Growing New Skin

I’m home now.

Highway Home

I’m shaken, bruised, tired and demoralized.  I hurt in places I never knew existed (physically and mentally) and I have no idea what to do about it.

I look hard for the joy, the love, the positive in most of what I do – but these past weeks I’ve felt like a picture of Obama on a Fox News set.

Anyone who does anything publicly earns a certain number of positive and negative reviews.  This is natural, and in 10 years of writing and teaching I’ve certainly accrued my share of both.

When reviews – not just mine, but anyone’s – go too far on the love / hate ends of the spectrum, I instinctively begin to question whether the reviewer is honestly relating facts, or is doing a bit of either kissing up or knife sharpening.

Folks, there have been pretty awful things written about me for a long, long time.  From the time Confessions of a Knitting Heretic was published, there have been folks calling me everything but a child of god.

While it’s never easy to read bad stuff about yourself, there are phases in my life when it’s easier to deal with.  These past few weeks have not been one of those times.

The worst part about folks writing mean stuff is that – well – it’s mean.

The second worst thing is that once anything is published on the internets (true or not) it becomes a footnote to be dragged out and waved around in future.  That’s the, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire” mindset which ignores the ability of the internet to act as a smoke machine.

And, even harder, when the crap written isn’t true, it somehow hurts even moreI still can’t quite puzzle that out.

When faced with a hard truth my reaction is to stop, think  about it and try to learn/grow from the experience.  When faced with a hard lie, there’s not really much to be done.

Fighting against an untrue assertion is like fighting smoke – there’s nothing there, a lie is a hard thing to disprove.  When I read a scathing post about me on Ravelry, or a very nasty blog post dozens of anonymous and untruthful gossip snips masquerading as comments (“I heard that…”,  “Someone told me that…”, “It’s well known that…” ) there’s not really a lot that I can do.

Speaking against it lends it credence, but ignoring it can eat my soul from the inside out; neither is a positive outcome.

And it could be that I’m just too damaged / wounded / sensitive to continue doing this teaching thing.  Attack is easy, comedy is hard.

In discussing this situation with friends over the past week, one comment has been said to me several times, “That’s why I HATE the internet!”

Well, I don’t hate the internet, I enjoy it.  I’ve learned things, made friends, and have run my very small business because of the internet.  I feel it brings folks together much more than it ever could separate them.

But the haters are hard to read, my friend.

49 thoughts on “Growing New Skin

  1. The haters have to have a target, because they’re going to hate. It’s easier for them to do that than take a hard look at themselves, IMO. And when you stand out in some way or another, you become the target.

    It sucks, for the reasons you’ve stated, and it sucks that you’ve had to deal with it recently. I’m very glad you’re not letting this take away your enjoyment of the internet and the people on here who are more real, are not afraid to be supportive of others, can give and take constructive criticism, and generally know that the haters are full of shit and to ignore what they say.

  2. Hello Annie,
    I”m sorry to hear there are people out there who find it necessary to use the internet to hurt and defame people. Your blog is among my favorites. I would say to just ignore the criticism, but when you struggle to make a living and the internet is so important to meet ends, it has to be tough.
    I will say that when people choose to share their mean and/or untrue opinions, they are revealing more about their own character than yours. You Rock!

  3. Try not to read that stuff if you can. It’s like looking back to see how many Disagree clicks you got on a Ravelry post — a futile endeavor, at best.

    Haters gotta hate. 🙁


  4. Let’s spin this. I’ve never met you, or taken one of your classes. I’ve oohed and aahed over your patterns but haven’t yet knit one. I’ve read your blog off and on for a few years but never commented. I am not qualified to give an opinion on you or your work. Which is why I’m giving one on the internet.

    What I’ve heard through other knitting blogs that I read is that you are an incredibly talented teacher, clearly a talented designer, and more than than, an absolute delight to spend time with. In the fun-fun force of nature way where when you walk in the room, people light up because they know their day is going to get so much better. I would jumpt at the chance to have a beer with you.

    There’s my internet gossip for the day.

  5. Ah, Annie, don’t let the b—–ds get you down! There will always be people who are mean-spirited and look for nasty things to post and read.

