Seeing pink

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I’ve been trying to avoid mentioning politics on Indie Untangled because, no matter which direction you lean in, if you’re looking for a refuge from it these days, it’s very hard to find. I myself am of two minds — I go online looking for distractions, only to wonder why people are posting cat photos when there is SO MUCH going on that it’s impossible to keep up with it all.

Thank you to all the knitters for knitting so many damn #pussyhats !!! #pussyhatproject #womenmarchonwashington #thelittleknittery

A post shared by Kat Coyle /The Little Knittery (@thelittleknittery) on

But, as the owner of a website that supports independent and primarily women-owned fiber businesses, I would be remiss if I failed to acknowledge the massive act of craftivism that was on display this past weekend. The pink blanketing the photos of the women’s marches that took place around the world on Jan. 21 were the result of the Pussyhat Project, a movement launched by Kat Coyle, the owner of a Los Angeles yarn shop that I happened to visit last year, and which Rob Walker of The New Yorker called a “material-cultural phenomenon that could end up earning a lasting place in the annals of political symbolism.”

Among that sea of color was the work of some talented indie dyers, including Lisa of Vermont-based White Birch Fiber Arts, who I interviewed for a recent article about politics and crafting that appeared in the journal of the Craft Industry Alliance, an organization that brings together hundreds of craft businesses to share strategies and best practices. There was also Denise of Yoshi and Lucy, a new Brooklyn-based dyer who offered her Vibrant colorway at a discount in honor of the march.

Along with being proud to see knitting in the spotlight, I enjoyed the individual expression in this mass movement. Throughout the photos, and the pussyhats I spotted in person in New York City, there was a huge variety, from the standard knit-flat-and-seamed version to those with intricate stitch patterns.

I’m sure you may have an idea of what I think about current events because I’m publishing this post, choosing not to ignore the activism or express my disagreement with it (and I think there are better ways of doing that than calling out the entirety of the women’s movement for “vulgarity, vile and evilness,” as one yarn shop in Tennessee did). But, just as how it’s impossible to go anywhere without coming face to face with what’s going on in the world, it seems that this moment in knitting needs to be taken off the needles and worn proudly.

Getting crafty for fall

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Main banner

A couple of months ago, as I was starting to pull together the vendors for the pre-Rhinebeck Trunk Show, I was thinking about how I needed to get a banner and whether I should try out VistaPrint, when this crazy idea came to me somewhere around 1 in the morning (yes, I tend to be a night owl). I had actually seen twine used to spell out Home Depot when I’d taken a trip there for dishwasher shopping, and I realized there was an opportunity to bring the Indie Untangled logo to life.

So, I contacted Michelle of Berry Colorful Yarnings, and she kindly sent me a skein of her chunkiest yarn in the Indie blue that she had dyed up for the giveaway we did a few months ago. I found some lovely aqua quilting cotton on Hawthorne Threads, where I also got the accent fabric for the yarn ball bags (and let me just say, if I was more adept at using my sewing machine, that site would get me in a lot of trouble).

I decided that this would be one of my projects for the Time for Harvest Craft-along that A Playful Day is doing on Ravelry and social media.

Banner stencil

Last week, I blew up the letters of my logo using a combination of PicMonkey and Microsoft Word. I cut them out, traced them on some card stock, and then cut them out again.

Banner letters

Then, I cut around my card stock stencil to make the letters in grey felt.

My mom came over this past weekend to help, and we hauled out the sewing machine she had gotten me for Chanukah something like four years ago (eep!). I got a refresher in winding the bobbin and threading the machine, and she generously helped me hem the cut sides of the fabric and create a small tube at the top so I can thread through yarn or string to hang it.

Banner glue

I also picked up some fabric glue, since I figured my hot glue gun wasn’t the best idea for this material. It was also a lot easier to position the yarn and the letters without having to worry about the glue drying right away.

Banner plan

I also blew up the script Indie, put the paper underneath and just followed the letters with the glue before laying down the yarn.

Banner indie

I set it out on the dining room table to dry for a few hours, and that was it! (I also text my husband, “Take a look at banner, Mitchell!” which you Arrested Development fans will appreciate.) It’s currently draped over one of my snack tables, and I’m trying to figure out how best to store it before the show. Maybe I’ll pick up a mailing tube of some sort and wrap it around.

Of course, I could have used VistaPrint or my local Staples to print out a banner very easily and inexpensively, but I really enjoyed the opportunity to do some non-knitting crafting.