Crafting Online Spaces: Identity and Materiality. An Interview with Hannah Bellwoar | by Amber Buck & Hannah Bellwoar
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Finish Off: Conclusions

Ravelry represents the nexus of Hannah's networked literate activity. Through practices like knotworking, Hannah develops, connects, and reconnects this activity to her identity as a knitter and her work as an academic. The networks that Hannah connects to through Ravelry fuel not only her blogging and podcasting work, but have also helped her move from someone who knits to a knitter. Her identity, situated within this particular literate activity, has helped her develop her identity in relation to this knitting community. Her knitting on the site, her participation in social activities on Ravelry, and her blog and video podcasts motivate Hannah's knitting and also provide inspiration for her academic work. Hannah points to the important practice of crafting in fueling this activity; by writing and podcasting about her knitting, as well as connecting it to her professional work, Hannah is able to build connections between the different aspects of her literate practice and explore them in greater depth. While some studies in rhetoric and composition have focused on the rhetorical work of crafting practices (Fitzpatrick, 2007; Goggin & Tobin, 2009; Rohan, 2001), Hannah's example points to the need for further studies of networked literate activity outside of educational institutions and considerations of that literate activity through crafting and social media as deeply intertwined with a wide variety of contexts, communities, and lived experiences.

Especially of interest to the field is the role of materiality in Hannah's literacy practices, in moving from yarn and knitting needles to digital images and text and back again. Hannah's case demonstrates the complex ways in which physical and digital spaces are connected and integrated and the productive ways in which writers move between them. As a whole, Hannah's example speaks to the importance of theorizing materiality in these literacy practices that integrate online and offline activity.

Her case also speaks to the unique nature of Ravelry as a social network site and the value of studying more niche social network sites. Much scholarly attention has been paid to social network sites with widespread popularity, particularly Twitter and Facebook in terms of identity performance (Marwick & boyd, 2011), profile construction (Arola, 2010; Lankshear & Knobel, 2008), and the construction of communities through these sites, or what danah boyd (2014) called "networked publics." Designed specifically for knitters, Ravelry provides a unique contrast to the model of popular social network sites like Facebook. Through this social network site, users interact with each other in interesting ways, sharing projects, patterns, ideas, and even swapping knitting items through the mail. Ravelry is also different than other craft sites like Etsy and Pinterest—Etsy is a site where people sell their wares, which provides a consumerist model of craft, while Pinterest only allows users to post and comment on things from other sites, which is more of a passive practice, more about looking than the process of making. Ravelry is about networking around things constantly being made, about the process of knitting as much as the final product of the knitted item. Ravelry users represent their identities not through the consumption of consumer items like favorite books and movies, but instead through craft items they create. This example, then, suggests a need to study more niche social networking sites to examine unique user practices and different affordances for interaction and identity representation.

Hannah’s process of developing networks around these literacy and identity practices serves as an example of how individuals center literate activity around a hobby, transforming it through these digital interactions. Hannah's example also points to the importance of this social networking in integrating Hannah's online and offline literate activity. Through Ravelry, Hannah is able to explore connections between her varied literate practices, make connections with others in the knitting community, and develop her identity as a knitter, demonstrating the importance of social network sites like Ravelry in supporting Hannah’s networked literate activity.