This Long Thread

By Kay Gardiner
November 18, 2021

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32 Comments
  • Is this sounds like such a wonderful book! I tried a few days ago to to order it on Audible books, but not offered there. I was hoping to be able to listen to it while knitting. Also, I love that there are interviews with crafters who I already follow on IG, because it will make the reading experience all the more personal. It sounds to me that this will be one of those books that I will want to read more slowly to be able to relish the experience and make it last as long as possible.

  • So glad to know about this book! I’m going tu place an order for it at my library. I look forward to reading it and to making more room for all of us at my table.
    Is it too late to add to your holiday shop items from Kareem Abdul Jabaar’s Make a Friend that Doesn’t Look Like You collection?

  • I ordered a copy for my sister (expert sewer, jewelry maker and beginning knitter) and one for me. I’m looking forward to reading it.

  • Thanks for sharing this exciting book.

  • Just ordered my copy. Thanks to Kay and the MDK team for information that helps us be more mindful.

  • Thank you! I look forward to reading this book.

  • Wondering if there are photos and illustrations that would make the print book preferable over the Kindle version?

    • While I’m sure intentions were only good, isn’t the quality of the contents of a book more important than the ethnicity of the writers, or the color of their skin? The current woke obsession with race and/ or skin color is getting old. What’s next? A book written by Jewish knitting artists? Muslim artists? Asian artists?
      Are we starting to award gold stars to readers of books all authored by a specific race?
      (And no, I’m not racist, but worship a religion that most would use to classify me as belonging to a certain race, incorrectly).

      Words matter as does content. Not the skincolor or ethnicity of author.

      • But the content of the book is about the experience of people of color AS people of color and therefore their skin color is relevant. You might find this article about the problems with “color blindness” enlightening: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/culturally-speaking/201112/colorblind-ideology-is-form-racism%3famp

      • I’m curious why you seem to assume the quality of content in this book isn’t good, just because its subject matter concerns race. You may want to reread the parts of Kay’s review where she talks about the excellence and quality of the interviews and responses.

        I’d also suggest reflecting on why you think learning about perspectives and cultures not your own is “getting old.”

        Myself, I bet I’d learn some new things from a book by and about Jewish knitters and artists, or Muslim ones, or Asian ones, just as I’m sure I’ll learn from this book’s women of color.

        • Exactly.

      • “What’s next? A book written by Jewish knitting artists? Muslim artists? Asian artists?”

        uhhh. why not?

        • I read that part and thought “Ooh! I wonder if there are specific patterns that those cultures would knit?” It would be fun to see anyway. I wonder if an intrepid knitter has ever knit a menorah?

      • I think going to the effort of leaving comments like “why can’t we all get past talking about race”, on a post that about a project directly focused on inclusion, no less, is actually a racist act.

        • Here is my experience of Jewish crafting: I married into a Sephardic family, and at my husband’s aunt’s house, there is a very large and exquisite framed piece of a woman standing in a field of flowers. This piece was embroidered by my husband’s grandmother, and the thread work and shading and ombre effects are incredibly striking. There also appears to be watercolor painting (or maybe it is gouache?) It’s probably about 2 feet by 4 feet and it looks as if she created it entirely from her imagination. I remarked to my husband that it is museum quality and should be put in the American Craft museum here in New York if it ever leaves the family. You’ve given me such a good idea to assemble a book from the beautiful handcrafted work of Jewish needle artists–thank you!

          By the way, I am going to buy two copies of The Long Thread as soon as possible. Never underestimate the power of learning from people who don’t look like you. There are incredibly rich traditions all over the world–I have seen incredible needlework in Morocco, Mexico, Peru, the Czech Republic, India–and we all are enriched by curiosity. Why not learn from people who live all around us?

        • I am depressed and confounded by that response. On a website which actually changed its name to be more inclusive, it is surprising to read this intolerant comment.

      • This comment is exactly the issue. As a white woman, I can tell you, unintentionally we have walked a relatively “white world”. After working in a predominantly minority environment, feeling like a minority, I see the world differently having been educated by women of color. Step outside your comfort zone and support women of color. You don’t know “what you don’t know”. Trust me.

