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Book Review: Knitting For Good! A Guide to Creating Personal, Social, and Political Change Stitch by Stitch by Betsy Greer

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Betsy Greer believes that positive change can take place via the smallest gesture – including crafting. She has written Knitting for Good! to be “a guide to creating personal, social, and political change, stitch by stitch.” Her book is divided into three sections: knitting for yourself, knitting for your community, and knitting for the world.

In “Knitting for Yourself,” Greer discusses how she found knitting, and how it forced her to rethink her views of feminism and “women’s work.” She encourages creativity and sees knitting your own clothing and accessories as a way around the culture of consumerism. Knitting as therapy is a common practice; Greer offers tips and exercises to turn it into true mediation.

“Knitting for Your Community” takes you past your front door. Greer advocates knitting in groups and in public, as a way of finding a connection with other people that you may not otherwise connect with. She runs down different groups of people who can benefit from volunteer knitting tutorials like children, the homeless, the elderly, and prisoners, to name a few. She also details charities that can benefit from the fruits of your knitting labors.

“Knitting for The World” encourages you to use crafts to think globally. By buying handmade, Greer loves the unique touch it adds to your home and wardrobe, all while supporting local and independent artists. She also discusses a term she coined — “craftivism” — which combines crafting and activism. Discuss socio-political issues in your knitting circle. Knit a banner to express your political views. Knit condom amulets for African women to raise awareness for safe sex.

Peppered throughout the book, you will find testimonials from other knitters, about how they are using their craft to change the world. There are also a handful of simple patterns that can be knit to help others, like hats for the homeless or cushion covers for the homebound.

There is definitely a vibe of humorless activism in Greer’s writing. I get the feeling that she has thrown her share of red paint on fur coats. But the message is undeniable. She is getting people to think about how their actions affect people and places around the world.

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