That’s one of my father’s phrases. Whether it’s finishing a chore, getting out of an unwanted responsibility, or just speaking one’s mind, he’ll often mark his accomplishment with “Well, that’s a blow for freedom.”
And what have I freed myself from? The “disagree” button on Ravelry. The first time I ever even noticed its existence was when someone disagreed a new shawl design I’d posted. Perhaps I should be made of stronger stuff, but it felt like a punch in the gut. The shawl wasn’t all that complicated, but I’d worked on it, I liked it, and I figured some other people out there might like it too. And within a few hours there along the bottom of my post was the disheartening judgement: “disagree (1).” Ouch!
As I followed 20 Shawls in 2010 on Ravelry, I started seeing a lot more disagrees. Usually I could guess what the disagree-er was dissatisfied withâ€”the piece posted was a scarf, or maybe could have been a scarf, or maybe the post included unblocked, but not blocked, pictures. I mean, a sin of that natureâ€”to let it passed unnoticed would threaten the very foundation of our knitting community. (This is sarcasm, get it?)
I have this crazy mental picture of a woman who’s appointed herself captain of the knitting police and who surfs Ravelry with a bitterness in her heart, looking for opportunities to find other people’s work inadequate. Maybe she has a daily disagree quota set for herself, like the quotas police are rumored to have for certain kinds of tickets. Maybe after twenty disagrees, she feels like she’s defended her knitterly fortress and made it safe for one more day.
I am no saint. I have had my moments where I’ve looked at something that was posted for 20 Shawls in 2010 and thought “that’s not a shawl.” In the privacy of my own home, I make catty remarks about knits I find unattractive. But it would never cross my mind to disagree. Knitting is a hand craft. Our hands craft it. It is what we say it is. We’re on the honor system here. If the person who knit a piece is going to use it as a shawl, if she’s put a shawl’s worth of wok into it, if it seems shawly to her, I’m not going to call her out in public by disagreeingâ€”even if I do disagree.
So the blow for freedom? I’ve just discovered that if I go to the “settings” tab on my Ravelry forum page, I can unclick disagree. Poof! It’s gone! I never have to know when some stranger finds fault with a knitted pieceâ€”my own or someone else’s. Amazing how good that feels.