      • As a young white woman living away from home for the first time and learning to knit real garments (rather than square blanket patches), I visited several knitting stores when I ran into problems and was ignored and stonewalled by older staff members. I still can’t see why. I cannot imagine receiving this kind of treatment and much worse over and over again and not being negatively affected. I’m very sure that being marginalized and continually made unwelcome has resulted in tremendous hurt, and over time has also resulted in distinctive and beautiful design. I would love to see this book.

  • Thanks for telling us about this book Kay, I’ll continue to check for it in my Libby app and look forward to listening to it. Happy to see its sold out on Jen’s website.

  • Thank you!

  • It sounds like it is selling out, which is happy news for the author. I’m wondering if listening to it as an audiobook (while knitting, of course) will mean losing out on beautiful pictures or illustrations? If so, I want to be sure to get the print copy and I cannot wait to read it.

  • Hooray! My local public library system already has three copies on order, so I’ve placed my name on the wait list. Thanks for tipping us to the book’s release.

  • I’m so grateful that women of any color are finally being noticed.The Quilts of Gees Bend knocked my socks off and knitting isn’t for old ladies ! Knitting has changed so much in the past 30 years and I love to learn. Thanks for bringing this to our attention

    • I loved The Quilts of Gees Bend so much, both the quilting and the stories of the quilters. It changed my view of quilting completely. We are all lifted as crafters when others of us are lifted up for all to see.

  • Always step up to the gatekeeper and chat them up as you step in the door and look around. As a woman chemical engineer, who started college in 1960, I was one of only 22 young women who did so. We each simply chatted our way past the male doorkeepers and into their world. We found that many of our colleagues supported and encouraged us, because they wished the same success for their own daughters. At the same time, we worked hard and enjoyed our interesting work, until we found ourselves welcoming in many other, younger women following in our footsteps.

    Be a bumble bee and don’t ever ask if you can fly. Just keep flapping your wings and doing what you enjoy and do it well. Provide support to others. Your satisfaction is the important issue.

    I was not the first woman chemical engineer. I did not know what a woman engineer looked or how they would dress. It is a joy to offer a hand up to so many young women following in our footsteps.

    And the needle arts are a perfect entry into understanding 3-D construction and drawings.

  • About 30 years ago or so, as a person of color, I’d find that in some craft stores, the salespeople would act as if I’d gotten “lost”. My mother taught me how to crochet and she was a very good sewer. My grandmother did alterations in a department store. Craft stores were never “foreign” territory for me. I picked up knitting about 15 years ago, because my daughter is an excellent knitter and I thought, well I can knit also. I also can embroider and cross stitch and taught my daughters to cross stitch. I think the quilters of Gees Bend opened a lot of eyes to people of color doing crafts.

  • Grandi Cheyenne Harper’s new book is “Knitting for Radical Self-Care”. Publication date 1/4/22.

  • Jen Hewitt is a treasure!

    • Those who comfortably live “at the center” always seem threatened when the focus shifts to those who are marginalized. If you wonder why this new book is needed, you might pick up Heather McGhee’s recent “The Sum of Us,” which brilliantly shows how racism hurts both the targets and perpetrators of discrimination. Or Isabel Wilkerson’s “Caste.” I’ve always believed that craft workers are generally nice people but, as an aging lesbian, I have also experienced exclusion in knitting and other communities. It can be subtle or overt, but it is real, and wrong. We will never heal from the damage done by the white supremacy embedded in U.S. culture and politics unless we stop ignoring and start to change. Kudos to Jen Hewitt!

  • It is hard to believe how completely ignorant white people have been to how racism has deformed every aspect of our society from the beginning.

  • I need to go to our local indie bookshop and get a copy for my daughter, who is studying fiber arts (among other things— like history, art history, women/gender studies…so, perfect!) in college. 🙂

  • Thank you for linking to a source other than Amazon. We need to support other retailers!