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Old 02-04-2005, 08:00 PM   #1
feministmama
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OK I have to say something
Ya know I love knitting with all my heart but as a black woman I just don't feel like I fit in very much in the world of knitting. Many of the patterns and designs, etc are modled on a Irish, Nordik, themes that are beautiful but they're just not .....me. I did read thebook Beyond stitch and Bitch that was written by a black woman but as far as I know that's the only one. I haven't even read about other women of color, ya know women from Latin countries (Guatemala, Equidor, Peru, brazil) I mean they have thier own traditons and all. Or how about Portugal? Or China? Now I realize many warm places are not going to have a tradition of knitting as knitting is going to relect palces that are colder but as a black woman in the United States (from Boston, a very cold place) I thought there may be some black women or women of color to share experiences. Anyway, i don't know what I'm asking or if I'm asking for anything, maybe I'm jsut ranting. But I jsut wanted to put this out there and acknowledge how alone I'm feeling. And if anyone sees a webiste or a book or overhear's a conversation about this, let me know. Thanks. Love this site.
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Old 02-04-2005, 08:38 PM   #2
amy
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FeministMama, I hear what you're saying. It's rare to see black women even modeling patterns, and very rare to come across designs by them! I think your point about it not really being as strong a tradition in warm-weather contries is a good point, as far as why we may not see as many ethnic designers and designs. But it does seem that in the modern knitting world, there should be more ethnic knitters. I'm sure they're out there! Just...well....nearly impossible to find!

I've combed through thousands of pages on the web in my search for knitting patterns, and I only recall two web sites that appeared to be created by black women. I remember them, because they stood out for being so rare! One was a blog, and the other was a site with a handful of patterns. I think I might have a link to the latter site, among my pattern links. I'm going through all my patterns now, to get permissions for images. If I come across that one, I'll post it here! (I just attempted a web search for the blog. No luck, sorry!)

Okay, I just did a little web-combing on the topic in general. This topic is talked about briefly on this blog (scroll down to May 7th). She includes a few links that might interest you. Well, it's a start anyway!

Hope this helps!

Also, have you checked out any SNB's in the Boston/Cambridge area? Maybe you could look for one in a neighborhood that's got a relatively high black population....? I'm from Cambridge, Central Square area, which used to have a very diverse population. I don't know what you'd find now. But you could try it.... Just a thought.

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Old 02-04-2005, 09:49 PM   #3
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It never occured to me: I know a lot of knitters, but they are all white. I've never seen African-American women (or men) at either LYSs or S&Bs I attend. There are a few African-American models in the spring lion brand yarn company catalog, and 1 that I specifically remember in the S&B book. That isn't much representation, though. I wonder, is knitting a craft that African-American women (or other ethnicities) shy away from, because it is (or seems to be) a primarily white/European activity?
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Old 02-04-2005, 11:30 PM   #4
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Jo Sharp's Pattern Book Five has a black woman modelling their sweaters...not sure if this helps or not but I thought it was pretty cool.

http://www.josharp.com.au/Pages/Patt...ok5inside.html
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Old 02-04-2005, 11:36 PM   #5
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Hmmm… feministmama, Maybe you have identified an untapped market just waiting to be plucked....
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Old 02-05-2005, 01:55 AM   #6
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Re: OK I have to say something
Originally Posted by feministmama
Many of the patterns and designs, etc are modled on a Irish, Nordik, themes that are beautiful but they're just not .....me.
I have Irish roots in me, but those themes aren't me either. Everyone's style is different and it sounds like the style you are looking for just isn't popular in the knitting world right now. I like MaggieL's suggestion. You can always start with a basic design or pattern that has sort of what you want and try to modify it from there.

Good luck.
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Old 02-05-2005, 02:26 AM   #7
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Feministmama, why not be the one of the first black women to design patterns and/or model knitted items? You could even do some reasearch about black women knitting in history and tell us what you find. I'd be delighted to learn more!

Regardless of what you decide, I personally would like to tell you that you are most welcome on this forum, if that hasn't been said already. I brifely skimmed through others comments...but I know that everyone on this forum would be delighted to have yet another point of view on knitting.

The greatest thing about this forum and others is that we are so diverse, yet all have one common 'thread', if you will. Let's celebrate it!

By the way, there is a lovely young black lady on the cover of Knit It! this month...I believe you asked about books/magazines.

Keep one thing in mind...the art of knitting knows no color (except yarn, that is). As long as ya keep your hands off my new blue yarn, you're A-OK in my book!!!! hehe
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Old 02-05-2005, 05:39 AM   #8
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Well I'm not white if that helps. (But I'm not black either!)

I guess I'm more influenced by where I live (Ireland) when it comes to my knitting. Although I did start knitting long before I moved here!

I guess I just want to learn all I can about knitting, which means learning from resources all over the world.

I never really though about ethnicity and knitting before! It would be very interesting and I think foldedbird is right, you should be one of the first black women to design knitting for black people! I think that would be so cool! You could totally get a book out of it and I'd certainly buy it!
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Old 02-05-2005, 08:10 AM   #9
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Hi feministmama,

Prepare yourself for a long post feministmama!!!!!!! :D :D :D

If it helps you to not feel alone or alienated in the "internet knitting world", I am "a woman of color". :D *Salsa shakes hands with feministmama*

I am Australian by nationality, born in New Guinea (my mother is New Guinean and my father is German). I was taught to knit by a Swiss friend of my parents which is why I knit "German style". I ended up in the Netherlands because I am married to a Dutchman. :D Crazy world, huh? In Australia, most women knit "English style" and are completely unaware that there is a German knitting tradition. Try imagining the looks I got from older Australian women trying to ponder how it comes to be that a black woman is knitting in such a different way to the way they knit, and that she is telling them she knits "the German way".

I am going to post a picture here especially for you because I think you will appreciate it (but maybe other posters will like it too). [see image below].

This is a bag which is traditionally produced in my mother's country. It is called a "bilum". The yarn for this particular bag is spun from cuscus fur (a "cuscus" is an opossum-like animal, for the benefit of North American readers). I take this bag everywhere with me. It's my fave bag in the whole wide world because it was given to me by my cousin, and it reminds me of my mother's culture.

It looks like a knitted bag, huh? Actually, according to my mother, it's not knitting in the traditional sense because there are no needles involved. But a stitchholder is used. Traditionally, it is a strand of leaf from a palm tree, but more often today, plastic packing crate ties are used as ht e stitchholder. The fabric is produced by interlocking the loops of yarn around the stitchholder. In Arnhemland (in the north of Australia) and on the islands between New Guinea and Australia, there is also a strong tradition for producing these types of bags.

Like you feministmama, I would love to learn more about traditional knitting techniques in other countries. I have to say too that by knitting, I feel that I am connecting with the traditions of Germanic and Anglo cultures and that's a learning experience too. To me, knitting in itself is therefore "other" and "different", but that's just me and how I look at it.

Anyway, just to let you know, you're not alone. And I hope it gladdens your heart to see a special fabric produced by a non-European culture.
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Old 02-05-2005, 10:37 AM   #10
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The owner of my Local Yarn Store is african-american. She makes some gorgeous stuff and has an amazaing eye for color and yarns that go together. I love going into her shop and getting inspiration from all the stuff she sells and all the samples she has on the wall.

She doesn't have a website, but I'm sure you could call her -- and hey, if you live in the Philadelphia area, you could even stop by. She might have some insight for you.

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Marlton, NJ 08053
+1 (609) 985 8042
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