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by Kate O'Sullivan January 21, 2019

Image of the cover of Knit How, features a freckled black woman wearing an orange/red garter stitch cowl

There are many things to love about the work produced by Pom Pom Magazine. We are constantly impressed with the consistency of their commitment to nourishing the knitting community. Their attention to detail is laser sharp alongside a tone of playfulness. Most of all though, it’s their energy for this hobby that we feel deep down. Pom Pom loves knitters. They have a knack for creating publications, real life events and digital extras that show the entire world, the power that is knitting. That’s why their latest release, Knit How, is rapidly becoming a team favourite amongst craft reference books. 

Image of Knit Now open to Frankie design, with 3 skeins of Nurtured yarn on top of right hand page

Knit How is specifically aimed at teaching beginner knitters, which it does incredibly well. We’ve seen great work by people welcoming in new knitters over the years and what draws us to this book is their particular attention to the community aspect of our knitting.

collage of project images from Knit How, featuring: a close up of a person with dark skin holding a rolled up blue scarf, two women with brown skin wearing mitts and smiling, close up of woman wearing cowl and smiling with hands touching the cowl, close up of mustard cabled scarf with pom poms

They are providing a knitting reference book whilst acknowledging this is an entry point into a new community for many readers. That community is inspiring, multifaceted and full of opportunity. The Pom Pom team have worked hard to show a diverse community with their choice of words and models. They’ve also thought a lot about who steps into the knitting world with this book in hand.

Hands holding Knit How Open on a picture of a Black male model wearing a cabled scarf

The images are clear and, as a whole, Knit How is modern without moving into gimmicks or trends that won’t hold up in years to come. If you have a new knitter in your life, this is our recommendation for a how-to-knit guide. The instructions are simple and easy to follow.

Image of hands holding Knit How open on page spread with instructions for picking and throwing technique

The projects are wearable and combined with the tutorials, shepherd you through the journey from absolute beginner through simple accessories to garments and socks. In this way, it moves beyond being a book just for beginners and into a book that we can turn to time and time again.

Collage of project images from knit how: woman with brown skin and long straight hair, wearing a bobble in orange, dark pink and grey, close up of someone with dark skin wearing simple purple fingerless mitts with rolled edges, two people wearing sweaters in gold with a waffle texture and colourblocked pink and red, close up of someone wearing grey socks and reaching down to pull a sock up

 

Image of 4 women holding a 5 ballon in front of a poster for Pom Pom

Image of the Pom Pom team from their 5th anniversary party.

What’s more, Pom Pom are launching the book with the knitting community in mind by inviting LYSs to join them for a cast on party. With so much talk in recent days about the need for safer spaces and making room for bipoc in online and offline spaces, this seems like an opportunity. This is a way in which we can open up and help shape the kind of knitting future we want to see as a community. This is the point where we would like to acknowledge some specific words that helped us really appreciate the power of this book and style of launch. Caleisha, who hosts Quirky Monday Crafts, shared her journey in searching for other bipoc in this community on her Instagram page recently. (You can find the whole piece in her highlights, ‘I am here’

“I came to this community, looking for a place to belong. Looking for others who were crazy in love with the action of creating.... And I found lots of those people but something was still missing. I didn’t see myself represented. So I regularly searched things like ‘black girl crochet’. Or ‘do black people knit?’ or ‘black people crafting’. Or ‘African American DIY craft blog’ just trying to find a glimpse of someone who looked like me, engaging this space that I was growing to love”

Reflecting on how we began knitting and who we hoped to find versus what we saw is something I’m sure we can all relate to. For many of us who’ve been knitting for some time, I’m sure we can all relate to the initial excitement of connection with our flock in online spaces. We searched for ourselves, for people who understood our hobby and what it personally meant to us. From my experience, I remember feeling like the image of who knitting was for was shifting. Younger knitters were claiming these spaces as a DIY blogger movement was exploding. Yet, we now need to reflect on who was left out in what has developed since that shift.

That’s why we as a company are reflecting on accessible resources, visibility and multiple languages. With that in mind, we thought it might be helpful to highlight a few others, in addition to Pom Pom, who are doing their part to welcome in all new knitters.

Image of an Arabic woman wearing a hijab and a red vest knitting a blue project
Kinda, @kindahamaly, is helping us consider accessibility through language. Her knitting channel, Shal, is in Arabic and is a destination resource for Arabic speakers.

Image of an Asian woman wearing an Ixchel from Pom Pom Autumn 2018
Heidi, @Booksandcables, is a blogger and podcaster who has created substantial lists of bipoc fibre folks. We particularly enjoyed her blog project to showcase the diversity of the knitting community. (It helped us find Kinda!)

Image of a light brown skinned woman knitting with her working yarn wrapped over her neck
Cat, @theolivetreesandthemoon, is a homesteading crafter who has been compiling a list of podcasts in video and format from bipoc. You can find it in her highlights on Instagram.

Image of a bald black woman wearing a large yellow scarf
Jeanette Sloan, @jeanettesloan, is a designer whose work we really admire. Jeanette has been advocating within our knit community for some time and on her Instagram highlights you will find a highlight of designers who are bipoc.

Image of a black woman with cropped grey hair holding up a gift bag
Lorna, @lhamiltonbrown, is another knitting diversity champion whose work is well worth following as she takes a social and historical approach to documenting bipoc knitters.

This list is a stepping off point and we welcome any comments pointing us to knitters whose resources have helped you with your knitting journey.

Kate O'Sullivan

Kate is a writer, photographer and host of the podcast Conversations from Our Days. You can find her at https://www.kateosullivan.org/



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