Chattering Mind

Los Angeles knitter and photographer Lisa Ann Auerbach has lived by the motto “Stop making scarves. Start making trouble” since 2005 when she made her first pair of Iraq War body count mittens.

The American body count number knitted into the pattern almost always increases between the completion of the right hand and the left. Here’s an article about her anti-war work and radical handicrafts, and here’s her “Steal This Sweater” blog with links to other radical knitters and their web pages. And here’s the actual body count mitten pattern, which Auerbach would love you to “steal.”

Auerbach advises her readers to knit body count mittens “in public,” where the notion can be seen and discussed. Her work is obviously angry. There’s a lot to be angry about.

I’m fascinated with the fact that many radical knitters also speak of their knitting in spiritual terms. They are dealing with difficult emotions, creating, meditating all at the same time, they say. Knitting to make a difference, knitting to be the difference. Do you make your hand-crafted work a part of your spiritual practice?

Nothing makes me feel more happy, protective, and nurturing than sewing or repairing our chattering family’s clothes. And I always look forward to the quiet times when I bring out my old-fashioned sewing box (which today contains a lot of my late mother’s gear) to hem a pair of trousers, or replace a button lost.

What have you sewn lately? How did it make you feel?

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