Knitting as a Political Act

I’m working on a list of how we can do what I am going to call “Knitting as a Political Act” (ht to Rick Steves).

I’m talking about using our knitting as a subversive, activist, protest. Here are some of my ideas. I’d love to hear yours in the comments.

(I’m not talking about charity knitting, which is something that I see as being quite different.)

1) Yarn bombing with a message. Maybe the message is knit in text into a banner or poster to carry in a protest. Maybe the messages is conveyed in the colors (rainbow) or motifs (safety pins). But the message has to be explicit and obvious for it to count as political knitting.

1b) Knit sweaters and accessories with political messages knitted in. Wear them proud!

1c) Designers: create patterns with political and activist messages.

2) Create a diverse group of knitters and talk to each other about issues — no fighting or yelling. I have some specific ideas for how to moderate a group like this that I’ll be writing up soon.

Knitted Womb by MK Carroll. Pattern on Knitty.com
Knitted Womb by MK Carroll. Pattern on Knitty.com

3) I’m re-booting my Government-Free VJJ program in January to send knit, crochet, sewn, felted uterus softies to anti-choice politicians. (You can find the pattern in the photo on Knitty.)

4) Whenever you knit or publish a pattern, share information about the people, history, and culture represented in the techniques and patterns you make. Knitting was brought to the USA by immigrants. To appreciate knitting is to appreciate the contributions of immigrants. Say it loud.

5) Create a group of activist knitting friends and work together on common causes, raise money for organizations like the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, the NAACP, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and so forth. Go to protests together. Call your representatives regularly.

6) Support the use of environmentally friendly yarns and fibers. There are a couple of books about this available and I’ll work on a page of suggestions and information about different fibers and yarns and how they are processed.

7) Boycott yarn manufacturers and craft store chains that are racist, sexist, or homophobic. Spread the word about them.

8) Don’t let knitting take the place of other activism such as attending protests, calling and writing your representatives, voting, and so forth.

9) If you’re a designer or yarn company, don’t be silent about injustice and bigotry. Speak out without fear of losing customers. Get some balls (of yarn) and take a stand.

10) Promote the work of designers, crafters, and fiber artists who are not white. Help make the crafting world more diverse and inclusive.

Knitting as a Political Act 2
Skullness Bag, Free on Ravelry
  1. I downloaded your resist hat. Going to make it in a nice politically democrat blue. I made pussy hats for my friends and me for the women’s marches. Thanks a million for this idea!!! I look forward to more of them!!!

  2. What a great idea! Can’t wait to see how it goes!

  3. These are great ideas, Donna. I thought of one more…create a book club/knitting group and read and discuss books about civil rights, civil disobedience, dystopia, history, etc.

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