Let’s not call it Stitch ‘N Bitch

Knitting with Friends

Image by ©IvyBramble.com

Recently, I was outside chatting to some neighbors and working on a current knitting project, while I watched my kids play. They asked me about my knitting, and it soon came up that a couple of them had tried knitting in the past, had long abandoned their projects, but were interested in picking it up again. Another, was excited to learn to knit for the first time.

Awesome! I’ve been wanting to join a knitting group for a while, and this is the perfect opportunity. We talked about setting up a group to meet about twice a month and I’m super excited about getting together with these interesting and creative women, and sharing my love for knitting.

A few days later, word had reached another woman in the neighborhood and she was keen to join our “Stitch ‘n Bitch” too.

Hold it right there.

I can’t help but feel irritated. Irked. Annoyed. Frustrated.

No, no, no… it’s not because another woman wanted to join us – I’m always keen to introduce people to knitting and everyone is welcome.

It’s that phrase. You know, Stitch and Bitch’. I can’t STAND that phrase!

“Calm down” I hear you say. “What’s the big deal?” You ask?

stereotypes_feminsim

Okay, so it’s a fun, clever little rhyme, it’s sassy and it gets people’s attention, I give you that.

In fact, this phrase has apparently been used to refer to social knitting groups since at least World War II, and continues to be used by knitting groups all over the world. The phrase was further popularized by the recent publications  of the Stitch N’ Bitch knitting book series by Debbie Stoller.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it is great that the Stitch N’ Bitch movement, (along with the internet, blogs, social media platforms and mobile technology), has been so successful in bringing groups of women and knitters together across the world. Knitters and feminists have been able to build massive global communities and networks, while reclaiming the traditional practice of knitting in the public sphere and even challenging negative connotations associated with being a “traditional” or domestic woman.

Despite its popularity and apparent success, however, I think that the phrase “Stitch N’ Bitch”, perpetuates inequality, negative stereotypes of women, and misogynistic attitudes.

In this context, the word ‘bitch‘ reinforces the stereotype that women are incessant talkers, complainers or malicious gossips. It supports the view that when women get together, we do so to “bitch” or complain (often about other women).

I know that some may claim that in the context of modern feminism the use of the word “bitch” has been reappropriated to imply a strong female, one that challenges the stereotype of the weak, passive, and submissive woman, in much the same way that the word ‘queer’ has been reclaimed by the gay community. However, when used as a verb, ‘to bitch’ means to complain and its use in this context is almost always derogatory.

Throughout history, women have been marginalized in society, and as a result, gender specific insults toward women can hold a lot of power. We need to be careful about what language we choose to use and what it means for women’s equality.

Let’s continue to get together with friends and other women, to share, support and encourage each other, and to build strong, and lasting communities offline and online.

But please, please can we refrain from using the phrase ‘Stitch N’ Bitch from now on?

Does anyone else feel the same irritation when they hear this phrase?

I’d love to hear your thoughts…

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Endpaper Mitts – Done!

Endpaper Mitts

Louet Gems Fingering Yarn

endpaper mitts

I have finally completed the beautiful Endpaper Mitts, by Eunny Jang.

I first attempted this project a few years ago, when Isla was just a toddler. At the time, I just couldn’t get into a groove. I’d sit down to start knitting and then something (usually Isla), would drag me away again. When I’d come back to it, I was mid-row and always lost! I put it into hibernation and forgot about it.

Fast forward three years, and I decided it was time to embark on this project again. I have always loved this pattern and the yarn I had chosen for it, and desperately wanted to give it another shot. This time, I found my groove almost instantly and thoroughly enjoyed the simple, yet stunning colorwork. The pattern repeats are easy to memorize and predict, making it a fast knit.

endpaper mitts

This is an excellent pattern! A beautiful design, with easy shaping and clear, well written instructions . A great project for novice colorwork knitters.

Go on! Give it a bash…

Happy knitting!

 

Another Koolhaas Hat…

Koolhaas Hat Beanie

Another Koolhaas Beanie in Progress…

I am currently in the process of knitting my sixth Koolhaas hat. What can I say?? I’m in love with this pattern (and I’m not the only one)! The first version was knit for my Dad back in 2009 and it was a hit! It was knit in a lovely vibrant orange, using Malabrigo Worsted Yarn, and I was thrilled with the final product.

This yarn knits up beautifully and the finished hat feels soft, luxurious, and cozy. My dad loved his first hat so much, he asked me to knit another one…and another one! I have since knit several beanies, usually in Malabrigo (but I have also used Cascade 220, with excellent results).

I have to admit, when I first embarked on this pattern, I found it a bit complicated and labor intensive.  It’s made up with many 2-stitch cables (or crossed stitches) and on some rounds, you need to cross every pair of stitches on that round. As you can imagine, this can really slow down the process, and until you learn the pattern repeat it can feel a bit mentally taxing.

(As you get to know me, you’ll understand why I would be frustrated with the pace of this particular project. I like to knit quickly and efficiently. If there’s a method that will allow me to knit something more quickly, I need to know about it! I’m sure I’ll be talking more about this in future posts though). 

This current version is knit using Malabrigo yarn (of course!), in a luscious “Ravelry Red”. Honestly, it’s an excellent pattern and once you understand the chart and get into a rhythm, it’s actually a very easy and fun hat to knit. I absolutely recommend it!

Malabrigo Worsted Ravelry Red

malabrigo worsted ravelry red tag

I just can’t get enough of the Koolhaas Beanie! How about you?