I recently received a message from someone who donated to my blog. “I hope you know how much we need you in the knitting community right now.”
What a beautiful thing to say. And I can only toss that comment right back with enthusiasm. “No, ma’am. I hope YOU know how much YOU’RE needed in the knitting community.”
That sort of comment warms my heart. It really does. You feel a value, a connection, an impression on someone when they say that sort of thing to you. You feel, what we all want to feel: loved.
This craft is beautiful in the way it can make the most sober of teetotalers become lushes. Pick up those knitting needles once, just once….then try not to call yourself an addict. The very first time we figure out how to stockinette, our minds begin to blossom and bloom with pictures of rooms filled with yarn, of half finished projects, and stacks of patterns and knitting magazines hoarders would be envious of.
This craft is blessed in the way that anyone can become infected with its desire to create and give. Knitting affects just about anyone who has a strong desire to foster care and compassion. We make things from our hearts and hands, hoping to that our projects will warm someone, comfort someone, help someone.
We are all needed here. We should all be welcomed here.
I know I get a lot of backlash from people in this community. There are quite a few who don’t think I should even be here. I don’t offer this community anything. I don’t move the knitting needle forward. I’m a troll, opinionated, a Nazi sympathizing, white supremacist, cis gendered male. I should be treated as the least wanted, never ever needed member of the knitting community.
Well, someone’s gotta do it. I mean someone has to speak out about the nonsense that this craft has come to cradle: elitism.
Oh, don’t give me that look. The very nature of the word “elite” are those who are favored. Yes, the very approach knitting has taken lately has been towards those who are favored, and those who are not. Oh, and that sort of ideology just pissed me off to no end. How can you say only some people are allowed in this community? But, don’t worry. We can see right through you when you say, “We must exclude some in order for us to be inclusive. We must hate them in order for us to love everyone.”
(I little “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery,” don’t you think?)
This sort of thinking terrifies me. Not only just in the knitting community, but in the world at large. Some are allowed. Those who are not, don’t even exist.
And because I am so protective of this craft not being poisoned, I have been writing heavily about the inherit desire of the elite to push people out of this craft so they can make room for others more favored. That isn’t equality. That’s revenge.
So, I know what she meant. (I’m referring to the woman who wrote the comment.) I put my neck out. Every time I write a blog post I guarantee someone is pissed. I could write about anything else in the world I wanted. And God knows I have tried. But, my mind keeps me here, in this moment, in this time, right now….trying to figure out why every knitter who comes to a “Sit and Knit” isn’t as welcome as any alcoholic going to an AA meeting for the first time.
She is correct.
I could have played it so safe. SO safe. The moment the knitting community discovered me, they loved me. Wanted nothing but the best for me. I could have kept my mouth shut, smiled and mumbled under my ballcap and said, “Aw, shucks, thanks,” then played by the rules, used the correct politically correct language (it changes soooo often), and might not always be scrambling for rent every month by blogging and selling knit teddy bears.
Martha Stewart featured me on her show. The Huffington Post shared one of these very blog posts you’re reading right now and it was seen by millions. Vogue Knitting shared an article that was written about me to their bazillion followers. I was featured in magazines and newspapers in the UK and Australia.
What could possibly go wrong?
Now that I had an audience, I wanted to blog about things in this community that mattered to me, the spiritual side of it (mention Christian and you are OUT!), the emotional side….and yes, the political side.
Well, once the powers that be in the knitting community could see what I had to say about issues I was immediately tossed. “Just be our token male knitter. You do it so well with your scruffy face and ball cap. You’re not always WEARING your knits like other male knitters….”
And the road got bumpy. Strike that. THAT road came to a dead end.
Then I read a comment like hers. My heart warms, my head bows and I thank God I never took the easy path through this craft. I wouldn’t have found genuine people like you. You read my opinions, you read about my life, you share this journey with me. There are very few writers out there that really get the wondrous joy of being able to connect with people. Very few.
I take the responsibility for putting myself out on a limb every time I sit down to write. I can’t help myself. Out on a limb is where the fruit is, as they say.
Had I taken the easy route through the fields of fiber that are flanked on all sides of us, I wouldn’t have had found something valuable in myself. You can be someone else’s commodity, or you can own yourself. I chose to own myself. I am so glad I did.
I understand what she meant by her comment.
“Don’t be afraid. We’ve got your back….”
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