    But your classes are always full and fun, I’m hoping that you will get back to Tulsa SOON so I can take another class with you! I would even drive to take a class with you if you were giving one in Texas, Kansas, Missouri etc. Those people who post nasty things are not happy people, and have to attack someone.

    And unfortunately not everyone is going to like you (and I don’t mean this in a mean way, I mean it in a general way in that no one is liked by everyone), you are a strong person and some people may feel uneasy with that, I happen to like that style and I learned a lot from you – a whole lot.

    BUT they don’t have to post nasty snipey things. That’s just mean. Hang in there and please please please don’t give up teaching!! I think you get many more positive feedbacks than you do negative even though it’s the negs that one tends to remember. Try to let those roll off your back (I know, easier said than done!!!).


  6. Annie,

    I’m very sincerely sorry that you are hurting right now. I know first hand how much it hurts to have people who know virtually nothing about you say nasty things about/to you. Unfortunately, you were the guilty party in the comments of this very blog. (And before we get into another arguement about “tone of voice”, I am sincerely saying this. There is no intended sarcasm, gloating, or other negitivity intended.)

      • It was one of your political posts.
        I respect your passion for your opinions, but rather than sticking strictly to policy arguments you attacked me (or who you assumed me to be) personally. The beginning of the “conversation” is still attached to your post, but it doesn’t look like the complete comments survived the transfer to WordPress.

        Mostly my point is that civility is easily lost when somebody is passionate about a topic. We all need pretty thick skins when it comes to the internet. Despite the fact that you hurt my feellings (I like to think unintentionally), I still read your blog and would never post anything negative about you or anybody else. It’s unfortunate that others don’t have a similar policy.

  7. Annie,
    All I know about you comes from this blog, but I would find it very surprising if you let a few critics get between you and teaching (or anything else you love).

    P.S. I’ve always thought your online knitting classes were a brilliant way to teach with lower overhead and more time with your family.

  8. Annie, I have taken a class with you and would happily do so again. I for one hugely appreciated your “no talking” rule, as I was hanging on your every word. Have only taken a few other classes, but have experienced fellow students who constantly make distracting side comments, and a teacher who virtually turned over the class to a student. I really felt I got my money’s worth when i took your class. It meant so much to me when you walked the room and looked at each student’s work; getting your confirmation that I was doing combination correctly meant the world to me as a new knitter. It was obvious to me that you had put a lot of thought and effort into HOW to teach. I am appreciative of the organization, energy and commitment it takes to travel and teach in different venues.

  9. I find it interesting that this is the second time I’ve seen on your blog that students have lied about you, and you posting oh how awful it is and bemoaning those mean students. Seriously?

    Suck it up. Get some perspective. All this would happen in the pre-internet age only you’d never see it in writing. You’re a grown-up, and the whining is simply childish, and given the reviews that I’ve seen, you probably aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. Just like me, just like everyone else.

    Focus on the positive and carry on.

  10. Annie,
    Misery loves company and, unfortunately, you’ve played right into their hands! There was a target on your back ever since you tried – and succeeded in – making the best of KC. Some people don’t want to make the best out of a bad situation, but would rather ruminate on how awful things are. (Like sitting in a burning house and complaining how unfair it is that the sofa’s on fire!) Constructive criticism is essential to learn and grow. But personal attacks are really a reflection of those who are unhappy with themselves. It’s still painful. But your only true defense is to continue doing your valuable work and let your overall reputation speak for itself.

  11. I suspect that the whole trip, having to be less than truthful to immigration officials, having to worry whether or not work permits would be forthcoming, the supposed trip to Dublin, the actual trip to Glasgow etc and the tension and difficulties of the week at KnitCamp, which I understand the tutors haven’t yet been paid for, has been very, very stressful.
    However dismissing the experiences of students as lies, exagerations and malicious isn’t the way to react professionally. There will as you say be those who respond to your teaching style and those who don’t. A good teacher needs to learn from all the comments that are made by their students whether or not they are positive.

