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by Kate O'Sullivan April 12, 2019

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With the recent overhaul of the website, the team got together to start really thinking about what having an online store meant. Ysolda.com is something that’s grown organically. First, we supported Ysolda knitting pattern sales before yarns, notions, books and wholesale distribution naturally followed. We now have multiple audiences too whether it’s on social media like Instagram, those who are here for the resources we share on the blog and those signed up to the newsletter (you can grab that link HERE if you’ve not signed up yet).

screen shot of the banner at the top of the ysolda.com home page

A reshuffle prompts a lot of reflection and one question we asked ourselves was: ‘If we were starting from scratch, what would we want to say about Ysolda Ltd?’ One thing we all agreed on was this theme of multiples. Ysolda has become as much known for her teaching and advocacy as she has her designs. As her business evolved to include a team, we’ve evolved to include our interests and passions. That’s why today you’ll find a multifaceted home page that more accurately reflects all that we encompass.

Conversation

One thing that has been a big feature of social media over the past 6-7 years has been conversation. Whether it was challenging unfair VAT decisions that penalised small businesses, supporting campaigners working to Repeal the 8th in the Republic of Ireland or sharing queer pride, Ysolda’s social media has been a place of solidarity and confrontation. This is a lot to hold and as a team we often share some of the many resources we’ve accessed that help us strive for a better future that is equal, respectful and allows every single individual to thrive. We realised this could also be included in our online presence and so began book and resource sharing accordingly.

Books arranged on a round table in the foreground with shelves of books and plants in the background

Action

As we shared, we noticed a lot of people saying that they didn’t feel that they always had the right words when it came to discussions around race. We decided to collaborate with our favourite local book shop, the Lighthouse Bookshop, for our booth this year at Edinburgh Yarn Festival in order to host a selection of intersectional texts that primarily focussed on anti-racism.  Lighthouse Books kindly helped us select a range that not only encouraged understanding but also facilitated a lot of self-reflection work.

Close up shot of a book shelf with the spines of 3 copies of 'Can We All Be Feminists?' visible

Nervous about how this would be received, we set the books up alongside craft texts, pot plants and fairylights, and held our breath. The results were incredible and we are still so humbled by the many times people came back to sit and decide which book they most needed at this point in their journey. As people shared what they came home with, there amongst the skeins were nestled inclusive texts that have become pivotal for many of us as we learn to tackle our own internalised biases. The conversations that happened around these purchases were often rich and powerful.  We particularly enjoyed seeing such an international crowd, mixing knitting with their conversations around race and inclusive futures for our community. It felt long overdue and something that allowed crossover between vital texts with a hobby we all love and take pride in.

Nerdknittress's EYF purchases: Skeins of yarn arranged with dinosaur buttons, dino stitchmarkers and a dinosaur project bag. Also in the image are 2 books - It's Not About the Burqa and Sister Outsider. There is a shark print wallet at the bottom.

A Aspenberg's EYF purchases

Thebrightblooms's EYF Purchases: Balls and skeins of yarn arranged in a blue patterned carpet. Copies of Pompom, Laine, Stitches and It's Not About the Burqa are arranged among the yarn.

Atia's EYF Purchases

Image of purchases with fibre at the top and down the left hand side, a spindle on top of some of the fibre, then some skeins of yarn in the middle right and It's Not About the Burqa and Sister Outsider visible at the bottom

Grace O'Neill's purchases.

Reflection

As a team, we want to keep the conversations going that we were so lucky to host around these books at EYF, so we’ve added a range of titles that may well start you on a journey of self-discovery. There are essentials such as Audre Lorde whom team member Kate swears should be mandatory reading in schools and colleges. There’s ‘It's Not About The Burqa’ a recent anthology about the experience of Muslim women living in the UK. Whatever your starting point, we’ve tried to make sure there is a range of texts to add to your personal library at home. (We’ll be expanding our LGBTQ+ titles also so please do sign up to the newsletterif that interests you.) You will also find the children’s range of books that we’ve been slowly developing with diversity in mind since last year.

Hands holding a copy of a white covered book titled 'Why I'm No Longer Talked to White People About Race' The Text is in Black except for the Words 'To White People' which are in embossed white letters

Open to All

You’ll find the books in our online store, in the nonfiction section here.

We’re selling these, and generally expanding our product range in different directions, because we hope to get more of the things we love and find important out into the world. However we know that buying even a small number of the books we want to read new is a luxury — we certainly can’t buy all the ones we want ourselves! We love libraries, and we love learning from online content too. Accessibility in terms of different mediums to suit different folks is also important to us and so here's some suggestions of resources in multiple formats to help you find what you need:

(As with all recommendations, we encourage you to be polite and respectful in somebody’s space. Be prepared to listen and reflect more than you actively comment and spend some time getting to know how people interact in this space before adding your voice.)

 



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