HerStory May 2022: Helen Hoang

There’s a lot of derision in some circles for romance, and much of that is based on misogyny and the patriarchy, because most writers and readers of romance are women. But here’s the thing: romance, and particularly modern romance, is all about building the world the writer wants to inhabit. A world that is welcoming and accepting. A world in which consent rules and equity is the standard. A world in which differences in race, culture, neurodivergence, socio-economic background, and a host of other things are not insurmountable obstacles, but rather merely parts that make a person whole.

Helen Hoang‘s Kiss Quotient book trilogy exemplifies this world-building. She herself is a neurodivergent romance book lover, and when it came time to write her own books, she wrote what she knows in the most beautiful way possible. Instead of being a barrier to finding love, her main characters’ neurodivergence is simply a part of who they are, and each finds his or her perfect match through delightful writing and entertaining romps through romance tropes. Representation matters, and there are so few books in which autistic people are represented as main characters. That is one of the things that make Hoang’s books so compelling. Another thing? They are just plain sweet. And cute. And readable. The first two, especially, are a bit on the steamy side, but who doesn’t want a bit of steam with their love story?

We are not-so-patiently waiting for Helen Hoang to release more books; she’s only published this series so far. Her characters and writing are so fabulous, and the love stories make us smile.

One of our favorite past-times (other than reading or listening to romance, of course) is scrolling through different editions of the books we love, and as we were scrolling the book covers in this series, we stumbled upon the German editions. They are so dreamy and vintage’y , and we knew we needed to make our HerStory colorway inspired by them. That is how this month’s colorway, Kiss Quotient, was born. We hope you spend a bit of time reading or listening to this wonderful trilogy, making something beautiful, and thinking about how important representation is, and how very wonderful romance books can be. 

Books by Helen Hoang:

  • The Kiss Quotient
  • The Bride Test
  • The Heart Principle

Want more like this? Here are some other authors we suggest you read/listen to (and we have more romance authors coming up, so we haven’t included those authors in this list, even though they are some of our very faves):

  • Jasmine Guillory
  • Alyssa Cole
  • Talia Hibbert
  • Sara Desai
  • Alison Cochrun

We hope you enjoy this HerStory Book Club as much as we have enjoyed putting it together. We envision an open-ended Book Club, with folks reading or listening to whichever book they’d like from each author’s If you’d like a spoiler of all of the authors we’ll be showcasing this year, check out our website: http://knittedwit.com/herstory-2022-authors/

National Parks 2022: George Washington Carver National Monument

It’s time for the annual National Parks Club/KAL!

Every month from May-August, we’ll be releasing 4 new parks colorways. We have almost exhausted all of the traditional US National Parks, so this year, we’ll be showcasing other National Parks areas, such as National Recreation Areas, Heritage sites, etc. Featured parks will fall under one of 4 categories:

  • National History – Eastern USA
  • National History – Western USA
  • Indigenous Culture
  • Human Rights Leaders/notable people

Check out our Socks and Hats on Vacay/Staycay summertime KAL with our friend Shannon Squire, too: https://shannonsquire.com/socks-hats-on-vacay-2022/

Thanks for exploring parks and making socks with us once again this summer! To get your yarn, check out our list of LYS’s offering National Parks (Parks yarn will ONLY be available at our LYS partners through the summer): http://knittedwit.com/parks-2022/

And, to play our new-to-2022 Vacay Bingo game, head in to your participating LYS and grab a gameboard or download it here: http://knittedwit.com/parks-2022/

Where is it located?

Southwest Missouri, near Branson.

Whose land does it reside upon?

Prior to the Indian Removal Act of 1830, many Indigenous tribes resided in what is now Missouri, most especially the Osage, but also including the Chickasaw, Delaware, Illini, Kanza, Ioway, Otoe-Missouria, and Quapaw.

When was it established?

July 14, 1943

About this park:

George Washington Carver National Monument is the birthplace and childhood home of the famed scientist, educator, and humanitarian. Established in 1943, it was the first unit of the National Park Service dedicated to an African American. It also protects 140 acres of restored tallgrass prairie.

Colorway inspiration:

We used this photo of the one-mile trail as our colorway inspiration: https://www.nps.gov/media/photo/gallery-item.htm?pg=3027126&id=2830DB5F-CAC8-A6AC-1650298D7E263D98&gid=68CCC0C4-155D-4519-3E09800B6C2D0B2F

For more information:

National Parks 2022: Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument

It’s time for the annual National Parks Club/KAL!

