Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Knitting Wars

 

Greetings fellow Ricochetti knitters (you know who you are). I just got fired from KnitCamp!

It’s a knitting community I joined only about a week ago, at the enthusiastic suggestion of my sister (former Lefty, now not-so-much) who really enjoyed it because the woman who ran it hadn’t gone woke and/or wasn’t bullying her customers about such matters. When I checked her website myself, I found that she did have an “all are welcome here because diversity” statement, but it was quite lovely, and not at all out of bounds.

My sister had found the site, and KnitCamp to be free of the “smell-me” politics that infect so much of the online knitting presence these days. It’s a fee-based membership, and the members support each other, and the lady who runs it (Marie Greene, an apparently lovely woman with a serious “Doris Day” vibe), creates and sells beautiful, well-fitting patterns, and works hard at this. One of the features of Knit Camp is the “knit-a-longs,” a phrase that will be familiar to knitters, where a group selects or is presented with a particular pattern, people sign up to knit it, and with regular (in this case, virtual) meetings, support, and encouragement, people find out that they can do much more than they thought they could do alone. Who knew?

So, I plunked down my $125 for a year’s membership, got the first free pattern for the Summer Knit-A-Long, and purchased the yarn to knit it ($62). And I was all set.

And then, yesterday, for the first time, politics in the Facebook group. Orders from HQ: Donate to the SPLC. We are all guilty. Check your privilege. Submit. Confess.

I wrote an (I thought) rather mild objection, which I eventually discovered through nefarious means (because, fired) that went as follows:

Sorry I signed up for Knit Camp now. I did especially to avoid this sort of partisan bullying. Lest you think I don’t believe black lives matter as much as white lives, I’d caution you that none of you knows anything about me, so you should not jump to conclusions. I was hoping that this site, and this community would offer a respite from the knitting wars. But it seems I was wrong. Were I a member of George Floyd’s family right now, I’d be asking for peace, and for people to stop rioting and destroying lives and businesses (many of which are owned by members of the black community whose lives don’t seem to matter much, at least to the rioters). To their eternal credit, that’s what George Floyd’s family is already doing. We should follow suit.

Want to make a difference? Go out and talk to people in your community and find out what you can do to help. Invest your money in your own communities, rather than sending it off to a bunch of national groups with no interest in your neighbors, and with a political and social agenda that may be nothing like yours. And stand up to the bullies telling you what you must think, how you must act, and what you must do. I’m willing to bet that everyone who’s reading this is already a kind, decent, caring human being (after all, we’re knitters, right), who doesn’t need orders from headquarters to know the right thing to do. So just go out and do it.

Well, apparently this was disturbing to some (although not all, b/c I did get some high fives from others in the “community.”)

So I subsequently got an email from Marie Greene as follows:

I understand that these are difficult times and that differing opinions often clash when important issues are at hand. Based on your Facebook comment about regretting Knit Camp, I feel it’s only right to offer you the option of a refund if you’d like to cancel your membership. I know you’ve only recently joined and wouldn’t want your annual membership to be a waste if you don’t feel it’s the right community for you. I don’t typically offer refunds, but I think community is really important and I don’t want you to feel like you’ve wasted your resources on a community you don’t want to be part of.

Either way, I wish you well.

Thank you,

Heh. I may have been born at night. But it wasn’t last night. I ain’t jumping. You’re going to have to push me. So I responded:

Hi, Marie. Thanks for your kind offer. I think I’ll stick around. I’ve already ordered the yarn for the KAL sweater, and assuming that KnitCamp stays apolitical, I don’t have to go look at your other sites, and what you do and say on them is up to you. (I believe I first ran across your “Enough is Enough” post in the “Student Lounge” which says it’s a private group.)

If you think you can keep the politics out of KnitCamp, then good for you! I hope so. I’m less optimistic today than I was a week or two ago, and Knit Camp was promoted to me by one of its members as “there are no politics,” but we’ll see. Financially, with the discount, it’s not the end of the world if I bail at some point. I have absolutely no objection to being around or spending time with people who disagree with me politically, but I am tired of people virtue-signalling that they’ve suddenly gone “woke” and have all the answers, and that the rest of us are a bunch of clodhoppers who just don’t get it. I think your previous statement on your website about inclusivity covers the subject perfectly.

My heroine in this matter is the YarnHarlot. She and I could not be more different in our political leanings, and she writes about what she’s doing (PWA, Doctors without Borders) all the time. It’s a personal thing for her, and although she invites people to contribute to causes she supports (and I have, to both of them), there’s no pressure and no shaming if you don’t. And although she makes her own political and social persuasions and commitments known as she writes, again, there’s no pressure and no implication that the rest of us don’t get it or that there is something wrong with us. She tells us what she’s actually doing to make a difference, sets an example, and doesn’t nag us about what we ought to do ourselves. I admire her greatly.

