I’ve often asked myself how something so quintessentially feminine aligns with my identity as a feminist. When you think about sewing and knitting, it often conjures images of women relegated to housework. Now, for better or worse, we are not responsible for making our own clothes, and women are not as directly responsible for clothing their families (I won’t get into fast-fashion in this post, which is a completely different can of worms). Making clothing is a choice for most of us in the United States, and choice is the essence of feminism. Feminism isn’t about rejecting things that are “feminine,” so I’m letting go of the notion that knitting and feminism don’t align. Creating things for yourself, family, and others can be extremely powerful, and it is a very feminist act.
Here are some ways I have found making your own clothes can be tremendously powerful from both economic and personal perspectives:
- It gives us a choice of where we funnel our money. Many of our LYS and small fabric stores are female-run and owned. There are also all of the pattern designers, indie-dyers and yarn producers that we can support through our purchases.
- It frees us from conforming to fashion trends and norms. We get to pick colors and fabrics that we like and are not limited to what is made available in the stores, which is often dictated by people who are not representative of the wider population
- We also get to customize our clothes to fit our unique bodies. It allows us to free ourselves from concerning ourselves with numbers and sizes. It frees us more from attempting to conform to sizing standards that are out of touch for many of us.
- By making clothes, we are decreasing our dependence on countries and factories where women are exploited for their work. The fast-fashion industry is, in many ways, very anti-woman, and it profits tremendously from our dollars.
- Making, for many of us, is an act of self-care. It gives us identity and balance outside of our roles in our households and jobs, which is tremendously important.
- It does allow us to connect with the women who came before us, and it gives us something to leave behind. One key example of this is the Pussyhat; it will be a long lasting symbol for the women’s movement, and it will provide inspiration for generations of women beyond ours.
I hope everyone is spending this day thinking of the women who came before us, the women who we know now, and the women who will come.
It has been a little while since I’ve posted. It’s definitely not for lack of knitting, though. Ive had quite a few projects in the works, and all of my knitting has been pretty well-behaved. I’m hoping to get to a little more sewing in this next part of the summer. I’ve got some great summer tops in my queue and the fabric to go with it.
Here’s some of what I’ve been working on:
I’ve finished the knitting on the Audrey Cardigan that I’ve been working on for my boss. It needs ends woven in and a good blocking, but I’m happy to have it done.
I knitted a simple, roll-brimmed hat with some handspun. It is so interesting to see how handspun works up!
Right now, I’m working on the Guernsey Wrap. This is what I chose for the Colors of Fall KAL, which is hosted by the Yarniacs podcast. I’m super excited about this project!
I’m also spinning some yarn in hopes of replicating one of my favorite hats that had an unfortunate end. I haven’t been able to find the right yarn for it, so I was thinking it would be pretty awesome if I could create the yarn. I have two skeins spun up, so after wrapping up a few other things, I will likely cast that on.
There are lots of babies coming into my little circle of friends, so I’m putting some handspun to good use by making baby hats too.
Despite company in town, I managed to get a few small projects done over the weekend.
Here is the Sitka hat. I knit the darker one using US size 8 needles and the lighter on US 7s. This is pretty much the first time I have ever used a different needle size than what the pattern called for. Both hats are in Kenzie by Skacel, and they’re headed to #hatsforhannah.
I also made a little felt bunny just because. Little One was taking a rest, and I was having a hard time deciding what to work on.
I also finished spinning and plying my first 4oz of Shetland that I had gotten on a visit to a local farm.
Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a warm, safe, and wonderful time celebrating. My husband and I are pretty classic introverts, so we spent the evening in our comfy clothes watching Netflix (and I was knitting too, of course). True to form, we both fell asleep on the couch long before midnight. It was pretty perfect.
Looking back, 2015 was a wonderful year of knitting and crafting. I didn’t have a lot of goals at the start of the year. But, knitting and crafting ended up being a huge comfort as I was coping with the loss of my mom. I learned a lot and became more confident in my skills.
In 2016, I am hoping to continue learning and developing my skills. Here are some general goals that I have in mind:
- Knitting a sweater for my husband
- Knitting a pullover for Little One
- Knitting more sweaters, shawls and hats for me!
- Spinning some natural colored fiber and experimenting with natural dyes (from plants around our property) – eventually I hope to put some of this in my Etsy shop
- Spinning alpaca, and some other fiber types
- Repurposing the yarn from a thifted sweater
- Sewing functional, well-fitting garments for Little One
- Repurposing fabrics from old garments to make new ones
I am not going to make goals about knitting or making from stash because I know I can’t keep them. I am working on planning more, finishing projects, and making little things that use stash, and it’s going well and helping control my stash.
Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, fun and productive 2016!