  12. I disagree with the comment above that calls you whining and childish. Ten years of teaching and posting entitles you to the right to vent sometimes. I agree with Joan that personal attacks really say more about those who choose to communicate that way.
    You and your husband are very bravely dealing with a very,very tough situation. I have one of your health issues and I swear I do not know how you fly overseas and teach,feeling the way I know you do. Some days the most I can do is pitch something in the crockpot and hope for the best. And you are raising two great kids. Wow!

  13. Dear Annie, If the blog you are referring to is who I think it is, just ignore it. After Knit Camp I was also astounded to read comments about me by this person that were completely untrue and, therefore, probably legally libelous. All this without even knowing my name or bothering to check a single fact.

    She had come intending to find fault and found it everywhere she looked. Just the same I remember reading it when it had been pointed out to me and feeling my stomach lurch and fall so I can relate exactly to how you feel. It was not the pleasantest experience and, likewise, I did not enjoy having to write and reassure others that it was not true.

    On the other hand, I had a great time at Knit Camp, I loved the class I took with you (you may not remember but I was the woman with the “incipient twist”) and, now that I have gulped and moved on, I refuse to let one narrow, venomous mind spoil an otherwise super week.

    Trust me, you made many, many friends and admirers that week. Hold on to that thought. And, besides, she wasn’t even Scottish. Haste ye back.

    Ally in Scotland.

  14. I want to reiterate what others have already said about the creeps who never learned the lesson to be respectful when disagreeing. I would encourage you to ignore the trolls because there’s no way to reason with them. Their sole purpose is to disturb the cosmos but without any intent to actually make things better. They prefer to stir up disgusting falsehoods and innuendos over and over rather than do something that requires intelligent thought and creativity. These are the people I sorely wish would put their energy to a good purpose. Think what that energy could do!

    I’ve enjoyed reading your blog for years and I hate that your health has curtailed your activities and therefore your blog. Your knitting videos look great, I wish I had seen them when I was a new knitter. I hope to take a class in person some day. Get some rest and hopefully your spirits will perk up. Take care.

  15. I agree with the comments that say don’t waste energy on negativity. If there is something positive to learn from the comments, take it under advisement. Otherwise, move on with your life and your work. From all I can see, you are doing a good job and people respect your work and teaching ability. Focus on the positive!

  16. The haters *are* hard to read. I have worked in academics, and since the expansion of the internet, students run “Rate My Professor” sites that are most often fair, but sometimes downright mean and vicious. The fair statements are not always positive. The mean and vicious statements could have been worded differently so as to be fair. The meanness is always unnecessary, and it is to be hoped that knitting blogs purporting to give the real low-down on certain events could spend as much time figuring out how to shape OPINION and SPECULATION into fairly worded statements as they do trying to nose out the “latest.”

    To say something like: “I did not like this teacher’s style; she made too many jokes for my taste, and did not mediate her style for a mixed-culture class” is very different from saying “This class was shite.” A teacher can learn from the first comment, but can only take offense at the second.

    You can turn this around. “Shite” makes excellent fertilizer! I had to do a lot of “translating” in my mind when I used to spend large amounts of academic-related time in the UK. A common language fools us into believing in an imaginary common culture. American humor can seem inappropriate in another culture; so can the tone of voice we use, or even the vocal register in which we speak. You can learn from this. Sadly, the people riding the Schadenfruede Express cannot. The intelligent people get on the slow trains, the ones that stop along the way allowing passengers to get on and off, so that the conversation in the carriages actually has something to do with the passing landscape outside the windows. Keep your chin up.

  17. Annie,

    I too have a chronic illness that keeps me in pain a great deal of the time. You also have a lot of family stress in your life. I’d like to give you a ‘translation’ of the other side of things.

    You may not be aware of how you come off to some of your students. Chronic pain really wears a person down, and to couple that with stress (this all seems to be the truth: the Knit Camp goings on with admitted lack of communication to students at the least, classes being shuffled around, unknown class sizes, possible class supplies issues, jet lag and your family stress) can easily lead a person to not be at her best.

    And let’s keep in mind, people put their knitting “gurus” on a pedestal. While that’s flattering, it’s a place with high expectations and very easy to get knocked off by being human.

    You have beautiful patterns. You are obviously a very talented designer. Nothing can change that.

