I had a moment of this when I ran into you at Book Expo, and suddenly realized that a stranger bursting out “Stephanie! It’s so good to see you! I didn’t know you would be here!” was likely to make you even more stressed. Sorry about that.)
    The fact that they would do it to a friend doesn’t make it ok that they did it to you, and it sure doesn’t make it ok to disparage that amount of work!
    I love the socks, myself.

  383. I agree with several commenters who think that many blog readers feel they have a relationship beyond reader and writer which entitles them to make comments that go beyond good manners and/or common sense. Simply reading this, or any other, blog does not make the blog writer a friend. A blog reader does not know the writer, and how the reader filters what is written is tempered by the reader’s experiences of how they would handle situations and choices – not by how the writer is handling those things because we, as readers, don’t know everything.
    I don’t understand the motivation for making hurtful comments. If someone does not have the willpower/training/good sense to ignore the circumstances creating a desire to make a hurtful comment perhaps they need some quiet introspection and/or some time on a therapist’s couch to understand their need to be hurtful and to learn to control that need. Apparently some readers would say “your couch is ugly” to a friend. If a “friend” said that to me, unsolicited, there would be a quick revision of our friendship.
    Bottom line: “Is it nice?” “Is it important?” “Is it necessary?” Asking these three questions should be required before clicking the Post button. If the comment doesn’t meet at least 2 of the 3 criteria maybe it shouldn’t be made.

  384. I guess what was getting me about watching your progress on the socks was how you got so frustrated with making them at times; you really had to persevere, ripping out, etc. At times this made me question your doing them – I think that may have prompted a “oh, give up, their ugly!” response, or made me question why you were persevering, but as you say (1) I would NEVER say that out loud or in a blog; (2) I totally respect your making them, regardless of how I feel about them and (3) I can appreciate, as a knitter, working on something and having trouble with it, and having someone else say (or think) ‘why are you doing that if it is making you crazy???’ but, as a knitter, I also understand that sometimes working on a project that sometimes makes me crazy is all part of the fun, of the process, of making something I love. So, maybe, someone may have had a “give up their ugly” response to you as a way of showing support (an odd way, but if you think about it, it might make sense); reading your blog makes me feel like I know you, and when I see you having trouble, I want to make it better. I want to send encouraging words and support you as a friend. I didn’t read the comments from that entry, and I will not defend rudeness, but as you question why someone would say that – maybe sort of as a weird backwards ‘give up’ sort of way of supporting you (i.e., it’s okay to stop if you’re not having fun?) I’m not expressing this well! Personally, I find the socks to be gorgeous, and I absolutely appreciate your wanting to make them, to try all the different techniques, colors, patterns, etc. I’m trying to think of someone I could make them for, even though I may decide to do them anyway just because they look like fun!

  385. I seem to remember this type of conversation happening about this time last year, maybe it was two years ago. People are stuck inside, with just the hum of their appliances, and with whomever else they may co-habitate. Social niceties start to go out the window, people start to regress.
    So instead of saying,
    “I think Kauni rainbow cardigans are beautiful, but not a color choice I would be comfortable wearing.”
    It comes out,
    “I wouldn’t wear that!”
    Personally, both of those statements are true for me, but it is MY comfort level in that amount of color. They are beautiful and the knitting I have seen on them is incredible. I admire greatly the amount of work that goes into them, even if the yarn helps along the way. I am a solids kind of person in my clothing choices. If I were to knit one of those sweaters, it would be in sand, peach, taupe, sage and maybe a blue. A lot of people would say how boring my color choices would be. ‘How much work to put into something that looks so bland?’ would be the criticism leveled at me.
    Thumper’s mom is right, but I think it is a lack of social contact that brings this conversation out seasonally. Not an excuse, more of a possible explaination. Of course, I would smack my kids upside the head for making a comment like that out loud.

  386. We drive a truck over the road and you can hear the same kind of thing on the CB radio all the time. It’s the anonymous nature of being somewhat removed from the audience that you are trying to affect, they don’t know you and you don’t know them so the brain disconnects and things flow from their mouths/fingers that might not in polite company. There also seems to be an epidemic of rampant stupidity going around that people that make those kinds of comments have been afflicted with.

  387. Wow, talk about some interesting comment discussion!
    My feeling is that if somebody asks for my opinion about something I consider ugly, it’s okay for me to tell them so–but I will also try to phrase it as tactfully as I possibly can. (“Well, that faux-fur bikini doesn’t seem very Practical.” or “I must say that those two colors together aren’t exactly MY taste…”) I try never to lie, but I also try not to hurt somebody’s feelings, either.
    Now, if my opinion wasn’t asked in the first place? Well, first, you wouldn’t be able to see my jaw drop in shock at the ugliness through the computer screen, which is a help, but therefore, secondly, I wouldn’t feel the need to tell you that your ugly-whatever-it-is had just made me a little bit nauseated. Not unless you were saying “I’m starting to think maybe this wasn’t the best use for this yarn….” and I felt bound to agree with you. Because it’s not polite.
    Now, Grace, a few comments above, says she does’t buy the living room analogy because this is a public place. So . . . okay, something more public than that. Maybe a yarn/coffee shop where people are invited to knit and hang out and where you just play host. Public, yes, but it’s still YOURS. You rented the space, decorated it, filled it with things you thought your patrons/readers would enjoy and while we may come and go as we please, to my mind, it behooves us all to respect the personal effort that went into this lovely spot. Whether we like the decor or not. You could have the walls puce green with bright orange curtains and the quality of the conversation (not to mention the coffee) would still be worth the visit.
    Although, in that case, I WOULD be making comments about the decorations on the drive home.

  388. Wow, I step away for a couple of hours and lookit what happened!
    You’re too kind to think that rude people always have motives for their rudeness. Sometimes yes, many times, no. The thought hits the brain and pops out of the mouth and that’s pretty much it for motive.
    And “each to their own” is so wise. Especially when you consider the full saying: “‘Each to their own,’ said the old woman as she kissed the cow.”

  389. In answer to your clarification I think people who make that kind of comment are either hoping for a response, not wanting to be a sycophant, not thinking or (most probably) assuming you’ll understand it’s meant in a friendly way…by which I mean it’s a frankness among very close friends and they’re are trying to reach that point of friendly informality in one step rather than several.
    BTW I notice Dan came back to say sorry. It’s not my blog but – Good man Dan. That’s good manners.

  390. I would just like to point out that manners work both ways. And some of the responses I’ve read here, in my opinion, are way beyond rude.

  391. Power. Unhealthy people sometimes get a thrill by dissing someone they perceive as popular, strong, having authority, etc. It makes them feel like they are a little stronger themselves because they can lash out at someone (and w/out fear of repiraisal). Essence of bullying. Sad, sad people.

  392. People see you as entertainment. When they don’t like what they see they aren’t entertained. Anonymity also plays a big part in this… people feel freer to show their selfish and demanding sides.
    It is similar to me to what happens in a lot of churches, sadly. People come for entertainment, childcare etc… and complain when it’s not to their “standards”… yet everyone there is volunteering.
    Kind of makes you sick. πŸ™

  393. You’ve certainly gotten us all buzzing today.
    I’m not sure that there is much motive behind an ugly comment in person or on-line… and haven’t we all experienced ugly in-person comments, too? Are you sure that someone wouldn’t make a comment about your couch in your living room? Maybe not one of your friends, but maybe if, like on-line, your living room were available to any person that wanted to walk in…then you would have ugly people coming in, too. Our blogs are much less private, even, then our living rooms.
    And as to the general public… well, they are just as bad. My sister has a speech impediment. She’s totally fine, just a little trouble with the “r”s and there’s nothing wrong with her mentally or physically. A lady once stopped me in a pharmacy, actually touched my arm as I was talking to my sister and said, “What’s wrong with her?” I told the woman that there was nothing wrong with her. I could not, and still cannot, believe that this woman would ask me such a question IN FRONT of my sister. I’ve thought about her motivation, too.
    I don’t think it’s meanness or even ignorance. I think some people are just rude, and we can’t understand them because we are not them. And we wouldn’t have them in our living room. But we can’t keep them out of our blogs.

  394. well today’s blog sparked a lot of responses and I hope with all of your new snow keeping you at home you will have the chance to read them all.
    Without sounding too sappy I do believe it is a privilege that we are allowed to be in a near day to day contact with you and that you willingly share your humor and your art. I feel that way about anyone’s blog. One has to realize that a blogger is sharing their core being for gosh sakes. And I would hope that if someone found your work not their cup of tea they would have the maturity to withhold comment. Although you say it doesn’t hurt you I have to believe at some level comments such as we saw on yesterday’s blog are hurtful and totally inappropriate.
    I wondered how you would respond and am glad that you have chosen to take the authors head on. Kuddos to you Steph! And thanks for letting us into your living room.

  395. Deb,
    I certainly see where you are coming from on the matter of tact, I really do. Yet, do you really believe that the person you are being tactful with doesn’t see through what is essentially a LIE? I think most of us can see through the bullshit, and those that can’t audition for “American Idol”.

  396. Anonymity indeed. On the internet, people feel free to:
    1. slam an entire gender just to be clever
    2. disparage someone’s parenting skills / parentage
    3. call into question someone’s basic decency
    4. demean someone’s intelligence
    5. promote their own behavior over others as examples that we should all live up to
    6. lecture people they’ve never met on the proper way to behave.
    All from the comments to this post.

  397. I loved the Vintage socks so much that I ordered my own pair. I told them I wanted the YarnHarlot sock kit. They told me orders have tripled since your blog has started. That speaks louder than words. There are many people who appreciate socks that are not run-of-the mill. If I am going to all the work of knitting socks, I want them to be unique. Vintage sock kits are all very unique.

  398. Don’t let comments like yesterday get to you. As my Mom used to say….”Don’t stoop to their level.” Easy to say, hard to do. On some forums you see people acting the same way. People forget the written word does not come across the same way as talking in person. And perhaps they don’t realize what they type actually does get read!! Whether it is someone’s living room, blog, public place etc there is another human being on the receiving end of comments. That old playground thing…if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all, and you would not want to be treated in that manner, would be appropriate here too!!! Your hard work WILL be appreciated by the only person whose opinion really matters!!

