For years, I have smiled blankly as friends broke out their scarves-in-progress or told me about the awesome yarn they were using. They ask me to touch their yarn squares and then I nod as if to say, “Yes, so much nicer than the alpaca blend you used to use.”
In my silence, there is no hostility, it’s just that simply I do not get it.
I am grateful to be the recipient of all the hats and scarves that come my way especially since I will inevitably lose them as I am wont to do with hats, gloves, and scarves. But when this all became cool in the late ‘90s/early ‘00s, it was sort of confusing.
My loudmouthed friends were all of a sudden breaking out these yarn squares at coffee shops and punk shows for a moment of Zen and it irked me. Theoretically, I could understand the “embrace of the feminine” but it also felt like a step backward. It was as if the backlash on Riot Grrl intermingled with the capitalist regurgitation of “girl power,” making all the ladies hide. I didn’t like it.
Around this time, Kathleen Hanna hit the nail on the head with a song called “CROCHET” on her Julie Ruin album: “ You make me want to go away/ You make me want to go away/ You make me want to / CROCHET ! “
This felt so right-on because the knitting circle was in part, a safe space where discussion ranged from love lives, to careers, to Foucault, and that was wonderful. But it did also feel like a silencing, a passive aggressive attempt to counteract the disappointment of in-fighting and competition that manifested in our communities by keeping our gatherings out of sight. And maybe that was what I found so disappointing. It had nothing to do with the fruits of labor.
I mean, why be mad at this?
She is so happy. I don’t want to stomp on anyone’s joy.
But then there is stuff like this:
What is this about ? This makes me so hostile.
With all that said, I am really interested in DIY culture (it makes me happy) and to deny that the knitting phenomenon has a large part in how DIY became more mainstream would be ludicrous.
So, I film a lot of shots like this:
Because, ultimately, I want to analyze the role of “women’s work,” and how it might be changing the world–DIY and beyond.