    Rather than take all of this and react with astonishment and distress, try to look through the angry words and see the pattern. Some students are not reacting well to you. It also appears that some organizers may feel the same. No one is perfect! My goodness, I’d love to see someone that claims to be!

    From your blog, I see a person who has a very painful health condition and a husband who is also very sick. You’ve got a lot on your plate, to say the least! I would hope that you could take this experience to not beat yourself up, but to perhaps realize that this could be a wake-up call to start taking care of yourself for a bit. Turn this brilliant focus inward, and instead of focusing on students, recharge yourself.

    And you may say, “But I need to keep teaching!” Could you instead write more of those brilliant patterns we all love so much and would line up to buy?

    The bottom line is that you are a wonderful spirit who needs some recharging. You and your family will always be more important than students could ever be.

    I wish you all the best. Pain free days and good health for all of your loved ones.

    • Amen to this. You are so talented, but stress can be a real kicker. I know you have a ton of stuff on your plate, and only hope that things will resolve in the best possible way.

    • There’s a lot of truth in what you say, but I also feel you’re not seeing the entire picture. Of course you couldn’t – no one can if I don’t share all of the comments (good and bad) that I receive when I teach, or all of the ways I incorporate these comments into my teaching style (which is constantly evolving)

      My blog post was in reaction to a particularly nasty – well – attack. I hate, and hesitated, to use that word, but it’s the best description of the incident. Please know that I do reflect quite deeply on all comments I receive from students and venues, and I try to grow from them.

      But it’s also important to differentiate a valid student comment after a class from a cataloging of my personal, professional and moral flaws as seen by one person. It’s the moving into the personal – the comments about my inadequacy as a wife and mother (how dare I teach when my husband is ill) – and the assumption that I don’t try to learn from every experience I have that are the hardest to read.

      The problem with an attack such as this – especially if it goes unanswered – is that it gets added to the, “Did you hear about Annie…” list which floats about (as it does for any person who’s taught for a certain number of years) and if I answer it, at least I’m ‘on the record.’

      I have cut down on my teaching for exactly some of the reasons you state, but I also know that my teaching in Stirling was very good. There are times in every person’s life when they feel their behavior could have been better, but I am not in the least ashamed by anything I said or did while in Stirling. In fact, I’m rather proud of how well my classes went, and how much many students learned.

      My class presence is strong, and I do require folks to be present in my classes – not distract other students, or myself – from the group goal of enhancing our knitting knowledge.

      As for ‘sucking it up’ – well, I do suck up quite a bit. And I pondered very hard whether to blog about this. But when I’d heard about another teacher who was getting a similar treatment I figured that it might be good to try to find some solace for myself by blogging about this.

      I apologize if anyone thinks I’m whining, I don’t think I am (but then I guess no one ever thinks they are.)

  18. it is very hard to ignore negative comments – hang in there, enjoy what I hope is lovely late summer weather, and have fun with your family.

  19. I enjoy your blog and your books. I think you are incredibly courageous to keep on slogging away at making a living through your knitting, patterns, teaching etc. I don’t think people who are not married to somebody with a serious chronic and potentially fatal illness can imagine what that kind of stress is like. I know because I am living that life too. On top of that to have a chronic illness your self and 2 kids you are raising, I salute you for you guts and determination, not to mention all the beautiful patterns you produce:)

  20. It sucks to have negative things said about yourself, no doubt.

    However I must address your insistence that it is hearsay.

    On blogs and comments I have seen I have not read any “I heard that…” or “so and so said…” or “Did you hear…”

    I read a lot of “This is the experience I had with Annie Modesitt as an instructor…”.

    Perhaps you should take a good, hard look at that feedback. And then take a good, hard look at yourself and the way you present yourself.

    Because one or two people saying the same negative thing could be dismissed. 20? 30? More? Nope. It’s probably you.

    • However, how many of those (in this case) are anonymous? All of them.

      I’m thinking – and of course I could be wrong – that there’s a bit of untruthfulness. I don’t allow negative anonymous comments for just that reason, it’s too easy to make things up to join in the pile on.

