Always Remember, We are Crafters First...

I’d like to share with all of you, something that I am currently dealing with, in the hopes that everyone will take some time to really think about the way we react to each other (and especially the way we react to others that don’t agree with us). We have taken a stand against those who would strip our freedoms in this craft, and I do not intend to demean anyone in any way from doing so. I, myself, took a stand against such tyrannical practices, that’s why I’m here.

And while it’s true that I have left Facebook groups that openly approve, and share in R’s decisions against the evil/radical right wing thinking, and I have chosen not to support those companies/ individuals that have chosen to speak out in favor of R’s decisions, I have to admit, a feeling of uneasiness, and alarm has been creeping into my bones, due to some of the comments and attitudes I’m finding everywhere, over this whole situation. We’re closing our hearts, and drawing lines in the sand, saying to ourselves, and each other, ‘this far, no further’, and ‘if you are not with me, then you are against me’, and yes, to some extent I’ve done this, too… even with the uneasiness in my heart and mind.

So they have drawn their line in the sand, and we have drawn ours. We have this wonderful site full of people that are like minded, in one respect, at least, in the respect of personal freedoms. Those lines in the sand, having been drawn so deeply, they begin to touch the bedrock below us, cutting us off from everyone that would disagree with us. And we seem content to be so. But are we truly? These thoughts bring me to my story. It’s not an epic story, but hopefully is one that gives food for thought…

As some of you may know, I’m taking part in the Freedom Hook-along, that was started July 4th, running until Aug 4th. I had two projects I’m working on, one I know I won’t complete, my infinity shawl (I made it too big, and have to frog back to the very beginning), the other a baby blanket for my cousin’s infant son. I’m using some yarn that was given to me by a friend, that was part of a large box of sample yarn she gave away. I didn’t know, when I started the project, that this yarn I was using had been discontinued.

So I’m about half way through the project, and I realize I’m running out of one of my chosen yarns, and I may not have enough to finish the project. It’s a brand I’m not familiar with, so as soon as I realize this, I start looking to purchase another skein. This is when I found out this particular yarn had been discontinued. I can’t buy it in any of the stores. So I start searching in earnest, trying to find anyone that might have this specific yarn they might be willing to sell me. Which ends up sending me back to the dreaded R site, because someone there had recorded their stash, and the yarn I’m looking for is there.

Of course, I deleted my R account, so all I can see is the page that shows the yarn. But I did manage to learn who had the yarn I needed. It took me another day or two to track her down, thankfully, on Facebook. I message her on Facebook, explaining who I am, what I’m doing, and that I’m looking for a specific yarn that according to her yarn database she has available. I ask if she would be willing to part with a single skein, and that I would be willing to pay her for that skein.

Unfortunately, her database is out of date, she gave away a lot of that yarn. But she’s willing to ask around, to find the person she gave the yarn to, in the hopes she might help me procure a skein of this yarn. She also tells me she knows someone just finished a project recently with this color/type of yarn, and I could contact them on R to see if they would part with their partial skein. I, of course, then informed her I was no longer a member of R, that I had deleted my account. Which brought me to the question I was secretly dreading. ‘Why?’ she asks me. ‘Why did I delete my R account?’, ‘yes’ she responds.

This was the one question I was hoping against hope she wouldn’t ask. I, like so many others, have felt the political hurricane that comes with sharing your political views. I asked her if she had been on R recently, and if she had heard about their new policy. She had. I knew I was quite probably shooting myself in the foot, but I told her, honestly, why I left. I told her that I was one of those hated Trump supporters. I told her that I was against the policy R had enacted, and that I stood up for myself and voiced my thoughts against this policy. I told her that I had called R out for political discrimination, and explained that’s what this was, and my reasons for calling it political discrimination. I told her I couldn’t support a company that would persecute me, by stripping away my personal freedoms while allowing others those very same freedoms. I told her I believed within every fiber of my being that this practice was wrong, and I could not stand for it. ‘makes sense’, was her response.

