Sew what? Needling the big guys

By Mara Rockliff

Charlottesville, take heed. The revolution is coming, and it’s going to be… soft, warm, and fuzzy?  
That’s right. At least, if the Revolutionary Knitting Circle has its way. Check it out– or join the circle– on the Downtown Mall on Thursday, July 25.
Revolutionary knitting isn’t just for knitters, says organizer Spot Etal. Participants can crochet, braid, or do “anything else you want to do to add to a giant fabric construction we will be weaving against the faceless monolith of globalization.”
It might sound wacky, but hey, they’re doing it in Canada. Last month, a self-described “loosely knit” group of Calgary activists led the first Revolutionary Knitting Circle protesting the G8 Summit. Their aim: to build community, revive traditional handcrafting, and promote small-scale, local production and trade. Their logo: a ball of yarn with a lit fuse.
Think Gandhi at his spinning wheel, not Madame DeFarge in A Tale of Two Cities clicking her knitting needles as the guillotine blade falls.
“Some people see the word revolutionary and automatically assume violence,” says the group’s website, “The knitting circle is not a revolution of violence and destruction. The knitting circle is a constructive revolution– we are creating community and local independence which, in this corporate society, is a truly revolutionary act.”
Knitting restores a sense of creativity, ownership, and purpose often lost to modern workers, Etal explains. And it’s social. Knitting “takes skill and practice but leaves the mind largely free to engage in conversation, to make contact with others, and perhaps to dream. It really does stand in contrast to the vision of productive people put forth by bodies such as the WTO, G8, or IMF.”
Sound tailor-made for you? If so, Etal suggests that you “Start knitting now.” (After all, July 25 is looming ever closer.) The group will gather on the Downtown Mall at 2pm, work together for several hours, then carry its creation to the courtyard of Live Arts, where GAATO– the Guerilla Arts and Action Theater– will perform.
Who knows? It just might alter the fabric of society…

Charlottesville’s first Revolutionary Knitting Circle will take place Thursday, July 25, starting on the Downtown Mall at 2pm and moving several hours later to the courtyard of Live Arts, 609 Market St. For more information, email or call 245-8759.

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