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Real talk: Studio Notes #51

Whew. Have you been online in the last few weeks? It's been a lot, right? In case you missed it, a qu
Studio Miranda
Real talk: Studio Notes #51
By Studio Miranda  • Issue #51 • View online
Whew. Have you been online in the last few weeks? It’s been a lot, right? In case you missed it, a quick round-up: last month a huge discussion about race kicked off in the online knitting community. It started with a thoughtless post that clearly wasn’t intended to cause harm but clearly did. (If you’re white, the problems probably aren’t obvious to you. Here is a really solid post to walk you through those problems, and all the uproar that followed.) I think this moment is valuable specifically because it didn’t come from an intentionally racist incident. It forced many of us to take a deeper look at why this apparently innocent post caused so much hurt, and to learn.
The conversation has been fast-moving, noisy, and of course it didn’t stop with knitting. Instagrammers started agitating about diversity in slow fashion, about size inclusion in sewing (and knitting) patterns… where will it take us next? There has been a lot of pressure on “influencers” to speak up, and some heavy criticism of those whose efforts fell short, as well as those who chose not to comment. There has also been a very active backlash from white supremacists, ranging from hateful IG comments to targeted attacks by direct message. Which certainly proves the point, doesn’t it? The racism that some would love to deny exists is very much present, and we need to fight it, together.
That said. I’m not a fan of the pressure placed on individuals to take a public stand, and to do so within days. Not everyone is online all the time; not everyone has the time or mental resources to join in. Not everyone will actually have something to say, even if they actively support the fight. Yes, it certainly is a privilege to have the option of not confronting racism every day – but still: not everyone moves at the same pace, or in the same way, even if we’re all travelling in the same direction. And not posting about an issue doesn’t mean you’re not engaging with it in other ways. Arguably, reflexive posting is the least constructive way to drive change.
I am aware, writing this, that it could be taken as lack of support. As white fragility, even. I can imagine the response: “Our house is on fire and you’re complaining about where we point the hose?!” Well, maybe I’m wrong. I don’t know. I’ve certainly been wrong before, and I know I will be again (dammit). But don’t get me wrong: I am not here for tone policing. Anger is entirely appropriate. I just want to see it more constructively directed. I’ve had the luxury of an entire month to draft this letter (and yes, I have come back to it again and again over that time), and I’m still not sure I’ve got it right. I want internet culture in general to allow a bit more space for thoughtful reflection, for constructive action based on a carefully considered response. Fewer hot takes. More tea breaks.
But definitely, first and foremost, less racism. Let me know if you know of something awesome being done for inclusion in the yarn community – or if there’s something I should be doing differently. I want to know.

Shoutouts to the good guys
Got to give props to the brands who were quick to respond. And especially to the new online zine Yarn People, which launched last year with a focus on intentional inclusion – well ahead of the kerfluffle. Laine magazine, which has been called out as particularly unrepresentative, responded right away; so did Pom Pom, which has been ahead of the curve for a while on the model front at least. Ravelry invited ideas and discussion, and took a first step with the new Humans of Ravelry front page feature.
Time for some light relief
Ok, with all the really heavy stuff going on, I think we can take a moment to enjoy some much much gentler stuff. Like Liisa Hietanen’s lifesize, hyperrealistic crochet sculptures of her village neighbours. Including herself and her knit sweater. In crochet.
And this macramé periodic table. And these incredible lace murals. (She’s on Instagram!)
I’m always particularly excited about the intersection of knitting and the hard sciences (I’m not a science geek, I just really wish I was), so I squealed a whole lot about this dude’s method of knitting architecture (see also this bridge – which I have checked out in person!). And about this professor teaching advanced maths through knitting. And OH MY, this embroidered computer, and everything else at Stitching Worlds!
Then, you’ve probably seen this by now, right? Purl is a short and sweet take on toxic masculinity in the office. It’s definitely trite, simplistic, and maybe unnecessarily othering (dudes get to be human but women are… yarn?!), but it’s also hella cute. And full of fibre puns. Also cute: sheep zodiac. I’m the King of Sheep, apparently. Baaaaah!
New(ish) from me
Hey, remember Zivatar? This was my contribution to the Knitting Goddess shawl club last year. It’s now mine to sell, and Joy has dyed up a fresh batch of the gloriously thundery mini-skein sets. (And sold them out super fast! But there’s a waiting list for the next batch, so email her.) Although, looking at those other sets, I could really go for Zivatar in the Lowry gradient, couldn’t you? With that luscious coral in place of the stormy rainbow… oh very yes.
By the way, if anyone fancies testing the German version, let me know?
Happy knitting!
Robynn
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Studio Miranda

Inspiration and food for thought for crafters, from yarn twiddler Robynn Weldon.

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