I thought about not writing my column this month. I haven’t been on Ravelry and my want to knit has been low. My want to share has been even lower. In the midst of this pandemic, between sheltering at home, the protests and the killings of Black people in the news, I just haven’t felt like sharing much of anything. So before you keep reading, just know that this post won’t contain any knitting patterns. I simply can’t just get back to knitting.
Many of you were first introduced to me on this site when Kay interviewed me after seeing my matching dog sweaters on Instagram. So many people have ooh’d and aww’d over the cuteness and have told me how much they anticipate my annual hand knit holiday cards with my husband. Lately, with everything going on in the news, I’ve been thinking, as much as people love my photos and tell me just how cute my husband is, if you saw him walking in Central Park wearing one of his hand knit sweaters and he asked you to put your dog on a leash—would you threaten to call the police on him and tell him he’s threatening you when he’s not? Like what happened to Christian Cooper. If you saw him going for a run in your neighborhood, would he get gunned down like Ahmaud Arbery? For as much love and support I get online about my knitting, if I was murdered in my own home while I slept like Breonna Taylor, would you demand justice for me? Or would you just keep knitting?
When I started blogging on Yards of Happiness five years ago, I did it because I didn’t see a lot of faces like mine talking about knitting. I’ll be honest, whenever I searched for things about knitting, Mason-Dixon Knitting always came to the top of my Google search, but the name Mason-Dixon always felt like a punch to the gut. To me, Mason-Dixon reminded me of slave states versus free states, a time when Black people were considered property and not people. My first thought is not about the space between Ann and Kay, who loved to knit. I’m not offended by the name but from where I sat, it was a bit off putting at first. I didn’t know what I was going to get going to that site. Eventually, I stopped looking at the name and focused on what their site was doing and I found that I had a place there. Just like with my site, I found a place where I hoped I could be seen.
I’m asking during this time of unrest in our country, when I cannot find the calm in knitting I once used to, for you to take a look at me. I want you to see ME. I am a Black woman filled with fear, sadness, and frustration right now at how white supremacy is still holding this nation back. When I say white supremacy, I’m talking about how this nation was founded on principles that said all men are created equal—but that didn’t include Black men or women. All of our laws, policies, and the very foundation we are built on is based off of those principles and they still make an impact to this day. White supremacy is the difference between peaceful protestors being met with rubber bullets and tear gas versus protestors openly carrying guns demanding that cities open in a pandemic and being met with silence and no response from police.
See me. See what I’m grappling with, see what I’m struggling with, and take the time out to learn. Get a broader view of history, read about race and have those difficult conversations with family and friends. See me and acknowledge that my pain is real. See me, and not just what I knit.
And maybe, just maybe I’ll be able to get back to knitting.