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What's a knitter to do now? Studio Miranda Issue #6

Dear readers, this newsletter is a bit different. After last week I can't talk to you about cool Goog
Studio Miranda
What's a knitter to do now? Studio Miranda Issue #6
By Studio Miranda  • Issue #6 • View online
Dear readers, this newsletter is a bit different. After last week I can’t talk to you about cool Google tricks and breed-specific yarns. We’ll save that for later. Right now we all have other things on our minds. 
The US election result feels like not just a victory for hate, but a profound failure of liberalism, and a sharp corrective to the notion of the march of history. Above all it was a failure of empathy. And while this newsletter is not, generally, the place for politics… well, this isn’t just politics. 
(Why am I writing about what happens way over there? Because it’s not just over there. The far right is on the rise right around the world, and it just got a big boost. We’re all in this. We all need to figure out where we go from here.)

Listen up
Empathy starts with taking the trouble to listen. Twitter makes it easy. Shaun King is documenting racist assaults and similar incidents (as @PostRefRacism has been doing in the UK since Brexit). You’ll get sharp, sometimes uncomfortable but necessary commentary from Feminista Jones, Ijeoma Oluo, 5'7" Black Male, Deray McKesson, Sarah Kendzior, Leah McElrath, Linda Tirado, … soooo many more. 
Do something
The safety pin thing seems tailor made to crafters, doesn’t it? It’s a sweet idea but… no. First, it’s not clear that the people it means to help – the people who might actually need to identify allies in a public space – will be able to see or recognise it. It seems like a way to make yourself feel like a good person, rather than a practical move. People of colour have been quick to say, now as before in the UK, it doesn’t help them – it’s just not visible enough. And second, it’s already being subverted. Better? Be a really obvious, active ally. If you see someone being targeted, go to them.  
(And incidentally… I have at least four times already seen safety pinners online being incredibly aggressive with those they’re supposed to be supporting. This is not allyship.)
Inclusive LYS
Meanwhile #knitterspayitforward is being used to share free or discounted patterns and yarn giveaways, sometimes with associated or encouraged charity donations, in the interests of promoting the spirit of generosity and community. This isn’t exactly activism but we can all use some woolly comfort – and the safety pin is again being used here as a symbol of solidarity. In online spaces I think the pin, like the Pride rainbow, serves a function. (I offered free patterns for a day and have made a donation to the UN Refugee Agency. I have to admit, it feels empty. But I wanted to do something.) 
I rather think #craftivism will be a good hashtag to keep an eye on, also.
There’s a lot more practical steps to be taken – donations to be made. Time volunteered. Political action started. But I’m not the person to suggest what form your personal activism should take. (You’ll get some solid ideas from those Twitter accounts I linked, though.) 
I have a collection of kids’ picture books that involve knitting (some of which are in this photo below). I’ve noticed that knitting has very specific connotations in these books. It stands for individuality; for doing your own thing despite social pressure; and even more than that, it stands for generosity. For community. For looking after others. I want to see that spirit in action now. If you know of any craft-related activist projects or ways we can help, please send them to me.
Look after yourselves, friends. Keep knitting and stay determined. We will make this world better. 
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Studio Miranda

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

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