Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Do Women of Color Knit?

Last night I slept laying down. Talk about being grateful for small things! For ten days after my fracture I slept sitting, as my arm lost its therapeutic position as soon as I reclined. Every day my legs and feet grew more swollen. It was more difficult at the hotel without my recliner. I struggled to prop enough pillows and balance against them waking every hour to readjust everything.

Oh yes, the hotel. I was bored and stir-crazy in my little house, so I returned to college town with my daughter while she finishes her last week of summer school. Alone in the hotel I have gained a new perspective on designs for my book, as well as a few more words to be said.

I grew up knitting at a time when knitting was an "old lady" hobby. Funkier new crafts were being taught-think macrame-and more portable handcrafts like crochet seemed to be favored. The back to the land movement that followed hippie life seemed far removed from me, as I worked to acquire highly technical, scientific knowledge for my career. By the turn of the century and my retirement, knitting was on the rise with new fibers and better tools and a younger following who created modern, wearable gear.

When I joined that modern knitters movement, what I didn't see was women of color. Without fail, I am overwhelmingly outnumbered in groups of knitters. I am aware of only one African-American woman who regularly appears in knitting design circles, my hero, Shirley Paden. Drawn to a career in knitting design after her high-powered business position suddenly ended, she became incredibly successful. I am trying to determine if the scarcity of minority women in knitting is personal experience or reality. I've fashioned a brief survey to help assess that. Feel free to participate or pass the link to any adult women you know. I will publish the statistics.

I always like to share what I find, if it is useful and good. Knitting has done some amazing things for my life, and if there's a population that isn't getting the exposure, I'd love to aim some teaching in that direction.


1 comment:

  1. I have been wondering about this, too. Did you ever publish the results of your survey?