I am not a fan of the word guru. Guru is what we call people who know a lot about something but don’t have a job title related to it, or who work in or around that topic in a variety of ways but aren’t defined by any one. I’m often described as a “crochet guru.” (If I’m asked for input on the matter, I usually request they just go with author or instructor.)
So I especially love that when she wrote about me in the Holiday 2017 issue of Vogue Knitting, Lee Ann Dalton called me “crochet genius.”
I mean, I’m not a genius, but I’m not a guru either. I’ll take genius any day.
Which is all to say: You guys, Lee Ann Dalton wrote about me, and specifically about craftivism, in the Holiday 2017 issue of Vogue Knitting. She also called me an “intrepid Canadian craftivist.” I’ll take that one happily.
I meant to mention this when the issue was still on newsstands. Um, four months ago. But better late than never, right? Maybe back issues are still available?
Betsy Greer is a writer and maker who lives in Durham, North Carolina. For the past fourteen years, she’s written about craftivism, the place where craft and activism intersect, and she loves discovering the ways in which people use (and have used) the two together. Currently, her main craft project is You Are So Very Beautiful, in which people make affirmation signs then leave them out all over the world for others to find.
We talk in this episode about the value of letting what we need out into the world, and about being in a flow state when we create. If our conversation got you thinking, let us know how in the comments!
What a thing, the Women’s Marches, eh? What a day. What a force. What a feeling. (My photos from the Vancouver march are below.)
I first learned about the Pussyhat Project right after it launched in late November, 2016, and though I cast on for a knitted hat right away, it was only when the project reached its tipping point in the couple of weeks leading up to the marches that I felt compelled to do way more.
The crocheted Pussyhat pattern I released was downloaded a few hundred times before the march, and a few hundred times the actual weekend of the march. As of the time I’m writing this, it’s been downloaded well over 700 times.My blog traffic has nearly double over the last week. As far as I can tell, the Pussyhat is more popular than any crochet pattern I’ve ever published.
There was a time when I felt I had to be very, very subtle about my feminism in my crochet work, and I’m proud, relieved and downright excited that those days are over.
Don’t get me wrong – my work isn’t going to stop being about the fun of creative exploration and turn into 100% activism all the time.
It’s just that I may bring activism – which is a big part of my personal life and has been for a long time – into my work a bit more than I used to.
But also separately. If you’d like to get occasional emails from me about simple steps to take and about the intersection of art/craft and activism, sign up right here.
Anyway. It feels simultaneously like the worst of times and the best of times. I have so much to make, and so much to do.
Updated 1/13 to add a video on how the hat is constructed (see below!)And again on 1/19 to add a troubleshooting video. And this link.
Perhaps you’ve heard about the Women’s March on Washington on January 21st, with solidarity marches planned in hundreds of cities around the world? And perhaps along with that you’ve heard about the Pussyhats people are feverishly making to wear?
The official Pussyhat Project site offers patterns both for knitters and crocheters, but I don’t love the look of the crocheted hat. I’m not a big fan of post-stitch ribbing, see. So I made my own using my preferred kind of ribbing, and I figured I’d share the pattern here in case you, too, prefer a ribbing that’s good and stretchy (I’ve offered to send a PDF to the official project, too). Find the text version below, or download the PDF by clicking here:
CLICK HERE TO GET THE CROCHET PATTERN AS A PDF
If you have questions about your ribbing curling at the corners, or your edges coming out all wonky, watch this (and feel free to ask me for help!):
To fit an average adult head. It’s very stretchy, so will fit a range of sizes. And it’s easy to adjust: make the ribbing sections shorter or longer than 8” to fit smaller or larger heads, respectively.
Yarn of any weight in a sufficient amount to complete the hat, and an appropriately sized hook. Shown here in worsted weight yarn (Cascade 220, about 180 yards), worked with a 5 mm hook.
Varies based on the yarn weight you use. Just work to the dimensions specified.
Single crochet through the back loop only (sc-blo): In next stitch, insert hook through back loop only and pull up a loop, complete single crochet.
Sc-blo ribbing: Work sc-blo in each stitch of every row.
American terms are used.
ch = chain
hdc = half double crochet
sc = single crochet
sc-blo = single crochet through the back loop only (see above)
First Ribbing Section
Make a chain slightly longer than 4” (10 cm). Work in sc-blo ribbing as follows:
Row 1: Skip first chain, sc-blo (see sidebar) in next chain and in each remaining chain across, turn.
Row 2: Ch 1 (does not count as a stitch), sc-blo in first stitch and in each remaining stitch across, turn. (Note: The final sc stitch can be hard to see – be sure to dig for it and not skip it!)
Repeat Row 2 until piece measures about 8” (20 cm) from foundation-chain edge. Fasten off and set aside for now.