  399. I swore I’d stay out of this, but I can’t.
    I think what your 2 critics said was thoughtless, but the reactions of your readers is far worse.
    You see, I don’t think it’s like walking into someone’s home and saying their stuff is ugly. That would be a personal attack, and yes, very rude.
    But 2 people think the Vintage sock design is ugly. Could it be because it’s too far out for them?
    I don’t think of the Vintage socks as just socks. In fact, very few of her socks are ‘just’ socks. To me, they are the product of a very creative mind who sometimes forces us to reinterpret what a sock is. Like when a sock becomes a shawl?
    It’s sort of like when Duchamp hung a toilet on the wall and called it art. A lot of people didn’t get it and said thoughtless things then too.
    These socks are bound to be controversial they are so unique. It’s no surprise that so many people claim they wouldn’t wear them. The are more than socks.
    I think “people suck”, “who gives a crap what they think” and “some people are assholes” is far, far ruder and offensive. That is a personal attack on 2 strangers who expressed an opinion on socks for pete’s sakes!
    Yes, these 2 should have kept their opinions to themselves… it could serve no purpose to express that opinion. But we can’t let it turn into something even uglier.

  400. I personally think if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I can’t imagine what someone who wrote that would think they’d accomplish. I think it just comes down to lack of tact. But if they answered that without using the anonymous personality then I would just assume they thought that was constructive? If they hid behind “anonymous” then they are just rude and have no manners.

  401. I guess that the anonymity theory makes sense, but I have to say that the large majority of people I’ve met in my life who say something unkind have NO idea that they’re doing it. So I don’t think anonymity is the whole story here — it does require some self-awareness and hopefully your post has inspired that.

  402. I think it’s all about self esteem. Belittle someone else to make yourself feel better. But it won’t, of course.
    (I’ll bet the “ugly” comment leaver wishes she/he was half the knitter you are.)
    Oh,and let me apologize for the incredible rudeness of my fellow man.

  403. Lots of interesting stuff here. Some I agree with, some I don’t, but that’s cool. There’s too much for me to really respond to, but I do want to say this;
    Dan, nicely done today. Thank you.

  404. I read a thought written on a wall at a seminar I attended a few years ago. It was something like ‘Truth spoken without kindness is nothing but judgement.’ Many people believe strongly about expressing their own truth but don’t seem to have the training/education/experience to say exactly what they mean with love and kindness. And, it also seems that there are a lot of jerks out there who, for whatever reason, need to shoot poison darts whenever an opportunity arrises. When I listened to my dad (who would be 93 years old if he was still alive), I got the feeling that in earlier days,verbally cutting people off at the knees were more of an art form and done with grace and flare. Bluntness was viewed as unsophisticated, uneducated and juvenile. There were just as many poison darts thrown 50 years ago as now, just not as blunt. It’s ALL crap as far as I’m concerned. Also, pointing out the public aspect of a blog is nothing but an excuse for written poison darts. If any reader wants to say something rude, go find a forum. Some forums invite viciousness.
    By the way, did you guys notice that Dan said he was sorry? Good job, Dan. You would get a ‘Great Job Dan!’ from me if you specifically apologized to Stephanie instead of generically to all readers.

  405. Good question. I’ve always wondered about that. I wish I knew why people always feel the need to snipe online. I’ve actually typed responses before, realized that they were unproductive and/or matter to no one but myself, and then deleted said response.
    I’m still amazed at that snow. I remember snow. It was 70 degrees again today. Sigh. Wanna trade?

  406. I never comment on your blog for the very reason that I think you cannot possibly have the time to read all of what people say. It must take ages. I’m glad if I get ten comments on a post of mine! LOL
    Then again, my blog isn’t nearly as interesting to read as yours.
    As for the socks. I think they’re absolutely beautiful. There’s an “elvish” feel to them. Something I could imagine appearing in Lord of the Rings or something like that.
    I wouldn’t wear them, but not because they’re ugly, but because they’re too pretty to wear! I would hang them on the wall like a piece of art, because they’re so beautiful. I love the colors, the craftmanship and all about them.
    A simple answer to the question of why people would write something like “they’re ugly” is that they’re envious of your skill, patience and perseverence.
    or perhaps it was just a stupid thing that they wrote and hit send before their brains connected? Slow thinkers perhaps πŸ™‚ Because as you say, even if they didn’t like them, why phrase it like that? It’s just not constructive in any sense of the word.

  407. I completely agree with you – people don’t usually act without motive.
    But I don’t think most people give any thought to why they do things, they just do them.
    So I think the question, what does anyone hope will happen when one does something? is a question everyone should ask themselves. I’m not sure the answer is that important – rather that we all become self-aware.
    I think that becoming self-aware automatically increases compassion, but I’m not sure if that’s just me.

  408. Ok…a few things. Some people need to hide behind their computers. They some how feel free to say whatever they want (I once wrote on my blog while knitting “Lucky” that I had to increase the size of the arms because I seriously have some big pipes…someone commented on my need to loose weight.) Was it hurtful, no…but I don’t really know what they were going for. As Dr. Phil would say “How’s that working for ya?” Basically these are cowardly people who obviously have issues…whatever…who really cares what they think?!
    Now, on the other hand…I could see that if someone is really comfortable with you..they might feel free to comment on your shirt..socks…sweater…whatever. For instance, on many occasions I have let a sibling know that a certain garment they were wearing was not really great looking (maybe I used the work ugly, not sure) or flattering…whatever. Sometimes someone just needs to know and you have to be that comfortable with the person to say so. Does that make any sense? So possbily that person, whomever it was to comment…feels that comfortable with you to say so??

  409. I’ll admit that part of your Leafy socks project just has me wide eyed with amazement. They are gorgeous. The leaves look perfect.
    For me (not having read all of the comments), I have a major disconnect in what they look like now. I want to see a picture of the sock on a foot. I think the switch from the white to the ribbing might have thrown people, because it is hard to visualize where the socks are going. It’s sometimes hard to articulate what the mental or visual problem is and it is just easier to say that they are not to one’s taste (in whatever way that comes about).
    Umm, to wind this up. If I had said something like that, it probably would have been because I was having a hard time seeing how it was going, where all of the leaves would be, how you would wear it with a pair of shoes, etc. Umm, am I making any sense at all?

  410. No; it’s not the same as someone insulting you in your living room–people who read your blog are not invited guests. That doesn’t make it okay for someone to be unkind, but given the sheer volume of comments you receive, of course there will be a few clinkers. I had to read many comments before I found anything remotely negative, and even that person made it clear she loves your work overall. You are very loved!

  411. “Yes, these 2 should have kept their opinions to themselves… it could serve no purpose to express that opinion. But we can’t let it turn into something even uglier.”
    WELL SAID, Lise!

  412. I apologize in advance for my verbose post; I can get a little long-winded. Unlike many of today’s commenters I did go back and read the comments from yesterday (and most of today’s, but there are *so* many). Because of the wording of the few comments I saw I don’t think the anonymity of the net is really what’s at play here. Vanessa (and a couple others) hit on it earlier.
    If my best friend for 10 years and I were out shopping and she tried on something that made her look 15 pounds heavier, 5 years older, and like she had some sort of skin disease cause the color was that bad I would flat out tell her it was ugly and she needed to change immediately. I would expect her to do the same for me. We have that kind of relationship where we can be frankly honest about clothes, hairstyles, etc and not hurt each other’s feelings. I’m sure that many other people have that same sort of relationship with people in their lives. I would imagine that being the frank, honest, sensible woman that you seem to be that you have this type of relationship with one or two people irl.
    Now, would I say that to you? No. I might say that I don’t think it’s a good idea, or that the dress doesn’t compliment you etc, but I would not be that curt as it would be rude because we do not have a 10 year bff4eva (having 3 girls I assume you know this means best friend(s) forever) kind of deal. Reading your blog every day about some of the more intimate details of your life could make someone feel like they have that type of relationship, or maybe just the way you write makes us feel like you are our best friend who tells us everything and so we can be completely frank and almost hurtfully honest in our comments. Personally, I love how I feel like we’re having a conversation when I read your stuff; it’s what keeps me coming back for more, but I can see how someone may perceive a more intimate relationship with you than what really exists.
    Now, I’m not saying the socks are akin to the world’s ugliest dress, but I think you get my point. Being fairly decorated, etc the socks are not going to be for everyone, and I think some people forget that even though they may know *a lot* about a person through the interwebs doesn’t mean they’re bff4eva.
    Anyway, that’s my more optimistic idea as to why someone might say that, but then again I’m an aquarius and find it difficult to be pessimistic.

  413. I’m sure some of it comes from insecurity, some out of jealousy and some out of spite. I am in total awe of your tenacity in knitting these socks. All those leaves…all the fiddley bits. I admire the fact that you jump into things whole heartedly (even if they leave you rocking in a corner fondling little leaves for a while…not that it happened….but it was very close right?) I am of the class of “if you can’t say anything nice…don’t say anything at all” but people’s boundries seem to get all skewed on the net.

  414. I have made things that I considered ugly, but I knew the recipient would love them. I have made things for myself that I considered ugly, and I loved them for their ugliness.
    I despise light, baby pink. I made a surprise scarf for a friend who LOVES this color. I hated it. I coped by knitting very, very fast πŸ˜‰ (She is beginning to make inroads, and I’m appreciating pink more). She has another surprise pink think in the mail at this moment.
    I have had people (including family members) tell me that something I made or own is ugly and it is meant as a judgement, not just an observation. I find judgement offensive and hurtful, while observation interesting or maybe even amusing. I am mystified at the motivation to hurt/offend.
    I have heard, “I think this is so HIDEOUS and I knew you would love it!” I think this is delightful.
    The Vintage Socks are beautiful and their construction is amazing. I, however, would find wearing them impossible – I’d not get anything done, I’d just be playing with and fiddling with my socks. Too distracting.
    I wish I could say I would make them, but I do know my limitations and my skills are WAY to limited for that. Never mind the patience level.
    I have had people say unbelievably rude and offensive things to me, and be COMPLETELY oblivious to that fact. Really, it’s amazing.

  415. I’m just sad you don’t like snow… Please could you send some to interior Alaska? We’re a little short this year; it all seems to have fallen further south and in Europe. Bitter cold is harder to take in a low snow year.

  416. I’m sure I’m not saying anything new here, but I feel compelled to comment.
    I didn’t care for the socks, but, Lordy, I would be tactful while discussing them in a blog comment. I would (sincerely) admire the technical detail in the leaf construction or how much effort you put into the socks or something like that; or, I wouldn’t post a comment at all if I truly detested them (which I don’t; the socks just don’t appeal to me and wouldn’t be something I would wear).
    But those leaves are interesting… around a hat, did someone say? Hmmmm…..

