This Terrified Knitter….

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….”

If you appreciate my writing and would like for this blog to continue, please donate to help keep it going. Every single dollar helps! I couldn’t do it without your support.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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23 comments

  1. Thank you. I never heard of you until the entire knitting community exploded and I left, shocked to the core. Then I started roaming the internet and Facebook looking to find some sense in what happened. I still don’t understand and have come across people who are biased in the other direction. Then I found you and the world stopped rocking. I can’t be a part of racism, bias, elitism, whatever. I just want to do my own thing and knit and crochet in peace. I read your story and am in awe of what you have accomplished. And this is where I will come to find my peace in this insanity. Thank you again!!

  2. Hello,
    I only recently found you also. I was appalled by the outrageous action of the Ravelry admins and figured it was just as well I had never signed up for membership in the site anyway. I’m more of a crocheter, but struggle along and have managed to knit three pair of socks.
    I don’t have your courage and although I enjoy writing, must bow to your superior ability. You have a way with words and I hope you will continue. I too must struggle and scramble for a living, but when I can, I will surely commit to sending a financial contribution. In the mean time I would like to contribute as an informal proofreader with the hope that I will not offend. In the following phrases, inherent is the word you want and had in the next parenthesis should be dropped. I think these are simply typos, but as I’m a bit of a grammarian and former proofreader, I couldn’t help myself.
    (about the inherit desire) and (wouldn’t have had found)
    I will continue to subscribe to your blog and find inspiration in people like you. There aren’t enough.
    Thank you for all you are doing.
    Sincerely,
    Jennifer Burch

  3. I am grateful I found your blog, we have to take a stand now. Being quiet gives them more power. If we don’t say anything they think they are right and when we do we are shamed. It blows my mind! In this day in age we have to worry about everything that comes out of our mouths? Nobody can take a joke or have a reasonable debate? Going back to medieval times? Shut your mouth or we’ll burn you at the stake? Crazy times!

  4. I love your blog. I didn’t know about it until the whole anti-Trump brouhaha blew up the knitting world. I don’t knit and crochet as a form of political protest or to smash the patriarchy. I knit and crochet because I like to make my own clothes out of pretty strings and because it helps me relieve stress. A friend taught me to knit right as I was getting out of the military. I was unemployed for over a year. Knitting saved my sanity during that time. I always knew Ravelry was run by leftists, but that didn’t affect my decision to buy patterns from them. They’re a private business. They have freedom of speech and association just like everyone else. What with all the pussy hats, I didn’t expect them to be Trump lovers (and neither am I). But when they came out and effectively said that anybody who didn’t believe like they do isn’t welcome, that pissed me off. Then last week we found out that all that was just a smokescreen and a way to clear the decks and eliminate anyone from the site who might not make Casey/Cassidy feel validated. Not only does it show how little faith they have in the community, it’s grossly narcissistic. When I started finding out how some in the community had treated Sockmatician and any other designers who refused to jump on the intersectionality bandwagon, I was just disgusted. I love crafting. It makes me happy. I don’t want it spoiled by self-important, elitist assholes who exclude people because they’re “inclusive.”

    So I love your blog. I also greatly admire the fact that you lifted yourself out of homelessness by knitting and selling teddy bears. Keep it up. We need your voice.

  5. This whole Ravelry debacle has let your wonderful writing skills flow. I was a follower of your blog prior to this knitting mess. There has never been such hatred/division in this world as there is now. Since when did knitting get political. Opinions are like A-Holes, everyone has one. Keep your articles coming Patrick, we all look forward to them!

  6. I am in total agreement with all of the comments made so far. Your statement “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.” is so RIGHT ON. Fantastic blog – love to read your thoughts. Keep on keeping on.

  7. Madame Defarge has been brought to life through the SJWs of Ravelry. I also just recently found your blog. I always knew that Ravelry was run by leftists, and that never bothered me. They’re a private business and the owners have freedom of speech and association just like everyone else. But when they made an official statement saying that people who don’t believe the way they do were not welcome, that bothered me a great deal. Then last week we find out that all that was just a smokescreen to clear the decks and ensure that there would be no one who wouldn’t make Casey/Cassidy feel validated. First off, it shows how little they think of their community. Secondly, it’s incredibly narcissistic. I was even more disgusted when I found out how some in the knitting community treated Sockmatician and other designers who refused to bow down at the altar of intersectionality. I don’t knit and crochet as a political statement or to smash the patriarchy. I knit and crochet because I like spending a s***load of money to make clothes out of pretty strings. I learned to knit right before I got out of the military. I was unemployed for over a year and knitting saved my sanity.

    I love your blog. I also greatly admire the fact that you were able to lift yourself out of homelessness by knitting and selling teddy bears. We need your voice. The haters might be loud, but they’re bullies and there are more people who just want to knit and be happy.

  8. Gregory, I just discovered you too. God Bless you for the journey you’re willing to share and your insights to keeping knitting the common thread that unites us as humans.

    About a month or so ago, a lady from the northwest was visiting my area and thanked me for the safe space I provided after she calmly ranted about male knitters infiltrating the craft, how they reap financial benefits from selling/promoting their designs and pushing women out. I patiently replied that men are humans just like women, and that knitting belongs to all humanity who wish to pursue it. I went on that if men can teach us something as well as women, doesn’t that make us all better for it? Fortunately, she took that to heart and will hopefully go home with a better feeling about male knitters.

    Thank you for sharing what you know. Your perspective is refreshing and inspiring.

  9. I read and enjoyed your post and every comment. Thank you so much for your voice. Thank you too for continuing to beat the drum that every person and every opinion spoken respectfully is welcome. Now please excuse me while I look for that donate button …. my wallet has been a little lighter since #rexit.

  10. Mad Man, you are the one that gave me courage to speak out on a knitting blog, Mason Dozen knitting. And I got deleted.
    Three times the ladies who run the site posted a video We All Needed To Watch! Well I did, against my better judgement. It was a video calling us all racists. After the third time they pushed it, I spoke out and accused them of calling me and all their readers racists, for the assumption we ALL NEEDED TO SEE THIS.
    They deleted me and told me in a private email that basically we all are racists and they admitted they were too. They called me a racist. Without knowing me.
    That is the liberal mindset.
    Mad Man, we do need you. You’re cool. You’re fairminded and I suspect a very sweet man in person.

  11. Knitting is so therapeutic. I make wonderful things and also for charity. So exciting to see your project come to life as you work on it. Thank you for this blog, my first time here.

  12. If you look back in history, men knitted for their loved ones. I don’t see that makes any difference of your gender is. As long makes you happy and your enjoying what your accomplishments. Life is too short to argue about such things.

    1. And if you look WAY WAY back, men used to knit their own aran sweaters…if you fell of the boat and were washed away to sea and they actually DID find you washed up on the shores, they could identify you by the cables on your sweater….

  13. You said if you are a Christian, you are out. This does not surprise me. This craft is filled with liberal women (many are famous podcasters) who make pussy hats and welcome illegals and every made-up gender. I refuse to go away. I keep knitting in my home alone going to festivals.

  14. Yay for shunning PC, writing with enthusiasm your beliefs with freedom! Love GOD, Love all… Youve warmed my heart & brought smiles to my day. Oh yeah, like the knitted teddy bears, alot!

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