Sunday morning soapbox alert, courtesy of last night’s SNL. “You want white women to care about the environment, tell them if they don’t do something about climate change, they’re gonna lose all the yarn. White women love yarn. No more hats, no more scarves, no more of those ridiculous socks you knit for your dog.” I’m all over the place on this skit. It’s weak, it’s racial, it has thinly veiled elements of the old tired belittlement of knitters, ergo women. And it discretely makes yarn-loving men and people of color outliers. (Also, are handknitted dog socks a thing? I did not know.) Yet global warming actually IS hurting the yarn world. Drought in Australia and the western US is causing drastic reductions in flock numbers. Cotton requires huge quantities of (increasingly scarce) water to grow and process. Not even bringing up the chemicals and electricity necessary to make synthetic and cellulosic fibers.
Cheap, fast yarn that goes into commercial clothing, that’s really what’s contributing to the problem. The throwaway fashion industry is, according to one report, producing one dump truck-load of textiles waste per second and causing more greenhouse gas emissions than all international flights and maritime shipping. (Report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.) So maybe, “tell women they can’t get a $26 cashmere sweater from Target anymore” would’ve been a more apt punchline.
But using thoughtfully sourced yarn to slowly and patiently and expertly knit our own clothing, one garment at a time, that’ll last us decades… that’s actually a pretty solid thing to do, yes? And it certainly doesn’t deserve the constant, exhausting social belittling that it gets.
There you have my deep thoughts inspired by a weak comedy sketch. What do you think?