So, on a non-knitting mailing list I belong to (I know, hard to believe), someone asked about yarn charities and aside from rattling off the easy ones (Afghans, Dulaan), I got into a discussion with someone about Warm Up America and my frustration with them (I have a pile of squares sitting in a box because they want you to donate locally but don’t give you easy ways to find local recipients, and don’t get me started on their partnership with Michael’s Crafts).
I did a little Google research thinking that I really should send off my box of squares somewhere and I encountered what I’ve always found frustrating about yarn charities: there aren’t really good collections of them anywhere. Too many of them have limited lists of charities, too many links are broken because the charity no longer has a website, too many of them have changed their needs, etc. And the frustrating thing is, I know what needs to be fixed, but I can’t do it, because it’s not my page.
Now, I don’t want to start my own page that will fall victim to all of those same complaints. Hell, I can’t even always keep up with my Hanne spreadsheet requests (I’m caught up right now, I swear!). But if I’m going to the trouble of looking for specific sites and finding out what is current or not, well, I want to do something with it.
So I immediately thought of the best online evolving knowledge base out there - Wikipedia. And a quick look showed me that there were exactly two yarn charities listed: Project Linus and Knit A River. So I spent a little time setting up an account and creating a yarn charities page and making entries for Afghans and Dulaan and the Red Scarf Project. And just as I was about to go look for more to add, I got an ominous message — these entries were not “notable”. What?! (grr, stupid non-knitting geeks.) I tried to pump up my entries by making reference to the ones that were already there and by listing the famous knitters that support these projects and all the press that they have received. Didn’t matter, they were deleted anyway (as were the two that existed when I first started!). So I decided that rather than fight the battle with the muggles, I’d go off to find a better venue.
I couldn’t remember if there was a knitting wiki out there, and I had the means to make my own if not. Well, turns out there’s a fine one. It’s just a baby (started 2/2007) and it needs your love and support:
What’s a Wiki you ask? It’s a collaborative website, a big database of knowledge. Some are general, some are specific. Anyone who reads it can also add or edit content. So the best part is, if you read a page and think “Hey, they spelled that word wrong” or “How can anyone talk about Mosaic Knitting without mentioning Barbara Walker?!”, you can fix it! You don’t have to know HTML or how to make webpages to participate, but there is a bit of Wiki code that you might have to manipulate. There are plenty of help resources out there, and KnitWiki uses the same code as Wikipedia. And there’s a help mailing list at Yahoo for the Wiki as well.
I added the few yarn charity entries that I’d made for Wikipedia. I’m hoping to take over the Yarn Store Listings project, because big long lists of stores just aren’t manageable (so if you are inclined to add your favorite store, please wait a bit until the format gets worked out). And I’ve started writing small articles about whatever knit topic I come across most recently (today I created some pages about Yarn Forwards and Yarn Overs, and it grew from there).
Post a button on your blog (there are a bunch of choices). Talk about it. Go make an account. And go make it better! If everyone who reads this posts just one article, we could make it explode with knowledge! See this list of wanted pages, surely you know some of that!