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Knitidote of the Day 2013-02-15

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anarchists knit

Knitting for Anarchists by Anna Zilboorg

From Chapter One:

"The great desire of anarchism is for all people to live in peace, following their own stars. We may not be able to accomplish that in the world at large, reality being as it is, but we might well attain that ideal in the world of knitting. We do not need to be ruled by fashion in deciding what to make. We do not need to be cowed by professional decrees of the right and wrong way to do things. We do not need to be fearful of trying out ideas, of making mistakes and thereby learning, of creating something new and wonderful, or of just pleasing our own selves and nobody else."

If you have any interest in knitting or creativity, I recommend this book highly. Knitting and anarchy may not seem like a natural pairing. But in the beginning, knitting is about following directions. Blow off the instructions, and you're likely to end up with a disaster. But once you understand how knitting works, you don't need a pattern per se. You only need an idea, or a template that can accommodate your own personal vision. Case in point: the anarchist's sweater (below) is made from Zilboorg's template, so you can easily come up with your own variations.


As Zilboorg explains, understanding the process of knitting (or most things, for that matter) gives us power.

"Through understanding we become able to control our knitting and make it do what we want. Without understanding, we are doomed to do what we are told. Anarchists generally do not like to do what they are told."

There are probably quite a few words that could be substituted for "knitting" in the sentence above, with some interesting results. Because really, once you understand the process of cooking, writing, designing, etc., etc., you stop following directions and start creating. Anna Zilboorg does not have a website that I can find, but she has written several other books and you can read a little more about her here.


Readers, please send twig ( images and stories for the ongoing Plantidote, Petidote, or Knitidote of the Day series. In exchange, you'll win undying fame in the form of a hat tip! Plants growing in your garden, your house, or neighbor's yard, plants from the forest or farmers' market, plants you preserved, plants you prepared (wine; cider; tea; dried beans), plants you harvested (grains; chantrelles), plants you picked (flowers), plants you dried (herbs), plants you covet or hope to grow someday. Herbal remedies, propagation tips, new varieties, etc.. And if you can, include some solid detail about the plant, too -- a story, the genus and species, or where you got the seeds, or the recipe, or your grandmother gave it to you. Or challenge us with a "Name That Plant" mystery entry ... And please feel free to add corrections and additional information in the comments.

Click on the image for the full-size version. Click here to see the entire series.

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Submitted by lambert on

Permaculture is exactly the same thing. Taking known patterns and applying them to local conditions. There is also a dimensional nature -- you start out thinking of flat beds and end up thinking of tree canopies and then introduce time...