  417. Good question. Lack of sound judgement and consideration is the answer, I think. Folks who make comments like that ought to recognize that not only is it hurtful, it doesn’t improve them any either. Part of personal growth and having dynamic relationships is recognizing other people’s interests/abilities/concerns, and realizing that they are just as valid as your own, if maybe a little different. πŸ˜‰
    So what if the socks are a little “out there” (forgive me) pattern-wise. What matters is the love and thoughtfulness and expertise that went into making them. And I do think they’re fabulous.
    Please do show us some action pics, if you’re able to.
    PS- Although I wouldn’t wear The Socks, I wouldn’t be past shadow-boxing them for the wall… πŸ˜€

  418. I think the mistake your making is assuming they are thinking at all. Its a more or less anonymous forum where they don’t have to face the person, and they just don’t think. They don’t have a goal in mind. I see the same thing in emails all the time – even professional emails.

  419. I think there is a fine line that needs to be walked for sure when making such a statement. True, the socks are not my cup of tea, but my mom would love them and that’s what makes the world go around.
    Now I just wish somebody came up to me this morning to tell me my fly was open.

  420. Wow. All that I want to say is that I like the socks. They look like they will be perfect for the recipient and she will know how much hard work was put into them. I know that that’s not what everyone else is talking about, but I just wanted to say that. That’s all.

  421. Several years ago somebody stopped by my house UNINVITED and then commented on how cluttered it was. He’s actually lucky to still be alive (if he is still alive, I haven’t seen him in years and probably never will again)
    The vintage socks are beautiful. Don’t let other peoples rudeness get you down.

  422. Because they can, unfortunately. This links to a NSFW comic that really sums it up:
    I write for some video games blogs and I am constantly amazed at the people who read nothing but the title and then insult me like I spit on them. Happily, there are also the reasoned dissents and the compliments and the silent readers who increase the hits without leaving comments.
    I really like your living room analogy.

  423. How rude. I was always taught that if I didn’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all. It’s good practice because with blogs, it is like being in someone’s living room. The only time I ever give negative input is when the blog owner specifially asked whether it looked like a ball of cat-yak to everyone else as well.

  424. The one thing that troubles me most about the internet is that folks hide behind the anonymity of their screen names and use that anonymity as an excuse to (a) be rude (b) be somebody they are not (c) live some vicarious and/or fantasy life through their screen name. These are people, who, as you say, would never go into somebody’s living room and say “Boy, howdy, is your couch ugly”, because, for the most part, they, as themselves, wouldn’t have the courage to be so thoughtless. With no visual clues (ie voice tone, facial expression, body language) the two-dimensional communication of the internet leaves a lot to be desired. And giving folks the benefit of the doubt here, I believe that if they reread their posts for what it “sounds like”…they’d hopefully refrain, or rephrase.
    Also, the lesson we all learned from Thumper’s mother in Bambi … if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all … should be our guiding force on the internet. I’m not saying don’t get into controversial discussions, but what I do believe is that all should be treated with respect, courtesy and consideration, regardless if what they believe is the complete opposite of your most dearly held beliefs. Different strokes, etc.

  425. I would never do it, BUT in my extensive observation of the human race I’ve discovered that some people do not possess the filter for “socially appropriate discourse.” Unfortunately many of them COULD filter, but were not taught to filter for various reason.
    I totally agree that knocking something for the sake of knocking it is just really useless, and frankly socially odd and disconcerting behavior.
    Some people might argue that by putting our pics up in a public forum, we are “asking for it.” Who would ask for that? That’s just messed up!
    I try to go with the “maybe they just don’t know how that sounds” excuse.
    P. S. My mom would also knock me into next week, but while my ears were ringing I’d vaguely hear ” . . . don’t say anything at all” lol

  426. This is to Cindy about the Imbus sock kit from the same designer as the lovely (far too complex for me!) Vintage socks. I bought the Poseidon socks (same designer) and was having the same problem trying to figure out how to do it on two needles. Then I had an epiphany going upstairs at work–the instructions are written for two CIRCULAR needles–not dps. I contacted the designer via email and she sent me info to help do it on five dps. Perhaps this is the same for the Imbus socks?

  427. When I look at someone’s knitting, whether I would wear it or not, I consider how much work, love and creativity went into it regardless of the outcome. How someone can be so narrow minded as to only see the final product amazes me! I lean toward simplicity myself and I’m not patient enough to knit these, but I know how hard you worked and how much love went into them and your friend will feel that, too. {{hugs}}

  428. I am not one who would tell someone what they did or made was ugly to their face. Perhaps because I am a bit of an artist or at least know enough artist friends to know that it is completely unacceptable to ever tell anyone that sort of rubbish. As you mention in your edit, it does nothing constructive, it is an insult with the intention to depreciate, tear down, and hurt.
    And that’s all they’re trying to accomplish which makes them malicious people and I have no respect for that behavior.

  429. I don’t know why someone would say something like that about the socks. I think you are handling it far better than I would.
    I’ve had someone come into my house and tell me just how ugly and so un-cool it’s like totally anti-retro is so old and like totally something out of the bad part of the seventies my couch is. Needless to say, I already knew that, but I still loved that couch. Also, that individual has not returned to my home.
    I’m also the type of person who, when asked if this dress makes me look fat, will respond with an honest answer. I’m not very good at knowing when people want for me to lie to them so I just give honest answers. People learn very quickly and some even take me cloth shopping because they want the honest opinion. My excessive honesty is always in person and as a responce to a direct question. I would never go out of my way to tell someone how ugly their dress is just because. I think it’s uncalled for.
    In my opinion, telling someone on their blog that something is ugly, even if they ask you to, is just wrong! I think a blog is like an extension of the blogger. It is far more personal than a dress or a couch. I think that coming on someones blog just to say, “hey you, that’s ugly!” is pure childish. If you cannot say something nice on a blog, don’t say anything at all. Simple, right?
    Okay, well, the socks, um, they aren’t my style. I don’t think I personally would enjoy wearing them. But that’s not the point really. The socks are gorgeous knitted objects. The time and skill put into designing and knitting them really shows. Not to mention the amount of dedication you must have to finish them must be unmeasurable. If I knew someone who would wear them, I would love to knit them just for the pure pleasure of it.

  430. Not sure what people expect when they make comments like that. I’m with you, my mother would have a small stroke and I would be dead by her hand if I actually DID make such a comment. Though I will admit, I have been tempted. I’ve had opera tickets for years, and a percentage of the fun is to walk down from my cheap seats to where the money sits and look at the clothes. There is always at least one person to whom you would love to say, “Honey, either your husband bought you that, or the sales lady lied to you.” ~:P

  431. I have to say, I know how you feel. I knit two little kimonos for a baby shower recently – the one from the Mason-Dixon book. One in garter and one in stockinette stitch – and of course in cotton. As the mom-to-be opened up the sweaters and smiled (the only hand made present in the bunch) – a mean ole’ nasty woman shouted out “And after she grows out of them you can use them as dishrags!” I wanted to sink into the floor. I was soooo angry – and because my momma taught me proper manners – I bit my tounge and pretended as if I didn’t hear a thing. I have to agree with many of the comments before mine – it IS all about how we are raised.

  432. I’ve noticed that kids have gotten a lot more blunt too. I do think it’s because of IM and texting, etc. They’re painfully honest with each other, to the point of being hurtful. What does it accomplish? Maybe they’re not so worried about what other people think. But on the other hand, it sure doesn’t build them up.
    I look at the way so many people act, and I think, “Where was your mother? Didn’t she teach you anything?” And therein lies the problem.

  433. No, I don’t think many of them are sick or patently rude. Instead the exultation of expressing an opinion and the syntax of the times is one of rudeness in the name of ‘honesty’. And–sorry to say here folks–this behavior often is the provenance of the immature on the interwebs (note please, I say immature, not young.)
    And as an aside: that you knit your friend those vintage socks is an act of such lavish friendship that it leaves me breathless.

  434. “It’s ugly” isn’t exactly critique of a sort that inspires discussion.
    Not so – look at the discussion!

  435. I was going to read all the comments before offering my opinion but I have company coming for dinner tonight and I just might want to be ready for them. Stephanie, you were wondering what the motivation was.. here is my take on it.
    Maybe this person was surprised that there were so many raves about these socks – no one had really said they didn’t like them but this person didn’t and maybe wondered what was wrong with his/her judgement? Maybe the person needed someone else to agree with him/her before he/she felt that their opinion was valid. Prehaps they thought that someone else might agree in the comments and then he/she could say – well, I WAS right. This kind of approval seeking can blind one to what is said – i.e. it was a poor choice of words if one did not mean to be hurtful – and perhaps he/she didn’t. Too wordy – sorry.

  436. Hey Steph….how about all these comments!
    In real life, I stay far away from people who say hurtful and rude things. On your blog, you can’t steer clear and you got blindsided. With the living room analogy, it’s like some meany snuck into your house.
    And folks, let’s not keep saying “mean girls”. The commenter who used the word fugly (and that’s worse than ugly) was a Dan…I think that means probably a male.
    And to give Dan credit, he did apologize about 100 comments back.
    I loved watching those socks from the first leaf…to me, knitting the plainest sock is a wonderful feat. And these are not plain socks! Amazing…and you are hilarious! Thanks!

  437. I sometimes think people feel free to make rude comments on the internet because they are faceless. Probably gives them some vicarious thrill. They must not get out much.
    I can see why these socks would be a wonderful adventure in knitting. I’m not quite sure I would personally wear them, however. They’re pretty, but I tend to go for more practical stuff.

  438. Hmmm, well I think people probably do it because they can and also to get noticed. I do wish more people would take note of blog as living room idea and be aware that sometimes when they write a post people might treat with more authority than it deserves.
    Am pretty much in awe of the socks, btw!

  439. Some people have no manners, plain and simple.
    I actually had friends of ours come to our house and make a rude comment about my couch. Granted, the set is quite old, but they are in fairly good condition, and we just don’t have the money to replace them right now. He sat down in our living room and asked my husband if we had to use the phone books to prop up the couch. Maybe I’m just overly sensitive, but I didn’t ask his opinion, and I never would’ve had the gall to say something like that in their house. But what are you gonna do?