‘Knowing’ as I do the way political opponents are leaning toward complete annihilation of opposing political views, I then told her I would understand if she decided she no longer wished to help me on my quest to find this yarn I need. I asked her to please, just let me know either way. And then I waited for the tirade, and the inevitable blocking that I was sure would follow.

But that didn’t happen. I waited for, what seemed to me, an eternity for her to respond. When she did, I have to admit, I was knocked for a loop. ‘[LEFT][SIZE=13px]I keep my crafts and politics separate. You need yarn to finish a project. We’ve all been there. The fact that we don’t agree politically is a separate issue. Nothing to do with yarn.’[/SIZE][/LEFT]

Those blessed words made my heart take flight. But it also solidified the uneasiness and alarm I’ve been feeling over the past month. She reminded me of the unwritten Crafters Code. It’s that code I even made the motto for my business: It’s all about the craft. We are all crafters first, and foremost, and everything else is secondary to the crafts.

There is an unspoken code of ethics that comes with being a crafter. True Crafters are united. We share each other’s triumphs and discoveries in the crafts. Crafters support each other in whatever crafting endeavors we put our minds to. Crafters help other crafters. Whether the craft is knitting, crocheting, jewelry making, wood working, painting, spinning, dyeing… it doesn’t matter what crafts we participate in. Crafting is a fellowship that is ascendant, a fellowship that rises above the petty differences of the world. It’s more than hobby or even a talent. It’s a philosophy, a state of being. A crafter can’t help being a crafter… no matter what else one might do, a true Crafter is a crafter first, and the ultimate goal is to share that craft.

R seems to have forgotten this code… but then, to some extent, so have we. The political winds have become a hurricane that is tossing everyone about, and we’ve allowed ourselves to be taken up by the gale. We all need to re-center ourselves. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t take a stand for what we believe in. It is the nature of the Crafter to do what he/she believes to be right. If we don’t, we aren’t being true to ourselves.

But there is a difference between taking a stand, and drawing a line in the sand. By taking a stand, we acknowledge that a wrong has been done, and we take whatever steps we can to right the wrong that has been done. Drawing a line in the sand, is a division, a separation that dare not be crossed, with no possibility of bridging the chasm it creates. That line in the sand is the beginning of breaking our humanity, our creativeness, the very essence of what makes us Crafters.

We must always remember, we are Crafters, first.

Beautifully, poignantly stated. Thank you for the clarity; thank you for the passion.

@Amore I’m a Crafter :slight_smile: That’s what we do.

Thanks so much for sharing this.

Well written and thanks for the time you invested in writing it. I have always felt I left the Administration of R, and not the lovely people I had met there. I never encountered any of the tribulations over on R (I’m not American and I always kept to the Main Six) so was taken by surprise. I miss the people, the patterns, the yarn and project comments, the helpful comments and suggestions by SchrouderKnits (who helped me out many times) and so much more. But by saying and doing what they did, I felt I could not support them in any way, whether through “clicks” or by referring others to the website which I had done many times. I’m happy here, have books, internet and libraries to consult, as well as the lovely people here. Crafting is a big part of my life, but it’s not by any means the only part of my life. I survived before R, and I will again. So pleased that you were able to find the yarn you needed. I truly believe that 99% of the people on R are heartfelt crafters - and like that kid that misbehaved in class and the whole class was punished, it’s always the 1% that spoil everything for others.

Very well said. Thank you for taking the time to write it down.

Thank you.

Love it!
As you know I have not left Rav, but since this site was brought to my attention I spend nearly all my online time here. I just feel it’s a much more open place to be.
I feel my issues are with the administration of Rav. which is why I stay, I still support the millions of Rav users that don’t agree with the harsh wording of the policy or maybe they do, I don’t really care, I keep much more of my content off of there than I use to and do not purchase patterns on there if I don’t have to.
Because to me it’s like you said, what matters to me is the crafting, I never took who I voted for to Rav, and I don’t plan on doing so as it just normally has no effect on what I create.
I just don’t think people realize sometimes there are actual people behind each computer screen. I often don’t agree with people, but I don’t hate them just because I don’t agree with them, but so many people hate me because I know who I am and am willing to stand by my beliefs… lol which is getting us off topic, but yes it’s about crafting and sharing the love of crafting, and hopefully inspiring new crafters, which sadly this whole mess will push more people away, wishing not to get drug in…

@moescrochet as you said “I don’t hate them just because I don’t agree with them.” So true. I’ve quoted this elsewhere but feel it’s appropriate here to repeat.