Second Ribbing Section
Make as for First Ribbing Section but do not fasten off. Without turning at the end of the last row, begin working Middle Section of the hat as follows:
Ch 2, rotate work 90 degrees to crochet across the ribbed edge. Placing your stitches consistently as you go, hdc in each row-edge across, turn.
Hdc Row: Ch 1 (does not count as a stitch), hdc in first stitch and in each stitch across, turn.
Repeat Hdc Row until piece measures about 13” (33 cm) from bottom edge of ribbing, fasten off.
Note: The hdc section of the hat will be wider than the ribbing section. It’s supposed to be that way!
Layer First Ribbing Section behind Middle Section, lining up one long edge of the ribbing with the last row of hdc.
Holding both pieces together and working through both thicknesses at the same time, with a yarn needle sew the two sections together using whipstitch. Use stitch markers if needed to distribute the narrower ribbed fabric across the wider hdc fabric as needed if the stitches of each piece don’t line up perfectly. Don’t sweat it! When you get to the end, fasten off. The total length of the rectangle from one ribbing edge to the other should be about 17″.
Fold the hat in half so the ribbing sections are lined up. Whipstitch the two sides of the hat together (or use whichever seaming technique you prefer), keeping the bottom edge of the ribbing open – that’s where you’ll put your head!
Weave in loose ends.
If your seam is on the outside but you want it on the inside, turn the hat out, et voila.
I don’t usually copy my weekly newsletter into my blog, but this week is different from most weeks, and my email provider doesn’t make copies available for linking. To give you the full newsletter experience, I copied the text in full, including the links at the end. To get my emails every Friday, sign up here.
I smelled gas this morning when I was walking the dog. It was around the same place in the next block over that I thought I’d smelled it last week, but had dismissed it as a false alarm.
I walked back and forth a few times, trying to figure out if my mind was playing tricks on me. I couldn’t figure out where it might be coming from, but I smelled it. I did.
Too big a risk, I forced myself to accept. Too big a risk.
So I phoned the city’s non-emergency line, just in case they have a way to check in on things like this that doesn’t rely on emergency services. They don’t. They told me to call 9-1-1.
Even though I knew it was the right thing to do, even though I had the blessing of the city, I still hesitated for a beat. What if it’s nothing? What if I’ll have wasted the fire department’s time? What if my neighbours feel put out?
Stop. Make the call.
I made the call.
It was the right thing to do. Even if I was mistaken, even if I felt uncomfortable that I wasn’t certain. I did the right thing.
I got a concussion once. I was in college.
It was my first year, I think, and there was an upperclassman who liked to flirt with me. I didn’t reciprocate, but he was harmless.
He was the first (of, astonishingly, several) college men who would, at one point in conversation or another, interrupt to tell me, “Your eyes are green!”
No shit, Sherlock.
I didn’t date much in college.
One day I was walking through the common area of my floor in the dorm, and he was walking by in the other direction. He asked for a hug. I said no.
He demanded a hug. I told him I had somewhere to be. He was in my way.
He said aw, c’mon.
I was like fuck it. Fine.
He swung me around during this hug, and lost his balance. We both went over, him on top. The back of my head smacked the floor and I literally saw stars.
I didn’t get to wherever it was I was headed.
I left the dorm in a neck brace, strapped to a backboard.
I’ve been thinking a lot about that stupid hug these last few weeks. And about the hug a guy at camp forced on me when I was in high school, which I met with a swift and well-aimed kick to his genitals.
I’ve been thinking about what’s benign and what’s malignant. What’s acceptable and what must be met with even uncomfortable intervention.
What’s normal and what’s not normal. And what shouldn’t be normal.
We’re in charge.
We’re the only ones who can force ourselves to do the right, often very uncomfortable thing.
To use our words to assert ourselves. And if our words fail, to use our feet.
To suspect that something’s not right, and to do something about it even if we’re not sure.
We can convince ourselves sometimes that life can be convenient, but this past week became a stark reminder that convenience is an illusion.
Let us all accept the inconvenience, for failing to is simply unacceptable. Let us get our hands dirty in the mess.
It’s the only hope we have of ever cleaning it up.
In my haze of grief and dismay this week, I finally finished my new ebook. It’s a compilation of all the emails I sent to you in 2014, including all the links. That year was a big one for me, and many of the seeds of my whole creative life were planted during those months. Grab a copy now on Amazon or in my online shop!
(Patrons at the $5 and $10+ levels, you should have already heard from me with your download or discount. Let me know if you didn’t get the info!)
Try This Once:
I’m having a hard timing coming up with the fun this week, my friends. I’m going to skip this one, and get myself into better shape to bring it hardcore next week.