There is a conversation happening on social media about the knitting community and race, discrimination, people’s feelings of being left out and ignored…all the things most people of color are aware of in every setting and space in life. I haven’t been surprised at the stories people have been sharing, stories of feeling unseen, ignored or discriminated against. None of those feelings are new to me in my life. But I have been surprised at how hard all of this is hitting the knitting community. It truly came in like a wrecking ball, but someone pointed out that it is probably because it has been like this for a very long time. And by this, I mean a predominantly white space without a demand or action towards being truly inclusive.
Think about it this way, how many knitting magazines do you own without a single person of color modeling a finished object or on the cover? How many times have you purchased a product, pattern or knitting related accessory from someone who wasn’t white? How many times have you gone to a yarn event or store and noticed how few people of color were there? People who aren’t white knit, I’m proof of that, but we are often overlooked within this community.
I’ve gotten an influx of new followers, comments, private messages and emails because of all of this talk in the last few days. I’m not here to educate people on race and discrimination; that’s not my job and I’m not the representative of all knitters of color. There are lots of other people who can do that or just a simple Google search will help you find resources and books to understand these different points of view (and there are many because we don’t all have to agree on everything). But I thought with all the new folks following and maybe even for some of you who have been here for a long time, it was time for me to (re)introduce myself and this site for you.
I am Dana but I also go by DWJ. I’m a college professor at a historically black university in Washington, DC and I knit every day. I live in the Maryland suburbs with my very handsome husband and our two rescue dogs Cher and Jellybean. I started knitting after taking lessons in 2008 and fell in love with it. I also love color and that shows through my knitting projects. I’ve spent a large part of my career working in the digital space with social media and web development and have blogged before. I started this blog BECAUSE of the lack of diversity I saw in the knitting community, I felt that there wasn’t a voice like mine and I had something to share. In spite of how I have felt at times within this community (I’ve been ignored, shamed and dismissed), my love of knitting, creating and wanting to see a more diverse community is what makes me share in this space. I named the blog Yards of Happiness because knitting and color truly bring a level of joy to my life. I blog because I want people who look like me to feel like they aren’t alone and I want people who don’t look like me to see that diversity matters.
That’s the message I’ve tried to show here. When you see yourself represented in any space you occupy it makes you feel seen and appreciated. I often get messaged on Ravelry by other women of color who are happy to see me and my projects. It’s why I knit dolls for little girls in their likeness. It’s why I show my face and model my projects so someone else feels like they are represented. I know I’m just one voice, one blog in a very large community but I hope if I keep showing my face and making my presence known others will follow and see the value in everyone’s differences.
That’s just a little bit about me and my space here on the internet, have a look around and read my archives if you want to see more or learn more about me. Welcome to the new folks, welcome back to those who come back every week. I’m happy you are here and want to share your love of knitting with me.