Next up in Blog Week is blogger who has been more of a recent discovery for me but I've had a soft spot for ever since stumbling over her chatty blog a couple of years ago. I had the pleasure of meeting Sarah recently and was thrilled- such a sweet and genuine person. She was just how I imagined her from reading her blog!
Tomorrow, I have some #loveyourblog inspiration in the form of a podcast interview then a last blog post on Sunday to round this week off with a bang. Phew! Let me know what you've been enjoying ok? This has been a really inspiring week.
"Hi, I’m Sarah Knight and my blog is Craft from the Cwtch. I’m a 40 year old mum of two and I write about all sorts of things related to knitting including tips, tutorials, patterns and reviews. I hope to encourage novice and experienced knitters to try different things and to have fun with their craft, but this isn’t how it began.
I started my blog in 2011. It was a difficult time for our family - within a short period we had experienced my father-in-law’s sudden death, the birth of our second child and relocation to a more rural area. I’d already traded an interesting and varied job, which included travel, for long days at home with leaky boobs and nappies. Then, following his dad’s death, my husband threw himself into his career. I loved being at home with my beautiful baby and toddler, but I felt isolated and quite lonely. My life had become about taking care of everyone else’s needs and there was nothing in it which was just for me.
One day I spotted yarn and needles in the village Post Office. I already knew the basics, but learning to make more complicated things and to follow a knitting pattern seemed like a good idea for a ‘personal project’. While searching the internet for tutorials, I found lots of knitting and crochet blogs I enjoyed, and I quickly decided to start Crafts from the Cwtch.
Back then, my blog had a dual purpose - documenting my knitting journey and recording the best moments from our days at home. It became a good reason to take photographs of interesting things - these were the days before Instagram - and to note what I was doing with the children. It helped me to focus on positive things. Through various link parties, I became part of a virtual community of knitters and crocheters. I could relate to these women and I got a great deal of practical help, as well as laughter and inspiration from their blogs and comments - several have become friends in ‘real’ life.
Looking back at my early posts, there are occasional signs that we were dealing with more challenging aspects of life - some of my most personal posts include reflections on the loss of loved ones - but I didn’t want my blog to become a sad or negative place. This remains one of my rules - if I have nothing good to write, I won’t write at all. Thankfully, our lives are much more settled these days and I usually have plenty to write about!
I’m often asked about my goals for the blog. There has never been any ‘plan’ for CftC. As in the beginning, I’m still writing about the things that interest me. I’ve never been a slave to statistics and the blog is not a stepping-stone towards some other goal - it is what it is. I only hope that visitors leave feeling time spent on my blog has been worthwhile. I post various things I have found inspiring, but it’s not always about knitting.
When deciding what to write, I think about the things that are happening and try to present them in a way that might be useful to someone else - if I’m going to an event, I tend to post about preparing for that type of event, or what it means to me, rather than just saying that I’m going. If I try a new technique which I like, there’ll be a tutorial / discussion of when it might come in handy. As a reader, I’d find this more engaging, so I assume that the readers I attract will feel the same.
As an avid journal-keeper, I write down any ideas I have (when knitting, listening to podcasts, drawing, reading, or doing just about anything else), however small or insignificant they may seem. My journals are full of partially formed blog posts (and designs) so I need never ‘look’ for inspiration - it’s already there... provided I noted it down (I have a terrible memory).
It is a cliche but the last few years of blogging have changed my life. As well as helping me through a tricky time (in the beginning) and giving me a relaxing child-friendly hobby (essential during the ‘toddler years’), I’ve learned so much. On a personal level, blogging has made me more reflective - if I didn’t write about knitting, I wouldn’t think about it so much, and probably wouldn’t have realised just how much I missed having a creative outlet in my twenties and early-thirties. While I was busy earning a living, I didn’t make time for the things that fulfil me the most. I have learned that my well-being is directly related to the amount of creativity in my life, and it doesn’t really matter whether it comes in the form of knitting, doodling, writing my blog or colouring with the kids. Creating - anything - is really important to me.
On a practical level, blogging has developed my writing skills and helped me to remain disciplined and organised, despite being home alone a lot of the time. It has taught me to remain curious and not get stuck in a rut with my craft. It has brought some lovely opportunities my way too - I didn’t plan to design or write knitting patterns, but that has been a natural progression and something I enjoy very much. Nowadays I’m invited to take part in all sorts of interesting things (like #LoveYourBlog!) and to contribute to blogs and publications alongside some of the people I have been following since 2011. It feels quite strange as I’m just sitting in my Cwtch, writing about the things I’m interested in. I’m constantly amazed that something which really started out of loneliness has had such a positive impact on my life and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Sarah’s Top Tips for loving your blog:
- Read other blogs to figure out what you like and don’t like, but don’t compare yourself to other bloggers or try to imitate them. Doing your own thing, in a way that feels right to you, will help you to find your voice and to attract the ‘right’ readers for your blog.
- Make use of the ‘Draft’ and ‘Schedule’ functions. There will be days when you have LOTS to say - write lots of posts that day but publish only one. Save the others for the days when you have absolutely no inspiration, for there will be plenty of those too.
- It’s ok to say no. You may be offered all sorts of “opportunities” and freebies - some might sound too good to be true (they probably are). Having integrity and trusting your instincts will be worth it in the long run - stay true to yourself and to your readers.
- It’s also ok to say yes. Advertising and sponsorship can work really well for everyone involved when the brands/products are relevant and well matched. I love getting recommendations from my favorite bloggers because I feel I can trust the brands they are affiliated with.
- Keep a journal - note down your ideas and reflections, even if you don’t know what to do with them yet. You’ll be amazed at how useful they are in learning about yourself, and how much more productive you become when you do start to use them. (This tip isn’t limited to bloggers!)"