A couple of weeks ago social media and the Internet lit up due to a video produced by Vanity Fair that made several suggestions on what Hillary Clinton should do with her time other than run for president in 2020. Among those various suggestions included that she should take up knitting. That suggestion seems to be getting most of the attention, and also seems to be the “most offensive” suggestion, at least according to social media and the Internet at large. As a knitter, I’m rather offended that the Internet is offended by the knitting suggestion.
I started knitting in my early twenties, and I am now in my early fifties. I started knitting because of a memory that I had when I was about five years old visiting relatives on my mother’s side of the family in Germany. I remember my great aunt Elsa sitting in a garden with this colorful “ball of string” on her lap that was different shades of pink. She also had two “magic wands” that she was wrapping around the ball of string and was creating something that slowly took the form of a sweater. Ever since then I wanted to possess that same magical power that aunt Elsa had. It wasn’t until some fifteen years later that I learned how to knit. I found a class at a local yarn store for beginners. I ended up being the only one in the class, and that was just fine with me, because I had my own personal instructor. The first thing that I made, other than the beginning sample swatches was a sleeveless sweater for my little sister. It was ALMOST perfect, except that there was one row of stitches close to the top, by the shoulder that stood out because I purled when I should have knitted.
I have to admit, when I was younger and just learning to knit, I really didn’t want people who were not my close friends or family to know that I knitted. I was embarrassed, and “afraid” of what people would think. I guess I was right to feel that way, because even now, fast-forward 30 years from when I first started knitting, social media is shaming knitting. At that time, I definitely did NOT knit in public. NOW I have blue hair, and I don’t care, and I DO knit in public. But back then, I’m not sure what I was afraid of, because this new found magical talent that I had, I ABSOLUTELY loved. I loved making something essentially out of nothing, just with a “ball of string” and two “magic wands.” It gave me such pride to create something stitch-by-stitch with my hands that I could share or keep for myself. When I knit, I find solace. I find peace. I am relaxed. If I had a stressful day, that stress disappears. If I didn’t have a stressful day, my knitting is the whip cream and cherry on top of my day; except if something goes terribly wrong with my knitting and I need to rip out some rows, but that’s a whole other story.
It seems that knitting stereotypes still exists; among them, that knitting is something that just grannies do. News flash social media, women of different ages and backgrounds knit. Men knit. Like anything, knitting is not for everyone, and I'm not saying that it is. If knitting is not your thing, that’s cool. Don't knit, but don't hate either. One thing knitting is not, knitting is NOT demeaning. Knitting is Fashion. Knitting is Function. Knitting is pride. Knitting is Community. Knitting is Activism. I ask you, "Is knitting perceived to be an insult just because some uninformed people think knitting is “Women’s Work?” If that’s the case, that’s pretty ironic, don’t you think? Especially since the forecast is that 2018 will be the year of women. Do you know what I think? I think Hillary should knit. She should form and lead a Stitch 'n Bitch of women AND men to knit pussy hats for the Women’s Marches that will be taking place on January 20th and 21st across the US and make a statement that #NastyWomenKnit !