TIME TO WATCH: 1:34:43
For many, knitting may still conjure an image of a grandmother in a rocking chair, her cats sleeping and her doilies taking shape. In recent years, however, the quiet industry of tiny neighborhood yarn shops scattered across the U.S. has become an unlikely cultural battleground. It’s been divided by charges of racism and cultural appropriation that have erupted in a series of social media firestorms, prompting some owners to close, sell, or rebrand their businesses. It may seem surprising that such a quiet pursuit could produce so much conflict, but it’s really not all that different from the fissures afflicting the country as a whole. In this conversation, we meet three women who were not content to stick to their knitting: Adella Colvin, whose business, LolaBean Yarn Co., is a prominent independent dyer based in Grovetown, Ga.; Gaye “GG” Glasspie, a leading yarn industry influencer whose signature color is orange and who is based in Clifton, N.J.; and Felicia Eve, who owns String Thing Studio in Brooklyn, N.Y., one of the few Black-owned yarn shops in the country. The video offers our entire conversation. You can also listen to a slightly edited 21 Hats Podcast version of the conversation wherever you get podcasts.