      I’m more than happy to address real-person comments on an actual class. I can’t respond to a blanket, ‘I read a lot of…’ if there’s not a source cited or a way for me to understand what the actual complaint is. Did someone find me rude? Of course that’s possible, I’ll own that, a few folks have been bothered when I ask them to please be quiet so everyone in class can learn. I ask a lot of my students, I expect them to work hard because they’ve paid good money for the class.

      But I can’t respond – or even really consider – a too-easy-to-make unnamed dig on a blog by an anonymous poster. I’m not ignoring the feedback, I get quite a bit (good and bad – mostly good.) But I also consider the source.

      If you have sources for the “20? 30? More?” comments, please pass it along. If they’re anonymous (as the most recent comments have been, and I feel they’re written by the same person) then I’m not going to give them as much weight.

      • No doll, I’m not doing your homework for you. Google your name I’m sure you’ll see them.

        As for your “anonymous” argument…no again. There were a few anonymous ones, but many of them posted that way because they either didn’t have the account to post from or couldn’t figure it out and many left their actual name as well. Most of the comments I read were from identifiable posters.

        Look if you need to believe it was one person multiple times under the anonymous banner, then ok, fine. You have the right to bury your head in the sand. You will not grow that way however.

        I’ll be 100% honest with you…I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt about the classes. But it’s been your words here that have sealed it for me. I won’t ever be attending a class of yours if the opportunity presents itself (and I had looked into the online ones, seeing as they seemed so neat and an innovative way to teach). I won’t be purchasing a book or pattern or anything really to do with you.

        Your attitude here, on your blog, has completely turned me off.

        Not sure what else you need to hear to make you see that it is in fact YOUR OWN BEHAVIOUR that is turning people off. Hopefully you can repair the damage.

  21. People post anonymously in order to be able to say what they want without fear of repercussion. It’s a small world, and no one wants to incur your wrath or taint their own reputations by saying such things about another teacher/designer.

    Many, many people wish you would acknowledge their criticism of you in some way other than acting like Jo Watson. The clenched teeth and grimace come through despite your words that things are sunshine and lollipops and nothing to see hear – just a few detractors.

    Denial is not your friend, and if you don’t stand up and acknowledge this criticism in some way other than to dismiss it as being all from one anonymous source you are further jeopardizing your reputation.

    You don’t have to agree with the assessment, but holy cow – there are thousands of hits on that blog, and the knitting community is watching you to see how you respond. It’s hard to take a beating, and such a public one, at that, but you might want to show some humility! Acknowledge your shortcomings. At the very least you ought to recognize that there is potential that the comments come from different people who all say the same thing about you! It’s not a personal vendetta it’s a number of people who think negatively about you.

    I doubt you’ll publish this comment but I wanted to say it anyway.

    • …and sometimes people just post anonymously because they want to write many, many bad things and pretend they’re being written by many, many people.

      If I were in denial – and obviously I don’t believe I am – I wouldn’t have even posted about this to begin with. But when we let anonymous bullies buffalo through, we let them win. It’s always a hard choice – stand up to the haters, or just ignore them. Usually it’s best to ignore them, and it may have been best in this case.

      But I still feel it was best to address this situation and stand tall. I am not ashamed of anything I’ve done in a classroom.

      [augmented to add]

      There are things I might have done differently in some classroom situations, but I’m not ashamed of anything I’ve done. And – whatever the urban myth is out there – no one has cried in one of my classes. Well, I have, but that’s all that I know of.

  22. People sure love to sharpen their axes and it seems they’ve had a go at you a few times lately. I do hope it brings some consolation that your frank honesty and plain talk has gained you fans as well as critics.

  23. OY! Annie, you are a brave soul. For the first time I posted a comment – a statement of fact – nothing controversial or earth-shattering a few days ago and the next thing I know I have 8000 hits and 250 replies and people assuming, correcting the incorrect assumptions, and generally beating up on me over a comment. That is something I’ll never do again. So, if it’s just an anonymous me getting flack it must be awful for you. Sort of like the tabloids and celebrities.

    Keep your focus on your family, your work, and your fans. The rest of it doesn’t matter a bit.

    Carry on!!!