[LEFT][SIZE=14px]Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.” [/SIZE][/LEFT] Rick Warren

I haven’t actually found it, yet. But she is helping me look for it. She got in touch with the woman she gave it to, but unfortunately, it passed through another set of hands. But she did reach out to the person she gave the yarn to, ,and now that person is reaching out. Hopefully I will hear something tomorrow. If not, then on Wednesday I will go to Joannes and see if I can find a suitable substitution.

This is my situation exactly. I could not have put it better myself.

Thank you for posting this, it was very insightful. I would like, if I may, to make some observations about some of the points you raise - not criticisms, just thoughts.

I agree that we have made a protest by leaving R and other groups which approve of their stance, but I do not agree that we have drawn a line in the sand. A line in the sand is confrontational, you are daring the other person to cross it and you are willing to fight if they do, and that is not what any of us is doing. We have walked awary from trouble, found something better and moved on. We have made a peaceful protest, not an antagonistic one. What is more, there are some people here who are still members of R and they are welcome here, too, so it is not “us versus them”.

Regarding explaining why you left R, you do not have to explain anything if it makes you uneasy and you should certainly not dread having to do so. No-one has the right to interrogate you, you do not have to justify your actions to a stranger and you have the right to refuse to discuss it. You can say something vague but polite, e.g. that R no longer meets your needs or that you prefer to do things differently, or you can just say that you do not want to talk about it. Only the most insensitive person will keep on after that, and then you can simply stop answering. They can’t reach down the computer and punch you!

I agree that, in a crafting context, we are crafters first, but I do not agree that that is the case anywhere else. If you are a professional crafter, it is just a job, and if you are an amateur crafter, it is just a hobby. It is certainly an important part of our lives, but I do not agree that it is “a philosophy, a state of being”. My religion is that, not my hobby. I had never heard of a Crafters’ Code until you mentioned it and, to be honest, I don’t really like the sound of it - too much like a secret society for my taste. However, you are perfectly entitled to think of it as you do; we are all entitled to our opinions.

In a wider context, I believe that the world goes through peaks and troughs, e.g. peace and war, prosperity and poverty, and we are in a bit of a trough right now. People are shouting over everyone else, sometimes literally and sometimes figuratively, to get their opinions heard and it is easy to see all the agression and think that it will never get better, but it will, it always does. Look at all the crises there have been throughout history and we are still here. We just have to ride out the storm and hope and pray for things to improve.

Sorry to blather on for so long, but I didn’t feel I could say all that I feel in a sentence or two.

@WeeBizzom don’t ever apologize for taking the time, and the words, to make yourself understood. Some thoughts and feelings take more words to get out than others. I completely understand that.

As to your observations, I do see, and understand the points you are making. To some extent, I agree with you. I thought I might clarify some of my points so that there is no misunderstanding.

My first point, about the line being drawn in the sand. Some of the attitudes being expressed, mine included, were coming very close to being confrontational. Not everyone, but some of the collective us, were discussing which companies and individuals would be boycotted over R’s new policy. I still stand by the decision to not support those companies and individuals that have come out in open support and agreement of R’s new policy. Why would I support someone that hates me and wants to deny me of my rights, just because of my political views? I find no fault with that. But some of the comments I was seeing, were turning toward boycotting anyone that decided to stay with R, given their new policy. And I was seeing these types of comments on other sites too, not just here. This is what I meant about ‘drawing a line in the sand’. And then, of course, there are those that agree with the new policy, that are attempting to chase down, and harass those of us that are standing up against the new policy. They have definitely drawn a line in the sand.