Every month from May-August, we’ll be releasing 4 new parks colorways. We have almost exhausted all of the traditional US National Parks, so this year, we’ll be showcasing other National Parks areas, such as National Recreation Areas, Heritage sites, etc. Featured parks will fall under one of 4 categories:

  • National History – Eastern USA
  • National History – Western USA
  • Indigenous Culture
  • Human Rights Leaders/notable people

Check out our Socks and Hats on Vacay/Staycay summertime KAL with our friend Shannon Squire, too: https://shannonsquire.com/socks-hats-on-vacay-2022/

Thanks for exploring parks and making socks with us once again this summer! To get your yarn, check out our list of LYS’s offering National Parks (Parks yarn will ONLY be available at our LYS partners through the summer): http://knittedwit.com/parks-2022/

And, to play our new-to-2022 Vacay Bingo game, head in to your participating LYS and grab a gameboard or download it here: http://knittedwit.com/parks-2022/

Where is it located?

In Northwestern Texas (the panhandle).

Whose land does it reside upon?

This was most recently the land of the Comanches, who ruled the plains from around 1700 through the late 1800s, when white colonizers pushed all indigenous peoples onto reservations. Prior to the Comanches, the Apache, the Antelope Creek Culture, and the early Woodland tribes made their home in what is now the Texas Panhandle.

When was it established?

August 21, 1965

About this park:

For thousands of years, people came to the red bluffs above the Canadian River for flint, vital to their existence. 13,000 years ago, this site was well-known by nomadic mammoth hunters, the Clovis people, as a source of flint for tools. Centuries passed, and nomadic hunters turned into more established communities, who formed quarries to dig up this valuable resource.

Colorway inspiration:

We used this photo of a polished piece of Alibates Flint as our colorway inspiration: https://www.nps.gov/alfl/learn/nature/geology.htm

For more information:

National Parks 2022: Appalachian National Scenic Trail

It’s time for the annual National Parks Club/KAL!

Every month from May-August, we’ll be releasing 4 new parks colorways. We have almost exhausted all of the traditional US National Parks, so this year, we’ll be showcasing other National Parks areas, such as National Recreation Areas, Heritage sites, etc. Featured parks will fall under one of 4 categories:

  • National History – Eastern USA
  • National History – Western USA
  • Indigenous Culture
  • Human Rights Leaders/notable people

Check out our Socks and Hats on Vacay/Staycay summertime KAL with our friend Shannon Squire, too: https://shannonsquire.com/socks-hats-on-vacay-2022/

Thanks for exploring parks and making socks with us once again this summer! To get your yarn, check out our list of LYS’s offering National Parks (Parks yarn will ONLY be available at our LYS partners through the summer): http://knittedwit.com/parks-2022/

And, to play our new-to-2022 Vacay Bingo game, head in to your participating LYS and grab a gameboard or download it here: http://knittedwit.com/parks-2022/

Where is it located?

The Appalachian Trail extends between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine.

Whose land does it reside upon?

The Appalachian Trail travels through the traditional territories of 22 Native Nations, and there is so much Indigenous history through the many miles. Check out a map highlighting these Indigenous tribes here: https://appalachiantrail.org/official-blog/native-lands/

When was it established?

1925

About this park:

The Appalachian Trail is a 2,180+ mile long public footpath that traverses the scenic, wooded, pastoral, wild, and culturally resonant lands of the Appalachian Mountains. Conceived in 1921, built by private citizens, and completed in 1937, today the trail is managed by the National Park Service, US Forest Service, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, numerous state agencies and thousands of volunteers. It’s known as the “Footpath for the People.”

Colorway inspiration:

We used the top photo on the linked page for our colorway inspiration: https://www.nps.gov/appa/learn/photosmultimedia/photogallery.htm

For more information:

National Parks 2022: White Sands National Park

It’s time for the annual National Parks Club/KAL!

Every month from May-August, we’ll be releasing 4 new parks colorways. We have almost exhausted all of the traditional US National Parks, so this year, we’ll be showcasing other National Parks areas, such as National Recreation Areas, Heritage sites, etc. Featured parks will fall under one of 4 categories:

  • National History – Eastern USA
  • National History – Western USA
  • Indigenous Culture
  • Human Rights Leaders/notable people

Check out our Socks and Hats on Vacay/Staycay summertime KAL with our friend Shannon Squire, too: https://shannonsquire.com/socks-hats-on-vacay-2022/

Thanks for exploring parks and making socks with us once again this summer! To get your yarn, check out our list of LYS’s offering National Parks (Parks yarn will ONLY be available at our LYS partners through the summer): http://knittedwit.com/parks-2022/

And, to play our new-to-2022 Vacay Bingo game, head in to your participating LYS and grab a gameboard or download it here: http://knittedwit.com/parks-2022/

Where is it located?

