Weekend plans

Hello, dear knitters! 

I hope this post finds you and yours well, enjoying the warmth of early summer (or chill of early winter, depending on where you are). Things are okay here: Despite a tough loss in our extended family, the four of us (plus cats) are healthy and treasuring the last summer before our eldest starts high school.

Nearing sunset, on top of Cadillac mountain in Acadia National Park.

I don’t know how to be anything but truthful with you all, so I want to acknowledge that balancing the needs of family and day-job continues to squeeze my knitting time down to the barest minimum. I’ve intended to reach out here on the blog many times, only to find myself preparing for another client visit, or helping the boys pack for a weekend campout or study for a final. 

But it’s come to my attention that this weekend, there’s something important enough to pre-empt the rest of my knitting time. 

We’re in the news again

It would be disingenuous for me to say that I’ve done anything other than read a news article and Rav’s actual policy. I haven’t. 

It would be even more disingenuous for me to say that I think this is a simple issue. I don’t think it’s simple. 

Even so, I support Ravelry’s decision. And if that’s all you’d like to know, by all means scroll down to the knitting content (or don’t).

If you’d like to know more about my perspective:

Well, first, Ravelry is a private company and as such they have an absolute right, with no oversight or obligation to explain, to draft whatever rules of conduct they wish. Period. Even if I didn’t respect their decision at all, I’d support their right to make it. 

But I do respect their decision.

Look, I’ve been on the internet since very, very shortly after the world wide web started. I started with ytalk and various alt.* and rec.* groups on usenet. I moved into personal web-pages and mailing lists and online RPG forums and more usenet, and honestly? By the time Netscape was replacing Mosaic in my daily life and we had those nifty little “Under construction!” pictures, I’d already needed to develop mechanisms for staying sane online. 

The most important, for me, has always been:

Take time, and care, to read absolutely everything in the best possible light. 

This rule has never, ever steered me wrong. And in that vein, here’s what I see in Ravelry’s policy: 

  • They see that the online space they’ve created covers far more than just fiber topics
  • They’ve got a deep desire to provide a space that’s inclusive and welcoming to all, especially the most vulnerable among us
  • They’ve found that the presence of visible support for governance that’s pushing us toward a more firmly white-ruled, patriarchal system is incompatible with that inclusivity

I know the team at Ravelry, and I know them to be thoughtful, careful, kind people. They have a much deeper and broader view of what actually happens all over their platform than any of us possibly can. If they’ve observed that third bullet to be true, I’m inclined to believe them.

Particularly since I think it’s also disingenuous for any of us to tap-dance around some of the themes emerging from this administration. A visible chunk of the current administration’s rhetoric encourages fear and intolerance of the Other. A visible chunk of the administration’s actual policy attempts to back that rhetoric up. Open pining for “the good old days” feels threatening to groups who often didn’t survive those days, and I don’t think that’s an irrational response.

Reading Rav’s policy in the best possible light, it seems to me that they’re trying hard to ensure that the views expressed in their space don’t cause harm to the folks who share that space. 

I do not see a policy aimed at shunning individual people, with all their complications and internal struggles and life-informed contexts and compromises and varied, messy experience. 

Instead, I see a policy that tries hard to make sure the air is okay for everyone to breathe. That’s something I will always support. 

On Discourse and Discussion

It would be an insult to all of you to pretend that I have the capacity to actually engage in the knitting world’s conversations right now. (Even if I could, another of my coping mechanisms from way back is to avoid discussing things that require a lot of emotionally-charged nuance in online spaces. Let’s chat about that stuff over a coffee or a beer and some knitting, instead.) 

So while you’re absolutely free to agree or disagree with me, I won’t be responding to comments. I wrote this post because I wanted to let you know where I’m coming from, and I’ll delete anything hateful that shows up in response. 

And, the knitting. 

While I will have at least one more design to release before the fall comes (and my usual retreat sweater designs with it), for the moment all I have to share are some updated photos. 

The amazing Gale Zucker and Maya J teamed up again to re-shoot some of my older designs, and I was over the moon when I saw the proofs. For everything, check out the Cypress Cove, Point Pinos, and Mount Merritt pages in the shop. But for a taste, check these out: 

They’re my favorite of the bunch, and I’m so grateful to have such a talented team making my sweaters look their best. 

I want to end this post the way I began it: I hope you and yours are well, and sliding happily into the season, and that your needles are full and soothing. 

Xoxo.

39 thoughts on “Weekend plans

  1. Thank you for a well thought out post.
    I‘m very sorry for your loss.

  2. Love and miss you, and so sorry for your loss.

  3. Thank you.

  4. It is wrong, straight up, no question, wrong to call anyone and everyone that supports President Trump a White Supremacist.

    Period.