About my need to explain why I left R. You are right, I don’t have to tell anyone why I left. And you are correct that no one has the right to bully me, or interrogate me as to my reasons for leaving. I usually don’t let anyone intimidate me. I was brought up in a confrontational household, and I’m not afraid of standing up for myself. The issue with this specific situation, is that this woman had something I needed. I was asking for her help. I was brought up to believe that it is the height of rudeness to be less than accommodating to someone if you are asking for their help with something. The reason I dreaded the question, was because she was the ONLY person I found that had the yarn I needed, and she is a total stranger. I didn’t know how she would react, and I was afraid she would decided not to help me, because of this growing political discrimination. But you are correct. I could have given her a politely vague answer to her question. It was early in the morning when I found she had the yarn I needed, I had just woken up, I’m not completely coherent for the first 30 minutes after I wake up, and quite frankly, I didn’t think of it at the time.

As for crafting being 'a philosophy, and ‘a state of being’, here I both agree and disagree with you. There are actually 3 different types of crafters. There is the professional crafter, and yes, most of the time, to them it’s just a job. There’s the crafting hobbyist, and yes to them it’s just a hobby, something to do in their free time. Then there are those that have the philosophy that crafting is a way of life. Perhaps I should have said ‘way of life’ instead of state of being. I certainly did not mean to convey crafting and crafters as a religion or a secret society! :slight_smile: But there is a Crafter’s philosophy, and a Crafter’s code. Most follow it without even knowing it. The philosophy is merely this: Why buy it, if you can make it? An item made with your own two hands, is more precious than anything you could buy, ‘those things that you most value, are the things you earned or did for yourself’, and ‘there is an artistry in crafting’.

The Amish, for example, are true crafters. They make almost everything they use, from their clothes, to their homes and wagons, from their furniture to their linens. And the Amish do sell some of what they make The pioneers held to this philosophy, and the Great Depression breathed new life into it. The Crafter’s Code is three fold: All differences fall away between Crafters, always do your best to help a fellow Crafter in need. Always do what you can to help others. Now I am just the latest generation in a long line of crafters, and I was raised on this philosophy, this code. Many people follow this code without knowing it. Such as the woman that tracked down the yarn I needed. I was a total stranger, but I needed a skein of a discontinued yarn, and she knew how to get ahold of one. She messaged me earlier, she found it, and is sending to me. Getting together for knitting groups, or crocheting groups, and sharing your knowledge, is part of this code. Knitting/Crocheting for charities is part of the code. Knitting or crocheting gifts, instead of buying them is part of the code. The pure delight and excitement of starting that next project, or of always having SOMETHING on your hook/needles is part of the Crafter’s way of life.

Unfortunately, the Crafters code has all but disappeared. People aren’t taught these ideals anymore. The mere fact that crafters are hunting down, bullying and harassing fellow crafters is proof of that. This deeply saddens me.

As for your point on the peaks and troughs, for the most part, I do agree with you, for the most part. But in the course of my life there are some things I’ve observed. There are peaks and troughs in every cycle, but in some ways each trough is a little deeper than the last, and each peak is almost always lower than the peak that came before it, until at some point everything falls apart. It’s in the aftermath of that fallout that Humanity wakes up, and strives to make things better again.

@SDMcDaniel Thank you for your very thoughtful reply.

I interpreted your comment about a line in the sand as being that we were the ones drawing the line, but I see from your reply that you meant that others were drawing it, so we do actually agree on that point.

I was brought up in a confrontational household, too. On the one hand, you have people yelling that you have to do as they say and on the other, you are supposed to be polite to everyone, including those who are doing the yelling. Over 60 years later, I am still dealing with the fallout from that situation and that is why I now walk away from trouble whenever I can. I still try to be polite to everyone, not because I have to, but because it is the right thing for me to do; however, I now know my limits.

As for the crafting philosophy, we will have to agree to disagree on that one, but that is a good thing, too. Everyone here can express their thoughts and opinions freely, even if they are not the same. That is part of my philosophy about “embracing diversity”. It is not just diversity of colour, gender, etc, it is also diversity of thought.

Maybe my “peaks and troughs” analogy was not as clear as I wanted. I just meant that things get worse and then they get better, as you say in your last sentence. I think we basically agree with each other, we are just expressing ourselves differently.