Home' LOTL : September 2010 Contents 28 Lesbians On The Loose Magazine • lotl.com
Lifestyle Opinion / Profile / Travel / Food / Stars
The Sorting Hat of Harry Potter fame knew
just when change was on its way. Like its name-
sake, e Sorting Beanie, exhibited in the in-
augural ueer Beanie Competition, also signi es
change, both in acceptance of all things queer, as well
as of all things cra .
Somewhere towards the end of the twentieth cen-
tury cra ing became decidedly uncool. Into the closet
went the needles and threads as the traditional cra s
harking back to the Victorian era started to be seen
by the second wave of feminists as devices of social
control. Now, it's all about choice. Choosing to invent
and cra in unconventional ways. Choosing to get to-
gether in groups and actively reject the 1950's values
of keeping silences and keeping up appearances.
"It wasn't political correctness that stopped us from
cra ing," says Lorna McKenzie,
creator of the ueer Beanie Com-
petition. "It was the fact that femi-
nism inspired us to go out and be
in the world."
"We watched our mums be
'stay at home mums' whose con-
tribution to life was discounted
and not appreciated. My mother
was a brilliant bespoke couturier --
she was also a dressmaker but her
work wasn't highly valued. If you
did art in those days it had to be
'not' cra ," Lorna says.
Being a Dianic wiccan and a registered celebrant,
Lorna's beliefs draw on creativity, eclecticism, and the
celebration of cultural diversity. Bringing balance into
life in a way which harmonises with nature is her pas-
sion, particularly in celebrating the seasons such as the
winter and summer solstices.
Like many third wave feminists, Lorna and many
of her contemporaries are declining the choice of their
foremothers to reject domestic cra s. Instead, they
are embracing knitting , cross stitching, felting and all
manner of home based cra s as a social activity.
In the backlash against capitalism, many tradition-
al ways of working with natu-
ral materials are experiencing
a renaissance. "Even stone-
masons are starting to resurge
again," says Lorna, a founding
member of the Lemon Zest
Stitch 'n' Bitch group. e girls
celebrate all elements of cra iv-
ism, whether it's radically expressive or purely classic-
styled creations. So successful are their cra ernoons
that they have launched a ueer Beanie Competition
as part of PinkFest and the Blue Mountains annual
Winter Magic Festival.
"I love Stitch 'n' Bitch", says Kathleen Macdonald,
one of the competition winners. "It taps into the very
ancient practice of women working and networking
together, with a lemon twist, of course! We discuss is-
sues ranging from the super cial and local 'gossip' to
the deep, philosophical or political. Or you can just sit
and knit quietly while listening to others. Every time
I look in my diary and see that Stitch 'n' Bitch is on, I
feel my heart li ."
Susan Robbins has enjoyed learning from the more
experienced knitters of the group who encourage the
newer cra ers to keep at it and tackle bigger and
bolder projects. It has proven to be a transformative
journey for Susan, who is now coming out as a crea-
tive person for the rst time in her life.
Whilst most of the group are busily cra ing, some
are dedicated to the opportunity to bitch. ey are
usually partners who aren't cra ers, and are gener-
ally placed in charge of brewing the tea to ensure the
ow of conversation doesn't result in knit one, pearl
one, drop one. Regardless of whether they are there
to stitch or to bitch, the overall e ect has been quite
calming and meditative for everybody.
Find inspiration to enter the next competition or
view the full range of creations at:
By Elizabeth Walton.
Let your yarn out of the closet
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