Knitting “Wars”

Women’s Institute at war as branch president takes aim at ‘hipster’ young groups

So, that happened. The headline here is misleading — particularly since the article attributes two sources: the (since deleted) Facebook post that started the whole discussion and the reaction from another Women’s Institute leader. For what seems like such a small, insular conflict — the statement ended up rippling out across a few media outlets in the UK, including the mostly male talking heads at Have I Got News For You (Jeremy Paxman’s condescending priggishness getting shot down by Steph McGovern is a joy to behold).

The things women like and create tend to be held up for a disproportionate amount of criticism, whether it’s knitting, baking, artwork, or fan fiction. The instinct to create and craft something from inspiration in particular has a stigma linked with age and gender: older women may be seen as old-fashioned and wasting time while younger women are seen as disingenuous and trend-chasing. And it’s a shame that other women aren’t immune to reinforcing the stigma, because we have such common ground to start with.

One of my favorite conversations I’ve ever had about crafting was with an Amish grandmother on an Amtrak train to Lafayette, Indiana. I was knitting the ear flaps for a hat for my friend’s young son. She was in her 70’s, crocheted, quilted and sewed, but had never learned to knit. We ended up talking for most of the three-hour train ride about making things, resistance to commercialism and consumerism, and the instinct to create. We were very different people from different communities and circumstances, but we were able to share and have a wonderful conversation about why we like making stuff for ourselves and for other people. I live for those kinds of exchanges and I wish that experience for everyone. It sounds quite a few of us could use it.

~ by blackmoodcraft on April 13, 2018.

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