Knit for Peace Manifesto
Knitting is a peaceful activity. Sheep are archetypically placid. When they cross a road that you are driving down, there is nothing to do but wait. It never crosses your mind to honk the horn or try to drive around—where I live the sheep graze in fields so rocky that you’d pierce your muffler if you tried—you just turn off your engine and admire the ungainly woolly lumps brushing past your front bumper. Knitting starts with the sheep.
I like natural yarns that are full of lanolin. That way I can feel the life of this animal that needn’t give its life to yield up this wonderful product that I use to knit. I fondle the yarn and start to rack my brains and my library for inspiration. My knitted things have no borders. I use a Swedish wool to knit mittens using a twisted Eastern stitch. The mittens turn out not to be warm enough, so I knit mitten liners out of Chilean alpaca. The hat on my head is of Japanese yarn, knitted from a Norwegian pattern. I knit my hat in the round from the top down, and once I passed the awkward double point stage and worked onto a circular needle, I slipped into the meditative state that arises when I knit stocking stitch in the round. My mind wanders, first to my work day then, eventually, to the private part of my day, my family, my friends, the wild thyme that the sheep graze on in the rocky fields up the road. I become part of a world bigger than that enclosed by the ends of the sofa where I sit knitting. My mind wanders through the world that has led to the knitting in my hands and because I am knitting, engaged in this quiet, peaceful activity that starts with the placid sheep, my mind wanders through a peaceful world.
Knitters radiate peace. When I see a stranger moving a pre-natal sock around and around a ring of double points, he is engaged in creating warmth for someone he cares about, an expression of peace. When I see a friend with a lap full of grey alpaca, lovingly being worked in moss stitch for her new baby, her quiet handiwork sings peace.
I would like to channel this peacefulness. On March 21, every stitch that I knit will be dedicated to peace. I would like to invite everyone who knits to join me on that day. Will it stop people from hurting and threatening and frightening each other, the antithesis of peace? Who knows. When I knit on March 21, I will be saying with each stitch that peace is possible, that human intelligence and compassion can triumph over fear and greed, that terror and war can give way to discussion and peace.
Knit for peace.