They do not want us to ridicule them (their word) when they bring up climate action.
They do not want us to dismiss them or tell them to wait till they’re older and know more.
They do not want us to maintain our status quo, leaving them with an even bigger mess once we’re dead.
They do not want us to be hypocrites who say we love our pets but won’t protect the rest of the animals on this planet.
They want us to put our collective survival ahead of our individual desires.
They want us to join them and help them fight climate change.
This is what they told me in our session on craftivism at UBC’s Girls-Only Maker Camp. We rounded out their week of camp with a discussion about what makes them mad about climate change (see above). Then we talked through what they might do about it, and how they might effectively get adults to take action with them instead of dismissing them.
They decided to call on local Vancouver businesses to take a #WithoutWasteWednesday pledge in an effort to reduce their overall landfill waste. To accept the challenge, a business would simply commit to posting a photo of their landfill-bound waste each Wednesday and try to get it down to zero within a year, and use the hashtag #WithoutWasteWednesday.
Reversing our dreadful climate-change trajectory will involve far more than reducing waste, but this session wasn’t about duplicating work scientists have already done to identify what we need to do. It was about giving kids an opportunity to be heard, and heeded.
We would do well to join them in this fight. Indeed, the survival of life on earth literally depends on it.
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!
Spirals! Spirals appear throughout the universe in spectacular displays of mathematics and science. Also, they’re really cool-looking. And spirals are very nifty to crochet in multiple colours (here’s a tutorial).
This hat starts with a two-colour spiral at the top, and I designed it in part to showcase this neat technique. I also designed it in the wake of the incredibly powerful visual impact Pussyhats made at the Women’s Marches in January. The Hat for Science is a simple craftivist project just in time for the worldwide Marches for Science on April 22, 2017.
A chilling report that major U.S. news shows spent a combined total of less than an hour reporting on issues related to climate change in all of 2016 means we need to get seriously loud about the importance of scientific enquiry and fact-based decision-making. Those words may not sound sexy, but ignoring our dire need to address the impending devastation of life on earth isn’t sexy either. So.
Grab your hook and make a statement! Phone and write to your elected representatives (no matter where you live – this is not only an American issue!) and tell them you expect them to support funding for scientific research and to consider solid, peer-reviewed scientific findings when making decisions that affect our environment, education, food safety, medicine and more.
Find the free Hat for Science pattern below, or download it as a print-friendly PDF:
Hat for Science
To fit a medium/large adult head.
Finished brim circumference: 22″ (56 cm).
To make the hat smaller or larger, work fewer or more increase rounds before working even (and adjust the number of work-even rounds). If you want to learn more about sizing hats of all sorts, you’ll enjoy my class, Crochet in the Round: Basics & Beyond!
Yarn: Worsted weight, about 75 yards colour A and 85 yards colour B. Shown here in: Cascade 220 (100% Peruvian Highland Wool; 220 yards [200 m] per 3.5 oz.) [100 g], 9452 Summer Sky Heather (blue; A) and 2429 Irelands (green; B).
Hook: 5.5mm (US I/9).
Notions: Removable stitch marker.
14 sts and 9 rows = 4” (10 cm) in alternating rounds of dc and hdc.
American terms are used.
A = colour A (shown here in blue) B = colour B (shown here in green) ch = chain dc = double crochet hdc = half double crochet rep = repeat sc = single crochet sl st = slip stitch tch = turning chain
Hat is designed to have each colour worked in a different stitch (A in dc, B in hdc), so that one colour is slightly more dominant than the other. Choose whether you’re, say, more inclined to advocate for land-related science (green) versus water-related science (blue), and make that colour your dominant colour A. The other will be colour B. (Obviously, you can make this hat in any colours you want, not only in blue and green!)
You will not join each round at the end, but rather work in a continuing spiral.
Use a removable stitch marker to indicate the final stitch of the round; move the marker up as you go.
Round 1: Insert hook in ring and pull up a loop, ch 1, work (2 sc, 2 hdc, 2 dc) in centre of ring, remove hook from A (pull the loop long to prevent unraveling); leaving a 6” tail, join colour B by pulling up a loop, ch 1, work (3 sc, 3 hdc) in centre of ring, place marker in stitch just made (this is the last stitch of the round) — 12 stitches total.
Round 2: Continuing with B, [2 hdc in next stitch] 6 times, remove hook and reinsert in loop of A; with A, [2 dc in next stitch] 6 times — 24 stitches. (Note that a pattern has been set up: You will always work B into A, and A into B.)
Round 3: Continuing with A, [dc in next stitch, 2 dc in next stitch] 6 times; remove hook and reinsert in loop of B; with B, [hdc in next stitch, 2 hdc in next stitch] 6 times — 36 stitches.
Round 4: Continuing with B, [hdc in next 2 stitches, 2 hdc in next stitch] 6 times; with A, [dc in next 2 stitches, 2 dc in next stitch] 6 times — 48 stitches.
Round 5: Continuing with A, [dc in next 3 stitches, 2 dc in next stitch] 6 times; with B, [hdc in next 3 stitches, 2 hdc in next stitch] 6 times — 60 stitches.
Round 6: Continuing with B, [hdc in next 4 stitches, 2 hdc in next stitch] 6 times; with A, [dc in next 4 stitches, 2 dc in next stitch] 6 times — 72 stitches.
Continue in colour pattern as established, without increasing, as follows:
Round 7: Continuing with A, dc in next 36 stitches; with B, hdc in next 36 stitches. (Bold indicates corrections to mistakes in the original pattern.It’s all good now!)
Rounds 8-16: Continue to work even without increasing, working A stitches into colour B and B stitches into colour A.
Now smooth out the jagged end-of-rounds and begin the brim, as follows:
Round 17(ish): (This is really a half round, for reasons that will become clear.) Continuing with A, dc in next 27 stitches, hdc in next 3 stitches, sc in next 3 stitches, sl st in next 3 stitches, fasten off A, move marker to final sl st (this will be the new “end” of the round).
Rounds 18-20: Continuing with B, sc all the way around (do not join your rounds); at the end of Round 20, sl st in the next 2 stitches, fasten off.
Weave in loose ends.
When you share your finished hat, make sure to tag me (@kpwerker) and #hat4science!
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:
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.