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The shirt prepares for battle


“Because there are women who want power and those who knit!” The authoritative girl, a career woman since the Eighties, was angry with the writer a few days ago, engaged in a woolen headband with a circular iron. I smiled at her a very offensive gesture, and I resumed knitting. The new knitted tricoteuses, as well as the old ones interested in some power, are serenely respected. Donald Trump knows, Trump’s tricots in 2019 were banned by Ravelry, the jersey social network, because “supporting his administration is supporting white supremacism”. Margrethe Vestager’s interlocutors know this. The Danish European Commissioner for Competition, during the meetings she knits, usually makes elephants, with trunks that are taken of position, and gives them to the interlocutors themselves. “Knitting keeps you focused”, the shirt keeps you focused, he tweeted in 2018. Vestager displaces counterparts, men who don’t expect it, embedded women who don’t understand, Big Tech monopoly Americans for whom Vestager is the enemy, up to that point convinced that they also have a monopoly on oddities. What oddities they are not, they become if you practice where knitting and crochet are seen as a sign of submissive femininity. Even by the assertive women, those who for generations have called “the knitting club” to liquidate other women who are cowardly and subjected to patriarchy. Those who do not realize that the shirt prepares for battle.

The soft power of the backhand

Those who, to describe a particularly sleazy evening among women, say “we knitted, we did yoga”, like Shiv Roy, a semi-active billionaire in Succession. And indeed. The repetitive and conscious act of knitting has been equated with yoga meditation. It lowers blood pressure, decreases heartbeats, reduces cortisone, the stress hormone. It’s good for the anxious and depressed. And also «it’s part of my perfect day. And in the end you did something with your hands. A nice gift for someone who likes a crooked and not-so-pretty scarf. ‘ It’s Ryan Gosling’s point of view, and almost all of us newbies. It starts by chance. An obsessive phase is passed. We spend pleasant winter moments with wool, irons and radio / podcast / audiobook. Irregular artifacts are produced which nevertheless give a certain satisfaction; if you are an upstart of the shirt and the passion is greater than the skill, it is better not to go as far as the sweaters (the episode of Modern Family where Cam plays a golf to Mitch who is always trying to lose it). Better scarves, or shawls, even with increasing knits.

The shirt is political

Or the caps. In November 2016, a screenwriter, an architect and a ball dealer from Los Angeles had launched the “Pussy Hat Project”. And put online the model to make pink wool hats to put on the demonstration in Washington immediately after Trump’s inauguration. The pussyhat immediately became a political and feminist symbol, which ended up on the covers of Time and the New Yorker; it went out of fashion after some criticism, he was accused of establishing an exclusionary canon, or of wanting to put the vulva of a white woman on his head, and he moved on to something else also because he wasn’t very well.

Tricoteurs you don’t expect

And then there are the knitting influencers on Instagram and elsewhere, who make money by promoting balls of yarn and selling patterns (knitting and crochet patterns are among the hardest things to find for free online) and they do tutorials to teach techniques and explain capetti. Their followers have increased with the pandemic, the most famous neo-tricoteuse is Michelle Obama, who now makes vests and hats and is in an online knitting community, under a pseudonym. Many are women, men are on the rise. They use it as a creative and sports anti-anxiety pastime. Also discussed creatives like Louis CK, a depressed and genius comedian out of favor for serial exhibitionism, who knitted in his Louie series. And sports like British diver Tom Daley, who worked before diving after the Tokyo Olympics and has become “the greatest knitting influencer in the world”. Almost all knitters are young, net of past heroes like Rolling Stone Ron Wood, some are artists, some are not at all, some are gay, some are not. “They always ask me,” said Briton Vincent Green-Hite, influencer under the name of Yarn Punk. “I’m straight but I don’t know what that has to do with it. Knitting and crochet put me in touch with my feminine side, even if I’m not sure what should be considered feminine “(for sympathizers of all kinds: to start with knitting needles and coarse wool and YouTube tutorials, the obsession comes shortly after ).


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