Join Hands Mitten Project

Join Hands is a new ebook with eight original mitten patterns by some of my favourite designers (and me!) Proceeds from the ebook will be split evenly between the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center. The project was born out of a desire to do something concrete to advance equality and justice in the world using what we've got. I know how to make a knitting pattern, and with your help, I can use that skill to support organizations that are doing good work!

My contribution to the collection is 51%. It's a traditional mitten pattern with colorwork inspired by my desire for equal representation, opportunity, and treatment for women, who make up half the world's people. I'm striving for a world that treats all people fairly and my feminism is a big part of who I am. (To learn more about what I mean by feminism, I recommend We Should All be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a book that inspired one of the mitten patterns from this collection, We Must Do Better by Dianna Walla.)

So why we are donating to the ACLU and SPLC? I know all of the designers may have different reasons, but I can speak for myself. I'm an immigrant and have lived in a bunch of different places, so I have a special place in my heart for immigrants and refugees. I want to do what I can to promote compassion, love, and a welcoming spirit. Having lived in the Middle East as a Peace Corps volunteer in Jordan, I also worry about dehumanizing populations of people based on where they're from or what religion they identify with. Because of that, I want to support the work the ACLU has been doing to make sure the US doesn't illegally exclude people without justification. Our compassion and intellect can be greater than our fear. (This ABC News article is a good overview of the travel and refugee ban that I'm concerned about if you're curious.)

The Southern Poverty Law Center is doing similar work regarding exclusion of immigrants and refugees. I wanted to include them in particular to shine a spotlight on injustices that even citizens of the US are suffering. The US has a history and culture of racial discrimination that our society still hasn't properly dealt with. The SPLC pays particular attention to issues of justice for minority groups that have experienced historical and current discrimination, and is actively working to bring about a more just society for everyone. I adore our knitting community, but we have room for growth when it comes to inclusion and representation. I want to use whatever privilege I have to make that better. (I appreciated this article on other actions to take, and this is a great list of books to get you started if you want to learn more about racial injustice in the US.)

I know that there will be people who disagree with the organizations we've chosen and that they will have lots of reasons. I respect that and ask that if you feel opposed to these groups, you just don't purchase. Instead, I encourage you to donate to an organization that you believe in, or volunteer your time in a way that you think will improve the world.

Love to all the knitters out there! Let's all work on making things better!

You can see all the other patterns and buy the ebook on Ravelry.

The designers contributing to this collection include:

Emma Welford
Mary Jane Mucklestone
Leigh Miller
Amy Christoffers
Beatrice Perron Dahlen
Alexis Winslow
Dianna Walla