  440. I think I understand what you are asking – and maybe there are several answers depending on who said “ugly”. I think for some people, putting their foot in their mouth bloggishly, is as easy as it is to do in person. They may go back later and think, oh crap, do I sound like a jerk? I didn’t mean to sound like a jerk! Or there are those high maintenance types out there that don’t see it as their opinion – it just is how they see it. Does that make sense? I had a friend in college like that – high maintenance, and she would just spout out things like that that might hurt your feelings if you weren’t prepared or if you cared for her opinion. But on further discussion, she didn’t see it as her opinion, it WAS JUST UGLY. She didn’t see herself as being rude, just honest. She told me once after a roadtrip, that she didn’t like it that I lied about what happened on our trip….on further discussion, I found that she thought it was lying, when I experienced the trip differently than she did and expressed it differently than she would have. It was an interesting form of egocentrism that even now, fascinates me in an unbelieving, slightly horrified sort of way.

  441. Hey Stephanie,
    First, I am very sorry to hear that someone made such a blatantly rude comment on your blog. I think the Vintage Socks are amazing and would probably be a thrill to knit for the challenge. Plus, those little leaves look luscious to me (how is that for alliteration??).
    To answer your question, I think online, some people forget they are leaving comments to a real person with real feelings. They forget they are intruding in some one’s living room. This does not excuse their behavior, but just supplies a rational.
    Love the socks.

  442. You would never knowingly invite a rude person into your living room but you don’t have that control over your blog. Like you, I was taught by a mother who had “the look” never to say anything that might hurt someone’s feelings. to quote “Thumper” if you can’t say somethin’ nice don’t say nothing at all.

  443. I’m not getting into “the question” unless it was in real life, and then I would probably talk long and hard, but in this forum it is to easy to be misconstrued.
    What I do want to say is that, that is the most glorious snow I have seen in a long time. I moved from Hamilton to eastern PA 15 years ago. The first 10 years or so we had pretty good snowfalls,although always on the heavy wet side. In the last several years though we only get sleet, freezing rain or a sprinkling of snow. My Canadian soul yearns for that snow. I am deeply envious.

  444. I commented about six months ago that I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to knit a sock. My knitting friends patiently waited, I think, knowing that sooner or later their example would soften the attitude. Today, I’m starting the heel flap on my first sock in 30 years. The pattern? SMP’s “sock recipe”.
    By the way, living smack in the middle of the Empire State I know from snow. I’m glad you are enjoying these days.

  445. I think one of the fallacies of blogs is that you tend to think you know someone better than you actually do. You can be more rude amongst friends than you would to someone you don’t know as well. Furthermore, I think people say things on the internet that they really would think harder about saying out loud.
    However, since this is YOUR blog and therefore somewhat famous I’m guessing that sometimes people say things just to call attention to themselves or maybe they get some sort of kick out of it or, well, there could be lots of reasons. Maybe you come across as so friendly they think you might actually care?
    Either way.. I like the living room analogy. I also personally try to remember anything I say could be recorded on some way back machine and I try not to say anything stupid, rude, or thoughtless because of it πŸ™‚

  446. Perhaps you’re right and their comments were inappropriate, but given that it’s YESTERDAY’s post in question, and anybody with their CTRL-Find buttons handy can look up just who exactly you’re talking about… All of those “some people” qualifications everyone’s giving to their own nasty remarks strikes me as rather ironic. Calling someone a rude sob is rude, even if you say “some people” instead of their name when it’s this obvious who you’re talking about. (Ahh! I’m being rude by pointing out their rudeness! It never ends!!)
    Why not just say “please, play nice” rather than pose this hypothetical question that lets everyone get all up on their high horse? It would have alerted “those people” to their error without calling down this huge torrent of shame on them.

  447. I can’t count the number of ‘ugly’ things I have knit and sewn for other people in my life, most in fact have gone to my own children. Yes, to me they were at their best appreciable and at worst painful to look at but the recipients loved them and I loved making them something they loved.
    Also, why would anyone expect to like everything that someone else made and who is it who’s mother never taught them how to smile politely and say nothing.

  448. I am in California. I have to say, I have never heard of the term ‘thundersnow’. I have heard of a thunder storm, a snow storm, but never a thundersnow. I’m guessing I should figure what this thundersnow is because I’m moving from sunny CA to Rochester, NY. I understand it snows a bit there too.

  449. I sometimes wonder if so many people feel so poorly about themselves and their abilities that
    such comments restore their self-respect, albeit
    momentarily. That plus the general mood of “my
    way or the highway” exhibited in the media. It
    seems as through reasoned discussion or even the
    art of conversation has been greatly deminished.
    Stephanie, yours is the blog I keep coming back to. I take delight in your process. You both
    inspire and amaze me. Do I always agree with you?
    Hell, no. Freedom allows one the right to both
    disagree and even be wrong without ill effect.
    I’m not much of a writer, another reason I enjoy
    your blog. I do think we can make all the excuses
    we want-the web is impersonal, etc. Never-the-less we are all responsible for what we choose to
    say, think and do. If rudeness is tolerated then
    people will be rude.

  450. I’m sure it’s all been said…but I think it’s impossible to try to pin down the reason for such a comment. I would prefer, I think, to hope that it is something along the line of Sabine’s comment…that we all feel that you are so open with us (Hey, you showed us your toilet!) that we can be equally open with you…and then some people don’t get the difference between “open” and “rude.” I do think we should all try to put the best possible spin on comments and posts on forums because one’s spoken tones don’t always translate well to the typed medium.
    As to the socks, I have marveled at your journey (and yes, at times laughed at your pain….sorry!) through them…they are incredible feats (feets?) of knitting prowess….and now I can’t, for the life of me, get out of my head the idea of a simple scoop neck sweater with a wreath of these little leaves around the neck.

  451. People can be rude. I think the anonymity of the internet allows thoughts to transfer directly to the keyboard without first being filtered – after all, why worry if no-one knows you. It takes some degree of courage to write a blog, especially when you are well-known. It’s unfortunate that some people feel they can say anything as long as they remain invisible and unknown. Looking forward to seeing you model those gorgeous socks soon!

  452. As a sufferer from foot-in-mouth disease, I vote with the people who think most of the offenders are offering their opinion without thinking about how others will feel. Also, the internet is full of questionaires and polls; how do you rate this, and what do you think of that. Even Ravelry has a place to rate your own projects on the happiness scale. Maybe that “rate it” attitude slides over into peoples’ comments?

  453. I agree with you in that is just plain rude. There is a difference between saying “You have done a really great job on those socks even though the style is not to my liking” and saying “Those are ugly”. I don’t think that person has any “motive” – just poor manners!!!!
    Gorgeous snow though! (I orginally accidentally typed “gorgeous snot” but I figured I better correct that because that WOULD be rude! Haha!

  454. Stephanie: The leafy socks were so interesting to watch develop. I admired your persistence and focus. Not sure I could have seen them to the end, but for all us voyeurs it was a treat to watch them evolve. People have insulation because of this wonderful seemingly distant medium to say things they’d never dare say to your face. Please know for every crass complainer out there, 12000 of us never say a word and are in awe of your WORK. So there, take heart and keep it up, babe.

  455. Stephanie asked the question of motive, and I’m picking up on something ames said at 5:37 PM –
    There are more than 300 posts, and yesterday, there was a similar number. I think that some folks have a need to dissent, especially in the face of such overwhelming positive commentary.
    I work with teens (so I’m comfortable with criticism), and have been in enough college courses to experience this group dynamic often. There is almost always one or two people who feel that they MUST disagree, and will do so even more if the majority of the group is in agreement. In those cases, it seems like the need for dissent is even greater than the opinion expressed.
    I have no idea if any of the commenters fall into that pattern, but I bet there are quite of few of them out there on the Internets.

  456. As a small business owner with my husband, I am amazed on a daily basis by the audacity of people in terms of their language, sense of entitlement and general lack of common courtesy. I like to think it is not a general trend, but must say I am disappointed when knitters forget their manners.

  457. WOW – it floors me how rude people can be just because they are “anonymous” on the internet. That is just asking for some bad knitting karma to come and bit you in the ‘tocks. Some splitty-knotty yarn of different dyelots may be in their future.
    I was amused by you using one of my favorite phrases of parenting though “My mother would knock me into next week if I did.” YUP! [metaphorically of course – not actually!]

  458. I agree with lise. The comments made on today’s blog are somewhat appalling in THEIR rudness.
    Granted, everyone has an opinion, tastes differ, and obviously we think you are an awesome knitter, Steph. To think you would invest the time and angst in this project (so amusingly documented) is admirable…..and we want to see the entire sock on someones foot!
    however, some , truly do not reflect the level of respect and courtesy you personally expect in your blog from what I can tell.
    Keep on inspiring us to greater heights, Steph!!

  459. You’re given them too much credit. They don’t think nor do they have motives since motives would require thinking.
    Thank you for the snow pictures. I love snow and haven’t seen but one lonely flake fall all winter.

  460. First, holy cow, there are alot of comments here.
    Second, my mother would say it is caused by jealousy.
    Third, all true Knitters can appreciate the construction and process that went in to vintage socks.
    Read between the lines. You rock Steph!
    Will you come to my livingroom and Knit with ME??? You should raffle yourself off!
    My dh goes on business to your city and I may come surprise you and Knit in your livingroom!!! I’ll bring the coffee!

  461. The code my children and I use when we come upon someone who is rude is that they “were raised by wolves.” That certain segment of society just was never taught how to behave, so we can’t take it personally when they don’t. We are training a puppy now and have been taught they when he jumps up, he is being rude and the appropriate response is to turn our backs and ignore him until he behaves nicely. It works! Maybe that is the best response for rude commenters too.
    And adding my 2 cents – I love those socks!

  462. Stephanie–
    There is something about the anonomity of the internet that people say things that they would never say in person. I am always blown away. In all honesty, there are plenty of things I see on sites that I think are down right UGLY….but I try to go by the rule if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. You knit with a lot of green, I am not a green person (I am the pink person, or bold blues and purple type, but no fun fur LOL – although it has its place, I think the novelty yarns, have had a big part of the resurgence of knitting, along with your site of course !)…but what you knit is beautiful, I can look beyond the greeness and see the actual knitting, and it is truly beautiful. And believe me, I have made a lot of things because I saw them on your site.
    A fellow knitter in my office struggled for months to make a baby blanket for someone, and when she gave it to the woman, she said “oh, thats attractive.” Thats it….made me to resolve to knit only for people who I know will appreciate it. There is so much love put into a home made item, how sad someone cannot see that love in it.
    One interesting thing I do is read the daily local paper on line…not so much the stories, but the comments …. people are just plain, outright rude and gross…and that is taking into consieration they don’t post “offensive” stuff.

