Small Stitches Add Up


2016 is shaping up to be a garbage year. When tragedies happen or when politics get ugly, I tend to go quiet on this blog because it feels silly to be writing about knitting when people are grieving or in fear. But with the way things have been lately, it seems like the tragedies and hate aren’t going to subside any time soon, and I think knitting can be good to help cope with that overwhelming feeling that everything is awful and not going to get better any time soon.

Knitting is warm and comforting, but it’s also creative and positive in nature. Each stitch takes yarn’s potential and shapes it into something good and useful. Sometimes you have to rip back, but you can almost always refashion your yarn into something new if your first attempts were a failure, so you rarely need to give up. You might take a few steps back here and there to fix a mistake, but knitting is about moving forward and making. Knitting feels good in its reliable repetition and endless potential, and it’s okay to disappear into your craft for some time when the world gets too awful.

After you’ve worked some stitches and are feeling a bit less overwhelmed, please remember to work on the world around you, too. I often find myself feeling helpless because I can’t do anything alone to make big changes, but I try to remind myself that little actions can add up, like individual stitches on a sweater. Write to your government representatives. Never forgot to vote, even in the small, local elections. Reach out to your friends who have been affected. Listen to the people who are being targeted and try to view things from their perspective. Donate to organizations who can do the work you can’t do yourself. Speak up when other people say hateful and bigoted things in front of you.

And then take another knitting break because the world is exhausting and could use a little extra warmth.







16 responses to “Small Stitches Add Up”

  1. Audrey Schmidt

    Wise words

  2. Betsy


  3. Janice

    You are awesome.

  4. Erica Hazelton

    thank you for writing this, it rings so true.

  5. Marie Bryan

    Thank you so much! I know knitting/crocheting always gives me a little peace in this very unpeaceful world!

  6. Elizabeth

    I don’t think writing about knitting is silly at all. It’s good to have something to take your mind off of what’s going on “out there”. It’s hard listening, reading and watching all the crazy that’s going on around us and to have something we are familiar with and makes us happy is a safe retreat. Keep on knitting and blogging! We can use the break. =)

  7. Anonymouse

    Thanks for reminding us to balance the retreat and engagement – we need both. Excellent steps for making the difference you can without burning out. It’s never silly to write about knitting. When I pick up my needles, I pick up my life.

  8. Thank you for sharing these thoughts, it resonates. I appreciate you taking the time to talk about the events, and as Elizabeth says, it’s comforting coming here to read about knitting 🙂

  9. Cheryl Stern

    Andi, you do so much with your blog and your patterns to help women be exciting and creative within the world each lives in. Please continue to provide the guidance for that creative outlet. I know I personally have turned down other resources to focus on your designs. People are amazed at how well the garments fit and I love how they keep me warm. It is a way to connect with other people, to share conversation about the world, and to encourage others to pick up crochet hooks and knitting needles to make wonderful things with yarn. Some we keep for ourselves, and some we give away to spread the love. Keep up the great work!

  10. Just an FYI, I won’t be approving angry comments that just exist to stir things up. If you can’t have some empathy for marginalized or suffering people and want to share your excuse for that, you’ve missed the point.

  11. Beth

    Please don’t stop talking to us because you think it is ‘silly’ in the face of world events.

    We all need a refuge in times like these. When we can’t bear any more ‘news’, it’s nice to be able to disconnect for a while by reading everyday things like blogs about knitting.

    I’ve recently read Jambusters. I highly recommend it.
    During the trials and horrors of WWII, the Women’s Institute was a refuge for those members, even while they were madly knitting, growing & preserving food and making up care packages for the war effort.

    Nothing has changed – when evil and madness are all around us, we need the company of other women. Even if that company is virtual rather than physical. <3

  12. Completely identify with your sentiments – and also acknowledging the importance of self-care when the world seems so bleak and unforgiving. I know that being curled up on the couch with my cat and needles soothes me after a particularly hideous day!

  13. So very true. I’m glad I’m not the only one who finds solace in the yarn snd needles. And once the necessary respite has been achieved there may be some knitted things that go out into the world to comfort some of the folk more directly affected by recent events

  14. I completely understand where you are coming from. I feel bad writing about trivial things such as fashion, knitting and everything vintage and writing in a satirical way when there are so many tragedies happening out there. Knitting is such a cathartic experience, I really find it a relaxing experience, well most of the time anyway! There are lots of projects out there such as Teddies for Tragedies and many others knitting for people in third world countries or hospitals or animal shelters near you and it can be fun to knit something you wouldn’t normally knit. I’m not sure where you are in the world (I’ve just found your blog), but in the UK Innocent Smoothies have a campaign every year where you can make little hats to put on their bottles that people buy and for each one made 25p is sent to Age UK. The campaign usually starts in the Autumn, but I know some people knit some all year round or when they have some scraps of knitting. There are some amazing designs out there that are a lot of fun! I’ve made these hats with my Mum and Grandma for the past couple of years and it’s a fun experience and nice to feel that you’re helping someone out there. Any knitting is such a lovely experience and don’t feel guilty writing about it when there are so many tragedies happening in the world. XxxX

    1. Charity knitting is kind of a controversial topic. I personally feel like my money is better put to use than my materials and time because knitting is so undervalued (Like for the Innocent smoothie hats, surely that’s more than 25p worth of time and materials?) and because the cost of dealing with physical goods that might not truly be the most useful can be difficult for charities, so I don’t do much of it anymore. I know in the US, we’ve had communities be overwhelmed and burdened by generous gestures that were somewhat misguided because people send toys and handknits that have to be stored and sorted when what is really needed is funds for service workers to do their jobs and buy necessities. Stacey Trock from Fresh Stitches has written a really good blog post on the topic of charity knitting.

      I’m sure there are good opportunities where handmade donations are both wanted and needed, but it’s something worth researching before diving in.

  15. Debra

    very well said.

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