In South Central New Mexico, near Las Cruces.

Whose land does it reside upon?

Mescalero Apaches are the only Native Americans who occupy the Basin today, although many indigenous groups have occupied and traveled through the land for millenia. In fact, in 2021, footprints were discovered that have been dated to 23,000 years, upending a lot of what modern science has long believed about human habitation of what is now America. This article, written from an indigenous perspective, is very interesting, and shines light on how much of scientific discovery is colored by the perspectives, biases, and privileges of those making and writing about those discoveries: https://www.hcn.org/issues/53.11/indigenous-affairs-archaeology-the-white-sands-discovery-only-confirms-what-indigenous-people-have-said-all-along

When was it established?

December 20, 2019

About this park:

Rising from the heart of the Tularosa Basin is one of the world’s great natural wonders – the glistening white sands of New Mexico. Great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand have engulfed 275 square miles of desert, creating the world’s largest gypsum dunefield. White Sands National Park preserves a major portion of this unique dunefield, along with the plants and animals that live here.

Colorway inspiration:

For our colorway inspiration, we scrolled through the White Sands NP Instagram page, and let the many gorgeous photos inform our choice of colors: https://www.instagram.com/whitesandsnps/

For more information:

HerStory April 2022: NK Jemisin

For our April HerStory, we are heading out of the non-fiction we’ve been immersed in, and heading to some other-worldly reading with NK Jemisin, who is widely considered to be the best of the best in science fiction. She’s a best-seller, an award-winner (she won 3 Hugo awards in a row, for all three books from her Broken Earth Trilogy), and is a MacArthur Genius. She’s also an all-around badass who centers Black voices in her stories and stands up to racists in the sci-fi community. 

Jemisin became enamored with all things science fiction as a child, and consumed everything she could in the genre. As she visited her local library and read sci-fi book after sci-fi book, she realized that many had one thing in common: a decidedly white-centering slant. Even those writers of color who were enjoying success in the 1980s were encouraged to hide their race, so as to appear non-threatening (read: white) to the (white) reading public. Even the truly inimitable Octavia Butler was not immune to this pressure; as she began to read Butler, Jemisin had no clue she was a Black woman, as her book covers often featured images of white protagonists, even if those protagonists were people of color. All of this informed Jemisin’s writing, where Black voices are centered, most especially the Black woman. 

As her love of reading sci-fi grew, so did her belief that publishing it just wasn’t in the cards for a Black woman. She began publishing fan fiction (and still does, to this day, anonymously) while working as a career counselor in various colleges throughout the East and Midwest. She could not shake the need to write, and took a workshop in which she was encouraged to delve into short-story writing, and boy, are we glad she did!

Jemisin’s writing is considered both sci-fi and speculative fiction. Her world-building is full, brutal, and beautiful; it often comes to her in dreams. In talking about the protagonist of the Broken Earth Trilogy, you can imagine that she pulls her story from Jemisin. It’s a beautiful thought and has such powerful imagery. We decided to channel the gorgeous covers of her Hugo-winning trilogy, Broken Earth, for our Broken Earth colorway. The vibrant blues and greens, paired with the earthy browns and greys are so evocative of the world-building Jemisin is so good at; we hope you visit those worlds with us this month.

Books by NK Jemisin:

  • The Broken Earth Trilogy
  • How Long Until Black Future Month?
  • The City We Became
  • The Inheritance Trilogy
  • The Killing Moon

Want more like this? Here are some other authors we suggest you read/listen to:

  • Octavia Butler
  • Nnedi Okorafor
  • Tomi Adeyemi
  • Ursula K. LeGuin
  • Nalo Hopkinson
  • Kameron Hurley

HerStory March 2022: bell hooks

For our March HerStory, we are showcasing the truly incomparable bell hooks (born Gloria Jean Watkins). She adopted her maternal great-grandmother’s name as her pen name because her great-grandmother “was known for her snappy and bold tongue, which I greatly admired.” She wanted the focus of her work to be on the “substance of books, not who I am,” so chose not to capitalize her pen name.

bell hooks’ influence reaches into many different arenas, and she shared herself in many different ways: hooks was a professor, a featured speaker, a cultural critic, a filmmaker. The thread that weaves her works together is her intersectionality, and the central theme of all of her work is love:

“I believe wholeheartedly that the only way out of domination is love,” she told the philosopher George Yancy in an interview for The New York Times in 2015, “and the only way into really being able to connect with others, and to know how to be, is to be participating in every aspect of your life as a sacrament of love.”

