Final Project Week Five Reflection

This week I focused on the presence of knitting in the media. I found several great stories of people doing impressive things with yarn; a doctor who knits hats for every baby he delivers, two women who started a program to help rehabilitate prisoners by teaching them to knit, several organizations that distribute knit items for charity, a woman who crocheted a fully functional innovative playground, an entire subculture of knit street art, and a group of human rights activists that organized the creation of a kilometer long scarf calling political attention to the thousands of unidentified bodies in unmarked graves in Peru.

 

Since this was the final stretch, there wasn’t much left to learn about the program and features or how to use it. I’ve been using this time primarily to stay on top of homework from other classes, but I’ve also begun to consider what I’ll be putting in my final report. When you get down too it, what were the benefits of using a wiki? Was it detrimental to my goal in any way? Did the forum suit the discourse in content and style? If asked about my experience, what would I tell others about using a wiki? I hope to be able to satisfactorily answer these questions, as well as any others that come up during our final face-to-face meeting on Tuesday.

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Final Project Week Three Reflection

This week on my wiki I created reviews for several different yarns; Fun Fur, Homespun, Merino 5, MountainTop Chalet, Softee Chunky, and Super Saver. I would say that this week has definitely been easier that previous weeks, simply because much of the content written was my own opinion. With the tutorials I had to constantly check that the way I had learned to do a stitch matched up with how other tutorials taught it, which is a complicated task because every knitter is slightly different. I looked over multiple tutorials for each stitch that I wasn’t 100% sure about, in text, picture, and video format.

For me it was fun to think through exactly how the different types of yarn felt, how they handled, and what they would best be used for. I was especially excited to review MountainTop Chalet, as it is one of my all time favorite yarns. This is definitely a section of the wiki I plan to continue after the semester ends, as I’ll continue to knit and try out different (fancier!) yarns, such as Berroco Ultra Alpaca and Rowan Belle Organic Aran. Frankly I just love talking about yarn, but I don’t have a lot of knitter friends to talk about it with, so my wiki and Tumblr have been my primary outlets.

Throughout this last week I have continued to discover new little aspects of the WikiSpaces platform. I suspect that I will still be figuring out new things until this project ends at least. This week I fine-tuned my image manipulation skills, as I now know how to align multiple images on one side, and have ALL of the text next to the images. I also learned that, while anyone and everyone can “add” a new page by typing in a WikiWord and telling it to “link” to a page withing the wiki while editing, one must at least be logged in to WikiSpaces in order to make said page actually exist by hitting the edit button on that page. Honestly I don’t believe this will be much of an issue on my wiki because it seems to have adopted more of a call-and-response flow of information (though the “response” part is lacking to say the least), but for a more active wiki like our class wiki or one used by a business, this could be wuite the hinderance.

Final Project Week Two Reflection

This week in my final project I delved into tutorials and information on various stitches beyond the basics. In knitting I made tutorials for increasing and decreasing the number of stitches per row, ribbing, seed, and moss stitch, cables, and fair isle colorwork.  In crochet I covered increasing/decreasing (including the wave stitch pattern), the popcorn stitch, and granny squares. Of course this isn’t anywhere close to an extensive list of different knit an crochet stitches, but it was plenty for me to make a new page every day, which means that I have continued to meet (and even exceed) my goal of 4 pages per week.

On a good note, I’ve found that Anna Hamann’s suggestion for creating pages by writing the title and clicking “link” while editing to be very helpful. Not only has it made page creation less cumbersome (and I mean A LOT less cumbersome), it has also made it possible for others to create pages, and I have altered my WikiGuidelines to reflect this new information.

Over the past week I have become more proficient in manipulating images on the Wikispaces platform. That being said, if I were to choose a wiki host based on ease of use regarding images, I would not choose Wikispaces again. The process of inserting the images is simple, but manipulations afterward are… tricky? Yes, tricky sounds like the right word. It took some trial and error to figure out that, if I want the image to align on one side with the text appearing next to it as on Granny Squares or Cable Patterns, I have to insert the image ABOVE the text first, not below. If I insert it below and tell it to align right, the image will align right, but the text remains above the image. Also, in trying to go to the next line after an image, it will often realign the picture to the left without being prompted to do so.

Uploading an image from my computer resulted in some interesting complications as well. I used my own image on Crochet Increases and Decreases. After I uploaded and inserted the image, all text following it was “styled.” I’m not entirely sure what this means, but it made it very difficult to edit the text. If I tried to make a certain line a heading, then the next line would automatically be aligned center. I tried to “clear styles” but that had no effect. The only way I could find to work around it was to type out everything, then go back and change the appropriate lines into headings.

Another frustration I had was with the home page. When I first began, the home page title simply read “home”. This seemed unprofessional to me, and I tried to to change the title to “Home Page”.  This, however, created a new page with all my home page contented, and reverted the home to the general welcome the the wiki information. When I announced the creation of my wiki on Facebook, I linked it to the home page I actually liked and didn’t think about it further, but upon reading Daybook entry regarding the first week I found that that was ineffective, and have since copied my content to the actual homepage and deleted the extra home page.

 

Overall I’m finding that Wikispaces is awkward to use in many aspects. It isn’t so problematic as to necessitate changing to a different platform for this project, as I’ve already managed to find a way to work around many of the issues, but I don’t think I would vouch for it in the future.

Final Project Week One Reflection

This week I began my final project: A wiki focusing on the various aspects of knitting and crochet. My goal is to create a place where beginners can find helpful instructions and advice, and crafters of all experience levels  can discuss stitches, yarns, patterns, and media representation.

Because I had my wiki mostly set up before we began this project, I tried to make the most of the first week as an opportunity to explore the functions wikispaces, which is the wiki hosting platform I chose to use. Editing text is somewhat different from the methods used on our class wiki page. It works more similarly to Microsoft Word in that changes to the text such as creating headings or using italics or bulletpoints are done by highlighting the text and hitting the desired button, rather than using various symbol combinations (like =====heading===== and **bold**)

I was incredibly pleased with the ease with which I could incorporate pictures from Google Images (with links to the sources!) and Youtube videos. It was a little tricky figuring out which buttons did what at first (pictures are uploaded via the “files” button, and Youtube videos via the “widgets” button), but once I had figured out how to do it, it was easy to put that knowledge into practice. Next week I hope to learn to incorporate my own images, rather than Google Images, and other widgets besides Youtube videos (depending on whether or not other widgets would be helpful/appropriate).

There were several things that I found frustrating about wikispaces as well, the foremost being in the creation of new pages. While I have stuck to the convention of using CamalCase WikiWords for all pages, wikispaces doesn’t seem to have the function of creating a new wiki page whenever a new word is used. I have to manually start a new page, then go back to the page I used the WikiWord on and link the word to the page. Also, I have to do this, as the only way I’ve found that MIGHT make it so that others can create pages is to add people as members of the wiki.

As for my goal workload for the week and how it compares to what I actually did, I’d say I was mostly on track. I did have a couple sections that I meant to do yesterday that didn’t get done until today because my boyfriend’s family was in town. Beforehand I had believed they would simply arrive, pick him up, and leave, but they ended up staying the night and I got dragged along, so almost zero homeworks were done yesterday. Since no such complications should be popping up this week, I should be able to remain completely on track.