    -a Centrist, indigenous, Trump-loather

  5. Thank you for this measured and considerate and *right* post. I appreciate your willingness to take a stance.

  6. May the blessings ahead ease painful days of the past. Thank you for speaking.

  7. The new photos of the sweaters are simply stunning! Makes you wish for more time for knitting!

  8. Hello! I was surprised to hear about some racism being in Ravelry. I don’t use Ravelry very much, but I was glad to see that you included three photos of one of the minorities. I have a very nice friend who is of the same race who works in the pharmacy where I get my medication and she is an adorable person! What we need to see that LOVE and RESPECT to be practiced by all! Jesus advocated that and it is a shame that no one would practice what He wanted us to do. Do you agree?
    Barbara

  9. Thank you, Amy. Eloquent and honest. I appreciate you.
    Love, Nancy

  10. I am disappointed to see that you have chosen to join in on maligning and defaming people along with Ravelry.

    Normal people are opposed to racism, misogyny, bigotry, and hatred in all its forms. However, the definitions of those things has been stretched to cover almost everything, and when everything is racism, nothing is. Accusations of such evil beliefs are used as bludgeons to castigate and silence people.

    That is exactly what Ravelry has done. By smearing people who voice any level of support, or positive statements about the Trump administration as supporters of white supremacy, they have falsely accused thousands of their members of being monsters.

    Further, Ravelry has not stopped with banning content as described in the policy or their guidelines as being disallowed, they are now suspending account of people who merely voice their disagreement with the way this policy was presented. Myself included.

    I pointed out how the policy change has emboldened people to go and harass and threaten individuals and businesses that have voiced opposition to the policy, or have tried to stay out of it. People are being doxxed and threatened. I was told, “It would be a shame if your employer knew you are a white supremacist,” because of my views on the policy.

    And I don’t even like Trump.

    So, yeah, I am really disappointed that you’ve joined in on the hate bandwagon that Ravelry is driving. I’ve been a long time customer, but no more.

    1. I’m really sorry that this is what you read from my post, Rosie, and appreciate the time you took to write a thoughtful comment.

      It’s not my intent or interest to smear anyone, and I’m upset to hear that threats and harassment are spreading. Knowing the team that runs the site, and without further comment from Rav on the matter, I’m sticking with my reading of the policy as being about trying to establish guidelines around what Rav members will see as they interact in the forums, rather than being a blanket statement about millions of people.

      (On the delay: All comments from new posters have to go through moderation, and so need an action from me to become live on the site. Once someone’s first comment is approved, others go through automatically. Would you like me to also approve your second comment?)

  11. Thank you for this great post, especially the section on Ravelry. You have put my thoughts to paper so much better than I could. I plan to direct people to it, if need be.

  12. Bravo!

  13. Sorry …. ALL political comments …repeat ALL should be banned. I go to knitting sites for knitting content, NOT political content.

  14. Bravo! Well said. Agreed!

  15. No wonder I’m such a fan of yours. You work your brain through issues — whether knitting, net or social — in contrast to society’s prevalent run-of-the-mill first emotion response. Thank you for your thoughtful processing and for posting it.

    Brava, Amy!

  16. Thank you for your thoughtful post on this subject.

  17. ❤️

  18. I am a non-political knitter. I just want to enjoy my retirement and knit. And I will no longer use ravelry. Thank you for letting us know of their policy.

  19. Thank you for standing with Ravelry. It takes guts to step up to the front line. I will be starting a Maker subscription today.

  20. Well and thoughtfully said.

  21. You are one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever “met” online. You help to restore my faith in human nature.

  22. Brava for being on the side of justice and inclusivity. Since the day he posted the policy, my Ravatar reads “Casey is my hero.”

  23. I was unaware of the new Ravelry policy until reading your post this morning, Amy. I am grateful to you for bringing it to my attention and to all those in the knitting community who take a stand against this man and people who support his administration.

  24. Well said coming from a Canadian

  25. Perfectly expressed. Your perspective on the intolerance that is too often seen in online conversations is the calm, balanced response that I will remember for those moments when my immediate response is ,well, far less reasoned.

  26. One of the best responses to the Ravelry announcement. Thoughtful and rational and positive all at the same time. Thank you. I hope others are inspired by not just your wonderful knitting patterns but your approach to life as well. Your family is lucky to have you.

  27. ❤️

  28. Amy, you are a wonderful example of all that is good about knitting and the knitting community. I also support Ravelry and their stance against bigotry and hate. I support you in your stance against all that is wrong with the US in this moment. Best Wishes.

  29. This is what I posted in Ravelry, and sums up what I feel pretty well…

    I keep feeling the need to express myself, even though it’s quite possible that no one wants to hear my thoughts. First, I’d like to be clear that I also can’t stand that man down south that we’re talking about. But I’m concerned that this banning may not be the best way to go about a solution. I belong to 36 boards, and no one has ever said anything in support of him, as far as I’ve seen. I wonder if such a strict stand was necessary. Weren’t his supporters mainly talking amongst themselves?

    The problem is that now, when I think of clicking on Ravelry and checking in with the groups I’ve enjoyed, I just feel sadness, and go do something else instead. So much anger has been kicked up. And maybe a little fear that there will be other bannings in the future….Against people of faith? Against other views generally understood to be conservative? Against the use of acrylic? Where might it end?