  24. Thank you for being you. I also have a chronic illness – I’m confined within these 4 walls mostly. The Internet lets me travel, learn new techniques, marvel at the wellsprings of creativity around, visit with friends. And acknowledge the rough with the smooth. A few years ago I made a decision to withdraw from net conflict – Ravelry and other forums, and changed my email. My health’s a lot better for it. I don’t have to fight anyone else’s war, or let them live rent free in my life.
    Wishing you all the best – the worlds a better place with you in it.

  25. Hi Annie
    I just wanted you, and anyone else who may be interested, to read what I wrote in a rav thread about my personal experience of taking 3 classes with you last year. I’ve taken many many classes in embroidery and quilting/patchwork over the past 20 years, so although yours were my first knitting classes, I am writing from a position of experience as a ‘student’ and having experienced the best and the worst! Some of the worst have been due to being unable to hear the tutor because of other students chattering – a real waste of my time and money, and the tutor’s time.

    I’d also like to add, as someone who was actually at knit camp, and taking a full schedule of classes, that the situation for the tutors was not easy, to put it mildly. Just the lack of ventilation and AC in the classrooms was a real trial. Promised computer networking not being available because connection leads weren’t supplied by the university or the tutor hadn’t been told by the university to take one. A very slow printer, some supplies not being available at the start of a class. Last minute changes in classes, rooms and numbers of students. Every tutor I had dealt magnificently with the situation and they were a major factor in the huge amount I got out of the week. The other knitters from around the world were also wonderful, funny, interesting, and in my conversations with so many of them, what I personally heard them say to me about their classes was along the same lines as I experienced.

    So here is my rav posting:
    I just wanted to add what my personal experience has been. I did 3 classes with the person you’re talking about in Edinburgh last Sept and we had some superb teaching, excellent handouts which I still have and use, and a really fun couple of days. There was a great atmosphere in the group and she was particularly good at dealing with some anxieties that a couple of the members had about being new to knitting and encouraging them. There was someone in the group who had a different style of knitting to the rest of us – backwards I think – and I was impressed with how she accommodated her particular style while not leaving the rest of us feeling that we were missing out on teaching. I was pretty nervous having never taken a knitting class at all, and she was very good at helping me feel comfortable in the group. It was there that I learnt about Rav, and I think about knit camp as well. It was my experience there that led directly to my wanting to go to knit camp so I could do lots more knitting classes, having learnt how useful, stimulating and fun doing a knitting class could be. At camp last week I bumped into one of the other people who had been in Edinburgh and we shared some lovely memories of a great couple of days.

  26. Annie: If you’ve been in a phase where your fm is really active, it could be making you more sensitive to this than you would normally be. I know when I’m in an active FM phase that I’m not as capable/strong/you name it as I am when I’m feeling healthy and I find I get really, really sensitive to any actual or perceived criticism. In fact, I find I get really reactive when people get judgmental even if it is not directed my way. Do you think this is a factor?

    I’m sorry but I’m not in th e loop about what’s buzzing around the internet about you. I’m a knitter, albeit kind of a lazy one. I read your blog for your delightfully unique perspective on a lot of things besides knitting. And, as I struggle with FM, I find your musings particularly relevant as well as amusing and thought provoking. Hang in there.


  27. Annie

    I have taken many classes of all different kinds in my years as a nurse (required to take 30 hours every 2 years), and I have to say that the chatterers are the worst of all the other interruptions, and they do it because they are immature, and that is the reason they don’t take well to being asked to be quiet – especially when the class started with “please don’t talk to each other while I am teaching”.

    They generally get “pissed off”, then their behavior gets even worse. I totally admire all teachers for putting up with such crap. If people don’t want to learn, whether kids or adults, they should just leave the room! Unless you are telling people they are stupid or some such thing, there is probably no fault on your part.

    Notice the above ladies who have negative attitudes not only don’t leave a link to their name, but do not give specific descriptions of what they didn’t like.

    Hang in there.

  28. Annie, this blog post haunted my dreams last night. I took your Combo Knitting class at Rhinebeck last year, so I feel that I have some knowledge to inform my opinions.

