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Supporting Black-Owned Businesses

These past few weeks have been incredibly hard and emotional, especially for every person who has to face racism every single day of the year because of the colour of their skin. They need you right now!
How to Support Black-owned businesses, indie dyers and knitting designers:
We encourage you to support black-owned businesses because they need all your love and encouragement right now! They need to feel like valued members of our crafting community. Go visit their websites, Instagram pages and look at their amazing work! Follow them and buy something from them! We recommended a couple of indie-dyers that make beautiful yarns in a Facebook post (which you can read at the end of this post) but of course, there are so many more indie-dyers and designers for you to discover, support and share your love with! We’ve found a comprehensive list in Jeanette Sloan’s blog and this is a great place to start! Click here to start supporting and spreading some love! We realise that this list is from 2018 and may be in need of an update as many more designers have emerged in the last 2 years. We encourage you to actively look around instagram and we are sure you will find many more! A great knitting designer that we don’t see on this list is Denise Bayron. Click here to visit her Instagram page @Bayron Handmade. 
Also, please read this post from GGMadeit, where Gaye “GG” Gaspie explains why she, as a black woman, can not just “get back to her knitting”. You can follow her on Instagram.  GG is also part of the KNIT STARS family, which we also belong to, and she will be teaching in KNIT STARS 5.0 this fall! We are super excited about that and can’t wait to see what she will be doing there!!
Last week, in the Facebook group for quarantine knitting that we founded at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, a knitted “Black Lives Matter” square led to a lot of hatred, prejudice and bigotry. This is something that we can not and will not tolerate. We addressed the members of the group on June 5th and thought that we should share what we wrote here as well.  We have a large platform and therefore, a great responsibility. Here is the post:
Posted in the Quarantine Knitting Group on Facebook
June 5, 2020
“We are still here, looking around and thinking about everything that has happened in the past days. We have a few things to get off our mind and share with you:
Firstly and most importantly: we don’t think it is OK for people to start writing racist and nasty comments just because of a Black Lives Matter knitted square. To us, the Black Lives Matter square has the same value as the squares that we designed for Covid-19: Love, Hug Me Later and Alone Together as well as our Rainbow square. It is sad to see how much hatred has come out of this knitted square, and this is not OK. We also find sentences like “I just want to get back to my knitting” and “all lives matter” extraordinarily offensive and would like to ask people to stop writing them. Black people do not have the luxury of escaping reality to get on with their knitting. And all lives will matter only when black lives matter. Which, considering the latest events in the USA where an innocent Black man got killed by the police just because he was Black, clearly proves that all lives still don’t matter.
We want to recommend a book which was recommended to us last year: “Me and White Supremacy” by Laila Saad. This book made a massive impression on us. It opened our eyes to what white supremacy is and explained to us that we have consciously and unconsciously been perpetuating a system that gives enormous privilege to white people. It showed us that we had never actually looked at what racism really is because it was comfortable for us that this system was in place. It taught us that as white people, we need to grow, educate ourselves and move from being against racism to becoming anti-racist. Everyone needs to read this book. Do this book. We all need to understand what white privilege and white supremacy are, in order to become better allies and begin the hard work of dismantling this system.
Other things that we can all do right now? Support Black-owned businesses! There are a ton of Black dyers and knitwear designers that need your support and encouragement in these hard times! Some of our favourite indie dyers that make gorgeous yarns are Ocean by the SeaLady Dye Yarns and Lolabean Yarn.
And if you’d like to donate some money towards the Black Lives Matter cause, this article has 115 ways to donate in support of Black lives: 
We are proud supporters of the Black Life Matters movement and donate to this cause.
There are many other books about racism that you can read, here are some that have been recommended to us: So you want to talk about Race by Oljeoma Oluo, White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander.
We hope that people who still have not educated themselves and think that they are not racist because they have never discriminated anyone will go and get “Me and White Supremacy” by Layla Saad and do the workbook. What you will learn about yourself will make you extremely uncomfortable. But ultimately, it will also open your eyes and give you some tools to start becoming a better ally.”
    • Julia in Tennessee (very close to Dollywood) on June 7, 2020 at 12:45 pm


    I could not add anything to your profound words other than to say “amen,” and to thank you for not being afraid to speak out and show your kind, loving, and good hearts. I will take your suggestion on the book. We all have much to learn. My husband (a non-knitter who requests more cooking videos!) and I both enjoyed your quarantine videos and look forward to more when Carlos is fully recovered. Thank you again for speaking out and confirming that I am right in thinking of you two as “pairfect guys,” a “pairfect pair,” and my favorite friends I have not met. With all good wishes.

    • MeMe on June 7, 2020 at 1:45 pm


    Please get well. I miss your live videos. 😘😘😘🧶🇨🇦

    • Lily on June 7, 2020 at 2:28 pm


    Thank you Arne and Carlos for your thoughtful post! I am here in California. I am also a minority, Latina. If I could I would be marching with the protesters, but my health won’t let me. Thank you for being Allies for a world that works for everyone, not just the few. Only when Black lives and Brown lives matter too, will all lives matter. I send my best thoughts and heart prayers for your continued recovery. Love to you both.

