A brief craftivism bibliography

This is a quickly-drafted list in response to a journalist claiming online that craftivism is something [you] probably haven’t heard of… sigh. These are just the most recent books that come to mind, let alone magazine articles and more.

Am I missing any? Let me know in comments, I would love to work this into another project I have going right now! The featured photo on this post is Lisa Ann Auerbach, whose protest sweaters have always been my favorite.

Craftivism: The Art of Craft and Activism (2014)

Guerrilla Kindness and Other Acts of Creative Resistance: Making A Better World Through Craftivism (2018)

A Little Book of Craftivism (2013)

Craft Activism: People, Ideas, and Projects from the New Community of Handmade and How You Can Join In (2011)

Craftivism and Yarn Bombing: A Criminological Exploration (2019)

DIY Rules for a WTF World: How to Speak Up, Get Creative, and Change the World (2018)

Crafting Creativity & Creating Craft: Craftivism, Art Education, and Contemporary Craft Culture (2014)

Crafting the Resistance: 35 Projects for Craftivists, Protestors, and Women Who Persist (2017)

Protest Knits: Got Needles? Get Knitting (2017)

Fray: Art and Textile Politics (2017)

Why We Quilt: Contemporary Makers Speak Out about the Power of Art, Activism, Community, and Creativity (2019)

Crafting Democracy: Fiber Arts and Activism (2019)

Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design (2008)

Knitting for Peace: Make the World a Better Place One Stitch at a Time (2006)

How to Be a Craftivist: The Art of Gentle Protest (2019)

Rusla sock

Say hello to the latest #knitgrrl52 release, the Rusla sock! It’s named after a Viking woman pirate and really, who doesn’t like those?

Buy it: http://bit.ly/ruslasock
Yarn: Malabrigo
Sample knitter + tech editor: Andi Smith/Knitbrit

Shadowtime cowl

#knitgrrl52 Shadowtime cowl

Here’s the latest #knitgrrl52 pattern, the Shadowtime cowl! The Miss Babs Ansel colorway just calls to me with its lights and darks—I love the dimensional look of the fabric it creates, and combined with a highly textured surface like this one where open holes and high/low areas provide additional visual play for shadow and light, you get a fun, fast knit that looks a lot more complex than it is.

The sample was knit by Michelle Dority Kroll and it’s modeled here by Natalia Uribe Wilson of YarnCon / Malojos gauge ring fame, right after we got back from Maryland Sheep and Wool.

Buy now on Ravelry!

On my list for tomorrow…

Tomorrow I’ll be editing, formatting and releasing this GORGEOUS sock pattern. And as per usual, I haven’t gotten around to naming it yet, though my friend and co-conspirator Dani continues to maintain that I should name it Daniella after her.

I also have a sweater pattern to edit and photograph, and I’m waiting on a few more samples to come in which probably should have been here by now.

It’s a busy week here at Knitgrrl HQ. I basically scorched the earth on ALL my websites and have had to rebuild them (so far so good on this one, as well as Knitgrrl Studio, Cleveland Bazaar, Cooperative Press and Shannon Okey dot com). I’m also getting ready to go to Maryland Sheep and Wool with Cooperative Press. There isn’t enough time in a day, I’m calling it now.

Patreon logo

The #knitgrrl52 Patreon project is almost over… what next?

For the past year+ I endeavored to publish a pattern a week using Patreon. In reality, thanks to the never-ending madness of managing test knitters, photoshoots, pattern writing and all the administrative tasks involved in such a completely overwhelming project, I ended up publishing clumps of patterns at the end of each month as I rushed to get them done before deadline.

Pro tip: deadlines can be your friend.

I’m incredibly grateful for the ongoing support of everyone who’s given their time and money to the project, from the supporters to the sample knitters, to my amazing technical editor Andi Smith, to my friends who regularly get roped into modeling when they least expect it… it’s been a real eye-opener.

As we’re getting the last few patterns out into the world, I have been thinking about what I want to do with the Patreon once the initial patterns are done. Will I use it to keep publishing more patterns, albeit on a friendlier timescale? Will I add more kinds of available content? (I’ve been working on a how-to sheet for knitters and knit designers who use Instagram, and mulling over a revised edition of The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design, among other things). Where do I fit in with the changing knit design ecosystem? Things to think about!

Everything old is new again

We knew this was coming, right? Everyone quits Facebook and goes back to blogging? HELLO FROM YOUR OG KNITBLOG FRIEND KNITGRRL, who started this fine blog SIXTEEN YEARS AGO.

(Even though admittedly the blog has been glaringly neglected these past few years… Hoping to change that in 2018 or at the very least use the magic of new technology to our advantage).

Photo by Allison Carey of the Cleveland Plain Dealer during holiday show season.