    You are a person with a strong personality who insists on control of the atmosphere while class is in session, and who states her firmly held opinions. Not every teaching technique you use speaks to me; for example, I can take or leave your stories making the stitches into little people. That said, you are also very kind to all of your students. I believe that you found something positive and encouraging to say to every person taking the class. I appreciated your control, because I did learn something, and my knitting has improved because of what you taught me.

    As a strong personality, may I say a bit of a character, who speaks her opinions about controversial subjects, you are sure to rub some people the wrong way. And generally the strength of a reaction is pretty much equal to the strength of the personality.

    I do have a real problem with the word “hater”. It’s a word that generates heat while shedding no light. I believe it’s a word best kept in a private journal, especially when a person depends on the public for a livelihood. You do yourself no service when you demonize your critics publicly, even when you believe their criticism to be unfair.

    My final comment: I understand why you teach, besides the satisfaction of the human connection. You are in the unexpected position of being the sole earner, and pattern and book sales surely are not enough to support your family. Anyone telling you your proper place is at home should just go out and pound rock salt.

    • Thank you so much. I’m definitely NOT everyone’s cup of tea, but I try to be encouraging to everyone. I don’t think I always succeed, but I try.

      You’re absolutely right about the word haters, I don’t usually use it, and I won’t in future.

      • Another factoid for you – a Google or Bing search on you turns up nothing negative for quite a few pages back. The positive drowns out the negative!

  29. I’ve never been to any of your classes, but I knit in the same style as you. You are obviously talented and love what you do. The people who take the time to be mean, tell lies and criticize you need to “get a life.” Don’t they have anything else better to do with their time? What do they think they are contributing? It sounds like these people don’t have an iota of intelligence and their hearts are filled with hate — and I think the hatred is deep-seated hate towards themselves!

    Hang in there, Annie. I was the wife of someone chronically ill for 13 years. I worked full time and raised two great sons. And still there were people who criticized me for nonsense, real and imagined. Yes it hurt, but it made me stronger for it. There are a lot of angry, hateful folks out there and we have to deal with them. You’ve got a lot of fans who admire your talents. Can those who criticize you compare with your talents? I very seriously doubt it.

  30. A story: my father was a well-known organist with a big church in Boston. In the summers, when he went on break, the church hired a substitute who in “real life” was my American History teacher in high school.

    I was turning pages for the postlude one summer Sunday; afterwards a little old lady came up & said to my history teacher, “Ooooh, you play so nicely! Nothing at all like that dreadful Mr Faxon.”

    In those days I was constantly warring with my father; with gleeful spite, I went home & told him the comment.

    He just laughed. “Emily,” he said, “if everybody liked my playing I’d be in real trouble.”

    He was right, & I knew it instantly. I don’t take criticism well myself, even now, but…

    You obviously are a strong personality operating under enormous stress. Of course you’re continuing to work; how else could you deal with this stuff? There are people who simply don’t think….or maybe don’t care…about the impact their words may have. As far as I’m concerned, that is their failure, not yours. There are civilized ways to point out faults.

    I’m so sorry you’re taking this so much to heart. Some bloggers are able to track these people & threaten retaliation. I sort of like that idea…just shut them up.

  31. Hi Annie,

    I have just caught up with you after a few days of intense knitting for the book, so internet and all that has been out of bounds!

    We were delighted and thrilled to have you stay with us after Knit Camp. We love your family, and you, and I was mortified to sit with you and read the absolute rubbish that was being sent out on the internet about your teaching, and about you.

    My whole family and my guests were horrified. As you know, we all read these dreadful posts and we looked into who was sending a lot of the comments…in fact we analysed them (it was fortunate that we had a Barrister present and a computer whizz, both with experience working on cases like this) and I have to admit we were All in agreement that someone with a very nasty mind was behind a lot of the posts. Hiding behind ‘anonymous’ and showing far too much knowledge about you than is healthy.

    We were all worried for you. I know you are an incredibly strong, kind and loving person …I want you to know that I am ‘covering your back ‘ for you too, so is Colm and all my family and friends.

    Thanks for the fantastic workshops you gave at my studio last August and for the gifts and friendship you showered on us. Thanks for the wonderful evening at our knitclub in the Bothy after Knitcamp, everyone was thrilled to have met you.