  463. I’m really sorry this kind of thing happened, because it clearly, and quite understandably, bothered you more than you are wanting to let on; and I love your blog.
    I must confess to being a muggle, but I do all kinds of needlework, so I *get* it — I just don’t *do* it.
    Personally, I find the Leaf socks wondrous. I am just not quite fashion forward enough to figure out what you would wear them with. I’m thinking whatever they are calling gauchos in this incarnation (you know, kind of flared capris), but with what shoes? Is this a question for Stacy and Clinton on What Not to Wear?

  464. I don’t have an answer to your question. I just wanted to state, for the record, that I thought the socks were beautiful and that you did an inspiring job knitting them.

  465. Thumper was right.
    We can agree or agree not to, but being rude is never o.k. I will never knit those socks. Too fiddly for me and way way out of my leauge. I can certainly appreciate the time and effort to make them and if given to me, would proudly wear them at least once, take lots of pictures of me in them and then frame them as a rare piece of fiber art.
    Scarlet Fever, I am appalled that someone would say that! I so appreciate the fact that you did not stomp her into a greasy non knitter muggle spot. I don’t know if I could have risen above that ocassion.

  466. Not only would I not say it if I thought the socks were “fugly” (I might say thry’re not to my taste, if pressed), but I think these particular socks are a beautiful work of knitted art.
    They may be impractical as socks, but it wouldn’t stop ME from wearing them.
    whose gotten rotten eggs thrown at me for stating my mimd on BID! (maddyknits2 on rav)

  467. Sometimes I wonder if people comment on blogs because they want to comment. Do they really think they are talking to you in a manner analogous to walking into your house and commenting on your couch or your shirt? Or are they just saying something because they think they are supposed to?
    It is also not always clear (and it differs of different people’s blogs) whether the comments are addressed to the blog author, as a series of comments from individual readers, or are a discussion amongst the readers that was sparked by what the blog author said. And that could make the difference, maybe.
    That Trekking colourway is very cheerful, btw. Sunny. Makes a nice contrast with the weather (which I heard was nastier than car sized piles of snow down your way; “significant freezing rain event” was what my pilot friend said as his explanation for working from home in Ottawa yesterday instead of staying in his Toronto office)

  468. Aside from the rudeness of saying something is ugly, there is a deeper level of insult here… A knitter spends such time and care on something so “fiddly” to be a special gift, one that the recipient will cherish, and demonstrates (through the entire process) the amount of effort and care involved. And as another knitter, whether or not you feel something is “ugly” is sort of beside the point, I think- you should be able to appreciate the difficult nature of such a gift, and the time involved to create it. Whether or not I appreciate the look of the item is a moot point when I consider the painstaking work and tedium involved in creating it. The fact that you’ve documented the whole process and outlined the challenge makes it an even assier thing to say. One would hope that sharing a love for the medium would allow one to respect the time and effort of another, regardless of your opinions of the finished result.
    I think it’s much worse coming from other knitters, because they are *supposed* to understand. At least the process and the reasoning behind it, maybe not the finished object. But. Just being a knitter doesn’t make you any less of an jerk, and some people just are.

  469. 1. Congratulations on blocking the Vintage Socks! I believe you when you say “I think they have been a treat to knit,” even though the project appeared to threaten your sanity at one point. (Funny how those dropped icord-leaf-stem stitches just fade from memory after a good blocking, isn’t it?) They are amazing.
    2. Never used the Mega Boots Stretch b/c I tend to like bright colors–I’ll have to look again. Love those socks! Like a ray of sunshine amongst all that snow.
    3. Insecurity? I’m just guessing. Of late I have decided that mean folks are that way because they are fearful or insecure. Don’t know if it’s true or not, but thinking so makes it easier for me to endure them without getting mean myself.

  470. WOW – not only do you have the chops to take on some of the most difficult knitting I can even conceive … you also take on the most difficult topics. And do so in a way that elicits a great deal of thought and interaction. Congratulations!
    I think Nori had an excellent point – when we create a blog we are inviting critique and discussion. In my opinion, “ugly” does not qualify as either of these, however. Yes, the anonymity of the net allows for rude and even bullying behavior – but this doesn’t speak to motivation. None of us can speak to another’s motivation, but there are usually clues in the text. I don’t read comments often enough to know if this is a regular commentor, can’t speak to level of education or awareness of cultural norms of politeness.
    But clearly, this person wanted to be noticed – to stand out from the hundreds of comments Stephanie normally receives. And rudeness succeeded. Bad news, bad behavior, usually attracts more attention than good behavior or news – except when the goodness is WAY beyond the normal. There’s a reason for this: The good news here is that *goodness* is more common than the *bad/rude/mean* behavior.
    The better news is that we all benefit from this blog (and most are extremely grateful!) – not only in knitting knowledge and inspiration, but in the opportunity to grow and think about how our words affect each other. Thanks, all!

  471. People who can’t, critize those who can. I marvel at your knitting ability and hope one day, if I live long enough, I will knit as well as you!

  472. I love the comments about fear of their mothers making people stay polite. I certainly hope my kids would feel like this. (I love it when I see the terror in their eyes… isn’t that why we have them in the first place?)
    Those socks are definitely a work of art. Something to be done once to get the thrill of accomplishment, but not something that you’d do every day for the rest of your life. People are trollish and thoughtless and sometimes really really dumb.
    (And who has the published books, and who doesn’t? Hmmm? I’m just saying…..)

  473. Probably has been said but there are people who are so self-important that they think their opinion actually matters, whether anyone acts on it or not.

  474. RE: Snow — Bwa ha ha ha– welcome to *my* world. We’ve had (including yesterday and today) 18 days of sunshine since October 1. It’s snowed every single day since Nov. 15th. We have more than 300 inches of snowfall per year, nearly every year. We currently have 8 foot snow banks in our front yard. Lemme tell you, people up here LOVE wool. Ive started a sock knitting class at the ski hill for when my kids are in lessons– all the kids want wool socks, and many parents do too. I get more attention knitting socks than I would if I stripped off and skiied down the hill– that’s just cabin fever πŸ™‚
    RE: Rudeness– I think that it could be a generational thing, too. I would not EVER tell someone that I only know casually that something was ugly (I’ve told my sisters that something is ugly, and my husband and kids). It does seem to be a hallmark of the younger generation that they’re “honest” however, and I’ve heard my niece tell people that something is ugly, even if she only knows them casually. She’s 18. She’s generally a very kind person, but she prides herself on “honesty”.
    I think if someone asks your opinion, you can tell them but why would you volunteer that to someone who has worked as hard as you have on those socks? That’s not honesty, that’s rudeness, and there is a huge difference.

  475. The funny thing is, when I say things I regret it’s in person, not when I’m typing which forces me to slow down and think about what I’m saying a little more carefully. I find I might accidently say something that comes out rude in person and I feel so bad about it that I wish there was a delete button. In email/comments, there is a delete button! but I suppose not everybody uses it when they should.

  476. Oh, and I meant to add but hit the button too quickly: manners and consideration went down the tubes with cell phones and email.

  477. This post has got me thinking. Maybe I’ll blog about it this evening. To answer your question, though, I think people post nasty things like “that’s ugly” because they want to get a rise out of the person they’re dissing. Or maybe they just don’t have a filter between their brains and their fingers. Either way it’s unnecessary.

  478. Bless yer heart – from the deep South to the frozen North. My dear step-maam always taught me to shut my mouth and be polite or else she’d knock me up side my head; however I am always amazed by the rudeness of folks. Tell them to get a life…no one cares…do whatever they want…get a good glass of wine and enjoy!

  479. I just read the comments above me. Now I’m paranoid that pople will think I’m being rude to specific rude people. Where does this end? Just want to clarify…. in my above comment I WAS talking in generalities. My remarks about rudeness weren’t directed at any commenter in particular. (I haven’t got time to go to yesterday’s post and plough through 300+ comments.)
    (I don’t want my mother to come and knock me into next week for being rude.)

  480. I agree with most people about the power of being anonymous. People do the strangest things when there is no accountability. That being said, I just read through several dozen pages of the comments from yesterday trying to find these “horrible” things… and all I found was hundreds of supportive people glowing over the beauty of these socks. I think you should focus on the fact that for every person who takes their frustrations out in inappropriate ways, or has no brain/mouth barrier there are a hundred people saying amazing things to you.
    PS – The socks are an amazing feat of knitting prowess.

  481. I think the socks are gorgeous — definitely not my style or anything I could get away with wearing, but very beautiful nonetheless, all fifty million stitches in them. I am more bothered that someone is going to walk huge honking holes in them!!! They should be in some special memory box type frame where knitters around the world could walk by and just sigh at their beauty. πŸ™‚

  482. Unfortunately it’s the nature of the beast…the ‘Net is a medium with little accountability and people feel they can say on a screen that which they would never say if they were standing in your living room and had to look you in the eye.
    I had some asshat tell me he thought my Pumpkin was “the ugliest cat he had ever seen”. So what did he hope to accomplish with that pearl of wisdom? Cat plastic surgery? Some people just suck and only feel good about themselves when they are making someone else feel bad.

  483. I am actually not sure whether it is the anonymity of the internet. I once had a friend from college visit me at my parents home. Draped over the back of the couch was a quilt that my folks had gotten as a wedding present, made by someone my mom had known all of her life. It was an Irish Chain quilt with a cream background and the chain made out of a calico with little tiny psychadelic flowers. In pink and green, neither a color ever seen in nature. My folks had gotten married in 1973, you see. And my friend commented on how ugly the quilt was. She made fun of it to me. With no sense that she was mocking A) my home B) my mama, or at least my mom’s taste. (Side note: I am not sure that the quilt was my mom’s taste, but when someone hand makes you a quilt, you learn to love it, even if it takes work.) The friend was certainly someone who prided herself on her forthright manner and I think that if I had called her on it, she would have said that she was being honest, not rude. Of course, she was wrong, and numerous missteps like that have lead us to drift apart, but my point is that I think that she justifies those comments by calling them honesty. And if you asked her, we are no longer friends because I am overly sensitive. I would say that we are no longer friends because, once we were no longer in school together, her charms did not outweigh her honestly.

  484. To answer your question, people write such things because they are in need of a little lesson in manners, which you so very well supplied today. Frankly, those vintage socks are beautiful, and beautifully created, and a joy to observe, but I myself would not choose to make them or wear them. I can surely appreciate the accomplishment though, and commend you for sticking with such a challenging project. Your blog shows us the ups and downs of knitting and we all experience it. I guess you got a little of the “down” with some of the comments, but thanks for handling things so well and reminding us all about how your blog is like visiting your living room. I LOVE that analogy. Thanks for letting me in! Oh, and btw, the Mega Boot Stretch socks are pretty!

