Q: What is The Knitting Needle and the Damage Done all about?
A: The main purpose of this site is to provide knitters with honest, helpful, and entertaining critiques of the latest knitting patterns as offered to us by most of the major knitting magazines. I regularly review sixteen different knitting magazines, plus some special issues. You could visit the websites of all these magazines to look at their preview pictures, of course, but it'll be much easier and faster, and (I hope!) more fun for you to keep up with the most recent knitting magazines by reading this one blog. This site is updated three times a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), and whenever there isn't a new magazine for me to review, I write posts on other topics of interest to knitters. I will, for instance, offer a selection of patterns on a theme or a knitting-related video, write about some aspect of knitting history or the textile arts, or post about useful accessories and new techniques for knitters. About once a month I do a "knitting fables" post, which features photos of bizarre and/or hilariously bad knitwear, each of which is accompanied by a brief (fictional) back story.
Q: Who are you in real life?
A: My real name is Bethany Rae, I live in Toronto, and I am a freelance editor and writer. I have two other two blogs: The Orange Swan Review, which is a book review and personal essay blog; and Modwardian, which is a blog about the things I make.
Q: Where else are you active online?
A: I'm on Ravelry as OrangeSwan, and there is a Ravelry group for this blog. I'm on Twitter as Orange Swan. And there's an accompanying Facebook page for this blog that's updated almost daily, not only with links to new posts on this blog, but also with a lot of fun, interesting shares. I am also on Pinterest.
Q: Do you work for or with any of the knitting publications you review?
A: No, I am a completely independent reviewer and blogger. My one professional association is with the U.K.-based yarn company Love Knitting, for which I have written some guest blog posts. I also participate in the affiliate advertising programs offered by Interweave, Amazon.com, and AdSense by running their ads on this site, but none of the companies that advertise on my blog have any say as to the content.
Q: How can I help support this blog?
A: You can best support this blog by reading it yourself, and by sharing links with others. If you are planning on shopping at either the Interweave Store or Amazon.com, you can help me by visiting those sites via the links I've provided in the top right sidebar of the main page. I will get a small percentage of whatever you spend during those visits (10% from Interweave and 4-8.5% from Amazon) at no extra cost to you. There is also a donation button on the front page.
Q: Will you send me copies of some of the patterns you've mentioned on this blog?
A: No, I absolutely can't do that. I have no affiliation with any of the publications I review and don't have the legal right to distribute any of the patterns I write about. If you see a pattern you like, follow the links I've provided to purchase the pattern from a rightful source, i.e., Ravelry, the web site for the magazine the pattern appeared in, or the designer's web site.
Q: Will you help me with my knitting project?
A: That's really not why I'm here. If you need help with a knitting project, your best bet is to visit the Ravelry forums, where there's a large pool of knitters to ask and there'll always be a few people with the knowledge, the spare time, and the willingness to coach you.
Q: There's a knitting magazine I like that you don't review. Will you start reviewing it?
A: I'm definitely open to suggestions regarding more knitting magazines to review. Feel free to make such suggestions either in the comments here, via email, or on the Facebook page for this blog. One thing to keep in mind is that I can't review a magazine or a book of patterns unless I have access to preview photos or a review copy. There are knitting magazines out there that I'm aware of and would love to review but can't review because, again, they haven't much of a web presence and don't post a full set of their pattern photos online. I'm hoping that in time more magazines and craft book publishers may begin to send me review copies of their publications for review as is the practice with book publishers and established book reviewers. This would mean that my reviews could include a critique of the issue as a whole, including the articles, which would be great. (I am aware that I may never receive review copies from some publishers, of course, especially given the tenor of my reviews [cough].) However, there's always the possibility I may have missed a knitting magazine that I could be reviewing, so if you know of one that I don't review but that does publish preview photos, by all means let me know.
Q: Are you open to suggestions for blog post topics? I have a topic that I'd like you to write about.
A: I'm happy to consider all suggestions for topics to write about. Feel free to make suggestions either in the comments here, via email, or on the Facebook page for this blog.
Q: Are there any guidelines as to what you do and don't allow in the comments?
A: I delete all spam and most self-promotional comments, and the occasional accidental duplicate comment. Otherwise I don't think I've deleted any comments for objectionable content yet. My experience with online communities is that a heavy-handed moderation style is a terrible idea because it creates resentment, drives away the kind of thoughtful, intelligent commenters I want to attract, and is antithetical to open discussion, so I'm aiming for a light moderating touch here. My main guideline is that all comments should be respectful in tone. You are welcome to disagree with me or other commenters, but you must do so civilly. The only other two guidelines I have are that I would like people to stay on topic (there are plenty of other online places for all of you to discuss non-knitting related topics), and I would like us all to stay away from critiquing the knitwear models' physical appearances. Comments about a model's expression or stance or the way she or he is styled are fine, as these things are voluntary and part of the presentation of a knitwear design, but negative comments about a model's figure or facial features aren't. I really do not want to see any comments about whether the model should or shouldn't eat a sandwich.
Q: I saw an ad on your blog that I think is offensive. What can I do about that?
A: Email me the link for whatever site the ad is advertising, and I'll look into it. I have previously blocked ads for scam weight loss products, a "dating site" offering connections to "hot Asian women", and a Toronto-area "cash for jewelry" business with a long history of buying stolen goods, so I do have some standards as to what kind of ads I allow here, but I'm not necessarily seeing the same ads as you and might not know about it. I would definitely like this blog to be the one place on the net where we're all free from seeing those obnoxious "One Weird Tip" ads, or pop-ups, and I've also tried to keep the front page from becoming too ad-heavy.
Q: Is this all the frequently asked questions you have? I don't see mine here.
A: Please email me with any other questions you have.