Why not publish a pattern a week for a year?

patreon-photo-knitgrrlWell, that’s the question I asked myself, anyway! And here’s what happened…
I ended up starting this.
Every week, I’ll release a new pattern.
Every week, we’ll make careful notes about promotion, sales, you name it, and collate all of that into posts for our Patreon supporters. We’re trying to accumulate as much data as we can so that we can help other designers strategize the best ways to promote and grow their design business in today’s market conditions. I’m also planning to write a followup to my bestselling Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design that will incorporate as much of this information as is appropriate (depending on how things go, I may split it up into more than one book).
Internally we’ve been calling this the 52 Patterns Project but it quickly started to grow as other opportunities popped up, so who knows how many projects there will be in total by the end of this! I’m currently designing something for New York Fashion Week… which is in FEBRUARY. I’m trying to use as much of my on-hand yarn stash as I can to make the economics work out better as we’re ramping up. I’ve got amazing sample knitters who are deciding to do things like knit a second sample in one of their on-hand yarns “you know, to see what it would look like.” I am blessed with an amazing team of people who have pitched in with so much energy and enthusiasm it’s astonishing to me.
Some of the yarns from my stash that should be making an appearing in the 52 Patterns Project this year include: Anzula, A Verb for Keeping Warm, Bartlett Yarns, Black Bunny Fibers, Blue Moon Fiber Arts, Brooklyn Tweed, Cascade Yarns, Cephalopod Yarns (yes, I KNOW, but YOU SHOULD SEE MY STASH and anyway we can tell you what to sub for it), Clara Parkes’ Clara Yarn, Dragonfly Fibers, Elsebeth Lavold yarns, Erica Knight yarns, Fable Fibers, Hope Spinnery, Indigodragonfly, Kaffe Fassett’s amazing Colourscape yarns from Rowan Yarns that I LIVE FOR, Kaunis, Lichen & Lace, Louet, Madelinetosh, Malabrigo yarn, Miss Babs Hand-Dyed Yarns & Fibers, Neighborhood Fiber Co., Noro Yarns, Plymouth Yarn Company, Quince & Co., Spunky Eclectic, Swans Island Yarn, Tahki Stacy Charles Yarns and The Fibre Co…. GREAT yarns, all of them.
I want to stop for a minute and particularly thank my longtime tech editor, idea-wrangler, yarn road trip-taker, and overall wonder of nature Andi Smith (aka Knitbrit) for all her help so far, and everything she does for me, Cooperative Press and Knit Edge magazine on a regular basis. She is a two-color-cable, sock, and (well, let’s face it, EVERYTHING) genius and I couldn’t do it without her. After being reminded that my assistant Christina knit and gifted me one of Andi’s patterns (French Quarter) this day last year, I know that it’s a sign this project is going to go well.
Here’s the French Quarter cowl by Andi that Christina knit for me:
1913740_10156330055460654_5104437813734578369_nOh, and because this design project won’t keep me busy enough in 2017 (ha ha ha), we’re planning to update this website very soon for the first time in FAR TOO LONG, so thanks for your patience with that!

@whatshouldiknit Twitter-bot is live + other important things

11225723_10156184240180654_3404618327157633361_nI have to admit, this is one of the most exciting things I’ve done in a while! I created a Twitter bot (find it at @whatshouldiknit) that automagically tweets knitting project suggestions once an hour using a defined series of variables including colors, stitch types, pattern types, yarns, and pattern sources. The older I get, the more fascinating software technology is to me, and I am making baby steps towards learning to write proper code. I hope you’ll enjoy this!
What else is going on? Oh, the usual SO VERY MUCH, as you can tell from my lack of blogging. (I hate it, because I love the blog, but I find myself spending a lot of time on other social media as a result of my work obligations, and there are only so many hours in a day).
I’ve been working on reconfiguring how Cooperative Press runs so that I can spend more time writing and running events such as Cleveland Bazaar, which has grown into a business that happens to provide the majority of my personal income these days. I have to tell you, reading this post by Woolly was a massive source of encouragement, because there is nothing that can make you feel more guilty than a business that isn’t going the way you feel it should be.
I have been taking counsel from many wise friends and colleagues, and prioritizing my own health and sanity in the face of many challenges over the past year. If I had a dollar for every person who has confided in me that they are considering leaving the yarn industry, I wouldn’t have to change anything about what I’m doing, because I would be SO VERY WEALTHY. The publishing industry is often much the same. And guess which two industries I’m straddling? Aiyi.
It’s funny. You can flat out insult me directly and it won’t make me blink, but make me question my own judgment in how my businesses are run, and I am suddenly a sodden wreck.
(I recently told a good friend about an ex-friend-with-benefits who told me he’d take me to the Caribbean as a reward if I lost weight…she was flabbergasted and I was just laughing because COME ON, THAT IS HILARIOUS. He wasn’t throwing me out of bed for eating crackers, as the saying goes. Wait… what do you mean it isn’t hilarious? Ok, I think it’s hilarious, and I know the place he was coming from as the child of a mother with health problems exacerbated by her weight, but… oh… yeah. I’m learning to rethink my former ability to blow off comments like that, and call people out on their bullshit).
So that’s where I’m at these days. I’m trying to make a lot of improvements both personally and professionally in the face of what can sometimes seem like insurmountable odds, but I’m taking comfort from my wise friends, and really internalizing what they’ve been telling me for a while now:

  • You don’t have to be a martyr.
  • You have already done so much.
  • You should be proud of your accomplishments, not focused on your failures.
  • Your “failures” were all made in good faith, in an effort to succeed, and there’s no shame in that.
  • Don’t envy the picture-perfect you see on Instagram and social media; you don’t know the full story

So those are my lessons to keep repeating until I really, truly can believe and act on them.
The publishing house will continue, both books and magazines, albeit in new sales formats. There isn’t enough money available to support the level of service I want to see for the old way of doing things, but we are working on creating systems that can continue to pay the higher royalty structure while cost-cutting on the me side.
The events will continue, and even expand.
I will continue to work on my own health; migraines and other problems are no picnic but with the allergy diagnoses I finally got earlier in the year, I’ve been able to remove or at least lessen some of my triggers. Fingers crossed it holds up all winter, usually my worst migraine series come around February.
Things change. It’s the only thing that never changes.