  485. People who are negative nancies just want to get a momentary feeling of superiority because they must feel very inferior and happy in their lives. Things that they could never do due to lack of skill and things that make others happy are the things they rue the most.

  486. You are assuming people are complaining, or what have you, for constructive purposes. Complaining is usually more cathardic tan constructive.

  487. it’s a simple of case of proper up bringing (you), and lack there of (the negatiave comment maker). I for one if i disagree with something someone posts in there blog, and it has happened, i don’t leave a comment, and if i did, like i’m sure many of your readers would do, i’d find a tactful, non-hurtful way to express myself-which goes back to up bringing- tell them to “bugger off”, i find you inspiring and a role model for fiber handlers and mothers everywhere-i do think you should get rid of the cotton knickers, and try some lacy ones’ for a change, va va voom!!!!

  488. Actually, I have a couple of friends who have and would go up to a person and tell them if they thought something they were making/wearing/buying was ‘ugly’. They just do. I think they’re just stating their opinion, not necessarily trying to improve your taste or anything. Just putting in their 2 cents. I wouldn’t waste much time thinking about it honestly.

  489. Oh, and for the record, I can’t see myself having the patience to knit such socks but I think that they are art. I would have a hard time wearing them because I would have a hard time walking on that much work!

  490. Gotta say Stephanie, maybe they thought you could not possibly read all the comments.
    I think the socks are fab, but as works of art. I could not imagine putting them inside shoes, what a waste, but not to use them also a waste. They sure are an intriguing knit.

  491. Sigh. Like my mom used to say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say…” Well, you know the rest. I’ve been wondering about this for years. I think the rule of thumb should be this: If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, maybe it’s best to keep your opinions to yourself.

  492. Okay, this is the first time that I’ve commented twice in one day but I couldn’t resist. My first comment was written before reading all the other commets. Wow. Lots of emotion here today.
    To Dan – Very eloquent apology and those that can’t forgive you would have to be very hard hearted. You DO sound like a good person to me. πŸ™‚
    I think Steph might just be more interested in hearing the why behind the comment, to understand and see what you see….
    To Jason and Peter – Thanks for reminding us that there is a bigger picture and that any generalizations can be hurtful.
    As for whether or not this blog is Steph’s virtual livingroom, well, if it is to her than it IS. And my understanding is that most places have a set of ground rules. Her’s seems to be if you have a negative comment, be clarifying in an engaging, open-for-discussion sort of way. πŸ™‚
    I think we are trying to pin down an intangible. It’s not just about whether I see it as her virtual livingroom, it’s about how both of us see it and respecting the difference. It’s an exchange, not an expectation of all of us conforming to one way of seeing things.
    I just wish I could have been this objective yesterday when my three year old took my dpns out of the sock I was working on and pushed them all the way into my couch cushions. I’m still missing several. I’m pretty sure several words came out of my mouth, but they were all much worse than the word *ugly* πŸ™‚
    G’night all.

  493. I’m waiting anxiously for that leaf pattern to be available! I’ve been thinking they’d be gorgeous on the ends of a scarf, maybe. Love the socks, and your friend is one very lucky person!

  494. Big fan of the blog. Huge fan of the socks. Love the meaningful discussion. Now I am going to be a little perverse and say that I see some value in rude comments. I am an ex-teacher of teenagers. Many had wonderful manners; a good number appeared to have none. Over the years I found myself discussing the ugliness of my wardrobe, my (girly) mustache, and my craptitude as a teacher. At that age at least, there appears to be an honest desire to discuss differences of opinion. It comes across as shockingly rude. At the time it seemed more valuable to talk about how people perceive the world differently than to give a telling off for rudeness. ‘I think that’s ugly’ shows how wide the spectrum of taste is. Provided that it’s clearly an expression of personal opinion not intended to be hurtful, it adds a bit of dimension. True, not many adults would dare say it in your living room. But for me it is always more interesting to hear someone’s honest response than to hear the silence of someone biting their tongue.

  495. I have often thought about this because, in quite a different context, this has happened to me 3 times in the past few years. Each instance involved my appearance and was said directly to my face. The first time I simply stared unblinking into the person’s eyes. (My family calls this the “Native Stare”, since we are Choctaw–freaks people out, usually–it certainly did here.) The second time my colleague was so rude that I actually said (look away if you are offended by foul language) “Well, you don’t have to fuck me, so what do you care?” (Said male colleague is now overly polite–is rewarded with native stare. Grandma would be so proud.) The last time this happened I was not quite so rude back, having been prepared from the previous experience. My response was the following: “Really? My appearance bothers you that much? Hmm. Well, it is my everlasting fault that I care more about what goes in my mind than what I look like.” Now, since I neither scare small children when they catch a glimpse of my visage, nor do I have to grease my sides in order to enter or exit any architectural structure, I conclude that I am neither that ugly nor that fat. My answer to your query, therefore, is that some people are just so uncomfortable with themselves that they feel some need to be nasty (to whatever degree) to others in a vein attempt to make themselves feel better (or superior). I have noticed that it rarely seems to work.

  496. Wow, 479 comments, and it’s not even 7:30 pm EST. I haven’t read all of them and someone has probably already expressed these thoughts, but here goes. I truly believe we reap what we sow. If you’re nasty, nasty is gonna fly right back atcha. If you’re kind, you get kindness in return. And the spirit of kindness will give you the inner peace to deal calmly with the random nasty when it hits you out of the blue (as it did you yesterday). Does this make sense?
    OK, I’m ready for tea now.

  497. Hi Stephanie,
    I’ve been receiving unwanted forwarded e-mails from someone for months now. It concerns a political/religious slant that I totally disagree with. I had tried in a very nice, non-offensive way to get off the e-mail list. I was trying to go through the original site and not the person sending them to me. Don’t want to make anyone mad or offend someone you know…trying to follow my mother’s kind manners πŸ™‚ However, when I got an e-mail from her about a pledge to make to Dr. James Dobson about not voting for a certain candidate because it “would be like voting for the other side (gasp)” I thought “uumm, I AM the other side!!” I couldn’t hold my “e-tongue” any longer. I fired off an e-mail to her letting her know where I stand and to please stop the madness of these narrow-viewed, narrow-minded e-mails! It gets to a point where enough is enough especially when it comes unwanted into your own living room. Then, as is my nightly ritual, I read your blog. Stephanie….thank you for speaking your mind as well….you affirmed my choice to make a stand for what I believe is right. You are amazing. BTW…Great Socks!

  498. It almost seems to me like people forget all that goes into a knitted piece-or any art at all for that matter. Like yeah, I may not like what you knit, but I also take into consideration the time you took to make it, the construction, the cleanliness of your living room (not really,) and try to be aware of all of this before I share my opinion -if at all.
    I also think people just do not care because there are very few repercussions (if I used the correct word- its been a while since I have been tested on my grammar) for telling someone they think their stuff sucks online. If you were in my living room and said something not nice, realistically I could punch you. Online, there is no equivalent to the sucker punch (- well, mine anyways.) But still, that leaves the question of why do people bother to put the time and energy into telling people they think their stuff sucks at all? What pleasure is in it for them? Is that like- if a tree falls in a forest sorta philosophical question?

  499. When people make rude comments like what you describe (and I work with a woman who does this regularly), I believe it is due to their feelings of inferiority. It is just a way to bolster their own self-esteem by putting others down. Being overly critical is one way to make yourself seem superior. The only other explanation is that the person is so narcissistic that they don’t even realize that anyone else has feelings or opinions that matter. Either way, **CK em!

  500. Back again to say Dan the commenter was here and apologized – somewhere a little before 4:30. That’s fair. Let’s think on it for awhile. Also, someone raised the issue that we all have to look at our own reaction – let’s not meet at the lowest common denominator here. It’s discussion. Steph has done a great job of teeing this up as an intellectual inquiry. Why would someone do this?
    Sorry, but I had to check my own comment to see if I was outta line. Maybe a little – sorry right back, Dan.

  501. Ha – could you fit all 500 of us in your livingroom? Your couch, ugly or not, would be smashed to smithereens! I too have enjoyed your sock journeys – especially this one – to the max, making me laugh, cry and gasp. But having a blog is not like inviting someone into your living room – unless you are into having a whole lot of strangers in your house at all hours of the day. It is more like inviting yourself into their livingrooms and taking along show and tell. People are reading your blog in the safety of their own houses where they can say whatever they like there!
    I am always considerate of others feelings. I would never leave a negative remark on a blog or anywhere else. But negative people are not reading your blog in your lovely house, they are in their own negative space and will comment in like.
    I miss the snow too! Thanks for posting pictures!

  502. I think the Vintage socks are gorgeous! They are also something I wouldn’t wear (too fussy), but would I make them for someone who would love them? You bet! Personally I liked the “red wine” color better, but what sets that sock off is the leaves…….I just want the pattern for the leaves. The leaves are hypnotic! If somebody told me something I had was ugly just out of the blue??????? Well, my response would be short, sweet, succinct and not very nice. I can change out of an ugly pair of sock, or sweater or blouse; stupid and rude goes on for ever!

  503. For some unknown reason when people comment on blogs or even send email, manners tend to go out the window. The guilt that they would feel if they were face to face with you is not there. I’m not sure what they get out of it though to tell you the truth. My mama would slap me too if I did it to someone else.
    Also, not only are they attacking you, but the designer of the sock kit as well.
    I think it’s sad that someone would spend the time to tell you that what you are knitting is ugly. If I see something I don’t like on someone’s blog, I just don’t say anything at all. After all, if you can’t say something nice….

  504. As somebody said earlier, it’s probably a forum sensibility gone slightly astray. If this were a forum, we probably *could* have a pretty interesting conversation about what kind of socks we like, how many people like wearing really fancy socks vs. don’t, and so on. Hopefully a polite, interesting, and entertaining conversation.
    I hope the tone of your blog and its comments stays mostly polite because I like it that way. And I appreciate your efforts to encourage that atmosphere.
    On two unrelated notes–for the content of your blog, I hope you keep doing what you’re doing. I love it. And I’d really like the Vintage socks translated into mittens. (I’ll post the suggestion on the designer’s blog if nobody has already.) I think I’d feel comfortable wearing fancy mittens, and I *really* need to knit those leaves and the grape pattern. Just because.

