Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Creating things and feminism

A Stitch and Bitch snack (and Krafty Kath's talented fingers (dude, that sounds dirty!))
It's funny, as a feminist, I used to be a staunch opponent of craft, ALL craft.  I thought that the idea of making a dress, or knitting a scarf was antiquated; a waste of our brilliant minds.
HOWEVER, after becoming friends with some brilliantly crafty girls at uni (go English department at UQ! Woooo!) and at work, I've slowly, but surely become open to the very notion of creating things for myself.  Not that I didn't do this already via cooking (which I now see as more of a reflection of my growth as a vegan and society's obsession with the latest celebrity chef), but I now find myself fascinated by the possibility that I may possess the talent to learn to make my own clothes and other craft projects.
So, during the latest uni holidays, my friend Melissa (who, when she got married, made herself a wedding dress more beautiful than any you can buy) helped me learn to knit.  And thus, our little Stitch and Bitch group was born.
Kath's spread
Snack during Stitch and Bitch at Kath's place - checkout the great yarn in the background!  It was made into a super cool skirt (Cam was jealous that he missed out on tasty snacks)
Of course, as a lifelong book geek, I had to purchase a reference text (no, it's not a knitting book, it's a reference text!).  My friend Kath had the book "Stitch 'N Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker" by Debbie Stoller (a book with the BEST title ever).  So my friend Melissa tracked down, and I (ever the sheep) tracked down too, The original "Stitch 'N Bitch".  Wow.  This book is funny, and a great way to learn to knit.
Stoller talks about the great familial experience she has with crafting, something that I wasn't fortunate to experience as a child (I was very much encouraged to read - I can tell you stories about Shakespeare comic books, but I digress).  I think our group likes to feel a metaphorical connection with our foremothers, after years of connecting with our literary foremothers (see Virginia Woolf's "A Room of One's Own" for the idea).  With those invisible foremothers, with those background characters that came, saw and knit.
The Wool Monster
Stitch and Bitch mascot (well, wool devourer) Rowley.  How cute is he???
So, I want to know, of those of you are crafty and feminist, what do you think about crafty fun?


Catherine said...

I was a crafty kid, but have lost touch with it as an adult. I remember my grandmother teaching me to both knit and crochet . . . use it or lose it, eh? I also made a ton of those hook-and-loop potholders. :)

Anonymous said...

We just started a vegan knitting group in Houston! My mom is super crafty and was always making stuff. Every few years she'd redecorate the living room by sewing up new curtains and a couch cover. For a while she was really into making Xmas tree ornaments as gifts and even made a few quilts. Now her passion is for decopauge. I used to love making beaded neclaces and "friendship braclets". I've got a sewing machine too. I'd love to make my own clothes as well!

Theresa said...

I think crafting is totally feminist. If you' were doing it because you had to, because god tells you that busy hands get into heaven or because your husband/father needs his socks fixed and is too stupid/lazy to do it himself, then it would probably not fall into the feminist category.

But, I think any sort of DIY which reduces our reliance on evil capitalist corporations, which oppress and exploit women in factories as well as in the corporate world, well, that's a totally bad ass thing to undertake.

PS--I'm coming to Brisbane again soon! 2 to 10 october.

Amy said...

I had that thought about DIY (although I very clumsily referred to it as anti-industrialist) too Theresa.
Rad - I'll have to take you to the Alibi Room this time!

It's great to see some geeky crafters out there!

kristy said...

I can kinda relate, when I first discovered that I liked cooking I rejected it for a while because of my feminist beliefs, but I never thought about my craftiness which I haven't got in touch with for a long time.