    • Esther on June 8, 2020 at 6:34 am


    Couldn’t agree with you more. Thank you for making your position clear that racist comments are not tolerated here. Hope you’re both getting better.

    • Tonya on June 9, 2020 at 12:17 am


    Thank you Arne & Carlos. It is not enough for me to say when you have said a heartfelt MOUTHFUL. Thank you for sharing.

    • Chris on June 9, 2020 at 3:32 pm


    Takk Arne and Carlos.

    • Deborah on June 9, 2020 at 3:35 pm


    Thank you so much. I’m so proud of you both.

    • Lois Ardito on June 9, 2020 at 3:48 pm


    Thank you for this valuable info and suggestions, I will pass this on to the Boston Knitting Guild. Please be well and try to enjoy a stress- free Summer. I think the road ahead for all of us will be a long and difficult one to navigate and we will need all the strength to have to stay focused and strong!

    • Jane on June 9, 2020 at 3:48 pm


    I’ll just say


    I am grateful for your honorable stand. Way to go! Way to BE!

    • Teresa, Iowa City IA, USA on June 9, 2020 at 3:52 pm


    Thank you thank you thank you, Arne and Carlos. You are rays of light and love. I am deeply grateful that you have used your platform to so cogently, powerfully and constructively address this with such grace, wisdom, and intelligence.

  1. Reply

    Well said.

    • Linda C on June 9, 2020 at 4:18 pm


    Thank you for your very important message. Be well, take care and THANK YOU.

    • Leslie on June 9, 2020 at 4:21 pm


    Thank You! As someone whose family is racially mixed, Black Lives Matter and racism is a daily part of my life. As a white woman, I’ve had to face my own discomfort in understanding and accepting white privilege. These past couple of weeks have been emotional on every level imaginable. Seeing a man tortured/murdered by a system that is supposed to protect it’s citizens, the blatant racism by the community, poor leadership of a nation in crisis, the amazing strength and power of the people not taking it any longer, hearing my black brother-in-law say “I’ve heard worse” when children in the neighborhood rode past his house yelling “We hate black people”….it’s so much. Like many on the quarantine knitting site, I go there for respite, seeing beautiful creations and being able to share my own work. When I went on last week and caught up on what happened, I was both moved and determine. Moved by the utmost support of the community the two of you created and determined to keep the conversation going in an accepting and community focused way. So..thank you for your words, for your sharing and for giving life to this community.

    • Donna Aase on June 9, 2020 at 4:45 pm


    Thank you, Arne and Carlos. Keep inspiring us in all the different ways that you do.

    • Carol Stottlemeyer on June 9, 2020 at 5:10 pm


    When gentle men show you their strength, don’t ignore them. Arne and Carlos are two of the gentlest men I have met and this message shows their strength, don’t ignore their message, learn from it and act in your own self-interest for the lives of the future depend on you.

  2. Reply

    Well said Arne & Carlos! People have to learn that all lives matter, irregardless of skin colour or religious beliefs. We must all stand up for that and refuse to allow the racists to be lauded in any way. I read a very interesting thing the other day and I am sharing it here….it was on a placard carried at one of the demonstrations in San Francisco and simply said “I know I don’t understand, but I stand’ . Perhaps that’s something ALL of us should take to heart.+

    • Brigitte Westermann on June 9, 2020 at 7:08 pm


    Very thoughtful words!
    Thank you 🌸

    • Rebecca McDonough on June 9, 2020 at 7:26 pm


    Thank you for these links, which just prove how much there is to love about you two.

    Peace and love, which should never be out of style,


    • Nancy B on June 9, 2020 at 9:48 pm


    You guys always impress, and I’m so grateful to have become acquainted with you and your work. You give me hope. Thank you for using your global platform to speak out for justice and go the extra step to urge people to grow in their awareness with specific guidance that you yourselves have found to be transformative. And extra excited to see the shout-out to my fellow Sunday JP Knitting group member who is Lady Dye Yarns here in Boston. She is an ultra-smart craftivist with beautiful yarns and an excellent Insta account for anyone to follow! Thank you both and good health!

    • Gail Leeder on June 10, 2020 at 6:03 pm


    Thank you Arne and Carlos, That was perfect. I’m not good at writing down how my heart feels, so Thank you, Thank you. I love it.

      • Linda on June 11, 2020 at 9:01 pm


      I second your comment. Those who care about everyone are friends we have not met yet.

  3. Reply

    Right on!
    Thanks for this loving message Arne & Carlos.
    As well all of the Black owned businesses related to our creative endeavors!

    Take good care,
    Jill from Oakland, California ( still working on my Primrose blanket!)

    • SandraM on June 13, 2020 at 1:22 am


    Thank you Arne and Carlos for your thoughtful words. Indeed, you are the greatest friends that I haven’t met yet.
    Love and peace from New York!

