• Erika Stevenson

Poly Wrap and inclusion, diversity

Hi! My name is Erika and I'm an independent designer in the knitting community. I also work full time as a network engineer, and part-time as a technology instructor at a community college. So I know something about hard work and over-scheduling.

I've been intending to write a blog post for more than 3 months. Social anxiety and this and that and wanting so badly not to do or say something wrong led to me procrastinating for *ages*. It's tough to put yourself out there and open yourself up to criticism, critique and possible discord. Unfortunately, I'm also aware of the positive aspects of risk and failure, so I find myself without excuses to avoid sashaying forth.

A few things you should know about me other than the stuff at the beginning. I'm what some people might call a 'hardcore' feminist. What I call myself is a woman who believes that women should accept nothing less than total equality. You can call that what you like, I say it sounds fair. I believe unequivocally in reproductive justice - women are the boss of their own bodies. Also children are the bosses of their own bodies - body autonomy is super awesome.

Until recently I was guilty of using the phrase "I don't see color". I understand now how marginalizing that sentence is for a whole host of ethnic peoples from different backgrounds and I won't say it again. What I meant was that I'll never judge ANYONE by the color of their skin. That's what I should have been saying instead. I'll take that a step further though. I will never judge anyone by the color of their skin, the genitalia they possess, the size or shape of their body, or the color of their hair. How silly is it to judge people or make assumptions about them based on a set of superficial characteristics that are largely outside of their control?

I believe passionately in supporting and mentoring women and their causes. I'm an invested believer in letting compassion and kindness be my governing principles. I support LGBTQ+ causes, because just as women's rights are human rights, so are LGBTQ+ rights. I support alternative lifestyle choices because I wish to live my life largely as I choose, so should other people. If they aren't harming anyone or involving me in their choices, their choices are none of my business.

Blogging is hard, it's tough to know how much to expose or when you've exposed too much and why would you want to read any of it, if you don't know the person who's writing?

This week I'm launching my Green Man Collection. I set out to design a set, well kind of a set and a half. I wanted to design a stole, then take some of the design elements and design a coordinating hat and mitts set. And then take some more of the design elements and design another coordinating hat and mitts set. What I've done is a stole, 2 hats and 2 sets of fingerless mitts. I called them the Green Man Collection, because as I designed, a distinctively nature/leaf inspired theme was emerging. The Green Man of Celtic lore is the God of Agriculture and fertility, it seemed like a good fit.

Once I had a name for the collection, you would think that naming the items would be easy. But it was not. I struggled forever with what to name the stole. It has unusual construction in that you knit the two sides, then knit the middle while consuming the live stitches from the side panels. I kept calling these side panels "Side Pieces", and in my pun-y and slightly off-color mind, I made the connection to polyamory. After that Poly Wrap had a name, and it was going to be comprised of two side pieces and a main squeeze. Since that's not a lifestyle that I live, I spoke with friends that I have in that community. We talked about ways to use this design as an opportunity to educate people who may not understand that lifestyle and both my pattern document and my Ravelry pattern page refers to and specifically their FAQ page. Anyone can go to that FAQ page and get more information from someone who lives in that world.

The hat names came from the Green Man name of Bris, he's sometimes also referred to as Bres. I found it fortuitous that the green man has two names, and it seemed an easy choice. From a document writing perspective, I can tell you now that this was a terrible horrible no good very bad choice. It's made it harder to document the patterns, add the correct pictures and yardage amounts to the correct pattern documents and pattern pages. What are you going to do though, change your children's names after the fact, just because you find saying Scheherazade difficult to pronounce? I think not.

The Bris Beanie and Mitts incorporate a lacy leaf detail and reverse stockinette from the side piece into a hat and matching mitts pattern. The Bres Beanie and Mitts utilize the leafy cable from the main squeeze to highlight that stitch pattern. Either set or some combination thereof would make lovely companions to the Poly Wrap.

Once I get these patterns out, I'm full tilt into prepping for my first trunk show at Blizzard Yarn and Fiber during the Rose City Yarn Crawl. I'm also hoping that I'll be able to find the time to finish my Rose City Yarn Crawl MKAL. I've only got clue 5 left, but not sure when I'll find the time to finish.

Overall I genuinely loved loved loved creating this collection. But I'm ready to take a rest and knit something that someone else designed. I love to knit super intricate lace and may start another of Romi Hill's gloriously sophisticated shawls.

My next design project isn't certain yet, but whatever it is you'll likely hear about it here. Now that I've broken the seal, I'm determined not to let fear and anxiety keep me from sharing my thoughts with you all. Even if all is only 1.

Have an amazing day,



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