No matter what part of her works you find yourself experiencing, you’ll see that love and intersectionality in practice: she wove themes of love, race, class, gender, art, history, sexuality, mass media, and feminism together into a truly inspiring whole. Whether reflecting on the influence geography has on self; exploring feelings on the American education system and its reliance on white supremacy and capitalism; and/or taking a deep-dive into what love truly means, hooks’ work frequently addressed these deep intersections that form the fabric of society.

The breadth of her teaching, the range of her interests, and the approachability of her work make us fall more in love with her with every experience. Whatever your interest, from children’s books to poetry to tracts on love, feminism, education, and pretty much everything in between, you’re sure to fall in love with bell hooks, too.

Our L-O-V-E colorway is an homage to bell hooks’ beloved Appalachia. We hope this earthy skein accompanies you as you explore hook’s work.

Books by bell hooks:

  • The Love Trilogy: All About Love, Communion, & Salvation
  • Ain’t I A Woman?
  • Feminism is for Everybody
  • Teaching to Transgress
  • The Will to Change 
  • Appalachian Elegy: Poetry and Place

Want more like this? Here are some other authors we suggest you read/listen to:

  • Audre Lorde
  • Angela Y. Davis
  • Alice Walker
  • Toni Morrison
  • Roxane Gay

We hope you enjoy this HerStory Book Club as much as we have enjoyed putting it together. We envision an open-ended Book Club, with folks reading or listening to whichever book they’d like from each author’s If you’d like a spoiler of all of the authors we’ll be showcasing this year, check out our website: http://knittedwit.com/herstory-2022-authors/

HerStory February 2022: Ijeoma Oluo

It’s a new month, and that means a new HerStory recipient! This month, we are celebrating all things Ijeoma Oluo, writer, speaker, and self-professed internet yeller. 

Ijeoma Oluo is the author of two books that deep-dive into topics that are so important for us all to understand and confront. In her first book, So You Want to Talk About Race, she provides useful information for folks wanting to have constructive conversations about race in America. Her second book, Mediocre, focuses on the ways in which America has centered white men, and allowed them to flourish at the expense and on the backs of women and Black people, resulting in the America we currently live in.

She began to focus on writing in 2012, after the death of Trayvon Martin, who was the same age as Oluo’s oldest son when he was murdered. She pivoted her blog from food writing to musings on racism and living while Black in America, and that grew into more activism and advocacy, as well as writing for publications, from local to national to international. Her first published work was a now-out-of-print coloring book called The Badass Feminist Coloring Book (you know we tracked down a few copies on Ebay, and are looking forward to coloring as well as reading this month!) She is now a writer and speaker in high demand.

Oluo was named to the 2021 TIME 100 Next list and has twice been named to the Root 100. She received the 2018 Feminist Humanist Award and the 2020 Harvard Humanist of the Year Award from the American Humanist Association. She lives in Seattle with her partner and her youngest kiddo.

Ijeoma has devoted her life to the discussion of race and privilege in our society, and writes/internet yells for a lot of publications. She’s a mother, a partner, and gorgeously talented at make-up to boot (she recently created an Instagram account solely to share her looks, and we are in love with what she shares!).

Our Truth Teller colorway is inspired by one of these looks, and pays homage to all of the parts of Ijeoma that she shares with us. Because Black joy is something to celebrate just as much as success that comes with being a Truth Teller in America. 

Books by Ijeoma Oluo:

  • So You Want To Talk About Race
  • Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America 

Want more like this? Here are some other authors we suggest you read/listen to:

  • Layla F. Saad
  • Austin Channing Brown
  • Michelle Alexander
  • Mikki Kendall
  • Liz Plank
  • Patrisse Khan-Cullors
  • Cathy Park Hong

We hope you enjoy this HerStory Book Club as much as we have enjoyed putting it together. We envision an open-ended Book Club, with folks reading or listening to whichever book they’d like from each author’s If you’d like a spoiler of all of the authors we’ll be showcasing this year, check out our website: http://knittedwit.com/herstory-2022-authors/

Ijeoma’s website: https://www.ijeomaoluo.com/

HerStory January 2022: Phoebe Robinson

We could not be more excited about this year’s foray into books and authors for our 2022 HerStory! In the spirit of “treating ourselves” for January, we chose Phoebe Robinson, because everything about her is a real treat. Reading or (our preferred method) listening to her books, you feel like you’ve made a new best friend. Plus, she doesn’t shy away from important topics that affect her as a Black woman in America. 