    • Nicole U on June 13, 2020 at 8:38 am


    Thank you Arne and Carlos for using your platform to show your support for Black Lives Matter. You expressed it so well and have provided us with some proactive ways in which we can also show our support and educate ourselves. Bravo, and may we all continue to progress to overcome racism in any form – conscious and subconscious.

    • Catherine Khalili on June 13, 2020 at 7:39 pm


    Thank you for letting us know about the book. I will definitely order it!


    • Karen McCaslin on June 16, 2020 at 2:23 pm


    Great that you posted a list of businesses that are owned by people of color! I would not have known who owned any shops no matter how the owner looked.

    • Jennifer Lambert on June 18, 2020 at 1:14 am


    Thank you for these words. I have ordered the book you have recommended and am excited to receive it and begin a journey to get to know myself more and learn new things. I also appreciate the list you have provided of Black owned business. I loved the quarantine knitting project and just recently took a couple weeks and taught myself the Norwegian Knitting technique – practice practice practice, and I finally got the hang of it and love it – It is so much more ergonomic and has really helped me. I love your pod casts – thank you so much

    • Beverly Ness on June 18, 2020 at 5:14 pm


    Thank you so much! Every word of compassion and understanding makes a difference. Thank you!

    • LP on June 30, 2020 at 6:35 am


    Thank you for this Arne & Carlos. Your knit along helped me with the start of quarantine, and I’m so grateful for your work making your community better. Thank you for the resources.

    • Anne Dent on July 13, 2020 at 9:18 pm


    Arne, I want to thank you for recommending the book There There by Tommy Orange. I started reading it today. This is long but I want to share with you how you and the book have helped me.

    I have started reading “There There”. A novel by a Native American about being Native. I will quote then give my comment.
    “They’ll think he’s white–which is only half true–….Dene is not recognizably Native. He is ambiguously nonwhite. Over the year he’s been assumed Mexican plenty, been asked if he was Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Salvadoran once, but mostly the question can like this: What are you?”
    My comment: At this point I began crying and keep crying over and over as I think of this. When I was little in VA I would be asked by white adults who I hardly knew “What are you?” Of course being an a kid I would just stand there looking dumb. then the would say “Are you FRENCH or something?” I had no answer. I took this to mean being French is as bad as being Negro (the word of that time). I also understood there is some thing strange and bad about my very existence. this happened an uncounted number of times. But enough that it is a major memory of my horrible childhood.
    Later as an adult I came to understand that I was getting racist treatment. Now that had not seemed racist to me as a child. The racism I knew in VA was the racism against blacks and desegregation. This was in the 1950s. I knew as a child what was happening to the blacks was horrible and wrong. Realizing as an adult that I had been treated with racism as child changed me at a deep level. I pushed it down as much as I could. I can to understand that the Natives in my family had survived as passing as white as much as they could. I can’t fault them, that is what I had to do. I also was not learning any of my heritage. My mother was in denial until I was over 40 that she had married a man who was part Indian. She finally admitted that my dad mother had told her what tribe. But of course, she could not remember what tribe Grandma said. Of course, I never once told my parents about the racist treatment I got. So this reading today has confirmed in a very real and vivid way that I indeed have had racist treatment. This causes pain, confusion and relief all at the same time. It brings back all the many years of feeling worthless and bad. I will do all my usually ways of coping and for the most part push it all down in me. I will of course go back to my “being white” though I know I am not. In the sum of it all I have become very proud of being a Native person.

      • Claudia Bjork on September 18, 2020 at 10:08 am


      Reply to Annie Dent:
      Thanks for sharing.
      Also remember, you are as white as you are Native American. You carry the history of both. You exist because of the positive AND negative actions of both. Yet, you are in an extraordinary position to show those who want to befriend you how amazing this world can be if we LEARN from all cultures. I say this as someone who is in a similar position. I have a 4 generations ago Native American grandmother on my dad’s side and a possibly Turkish 3 generations ago grandmother on my mom’s side. All other grands are Northern European. I’ve been asked the same, French, Russian, Hawiian, etc. I say I am a human being, a citizen of the world, or if you are interested, I will happily share my family’s histories. I am all of them and I am my own. In my own history I hate labels, I love life experiences, I love what makes each of us who we are and if I have been mistreated by someone, it is that person’s issue. Not all people of one race are the same. Each person of this human race has a choice to make. I choose to learn from others and from life. I choose to believe in karma, I choose to lead a life where I can look into my little brother’s eyes without shame. He can be proud of who his big sister is. He has chosen to be like that and is teaching his little girls to hold their heads up, stand strong, take a stand, be strong of mind and morals. I choose to leave a legacy of understanding and learning. I actively recognize both sides of what makes us unique. Be proud of both histories or choose to avoid making the same mistakes or perpetuating lies, misunderstandings or hate. But be grateful you learned how not to treat others. You are a better human being for knowing how it feels to be both white and native American.

    • rose on December 11, 2020 at 12:41 pm



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