It’s Valentines Day and while it's not something I celebrate beyond eating some chocolate and cinnamon hearts, it got me thinking about all the knitterly things I love.
I love the generosity of knitters. Knitters donate to important causes and teach others their craft in schools, prisons, community centres and well anywhere someone asks for their help. Yarn dyers like Kim and Ron and the Minions of Indigodragonfly give back to their community and knitters in a number of ways. My friend Stephanie, the Yarn Harlot, reminds us that our small contributions lead to big things. I love that generosity.
I was the recipient of that very recently when a knitter I interact with on social media, Maureen, sent me her too-warm-for-her fiddlehead mittens because she knew I was so sad about wearing out mine. I offered many things in return and all she asked was that I pay it forward. I love that act of kindness and love my warm hands in mittens that fit me so well. (Maureen has some lovely designs--go look!)
Knitters also love the people they knit for. That’s clear. It’s also why we decline when coworkers or acquaintances ask us to knit for them. And when they press us we offer to teach them to knit or quote them a market rate for our work. Knitting for others is a true act of love.
Then there's Ravelry. What an amazing place it is! I love all of the usual things about it, how it keeps me organized and offers a bunch of communities and patterns and space for fibre enthusiasts. It's a fantastic online resource.
But I also love how Casey and Jess and their team have created a purposely inclusive space and how they consciously and openly promoted these principles. And, when they realize they can do better, they open things up to their community and figure out ways to do better. I have so much LOVE for knitters who do the work of promoting equity, diversity, inclusion and understanding.
And I love this year's Ravelry Valentines. I've been sending them to knitting friends today. Showing some love.
All of this love also makes me think about who might be left out of this love and who might feels unloved in the knitting community. Those who might be doing great work but be relegated to the margins. Those who don't see themselves represented in the knitting community, modelling the designs, or teaching the classes.
There has been an emerging dialogue about white privilege and knitting appearing in the online spaces that I inhabit and I'm glad to see it. These debates about racism, equity, inclusion and privilege are not new to me and were part of my scholarship and now my administrative work. I already recognized that knitting can be an economically privileged space but didn't really consider how white it is.
I need to do more to topple that structure. I need to boost BIPOC (Black, Indigenous & People of Colour) knitters and their work. To request BIPOC knitters as teachers for classes, speakers at events, and vendors at shows. To buy patterns from these designers and to ask designers who hire models to ensure they're not always featuring white people in their work.
I also need to continue to call-out racism and white privilege when I see it and consider other ways to be a better ally.
Time for me (and you) to show some more love.