Your patterns are lovely. Your site is lovely. KnitCamp appears to be lovely. I don’t expect to participate much by video because my internet connection (satellite) isn’t very good, but we’ll see.

So thanks again. But, no.

And, this morning, I got the email I expected:

Your refund has already been processed. I wish you well.

My final answer:

I cannot say I am surprised. Once again, disappointed, but not surprised. My experience of the newly woke is that they are some of the most intolerant people on earth.

Know that, at the suggestion of David Dorn’s family (he’s the retired St. Louis police officer killed by a howling mob a couple of days ago while his shooting, and his death agonies were jubilantly celebrated and jeered at via live stream on the Internet), I will be donating my “refund” to Backstoppers, an organization which supports the families of fallen heroes.

I do this because, you see, David Dorn’s life matters to me.

Don’t bother to reply.

I’ve already made my donation. And I asked them to send the acknowledgment to Marie Greene.

Commitments matter. Don’t run. Don’t hide. Don’t back down.

I have my hands completely full in my real life right now, which is the only reason I’m restricting this to the member feed. But I wanted you to see how very little it takes to be jettisoned as the “wrong sort of people” by the newly-woke.

I don’t want to start a flame war. I don’t want to destroy this woman’s life and career. I can’t help thinking she’s already been “got at” by those who’ve threatened her with annihilation if she doesn’t give in. It’s not like that hasn’t happened before.

So I’m not cross-posting this to my new blogsite.

Yet.

Crimenutely. And for Heaven’s Sake. Can we just get real?

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  1. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    And the people who are perpetrating this kind of thing like to think of themselves as brave Resisters.

    They are resisters, indeed…but more like the Nazi and Communist resistance against the Weimar Republic, rather the French resistance against the Nazis.

    • #1
  2. namlliT noD Member
    namlliT noD
    @DonTillman

    Do you know who Karlyn Barysenko is? 

    • #2
  3. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    She, you are exceptionally patient, more than I could ever be. You’ve handled this with calmness and reason. 

    • #3
  4. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    So, Madame Thérèse Defarge is running this group, I guess.

    • #4
  5. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

    Do you know who Karlyn Barysenko is?

    Yes.  She’s the Lefty who woke up to the implications of the Ravelry Knitting Wars many months after I sounded the alarm, and while the rest of what passes for the right-wing intelligentsia was still passing them off as an irrelevant bunch of sexless old grannies arguing about the difference between S-Twist and Z-Twist (PM me if you need explication).

    I welcome her to the fight, because I’m not petty, and because (I hope) this time I know our side will win:

    • #5
  6. Goldwaterwoman Thatcher
    Goldwaterwoman
    @goldwaterwoman

    She:

    Commitments matter. Don’t run. Don’t hide. Don’t back down.

    I have my hands completely full in my real life right now, which is the only reason I’m restricting this to the member feed. But I wanted you to see how very little it takes to be jettisoned as the “wrong sort of people” by the newly-woke.

    I so admire you for writing this today, particularly since I am surrounded by the “woke” types. You’re braver than I am dear @She. 

    • #6
  7. EODmom Coolidge
    EODmom
    @EODmom

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    She, you are exceptionally patient, more than I could ever be. You’ve handled this with calmness and reason.

    But sweet Marie knows exactly what Ms She meant. I think she was actually pretty rude. I’m boiling on your behalf and applaud your determination to not back down. We are well past the You Will be Made to Care stage. So not backing down and no euphemisms is the order of the day. 

    • #7
  8. Ralphie Member
    Ralphie
    @Ralphie

    Nothing is beyond politics today.  She knew you’d be trouble. I say that as a compliment. 

     

    • #8
  9. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Life in the Fully Politicized Society, from 2014

    Life in the Fully Politicized Society, from 2017…a collection of links

     

    • #9
  10. EODmom Coolidge
    EODmom
    @EODmom

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):

    She:

    Commitments matter. Don’t run. Don’t hide. Don’t back down.

    I have my hands completely full in my real life right now, which is the only reason I’m restricting this to the member feed. But I wanted you to see how very little it takes to be jettisoned as the “wrong sort of people” by the newly-woke.

    I so admire you for writing this today, particularly since I am surrounded by the “woke” types. You’re braver than I am dear @She.

    Be brave. No debates, no defense of your position, just state the facts. You’re braver than you think!

    • #10
  11. Blondie Thatcher
    Blondie
    @Blondie

    I think I’m going to end up posting this article to a lot of posts here. It is very on point. 

    • #11
  12. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Blondie (View Comment):

    I think I’m going to end up posting this article to a lot of posts here. It is very on point.

    Go for it!

     

    • #12
  13. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    I believe in optimism, and in the inherent good of all people.(From the Manifesto)

    Ah, that’s the problem, right there.

    • #13
  14. SkipSul Member
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    Ralphie (View Comment):

    Nothing is beyond politics today. She knew you’d be trouble. I say that as a compliment.