Phoebe has written 3 books. She has done stand-up comedy (as half of Two Dope Queens); she has acted in films and TV shows; she has hosted numerous podcasts. She even did a high-in-the-trees ropes course with, of all people, Kevin Bacon, as a part of her Comedy Central Show, Doing the Most with Phoebe Robinson

In 2020, Phoebe launched Tiny Reparations, which began as a publishing imprint with the goal of highlighting and amplifying unique and diverse voices that not only reflect the current conversation but also push it forward. This inspired a production company as well. In Robinson’s own words, in creating the production company: “We’re focused on telling funny AF, complex AF, and honest AF stories that will make you cry laughing while also shining a light on things that make you go hmmm. #RememberThatSong #ShoutoutTo C+CMusicFactory.”

When reading Phoebe’s words on the page or on Instagram, when listening to one of her podcasts or the audio versions of her books, when spending time with this amazing woman, you are sure to be struck by how much joy she gets out of life, with how very tickled she is with whatever story she’s sharing with you. Listening to her is almost intimate: you truly feel as though you are sitting on your couch, glass of wine or mug of tea in hand, chatting and laughing and crying with a trusted friend, both of you snuggled under blankets with plenty of snacks at hand. 

As we were developing our colorway, which we’re calling Thirsty Thursdays, we wanted to honor the light Phoebe Robinson is in the world, and create something bright and fun. The name is an homage to the hilarious odes to hotties that she posts on Thursdays on Instagram; just try to read through one of them without guffawing out loud. 

Books by Phoebe Robinson:

  • You Can’t Touch My Hair and Other Things I Still Have to Explain
  • Everything is Trash, But It’s Okay
  • Please Don’t Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes

Want more like this? Here are some other authors we suggest you read/listen to:

  • Amber Ruffian
  • Tina Fey
  • Amy Poehler
  • Samantha Irby
  • Mindy Kaling

We hope you enjoy this HerStory Book Club as much as we have enjoyed putting it together. We envision an open-ended Book Club, with folks reading or listening to whichever book they’d like from each author’s If you’d like a spoiler of all of the authors we’ll be showcasing this year, check out our website: http://knittedwit.com/herstory-2022-authors/

Thanks so much! Let’s all fill our 2022 with reading and fabulous yarn inspired by fabulous women writers!

HerStory December 2021: The Future is Bright

It is time for the final HerStory love letter of 2021, and, much like last year, we are using December to celebrate, not one woman, but a group of women we admire. With our The Future is Bright colorway, we are featuring young women working on climate change and community justice issues. We want to say thank you to these young women, and also ask that you support them in their endeavors, because, as Whitney Houston famously sang, “I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way…” We are fully prepared to follow these young women into a future that is hopefully on its way to healing the climate…

Amariyanna “Mari” Copeny, also known as Little Miss Flint, is a youth activist from Flint, Michigan. She is best known for raising awareness about the Flint water crisis and fundraising to support underprivileged children in her community and across the country.

Marina Anderson, a tribal leader for the Organized Village of Kasan on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska, is known for advocating for protections of Indigenous culture and places, most particularly the Tongass National Forest (a temperate rain forest known as North America’s lungs) in Alaska. In 2020, protections were taken away from this vital rainforest, and Marina and other Indigenous activists have been fighting for this land.

Isra Hirsi from Minneapolis, MN, co-founded and served as the co-executive director of the U.S. Youth Climate Strike after organizing two nation-wide climate strikes in 2019. Hirsi is an advocate for intersectionality and diversity within the climate justice movement as well as in her daily life. She is the daughter of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.

Vanessa Nakate is a climate activist from Kampala, Uganda. She was inspired to action by the realization that the livelihood and survival of her home country depends deeply on addressing climate change, and argues that African countries and communities should be compensated for the loss and damage arising from climate change that they are now suffering but that they are not very responsible for. She founded the Youth for Future Africa and the Rise Up Movement.

Greta Thunberg is a Swedish environmental activist who is known for challenging world leaders to take immediate action for climate change mitigation. She speaks truth to power, no holding back.

These young women are all heroes of ours: smart, caring, and dedicated to making a difference in this world that we all share. There are many others that are doing good work, and that deserve our support. Even though sometimes the world seems heavy and hopeless, these women give us hope and remind us that The Future is Bright. We hope they (and the colorway we created to honor them) brightens up your days.