It’s hard to imagine knitting in a political world. But here we are. The world, not just the United States, has a climate where everything is viewed politically. Think I kid? Have you seen the uproar over M&Ms and the Barbie movie?
Knit and crochet have not escaped it. The craft has had to deal with politics and racism simply because racists and extremists knit and crochet like the rest of us. Once the skill is specifically used to create, say, a double knit scarf with the name of your favorite president and you place it on a knitting site where millions can see it, you can expect some support and some backlash. And because we have become a place where tempers flare hotter than those from the sun, discussions are left to burn and arguments happen right off the bat. After that, a nasty word here and a slur there, and all of a sudden knitting makes headlines.
One of the groups on Facebook allows political/social discussions but every once in a while, someone will post about it being a crochet site not a political site. Members are quick to point out that not only are such discussions allowed, the member had to acknowledge that when they joined the group. Trying to push away the discussion because of a sense of unseemliness or ‘why must we talk about it here?’ is, in its own way, a way to dismiss the person and the issue. That is an ability afforded to some and taken by others.
I am blessed that I have not yet encountered racism in the yarn world. That could be because I don’t do yarn shops that often and when I do, the people have been very kind. I am often the only black person in the room when in a knitting group and I am aware of it but I am also aware of my right to be in the room and to own the room if I should. My own knitting group, StitchCraft, is racially diverse.
I am not one to push the subject away when it happens because I do want my knitting and crochet to be a safe haven for me. I want it to be the blessing gift that it is and that blessing is with me wherever I go and wherever I knit. That means there should be no place I feel unwelcome or where knitting is filled with tension other than in my yarn.
In order to maintain the meaning it has in my life, I have to defend it. For the most part, knitting remains untouched. But there are those exceptions and they cannot be let go as a one off. I am a woman wherever I go. I am black wherever I go. I am a knitter wherever I go. I will go where I please. The politics of the world will not stop me.