  505. I was taught that if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. Anyone who would break that rule wouldn’t be considered a friend…ciao

  506. I think the anonymity of the Internet (they are invisible and many are using fake names) makes people feel powerful. Even though no one ever built themselves up by tearing other people down, it is equally true that many (most) people never mature past the adolescent stage and what they are really trying to accomplish is pretty much the same thing as jumping up and down and yelling, “Look at me! Not her! Me! Me! Me!” That’s really what most criticism is about — an attempt to draw attention TOWARD the critic and away from the unworthy individual being criticized.

  507. In Kentucky we say, “A person has a right to their opinion. A person also has a right to swing their arm, but….their right to swing that arm ends where my nose begins!” Don’t be swinging an arm at the Queen! We’ll all line up to kick some arse. Is that how she spells that? I just love it!

  508. As a society, we don’t live for each other or the group anymore, we live for the individual. (A very problematic approach.) Sure, it sounded great when the Greeks talked up democracy, and the Americans made a Declaration about the whole thing, and thousands marched in the 60’s for civil rights, but they were all striving for the recognition of a person’s inherent value as an individual. Where this falls apart is when we all begin to scrap and strive for what we perceive as our entitlement, and it becomes the proverbial rat race. Along the way, we lose our voice, stop caring about each other, and feel that we must speak up and be heard, no matter what. Enter the rude person who felt it was their right, no, their duty to speak up. No care for what the outcome might be, so long as they have had their piece. Sadly, there probably wasn’t an intended outcome, other than to have a totally selfish moment.
    I’m sorry that person felt they had to let you know like they did. I think the socks are wonderful. Like you, I would probably never wear them, not because they are not a work of art (they are) but because I am not nearly fashion sensible enough to figure out “the” outfit that would showcase them to the world. After all, jeans would hide the top leaves, sandals would hide the inlaid leaf, and sweatpants would just be too warm. There goes my wardrobe!

  509. What’s up with the feeding frenzy here? Comments on the sock on that last page contain the words “beautiful”, “stunning”, and “amazing” many, many, many times. There were two comments that said “fugly”. Why would someone say, on this blog, that they didn’t like the socks? Gee, maybe for the same reason so many people said they DID like the socks — simple expression of opinion. Neither commenter was really anonymous (this page asks for email/URL), and they did not insult the writer (Stephanie). They just said the socks were ugly. I think it’s fair, when tons of pictures of an object are put on a blog for public scrutiny, to expect some people to give opinions on that object, don’t you?

  510. What are they hoping will happen? They are hoping to take you down a peg, to knock you to a level below them so they can feel superior. They are people with (knitting) esteem issues. Sad, but true.

  511. I just have to add that this isn’t something that only happens in blogs. My husband, who was only used to the patterned cross stitch variety of crafts and fibre arts, used to think it was okay to give his two bits whenever I showed him my more “liberal” style of art. “this is not your mother’s cross stitch” was a comment I had to make over and over again. Finally I realized that he just hadn’t learned to appreciate someone else’s art for what it is and not try to make it what he wants art to be. Now when I show him my knitting or needle felting, or cake decorating (where I have a really creative hand cuz, you know, it’s gonna get eaten in 10 minutes so why not have some fun) or whatever, he now knows how to appreciate the art in it, rather than look for the usefulness or try to define it. People need to be taught. That’s all. His life experience before had taught him that things should match and be evenly spaced and measurable. And…go with the drapes. Now he knows better. He still doesn’t prefer it, but he can appreciate it with good manners.

  512. Why negative comments on blogs?
    I agree with most of the comments above—but in this case I think beyond the anonymity of the internet is the idea of becoming a “public” person with a blog. On the one hand the blog is somewhat like being invited into your living room–especially since you are so open, warm and chatty, but in another way, psychologically (and that is what I do for a living), you also are a very public person who writes books and wins awards. People frequently feel surprisingly entitled to directly criticize celebrities (and despite your modesty you are a celebrity) and do not imagine that they have the power to hurt the celebrity’s feelings. Others want to hurt the celebrity and say, in essence, “you aren’t so great, that project is ugly.”
    You live in Toronto among mostly well-brought up people. Perhaps as I live in NYC (where there are also lovely people), there are many people who would be happy to declare that a project I was working on or a dress I was wearing to be ugly to my face, when I know where they live. They would feel they were simply uttering their opinion and imagine (often wrongly) that I would be interested in said opinion. Such people sometimes can handle criticism back to them and sometimes are surprisingly thin skinned.
    So while I agree that anonymity allows some to post critical things they would not say face to face, there are others who post on the blog just as they would speak in person. Most of them think even their negative opinion is something that others want to know. I will say this probably doesn’t win them many friends.

  513. I love watching you knit things that are different and that I would not knit myself because I always learn something from your experiences.

  514. I appreciated Laura’s comment about seeing this behavior in the teenagers that she has taught. She said: “there appears to be an honest desire to discuss differences of opinion.” This is such a refreshing vision of the people behind the words.
    In fact, I think it is important to remember that saying things such as, “that person is rude.” or “that person is stupid.” can be just as hurtful as someone saying “that sock is ugly.”
    If we are astounded by other’s behavior so much that we leap to the keyboard and spout nasty things back, aren’t we becoming what we are trying to denounce?
    That is why I so appreciate our dear Yarn Harlot’s well-thought, gentle missive that prompts us to think without attempting to hurt others, even those in the “ugly sock” camp. Stephanie, I think you are setting a great standard for open discourse, even on such hotly-debated topics as socks, where we can interact with respect and kindness….knitters step up!

  515. Forgot to mention the obvious, the socks are gorgeous. Would I make them – yes…would I wear them, no. I think for me a lot of knitting is the challange of the construction, technique, and being able to make something that Stephanie can !!! I have numerous things (including the “Mystery Stole” that I have completed and not worn….it was the challange !!!
    Actually, I was thinking, they would make an absolute awesome wine bottle gift wrap thingy…of course it would have to be about a $500 bottle of wine !

  516. I think someone is more likely to say something that they wouldn’t say to your face here because it’s almost anonymous. They don’t have to look you in the eye and say something that might hurt you. They merely have to sit at home, in whatever state they are currently in, and put their hands to the keyboard and let whatever come out of their fingers. Virtually no consequence. You don’t know who they are (usually) and can therefore do nothing back to them.
    Don’t worry about them. (Not that you are) If it takes saying that a great pair of socks that are a work of art are, to them, ugly to make them feel better, so be it.

  517. omfg! i won’t go on the rant i was planning to since everyone has covered everything i was planning on ranting on, i just wanted to add my voice to the cacophony.

  518. Well, I don’t like that sock pattern precisely because I don’t think it would be comfortable in my shoes and I, therefore, will not knit it. I’d rather knit something I am sure will feel nice on my rather sensitive feetsies.
    But if you want to knit something for its artistic appeal or to master a technique or to give to someone with less sensitive feet that I happen to have, I am certainly not expecting you to ask my permission to do so. Nor – without you asking about it – would I have said so. I don’t think they are ugly – they are pretty – but comfort is a big motivator in whether I choose to knit something.

  519. Maybe it’s easy to type something negative because you know that probably you would never meet that person face to face and that somehow, this level of impersonality (is that a word?) makes one more likely to say things that they would never say to another person’s face. Reading comments on blogs and knitting daily has made me wonder the same thing lately.

  520. I think it’s because typing is so much more anonymous than speaking. With all due respect Stephanie (and, believe me, you are due a lot of it!) I think that your question about what someone is trying to accomplish with that type of comment is a lovely and wonderful reflection of your view of humankind. It assumes that comments are, when ‘negative’, coming from a constructive intention. Some people type before they think, and some just like the look of their own words.

  521. Maybe all the nasty talk radio, ala Rush Limbaugh, has taken over our mouths!
    Just consider the source, Stephanie–we all love reading your words and seeing your knitting.

  522. Sabine wrote, “I think too often, readers get so personally involved with a blog, that just as they love to hear all your thoughts, they begin to think you would love to hear all of theirs. None of us are privy to your negative stuff: you edit it out. But readers might be wrapped in the illusion that they are getting it all from you, and so they spill it all back.”
    And I tend to agree with that in a nut shell. It also reminds me of a comment my mother-in-law made at Christmas-time regarding watching TV shows like Oprah, and it is this: what happened to people’s sense of decorum? Everybody standing yelling and screaming at the top of their lungs when someone walks out on the stage, or for whatever reason…our sense of courtesy and manners seem to have been erroded over the past 20 years or so.
    I hope we can get that back. Hitting a ‘send’ button allows for instant communication, and possibly instant regret at the same time. Whereas in another time, we would have been allowed some time to contemplate whether or not the comments should be made or kept to ourselves in the first place. That buffer, or filter of time is now gone…

  523. Can never understand why we need to be so unkind to each other…what would love do/say now is my motto!

  524. If this has already been said, then please ignore. I’m too a)lazy, b)busy, and c)distracted to read all the above comments. I just wanted to say that many of us still view the internet and all its attendant commentary as private discussion, even though we know that there is nothing private about the email. Also, many of us blog readers forget that a blog is a one-way communication. Blogs can be so personal that we readers forget that YOU DON’T KNOW US! In fact, I feel as though I know you better than I know my own sister. Its easy to forget that you don’t know me. If I saw you walking down the street I might hug you because I feel as though you are a dear friend. Never mind that we’ve never met. Therefore, when I (well, not me) write to you that such and such is ugly, it is as though we are confiding to a good friend. Its meant to show how close we actually are, that I can confide in you. It is sort of a nudge-nudge, wink-wink, ain’t that ugly.
    And about the pink. You should really give it another try. With silver streaks in my hair, pink makes me look alive. Just sayin…

  525. Dude. I am SO jealous about your snow.
    Here in Victoria (BC), we’ve gotten 1/2 cm so far, in two snowfalls.

  526. I think that on a blog that regularly received only a handful of comments, you wouldn’t see that sort of behaviour. But I think sometimes people don’t appreciate the fact that you are a real person just like us that read this blog, and that you do read all the comments. It makes it more faceless (unless you were to regularly reply to a majority of comments daily, then that humanizes it just a bit more but who the hell has time for that?) and people are more apt to express their true feelings, much like verbal diarrhea, in a very ugly and succint fashion. For the sheer number of comments you regularly get, I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more.