    Thanks for being brave, truthful and resourceful in the face of everything. It is not easy having a knitters life – many women have followed that path in the past. It is a way of life, not a job and certainly not well paid in monetary terms. Yet it is the greatest life to have as you well know…a real gift…

    For those strange people who wish to criticise and exercise some sort of weird power trip by writing horrid and negative things on the internet, I would just say they win nothing – they feed their own anger – and that of anyone silly enough to agree with them.

    Let’s all know who they are and let them know how little we think of them!

    Here’s to you Annie…with loads of love, di

  32. I have read your blog with sadness. This is how I see the situation. A KC Rav board became a rubberneckers wanking circle. You posted against the grain and are high profile, you have now been punished for it. I met people at KC frightened to post against the trend on Rav. You weren’t.

    Then you had a decision to make – accept the rubbishing or protest it. You are good at what you do – you have tangible, objective measures of that, patterns purchased, books published, teaching booked, on-line students logged. These things easily outweigh the last gasp of arousal from KC.

    I was a student in one of your KC classes, I learned what I went to learn and more I hadn’t expected – I am using what you taught, I enjoyed learning, I am glad our paths crossed and I laughed a lot.
    Best wishes from the Uk

  33. After reading your post today, I have to write. What in the world could anyone find to criticize about you? As far as I can see you are a amazingly talented, clever, smart, tenacious, lady. I am in awe of you and wish I had just a little bit of your creativity.
    Your courage in the face of health problems helps me every day. I have arthritis and fibromyalgia and Identify totally with you.
    I haven’t made one of your patterns yet. But have incorporated many of your tricks and suggestions. I loved it when you were on Knitty Gritty. (miss that show)
    So just NEVER MIND any negative vibes and turn off the critical voices. You’re doing a great job!!
    I’m sending love and wishes for good health
    Pat Vigen

  34. I am amazed by the positive and negative views just posted in the comments!! 8(. I knew your designs long before I discovered blogs.

    Like with anything, some people aren’t going to be drawn to them, BUT THEY DON”T HAVE TO BUY OR KNIT THEM IF THEY DON”T LOVE THEM!!!!

    If they don’t like the way you express your views, pet peeves or life frustrations they don’t have to continue to read!!! I, for one, appreciate the fact that you are willing to share with us how you and your family cope (or don’t) with the things that are thrown at you. It helps me put my own life and problems in perspective.

    I do have to ask, if we were all men would we be having this conversation?

  35. Annie, you know I’ve taken your classes here in Minnesota. In my opinion, you are a great teacher with tons to offer, and a very talented designer. In class, you have a very theatrical style, but it worked for me — and for lots of other students. (And your teaching stuck: After a year of resisting, I finally threw away my cable needles and use your cable-needle-free technique all the time, including for the self-designed Aran sweater I knit this year. I even sort of smile when I think of Prince Charming asking out the stepsisters, or whatever Annie story makes the stitch-switching work — even though at the time I thought it was pretty hokey.)

    I read the other person’s blog post, and (as with most such things), I noticed that she was far more interested in publicizing her outrage, and fanning the flames, than in actually fixing the situation. I also noticed that she identifies herself as a teacher, which in her mind seems to give her a license to diss other people’s teaching. I know many teachers, and unfortunately many of them are the worst possible students. I sometimes think people become teachers so that they will never again be in a classroom they themselves do not control. Certainly she did not stop to think how she would feel if a student in her own class plastered her disgruntlement all over the airwaves.

    You’re not asking for advice, so I won’t give it. But you have my strong support in a very difficult situation.

  36. I read the post on Ravelry and only went to check to blog to see who on earth they could be talking about. I was SO surprised when your name was mentioned. I was at the Luminary panel (my friend got Jared to knit some of a blanket for us). You were my favourite speaker on the panel, and I was pissed off (at myself) that I hadn’t taken your class. To be honest if the class list had been up to date I probably would have gone to your class on the Saturday.

    I can’t remember what else I was going to say… All the best xx

    • Thanks so much! The panel WAS fun, that’s for sure! But I’m sure you also see that I do have an unusual sense of humor, I guess it doesn’t suit everyone.

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