Knitting is a wonderful way to show people how much you love them.
This week, I’m sharing a darling photo session with two adorable sisters. I took the pictures for a yarn company who sent me the pieces to photograph for their pattern illustrations and online marketing. I don’t do too much of this kind of work anymore as my own business and blog have grown so much, and that keeps me busy. And really, there’s only so much of me to go around. So this kind of project is a rarity now.
Still, who doesn’t love two cute kids in animal eared hats? Apparently, a lot of people these days.
In this climate of weaponized kindness where knitting has some how transformed into a den of vipers, I thought sharing something that represents what knitting is to me is important. We are being called to take a stand. And here’s mine.
I still believe knitting is a way to share tangible love with others and yourself. And that knitting is as much a useful life skill as it is a fun hobby. And it’s for anybody and everybody who wishes to learn.
I follow the hopepunk philosophy that aggressively chooses kindness, optimism, and softness over hardness, cynicism, and violence. It is defined as a powerful political choice.
“Hopepunk says that kindness and softness doesn’t equal weakness, and that in this world of brutal cynicism and nihilism, being kind is a political act.”
Hopepunk was defined by Alexandra Rowland, a Massachusetts writer. It’s about as anti Game of Thrones as you can get. Thank God.
I’ve done a lot of hard thinking about my knitting and have been soul searching where do I go from here. It’s been kind of a challenge for me the past few months. I have always tried to live as decently as I can, and to show kindness to others. Even when I have not been treated well, I still strive to remain in kindness. You never know what someone else has gone through.
But recently, I feel sucker punched every time I open Instagram. It doesn’t feel good. I’m from a generation where we keep our views on politics and religion to ourselves, and if there is nothing nice to say, then comments are restricted to the weather. I still believe this is a good idea, and especially so on social media where people troll and gang up on others for the purpose of pursuing their own righteous cause. I don’t believe that really helps anyone. Those leading the charge would say I’m living in my white privilege. And I would like to suggest that politeness and kindness transcend all races. Regardless of what’s happened 50 or 100 or 400 years ago, we all wake up today with the same clean slate. And I think most of us in the community are sincerely doing the best we can. Conversations DO need to be had, and old wounds DO need to be cared for. But for the love, going after people online with the express purpose of committing character assassination or attempting to destroy someone’s hard won business success is utterly disgraceful. And treating the people you are interacting with today like they are the same individuals who lived 100 or 200 years ago is madness. I am not my Great Grandparents. Who by the way were living in the Netherlands or France or up north in the United States during those time periods.
My goodness, people actually gang up and go after people online as though it’s a sport these days. Anytime cruelty is seen as justified against another in the name of a bigger “kindness” then I really think we have a huge problem. And this is where we are. I don’t know how we come back from it. Forcing compliance because one thinks they are the only one who is right is a recipe for disaster. And yet I see it happening on instagram over and over and over again.
Let’s return to the knitted hats and the photo session.
The hats helped with spinning a tale of fairy magic that the girls loved!
That is such a fun thing about combining knits with children. Their imaginations are so ready to play with ideas and they will run with them. It makes it great for me as a photographer when I can have them pretend something and then record what happens next.
Which is what we did for this part of the photo session. They were the sisters who were forest warriors and their job was to protect the trees and animals from anyone who meant harm. Kind of Hobbit like, actually: Hobbits live by the well-established values of love, community, coziness, and friendship
It’s why I love animal eared hats so much! They lend so much whimsy, and they are the perfect accessory for enhancing play. I, myself, love cat eared beanies. I think they are darling and sweet. I know they have taken on new meanings in the past couple of years, but I personally just ignore that. Or try to anyway. While I’m happy to see a handknit rise in notoriety, I do wish it was not quite so notorious. This is much less a statement on politics and more a statement of manners and decency. Which nowadays causes people to go completely mad. Expressing a desire for better behavior is somehow divisive.
2019 is impossible to negotiate. I feel that whatever I say, it’s wrong. That is a difficult place in which to live.
If you haven’t figured this out yet, I’ll let you in on a secret. I’m pretty darn old school about things.
I live vintage as my lifestyle.
I like to cook from scratch. I love old movies more than new stuff. And I still have my film cameras.
Being a lover of all things vintage, explains why knitting and sewing appeals to me so much. It’s a way to connect with other people socially in the here and now as well as to the handiwork created by our mothers, grandmothers, aunties and other craftspeople hundreds of years ago. Knit and purls haven’t changed since they were invented! What we do with them and how we utilize them are really different now, but the basic stitches are the same.
So I find myself trying to remain true to my vintage self while negotiating the constantly shifting landscape online. I am building a business for myself online, so I have no choice but to live as best I can with the changes and the craziness. But, I have decided, I don’t have to allow the vindictiveness and hurtfulness define how I carry myself in the world. I want to be myself, and show that kindness and decency is available to us all. Please, I implore you to take a moment to care about what we put out and into the world.
I choose love. Just like these sweet sisters choose to love each other.
If I could encourage you to do one thing today, it’s to smile at that stranger. Ask someone how they are, and genuinely listen to them. Surprise someone with a fresh batch of cookies, or a newly knitted hat.
Above all, do as Ghandi suggested, and be the change you wish to see in the world.
Screaming at one another and shaming people online is a horrible way to bring awareness to issues that need discussion. I know people are hurting, and that is why they are screaming. But after 4 months of it, it’s time to move past vitriolic comments. We are teaching our children to be what we are in our every day lives. Is this really the legacy you want to pass on to the next generation?
I believe radical compassion and kindness is the best way forward for all of us.
Love is greater than hate, and loving each other despite differences is the only way I can see us moving forward.
I wish we could all be like these girls. You can’t fake that kind of emotion. I don’t care how many Oscars you have. Even Meryl Streep isn’t that good. Well, maybe Meryl is, but she’s about it.
Oh my goodness! How darling is this? This is the world I want to live in.
I think you should know that Knitting and photography is sooooo much more to me than just a job or a business.
It’s a way to express what matters to me in life. It’s a way for me to put something out into the world with a message that embodies love and caring. Because knitting for someone is a caring thing to do. It’s like getting that hug from your little sister who absolutely believes you’re the best thing since chocolate filled donuts. And I think that’s amazing.
Please stop calling it “selfish knitting” and call it “self care knitting.” Because YOU matter, too. And right now everyone in the knitting community needs and deserves a big hug.
I want you to know something important. The people who appear on my blog are not just people I put knits on and then take a few photos. These are people I care about. I have relationships with them, and I’m watching these children grow into young women. I still knit and sew for them, because I care so much about them and their mom.
I thought it was important to express that to you. There are so many voices on the internet, and they are not always what they seem. I want you to know that I am a real person, and the people in my pictures are all real people. People I care about. Not statistics I’m checking off on some list somewhere.
Right now, the knitting community is in a state of chaos. I am saddened that something as ancient and connecting and healing as knitting has been weaponized. But here we are in 2019. I pray that people at some point remember that we are all doing the best we can every day and I hope that inspires you to do the same.
So go hug someone you love. And, for Pete’s Sake, knit them something, will ya?
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