    I sympathize with Casey, and understand his wanting to stop anything that might increase any form of white supremacy influence. But maybe this isn’t the best way to go about it, considering all the animosity that it has created. And I just feel really really sad. I hope the fun in Ravelry will return, but I fear it won’t happen for awhile.

    Just one person’s victim impact statement…..

  30. Dear Amy,
    I am not sure I have ever taken the time to tell you how much I appreciate the thought and care that has gone into the programming of your website. I have used your pattern generator many times and all of the sweaters I love and wear the most arise from your hard work. Any glitches that have occurred have been related to the inexplicable, and thankfully temporary, inability to use a tape measure properly!
    Thank you. Your concept is brilliant. My body, my gauge and my knitting time result in beautiful things that fit me. I appreciate what you do.

    And I agree, emotionally charged issues should be discussed in person. There is a mob mentality on the internet that is hard to interact with safely. Nuance and tone are so important in these conversations and they are lost on a screen.

  31. First let me tell you that I’ve been very political my entire life, from about 17 on (I’m 68). NEVER, in all those years, have I been more disappointed with a group of ‘powers that be’ (aka those that run Ravelry) for their (in MY opinion) forcing others to think like THEM. You guess it, I’m a conservative.

    Never, during the previous administration, did I hear how that administration brought bigotry and racism back to where it was in the 1950s (which it DID). Never did I say negative things about that administration. Frankly, I will always respect the office of the current President and its administration, as ALL Americans should, regardless of where my/their vote was cast.

    To essentially read that all Trump supporters are ‘white supremacists’ is extremely disturbing. No, he was not my 1st choice for a candidate, but I supported whom my party nominated for President. Now, because of that, I’m considered a ‘white supremacist’? I don’t think so!

    Yes, Ravelry is a private entity and they can run it the way they so desire. It’s just very disappointing/disturbing they feel they can (try to) bully others into their train of thought. It’s quite sad/pathetic that they can make the statement they did…then NOT feel the need to reply to (or even ban) others for asking questions or viewing their own thoughts. It’s actually quite scary…

    Yes. We disagree.
    Will I continue to support you in your Custom Fit business. Absolutely.

    Will I continue on Ravelry…I’m just not sure.

  32. Bravo and a big thank you for your thoughtful words. We live in difficult times and speaking out can be scary on many levels but it is the right thing to do. HUgs!

  33. First off I would like to say terrific blog! I had
    a quick question that I’d like to ask if you do not mind.
    I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your thoughts prior
    to writing. I’ve had a difficult time clearing my mind in getting my
    thoughts out there. I truly do enjoy writing however it just seems like
    the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally lost just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or tips?
    Appreciate it!

  34. Thank you, Amy. As an old white southern person who witnessed segregation, I stand strong with you.

  35. Thank you for saying what so many people wish had been said all along. Bravo to you!

  36. Thank you.

  37. I have purchased many of your books, subscribed to your blog for several years and have supported CustomFit through a monthly Maker Plus subscription. I continued to support you even after you took a new position and greatly reduced the amount of time spent on your knitting designs, blog and CustomFit because I admired your work and wanted to support a small business. I cannot begin to tell you how disappointed I am in your support of Ravelry, your feeling that Ravelry was not demeaning individuals and that Ravelry accurately described President Trump’s supporters. I fail to see how you could arrive at that conclusion given the extremely specific language used by Ravelry. I will not spend my hard-earned money to support someone who cannot understand that the statement “support of the Trump administration is unambiguously support for white supremacy” is hateful, offensive, inaccurate, ignorant, just plain wrong, egregious labeling. I will not be silent about the injustice being perpetrated on President Trump’s supporters. I hope that you carve out some time to more fully and broadly consider what is going on when more and more conservative voices are silenced by social media platforms like Google, YouTube, Twitter and now Ravelry. I am canceling my Maker Plus subscription immediately.

  38. In trying to figure out the “pattern-that-isn’t-designed-for-the-yarn-I-have-stashed” problem, I brought home the Ultimate Sweater Book. I had high hopes for my sweater plans until I went to your web page, only to find your Ravelry comments. Some of the other commenters above have already stated that Ravelry painted some folks with a pretty broad brush, to put it mildly. As Joyce (above) said so well, it was “hateful, offensive, inaccurate, ignorant, just plain wrong, egregious labeling.” While I support the belief that a private individual gets to control their content in any form they choose, Rav’s idea of “inclusiveness” and “tolerance” is only good if it’s their political point of view, and opposing opinions are silenced. I also believe that conservative, yarn-loving, knitting humans deserve “inclusiveness” as well, and not to be called names which are likely far from the truth. I cannot for the life of me figure out why someone that is selling a knitting book would think it’s a good idea to alienate a large group of potential buyers. So, if your principals mean that you stand with Ravelry, mine must say, “I’m sorry you feel that way. I am not keeping your book.”

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