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Diverse Fiber Folk – I Know You’re Out There!

There are a lot of diverse fiber folk – despite that moment when people look at you like you’re in a zoo for doing something wacky, like knitting in public.

Interweave Knits, a knitting magazine with generally fantastic and awesome patterns, recently included this quote on inclusiveness in the preview of their 2017 Spring magazine, the “Explorers Issue.”

“13 percent of Hispanic Americans, 10 percent of African Americans, and 8 percent of white Americans knitted in the last year. In addition, 14 percent of millennials, compared to 7 percent of baby boomers, knitted during the past year, as well as 5 percent of American men. These statistics show the richness of our knitting family, and we’re thrilled to see the younger generations take to the craft in such numbers. Will you hold out your hand and find fellowship with each other? Can we grow our vibrant family and explore the richness of our craft together in this new year?”

That’s a lot of people of color! And a lot of young people! The diverse fiber community is vast! And yet, that’s not at all how it’s portrayed in mainstream culture. Even this article from Interweave Knits, while well-intended, erases the very people it wants to embrace.

“Will you hold out your hand and find fellowship with each other? Can we grow our vibrant family and explore the richness of our craft together in this new year?”

Who is Interweave Knits speaking to here? All those diverse knitters that it just stated statistics on? Or the white ladies typically on their cover?

I guess, thanks, white people, for holding out your hand to the people of color? That’s real generous of you to welcome us to a family we’ve been a part of for generations.

Look, I’m pretty sure Interweave Knits and I are on the same team. We both love yarn, talented designers, and fashion. I generally try to pick the real battles with the much larger forces at work participating in discrimination and outright prejudice. But sometimes you just need to ask your own teammates to be a little better. I hope that the knitting media can work a little harder at being more diverse.

Prove Diverse Fiber Folk Exist in an Interview for the
Variegated Yarns Column!

In the meantime, I will do my best to create my own corner of the knitting and crochet world, filled with diverse and interesting interviews from diverse and interesting people of color. If you are interested in being interviewed, please check out my “Get Interviewed” page. I want to hear from you and promote your contributions to the fiber community!

Monica

My name is Monica Rodriguez and I can’t stop fidgeting with yarn. I live in Albuquerque, NM with my husband. We belong to two terriers who manage to cuddle us just enough to keep us from revolting.

4 thoughts to “Diverse Fiber Folk – I Know You’re Out There!”

  1. Love this! Even though I’m an average white woman, I had noticed this too – especially after seeing more diverse models in other publications. Since I believe there is room for everyone – even in the pages of a magazine – I hope they see this and change to be more inclusive.

  2. Monica, I agree! I found this to be true in my daily knitting interactions as well even though I live in Los Angeles, a pretty darn diverse city! I am a Mexican immigrant, raised in Los Angeles, and was taught to crochet at around age 8 (I am now 45). Only recently (in last 3-4 years) did I discover LYS’s and non-acrylic yarns. ADM! I’ve gone to two Yarn Crawls and was very surprised and disappointed in the lack of diversity of the crawlers and shop owners! I even mentioned this to the organizers when asked for feedback. I learned to knit (I am still a beginner), but this lack of diversity has really bugged me, and this led me to seek out a more diverse fiber familia in my area and via social media and support them so they flourish—which led me to you! Thank you for creating this space!

    1. Thank you for the kind comment and truly getting it! Diversity and representation truly matter, and hopefully we can do our part to create a media for our fiber familia that is as diverse as the community really is.

Let me know what you think!