Reflections on Anna Maltz’s article ‘Knitting and Fury’ in PomPom Issue 20

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I really enjoy reading Anna Maltz’s column in each PomPom Issue. She provides very interesting perspectives on knitting and crafting. However, the article from the current issue 20 resonated with me even more than usual.

Her reflection on knitting as a craft that is commonly seen as a tool to help reflect, to relax and distract us from our stressful times illustrate my own reasons for knitting when I started out. However, like Anna Maltz I have come to a point where I wonder if my creative practice as a knitter cannot also be a tool for rebellion and activism.

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She starts out with pointing out that knitting as well as other crafts aren’t essential to our way of live anymore in the sense that we do not need them to as means to produce essential items and that for us today it is a leisure activity. She also describes knitting as something seen as essentially feminine. A demure activity that is also an expression of femininity but ultimately not as an act of rebellion. Anna Maltz rightly asked whether this image of knitting is actually accurate. Why if this image was true, she asks, does the slogan ‘I knit so I don’t kill people’ resonate so much with many of us?

Convincingly Anna Maltz outlines how in knitting a lot of aggression and pent up frustration can be found as well. Be that directed at ourselves for not achieving a level of perfection or our judgement of others in comments on social media and Ravelry. Thus, she asks ‘what can we cast on to direct our anger towards agency and change?’

I honestly don’t have the answer to that question. Anna Maltz gives the example of the Pussy Hat knitted by thousands for the Women’s March on 21 January 2017 but I am wondering whether our making and creating cannot have other ways to express our discontent? Is our act of making and creating clothes and accessories with yarn from small business and independent designers an act of rebellion against our current economic system and through-away culture itself? Is it enough? I really don’t know to be honest. I have been thinking about it for a long time and haven’t really got an answer.

What do you think? Should knitting be an act of rebellion?

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