Last week was my first blogiversary. It’s interesting to look back and see how Stitches by the Sea has evolved over the last 12 months.
One of the reasons I started the blog was to keep up with my “every year learn a new skill” plan. This has included all sorts of things, from beat-boxing to playing the ukelele via needle felting, proggy mats and book editing. I’d reached November and was getting worried that I hadn’t fulfilled a new skill for 2019 when I got started. I was doing a lot of knitting at the time and there was always a story to each project: why I was doing it, where I bought the yarn and so on, so it started off being mainly about that, but I soon brought in other things, often about Northumberland. This is a beautiful part of the world steeped in history and teeming with wildlife, so I’d often write about local places of interest.
A couple of regular features emerged early on. Knit and Natter Fridays included write ups on the two knitting groups I’m in. the other members have also kindly let me photograph and write about their projects. I also wrote a “Scone of the Week” post, writing about weekly trips to visit local cafes with my mother. The two of us became serious cheese scone critics as we assessed the texture, flavour and presentation of every one we tried.
Of course all that changed in Spring 2020 when the Coronavirus Pandemic led to a national lockdown. For a while I lost my blogging mojo and really struggled to find things to write about – I wasn’t even doing much knitting. I did always feel better for being out in nature however and our daily dog walks around the village became a new focus. Taking the same route every day meant that I could really see the changing seasons. As the year went on I could see the lambs getting bigger, the crops in the fields growing and different wildflowers coming into bloom. This turned into a regular “Wildflower of the Week” post, which involved trying to take better photographs and doing a bit of research about the plants I wrote about. It really helped me hone my wildflower recognition skills.
The other main change is that my social life is now almost totally lived online. With friends, choir and knitting groups now meeting via Zoom. The quality of the photos is nowhere near as good when you use screenshots unfortunately, but that’s the way it has to be.
There have been some lovely and quite unexpected aspects of blogging too. I had forgotten just how much I actually enjoy writing. I did have to write reports and other stuff when I was working, but writing for pleasure is quite different, especially when you are writing about things you love. I’ve also really enjoyed becoming part of the blogging community. Although I do use various social media platforms, I find them increasingly toxic. I have found fellow bloggers however to be supportive, kind, and generous in their comments. The blog has kept me in touch with far-flung friends too. It’s always lovely to hear from them when they’ve read something of interest on the blog. I didn’t quite get to 100 followers in my first year: 96 people followers to date, so not far off. I’d like to thank everyone who has followed or read my blog, especially those that comment. I really appreciate it.
These days I don’t panic about missing a few days without writing – when I started I blogged every day without fail, but this is after all something I do for pleasure so I don’t put myself under that sort of pressure any more. If I don’t have something to write about I won’t do it. Looking forward I wonder how the blog will evolve over the next year!
P S: Today I reached 100 followers. That’s 2 milestones in one week!