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Something soothing: Studio Notes #60

Studio Miranda
Something soothing: Studio Notes #60
By Studio Miranda  • Issue #60 • View online
Well. It has been a TIME, hasn’t it? When I started drafting this newsletter, I wrote about the weird limbo stress of plague times, the good and the bad and the way we all just need to get through however we can. And then George Floyd was killed, and the hollowness of that cocooning really showed itself.
In the middle of all that, I have a new pattern to release. It’s something that I had pegged as a welcome bit of self-care; that kind of inward-looking comfort feels rather awkward in the light of mass oppression, but still: knitters knit. I design. And here is this thing.

Viandar is a really simple, satisfying cowl designed for fingering weight yarn in mini-skeins (about 20g each) or a gradient. I used beautiful merino singles from Swiss dyer Patte de Velours, and I’ve picked a name from the obscure Swiss language Rumansch. Viandar means hike, or ramble, and working this cowl can feel very much like taking a gentle walk in the woods. Turn this way and that, just keep going and enjoy the wander. It’s not dramatic, but it’s rather lovely and very soothing. And as usual, my lovely readers get the best discount – 30% off till Sunday evening, using the code REVIAN.
But if you want to know…
So the thing is, you don’t need me to opine on racism. I’m nobody’s expert and there are a million places you can find resources (you literally just have to look at the NYT bestseller lists, for a start!). But I did stumble on this collection of summaries of anti-racism talks, podcasts and texts. Not a substitute for in-depth reading (and bear in mind it’s from a white-owned company) but useful, especially for those of us who don’t really do podcasts and talks.
And me? I’ve joined the Swiss Allianz Gegen Rassismus (which specifically focuses on racism in criminal justice). I’ve donated to the UK’s Black Minds Matter, and have chosen to send proceeds from my fundraising pattern Mokita to them, instead of Mind, for the rest of this year. I’m continuing to talk to my kids about racism; to make sure they understand that the world is built to favour us at the expense of others, and that it’s our responsibility to work to change that. And I’m just carrying on living my life, trying to keep my eyes and mind open, always, to ways to do better. It’s a long haul – but the last few weeks have made it clear that change is possible, as well as necessary. 2020 is a complete bastard of a year but it could actually be a turning point. I am very much hoping it will be a turn in the right direction.
Comfort reads
Anti-racism work is a marathon. I can’t help you much with that, but I can share things that might keep you going; little muscle rubs and power bars, if you will. Things like that restful bit of knitting up there, and these gorgeous little embroidered landscapes from Victoria Rose Richards. I also recommend this (less comfortable!) close reading of textile history through the lens of, yes, colonialism and slavery, from Karie Westermann’s Patreon (so you’ll need to support her to read it, but really: worth it, every month).
In Defense of Needlework (in fiction)
This you can use
For your kids. For you. I won't judge.
And… where are you on the weird world of ASMR?! If you don’t know, they are videos designed to trigger the kind of tingly feelings you may get from close personal attention, or having your face stroked, or hearing tapping sounds… not everyone gets those feelings and the range of triggers is vast. I used to get the tingles pretty strongly but these days, hardly ever. Yet I find the videos quite relaxing (sometimes I use them as background noise to help me concentrate on work) and also, on a meta level, fascinating. I mean, this artist here creates adorable scenarios that manage to be soothing and hilarious at the same time. Professional worry removal?! Sign me up! I mean, if I keep reading the news I’ll need this service on a weekly basis.
ASMR | Professional Worry Removal
ASMR | Professional Worry Removal
And finally
I spoke to an online friend for her podcast, about my experience of lockdown mothering. Since this was recorded a while ago, I’ve kept thinking about something she asked me that I didn’t then have an answer to: what are you going to take out of this experience? Ok, big question. I still don’t have an Answer but I know that what I need is to find a way to hold onto the slower pace of life. There’s a general consensus that we all need to make a lot more allowances and have a lot less expectation, of ourselves and others. And I feel very strongly that this is a lesson for life, not just for lockdown. The crisis has been pushing us all to make peace with being more, and doing less. I’ve been singing that song for ages, but it’s still so hard. I’m still trapped in the conviction that my function is my form, and without function I don’t meaningfully exist. I need to keep working on that. (omg READ THAT LAST LINK, ok? READ IT.)
Anyway. One stitch at a time, right? Happy knitting, everyone. And if you know an anti-racism organisation doing good work, or have any suggestions for how a person can actually do more, please do reply.
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Studio Miranda

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

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