  527. Geeze, I could be up all night reading these comments!
    Why to people do anything they do??
    I am guessing it has to do with “power” and/or “meanness.” I think most “decent” people would simply not comment if they didn’t like it, or tactfully say something to the effect that it’s not their personal taste. To say “ugly” seem that it might imply intent of some nature. Which obviously you’re wondering too—what is their point in being so blunt.
    Well, personally, I think out culture in general has lost some of it’s civility over the years (I’m 52). I agree though, I tend to think there would be a reason why they used the word ugly. Maybe they don’t even know why, though. Years ago my supervisor at work told me “Hurt people hurt.” I know you say you’re not “hurt” by this remark, but I can’t help but wonder what the senders intention was.

  528. Hello There,
    I have never thought anything you knit or
    Anything i could see on your blog was ughly.
    I m not just saying that either.Even though you stated you didnt care.
    Hey,you make more money than i do,so your probley a lot smarter than alot of us.Why should anyone find fault?
    You know what,people have actually to my face told me things like,Im ughly or my clothes are ughly
    or something stupid.

  529. I’m just guessing here, but perhaps the comment is from one who either just wants to yank your chain, is an obvious anti-popular anything, or has the need to get their point accross regardless of the effect on the receiver? (I have a family member like that) Maybe there’s a bit of jealousy? Did you girls find a car in that pile of snow?

  530. I think I pretty much feel like you do. I see a lot of things on blogs that I personally don’t like. I’m sure I knit a lot of things that others don’t like. I’d NEVER go on someone’s blog and say, “Hey, that’s an ugly color” or “Why on earth are you making THAT?” Sometimes people will ask for color opinions, for example, and I’ll offer my opinion if it’s asked. I’d rather not comment at all or I’ll avoid saying anything that could come across as being rude. I don’t care for that kind of comment on my blog, so I won’t do that to someone else, either. We all knit what we like and what pleases us (most of the time), and the world would be a mighty boring place if we all liked and made the same things.

  531. I think they are fantastic as a challenging project. As a knitter that also try’s things because they are different and interesting, I say WELL DONE !!

  532. Well they must feel like your family because the only person I’ve ever heard utter those words are my mother. And she didn’t use ugly, she used “That dress looks like a shower curtain” or “Why did you were that dress to the wedding, it’s too matronly!” So you must make them feel like family. I would never ever think of criticizing your work, it’s amazing! I want to try those socks because it looks like a huge challenge. But you’ve got me scared! If the pattern gave you problems, what about an intermediate knitter like myself!

  533. “Not really for me”
    “Not to my taste”
    Those are acceptable. “Ugly” is not.
    Unless you’re talking about hate crimes. Those are ugly.

  534. I have been flamed for making a silly sarcastic comment that was meant to be funny (honestly!)but interpreted as mean. Yes, my writing skills leave something to be desired but there is common courtesy ya know…
    Some folks are just plain ornery.

  535. Great post Steph, but despite your addendum, there simply isn’t a better word than rude to describe such behavior especially when someone is sharing their life and their passions as you do so well in this blog,
    Yes, the Internet allows relative anonymity but such a comment is just thoughtless and completely self-centered. Words can hurt, do hurt sometimes.

  536. I went back and read the “fugly” comment (and the apologetic ones that followed) and I think that some people think about their comments like they were sitting around talking to friends. Sometimes we say things to friends we probably shouldn’t because we think they will realize we don’t mean any harm.

  537. Every so often the ‘living room’ needs tidying up – and I always appreciate the way in which you do it so politely.
    Somehow we have lost the distinction between the privacy of the diary or shopping list or whatever writing is meant for ourselves alone and failed to remember that what is on the internet, no matter how intimate it may seem at times, is, in fact, very public. It behooves us to remember this for our own integrity and the honesty and privledge of the chance for the debate.
    Thanks for the good reminder.

  538. I don’t know why people would say something insulting and mask it with a sorry. Didn’t we have this conversation about a year ago? It seems like it will never stop. I don’t think blatant, uncaring honesty is the best policy. My husband (who knows very little about knitting and still could recognize the hard work involved), said that it is because they would never put the time or effort into something of that magnitude. True? Maybe. Who knows? The fact remains that these socks were a Herculian task and there is no excuse, reason, or justification to say something disheartening. You worked your ass off. You are celebrating the fruits of your labor. It has absolutely nothing to do with how the socks look, so why even go there? Again, who knows?
    Love ya, look forward to every chance meeting at fiber festivals, you are terrific and have far more determination than I.
    P.S. He also said that if anyone wants to give you a hard time about it tell em to pi$$ off.

  539. Rude is rude… there is no justification.
    I could never say that… think yes. Not say out loud.
    The internet allows a false sense of anonymity … I think folks tend to let their true personalities out instead of hide them.
    I do think that the “comment respectfully or don’t comment at all” should be the golden rule of blog feedback.

  540. Clearly they are jealous and lack the skill to create those very challenging looking socks. Their only recourse is to insult what they can’t do, letting that be their explanation for why they aren’t knitting that particular thing.
    Process vs. product.

  541. For what it’s worth, I think those socks are breathtaking! Works of art! I probably wouldn’t wear them either because my dogs would destroy them but I certainly am in awe of the work that went into them and their beauty. I feel sorry for people that can’t appreciate them and even sorrier for whatever causes people to be rude. People like that must not have much peace in their souls.

  542. I’m incredibly jealous of all of the snow! I love your blog and how you remind us that all knitters–even the incredibly talented and gifted like yourself–have ups and downs with projects. Chin up. I can’t wait to see finished pics of the Vintage socks!

  543. So, several things. If you think something’s ugly, think it, but don’t say it, fer goodness sake.
    Still, you do have the most civilized group of commenters I’ve seen most anywhere on teh intarwebs…
    Those socks are amazing. I’m knitting a shrug, which is my first shaped thing besides a hat, and it’s not in wool, and we’ll just see how it comes out (I’ve restarted it once or twice in the last year and half).
    I love your writing, your knitting and your wit. I love to read your blog each day. Thank you for sharing so many of your talents with us all.
    –Corey, Salt Lake City

  544. To me, one of the most interesting aspects of the debate is the conversation about whether a blog is living room space or a public forum. Stephanie, I am wondering if you could explain more of why you take the former approach, especially given that you are more of a public figure than the average blogger. I am curious largely because I instinctively agree with you, but find some of the counter arguments in the comments quite compelling.

  545. It was just pure ignorance. Plain and simple.
    Seriously, all serious knitters know the socks are beautiful.
    Enjoyed watching you knit them. Never seen anything like them.

  546. First, the socks are amazing. I’m a small k knitter who just likes to keep busy; they leave me gobsmacked and slackjawed. I don’t know why anybody would criticize them – they’re Art and while Art is highly personal, still a civilized person can usually recognize it as Art. I am dumbfounded at this project, (and at the amount of work you can produce in any given week).
    Do you think the problem is that they’re socks? Other knitting seems to be tolerated better by the people I run into, whereas socks provoke a really visceral response and not usually in a good way.
    Case in point – I was caucusing a few years back and had my sock in progress. A woman came all the way across a school lunchroom to ask what I was doing. When I told her, she said “That’s an awful lot of work for a dirty old sock” and headed all the way back to her seat.
    The sock was clean. The sock was so new as to be not actually even a sock yet. When the sock was potentially the sleeve of a child’s garment, it was attractive and interesting. Only as a sock was it not to be borne.
    Were I a better, Yarn Harloty type of person, I would knit this woman a pair of socks to teach and corrupt her. But, I’m sorry – such a person doesn’t deserve handmade socks and even if it means that her feet are naked and cold forever, she shall not get them from me.
    This incident was so outrageous that it has passed into couple’s code. At any appropriate time, Jim will quote it, we’ll both laugh and everybody else in the room will look at us oddly.
    On the plus side, at this week’s caucus I whipped out my knitting and a woman at my table exclaimed “Damn, you brought your knitting! You are so smart! I wish I’d brought mine.”
    But that was a sweater.

  547. The only reason I can think of that people might make tres rude comments like that (excluding the obvious – they might just be a big tit out to rain on your parade) is that they think if they express admiration/respect for your creation that indicates they like it and they don’t want people to think that’s their taste – what they obviously think of as bad taste. However this is YOUR blog, and with some exceptions I’m sure, nost people are here because they want to hear about YOU, and don’t spend much time contemplating what one person’s comments say about them. The naval gazers will always think it’s all about them…
    Coherent as always. Too little sleep, too much wine.

  548. There’s a certain anonymity to be found behind a computer screen, like one might see in a car. Some people behave in a hugely uncivil manner thinking that no one can “see” them. They might bully their way to the front of the line in their car — a thing that they would never do in a grocery store because some little old lady would beat them senseless with a can of beans. Likewise, put them behind a computer screen and they think they are somehow released from the bonds of polite behavior. They say hurtful, inflammatory things that would make their mother smack their faces off if she heard. Neither behavior is acceptable, but it does happen. I’m sorry that you were the target.

  549. I understand what you are trying to say. I look at a lot of finished knitted products on blogs that I do not like, whether it be color, pattern, or both. I have never said so, and I either do not comment, or find something nice to say. Maybe that is my training to be a teacher, but you try to find something about the person or the thing to say something nice about. Or you say nothing.

  550. You pose a great question! Why *do* people think it is okay to be a jerk in a public domain. And second, what do they get out of it? My fiance is a grad student and teaches New Media 100 and one of his students turned in an excellent essay last semester about this very topic! If I can find the file I’ll send it your way. It’s very elucidating and well written for a first-year college student. The gist of the essay was that people feel free and anonymous and this anonymity allows them to feel invincible. It’s almost like the dreams people have where they tell someone off that they’ve been frustrated with in a forceful and satisfying way. Except, I think being a jerk in a public domain is like partaking of guilty pleasures that have no satisfaction anymore, like indulging in a few scoops of ice cream that you don’t really want to eat, but you do anyway. Does any of this make sense? I can’t tell. Let me know if you’d be interested in that essay, and in the meantime, I’ll see if I can track it down.

  551. Wow, what a lot of comments to read! I’m glad that the comments didn’t hurt your feelings. My first concern was for the designer because I know she reads your blog. I spent a number of years moderating a fairly large YahooGroup. I think that many people (and I consider myself one of them) have developed their social skills online. If you are a shy person, you might get chances online to be forthright that you couldn’t take in person. Mistakes will be made. I have watched a lot of people develop social skills over a period of being online. So I guess what I’m saying is that not everyone starts at the same place, and even if we see a behavior that looks horrid, we don’t know much about why it happened or if it is part of a process towards more felicitous skill in the future.