     

    Rod Dreher regularly argues that the core commonality of all totalitarian societies is that everything is ultimately political, from dinner table conversations (say the wrong thing and a disgruntled dinner guest could rat you out) to where you shop, to what you wear.  This is very much where we are heading.

    • #14
  15. Lilly B Coolidge
    Lilly B
    @LillyB

    So much love for you and this post, @She! 

    • #15
  16. Richard Easton Member
    Richard Easton
    @RichardEaston

    Tuesday on Twitter seemed to be all BLM. I decided to take a week off. I also got a BLM message on LinkedIn and unfollowed the person who did this. The indoctrination push never ends.

    • #16
  17. Old Buckeye Member
    Old Buckeye
    @OldBuckeye

    She, I sympathize. I remember the Ravelry dust-up and I’ve seen the same thing in the quilting community (what is it with craftspeople being Lefties?). I’ve stopped following one  blog after another once the blogger spouts some rhetoric implying anyone who doesn’t agree with their woke drivel needs to fall in line. The fawning commenters are even worse. Blech! There’s no room with these people for disagreement, not even civil and well-written thoughts like yours. It all must be politicized.  You must pick a side, even if all you want to do is knit, and woe to you if it’s the wrong side. 

     

    • #17
  18. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    I’ve unmarked this as Members Only.  Just want you to know, in case you’d like to change anything.

    Thanks.

    • #18
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    You are awesome, Woman!!! I kept wanting to say “Woo-hoo” all the way through! They are so pathetic. I can’t get worked up at such sad and foolish behavior. They don’t deserve you. Meanwhile, love the new blog!! I’ve got to put into my bookmarked sites

    • #19
  20. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    A small point that I noticed was the mention of Southern Poverty Law Center.  It’s revealing of a bubble mentality since the SPLC has been enmeshed in scandal for quite some time now, with the founder given the boot and questions about improprieties. Even if one is tempted to “encourage” donations, that place should be near the bottom of the list for anyone following events.

    • #20
  21. JosePluma Thatcher
    JosePluma
    @JosePluma

    David Foster (View Comment):

    And the people who are perpetrating this kind of thing like to think of themselves as brave Resisters.

    They are resisters, indeed…but more like the Nazi and Communist resistance against the Weimar Republic, rather the French resistance against the Nazis.

    The French resistance wasn’t that great either.

    • #21
  22. Goldwaterwoman Thatcher
    Goldwaterwoman
    @goldwaterwoman

    JosePluma (View Comment):
    The French resistance wasn’t that great either.

    Unless you consider Charles de Gaulle sitting out the war in an office in London resisting.

    • #22
  23. Samuel Block Support
    Samuel Block
    @SamuelBlock

    Lilly B (View Comment):

    So much love for you and this post, @She!

    Seconded. 

    • #23
  24. GrannyDude Member
    GrannyDude
    @GrannyDude

    Good for you @She. No retreat, no surrender.

    Etsy had to offer a little woke statement this week, boasting of their donations to what appear, at least, to be the uusual useless, unpleasant activist organizations. 

    Not sure what to do about that. I suppose I could write them and include the eye-popping amount of money I’ve spent there (craft supplies…sigh) which maybe I’ll just start spending someplace else?

    • #24
  25. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    Sent a link to https://rightwingknitjob.com. to my non-Ricochet wife.  She knits or crochets or something, not sure which.  

    • #25
  26. JosePluma Thatcher
    JosePluma
    @JosePluma

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):

    JosePluma (View Comment):
    The French resistance wasn’t that great either.

    Unless you consider Charles de Gaulle sitting out the war in an office in London resisting.

    I like de Gaulle a lot better than the people in France who spent as much effort fighting each other as they did the Nazis; de Gaulle at least organized and trained the French who fled to England.

    • #26
  27. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin
    @OmegaPaladin

    I have a very strict no-politics rule on my Discord.  (It’s a gaming chat service)  More specifically, only talk politics in the political chat.  Most people can’t access the political chat. 

    • #27
  28. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Another clodhopper kicked to the curb – well, good riddens to the knitting Gestapo. I never even knew there was a virtual knitting community until Tuesday.  I met my new friend for lunch (we met at my hairdresser’s Christmas party and discovered she grew up in the Massachusetts town we lived in!). It was her first time out since the shutdown. I know she’s liberal and she knows I’m not, but we get on well.  She is part of a knitting community she said – I don’t knit so I was surprised. I don’t spend all that much time on line either. I wonder if her knitting community is like that – I’ll ask her on our next get-together.  What happened to the nice little tea chats of the ol’ days!

    • #28
  29. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Excellent post, Madam.  I can’t say I’d have been as polite as you were.

    • #29
  30. Dotorimuk Coolidge
    Dotorimuk
    @Dotorimuk

    Only one point of view is allowed. Conform to our uniform diversity!

    • #30