You might want to say (as my husband did, upon me announcing this over the weekend) – “Don’t you always knit with two hands?” In all honesty I would not blame you, the statement does seem a little strange. Let me explain.

I am a thrower (I knit “English”), though I am not a true thrower as I have adapted my technique, as may knitters do, to speed things up. In the past I have always shied away from “Continental Knitting”. In all honesty I did not want to have to learn something new, especially when the current method I have seemed to work so well.

Everything changed when I decided to challenge myself for the Ravellenics this year. I thought I would try a spot of colour work, I wanted to learn more about stranded knitting. All of a sudden I needed to knit with two hands! One “English” and one “Continental”. Cue mild panic as I realised I need to face my fear of holding yarn in my left hand. This last weekend has been a little bit of an adventure in tight knitting as I slowly made my way through the stitches, using both hands.

Here is my progress so far. The pattern is by Vala Jonsdottir, a local designer and it is called Winter Heather. Unfortunately the pattern is not listed on Ravelry but you can see examples of her work in her Ravelry store. 

photo-58 copy 2

I am challenging myself as part of the Ravellenics event hosted by Ravelry to coincide with the Winter Olympics In Sochi, Russia.

There has been much controversy surrounding this event, predominently centred around Russian human rights abuses and their treatment of the LGBT community.

I strongly believe that all people have the right to live in peace, to be treated with respect and to love without restrictions. I know this does not happen in many parts of the world, but I believe wholeheartedly in the sentiment of a statement I read recently, being in love should not be a crime. Neither should it invite violent attacks upon your person. I am not boycotting the olympics but I am mindful of the treatment of the LGBT community and many others, including migrant workers, by the current administration in Russia. I do not believe we should allow this to continue unchallenged.

If you are interested in reading more about this and other situations around the world I highly recommend Human Rights Watch. They have excellent research on many issues around the world.

The knitting world. as I expected it would, has come together in a phenomenal way to raise awareness of these issues, with a specific focus on LGBT rights. Many exceptional initiatives have been started. If you are interested in reading more, or supporting the many fundraising efforts for organisations advocating for LGBT rights around the world, have a look at some of the links listed below.

Lilith, the indie dyer behind Old Maiden Aunt wrote this excellent blog post, discussing why this issue is so important and giving some insight into her stance in relation to the Ravellenics. She also dyed some amazing yarn, although that has now unfortunately sold out.

Kate Heppel, a UK designer and the editor of Knit Now magazine has this gorgeous pattern available to raise awareness. She encourages people to talk and discuss this issue. I agree with her sentiment. “Please spread the word. Start a discussion. We cannot and will not be silenced.”

BristolIvy who blogs at Black Bird Turning has written a wonderful post combining the fabulous efforts of designers world wide to raise awareness and money. I highly recommend this article. 

There is indeed much food for thought. I would like to leave this post in the spirit of the A Playful Day post, one of activism but with love in our hearts.

I believe that positive action without negative anger, is far more productive than angry action.

Thank you x