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The personal and the political: Studio Notes #56

Studio Miranda
The personal and the political: Studio Notes #56
By Studio Miranda  • Issue #56 • View online
Hello, you! Miss me? It’s been a long two months. The yarny world is still shaking a bit from the repercussions of Ravelry’s Trump ban, and on a personal note there have been big ups (we’re buying a HOUSE!) and downs. The down part is mostly in my head, though. I have been struggling with all kinds of big questions since ending my last job in May – basically, given that I’m really not going to find the kind of job I want and feel comfortable in, I need to make some big changes, but I have no clue where to start. Which is triggering major introspection. I’m struggling with lack of motivation on all fronts (even knitting! even knitting!) and, although the worst of my massive sulk seems to be behind me, there’s still, let’s say, a bit of an energy deficit. I choose to accept this, to trust that sooner or later I’ll find some direction, and in the meantime maybe it’s okay to just sit with the big questions. Maybe it’s okay to just sit.

Sometimes we sits and thinks. And sometimes we just sits.
Sometimes we sits and thinks. And sometimes we just sits.
We could all take a step back
I’ve long been a sceptic of the whole “work ethic” thing. No, really. I’m not sure why working hard is supposed to be a moral good for its own sake, and I’m definitely sure that our culture of overwork is personally and socially destructive. So here are some articles that had me nodding along furiously; whether in support of dialling it back a notch, or just clarifying how badly women are squeezed for time, energy and attention.
About that Trump thing...
In response to the loud cries of “can’t we just stick to our knitting”, a lot of people shared articles about the ways in which craft has always been political. These are some of my favourites.
Meanwhile the mainstream media delivered some surprisingly good insights into the whole kerfluffle – hat tip to Vice, who looked at the whiteness of knitting as resistance, and Techcrunch, who pointed to the wider implications. And let’s not overlook the awesomeness of witty textile protests.
The Tiny Pricks Project
And Karin Aida expressed Outrage!
Clothing culture
But textiles are political in more ways than one – if you enjoy considering the ways in which fashion and clothing choices interact with evolving social norms, you might like this Atlantic piece on the history of cycling clothing for women (touching on the importance of not just being safe, but looking safe, and the modern expectation that we must look glamorous even while active). Nowadays it’s the binary gender model that’s straining fashion at the seams – I’m intrigued by Genderfreeworld’s non-gendered fit options.
And this explanation of how superwash rescued the American wool industry is eye-opening. Of course, I’m not in America. But it’s always worth remembering how many factors play into yarn production choices; there is no simple good/bad framework. Acrylic releases microfibres, wool isn’t vegan, superwash uses nasty chemicals, silk is cruel, cotton sucks up a sea of water… I’m still waiting to hear what’s wrong with linen and viscose (love them both) but basically I assume that there’s no perfect choice. So less judgment all round would be great – although for us non-vegans, wool is pretty lovely. Superwash or otherwise.
Must reads
I cannot recommend these two things highly enough: a long magazine article on Instagram influencers, and a short book on high heels. You may think you know what to expect in both of these, but they are absolutely ram packed with needle-sharp insights that you’ll be thinking about for ages.
And finally
You already know that I love anything that brings knitting and tech together. And in my current frame of mind I am more than keen on hugs. So obviously I love this TechCrunch story on knitting cuddly robots.
I’m going to be spending the next little while sitting, maybe knitting, collecting all the hugs I can, and seeing where I come out. That means I may or may not have a letter for you next month. I hope you enjoyed this bumper link collection, and look forward to writing again when I’m good and ready.
Happy making!
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Studio Miranda

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

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