Pal/Gal/Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is coming up on February 14th, and although it’s a perfectly fine holiday, and we totally dig the chocolate, Red Hots, and candy hearts, we also love the idea of celebrating friendship. We’ve had Galentine’s/Palentine’s Day celebrations at the studio, and being in a room with so many wonderful groups of friends has been a real bucket-filler on those days. We even have a full palette of colors celebrating the Palentine’s / Galentine’s / Valentine’s Day holiday cluster.

Why Galentine’s Day? It’s no surprise to anyone who knows us that the Knitted Wit team are big fans of the television show Parks and Recreation. Leslie Knope is our secret best friend, and we are all huge fans of the whole Parks and Rec team and the ridiculous situations they continually get themselves into. Years ago, we started celebrating Galentine’s Day just like Leslie, with a small group of crafty friends, and our observation of the holiday grew from there. 

3rd Grade Valentine

Galentine’s Day is observed on February 13th, the day before Valentine’s Day, and it’s a day to celebrate your friends. As originally conceived on Parks and Rec, it’s a day to celebrate your female friendships. We’ll let Leslie tell us, as she says it best:

“Every February 13, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas.”

So then why Palentine’s Day? We are all about celebrating our friends, but there aren’t only ladies that benefit from a celebration of friendship. In our quest to be less gender-binary-esque and use more inclusive language, we started celebrating Palentine’s Day, and it just plain makes the most sense. We think Leslie herself would agree that opening the circle to include MORE friends on a day custom-made to celebrate non-romantic love is the best ever idea. 

Palentine’s Day

Whatever of the days you celebrate, we hope love and respect (and chocolate and yarn) are at the top of your ‘entine’s Day celebrations!

True Colors: 14 Months

14 Months was the length of time Lili Elbe (1882-1931) lived as her true self. Born in a body assigned male, it wasn’t until she was in her 30s that, due to a twist of fate (she was asked by her painter wife to step in as a female model due to a no-show), she realized she was a woman. Supported by her wife, she began to present as a woman more and more, and found that she wanted to transition medically as well. After a few terrible encounters with terrible medical professionals, she found a clinic in Berlin run by a doctor that supported his patients making physical transitions. She underwent 3 surgeries in 1930, and enjoyed success and happiness as a result. After a year, she decided that she wanted one more surgery: she wanted a uterus. The surgery wasn’t successful, and Lili passed away after a mere 14 Months living her truest self. This colorway was originally called Godrick’s Hollow.

14 Months Yarn

You can find all of our in-stock True Colors yarn on our website.

True Colors: Conducted

Frieda Belinfante (1904-1995) was born into a musical family in Amsterdam, and was a noted cellist and conductor, eventually becoming the first woman to conduct a professional orchestra in 1937. In 1940, her orchestra had to disband because of World War II, so she put her efforts towards helping Jewish people evade Nazi capture. She forged documents for those targeted by the Nazis, and helped in plans to bomb Amsterdam’s city hall to destroy original IDs. It was during the resistance efforts that she realized she was gay, and she worked with gay and lesbian artists in the resistance. Belinfante went into hiding after that, dressing as a man to evade recognition (she was so successful that she passed her own mother on multiple occasions and was not recognized), and eventually made her way to the US, first to Switzerland, and then to Southern California. She was the founding artistic director and conductor of the Orange County Philharmonic, and passed away in 1995 from cancer. Our Conducted colorway pays homage to this wonderful woman who said “I’ve always helped people, whether they’re worth it or not comes out later. They haven’t all been worth my effort, but the effort was worth it.” This colorway was originally called Duel at the Ministry.

Conducted Yarn

You can find all of our in-stock True Colors yarn on our website.

True Colors: Winner Winner!

Georgina Beyer (1957-present) was always female, even though she was assigned male and was punished for living her truth. When she was 16 years old, against the wishes of her bio family, she began living that truth full time. She began acting, and enjoyed success doing so in her home of New Zealand, but began to find herself interested in politics after moving to the small conservative town of Carterton. She became mayor there, and by doing so checked off so many “the first” boxes: she was the first out Trans mayor (of any town, anywhere in the world); the first female mayor of Carterton; the first mayor of Carterton of Maori descent. She inspired lots of youth involvement in politics, and she inspired so many people in her community. In 1999, she decided to run for Parliament, and won, becoming the first out Trans member of Parliament anywhere in the world (and one of a very small number of former sex workers to gain that height of political office)! Georgina has been an influential member of Parliament in New Zealand, making great strides for the LGBQIA+ community and for the rights of sex workers. She truly epitomizes her colorway name; Georgina Beyer is a true Winner Winner!  This colorway was originally called Rita Newspaper.

Winner Winner Yarn

You can find all of our in-stock True Colors yarn on our website.

True Colors: Warrior

Nzinga (also sometimes written as Njinga) lived in Angola from 1583-1663. She was born into the royal family of the Ndongo and Matamba kingdoms and served as a diplomat to the Portuguese for her brother the King. Nzinga wore men’s clothing and had both male husbands and female wives throughout her life. She became ruler of her people (and was referred to as King) after her brother died (or was maybe killed by Nzinga – no one knows). Nzinga lived during a tumultuous time, when the Portuguese were invading Africa and kidnapping people to be enslaved. Nzinga is a complicated historical figure, as she negotiated and fought for her people’s safety (famously using one of her people as a chair so as not to be forced to sit on the floor during negotiations), but also allowed many to be sold into slavery. She is honored now as the Mother of Angola, and paved the way for many female heads of state. The colorway honoring Nzinga, called Warrior, used to be called Chocolate Frog.

Warrior

You can find all of our in-stock True Colors yarn on our website.

True Colors: High Five

Glenn Burke (1952-1995, USA) co-invented the High Five, and that was not even the most interesting thing about him! (I mean, it’s suuuuper interesting, because we can’t imagine a world without the high five, but…) In the 1970s, Glenn fulfilled his dream of becoming a Major League baseball player, and joined the LA Dodgers. He had to close himself firmly in the closet, because the 1970s were not a time in which it was safe to be out as gay, plus his manager, Tommy Lasorda, was super heterosexist (even though his gay son hung out with Glenn in the notoriously LGBTQIA+ Castro district). He never officially came out during his time as a baseball player, but the general manager of his team told him he needed to marry a woman or lose his career (and even offered him $75,000 to do so!). He refused, was traded away, and eventually forced into early retirement. Our High Five colorway is in homage to Glenn Burke, who stuck by his truth even though it cost him the game he loved. This colorway used to be called Knight Moves.

High Five

You can find all of our in-stock True Colors yarn on our website.

HerStory December 2020: Finding Hope

2020 has been… something else. There have been so many challenges this year, and at times, it has felt hopeless. Capping off this difficult year, election season here in the US has been very intense. 

BUT we are choosing hope. We are Finding Hope (which is, coincidentally, our colorway name this month). Because, even though this year has been TOUGH and ROUGH, there has been a lot to inspire us too. And for our final HerStory of 2020, we are using the hope we’ve gotten from the 2020 US elections to fuel our hope for the new year. So, we are sharing a snippet about some of the inspiring women who have busted out glass ceilings and forged new paths this year. These women are all firsts, but they are definitely not lasts. 

Kamala Harris, the first female Vice President. The first Black Vice President. The first South Asian Vice President. AND the first female, Black, Indian Vice President.

Cori Bush, first Black woman to represent Missouri in Congress.

Sarah McBride, the first openly trans state senator in U.S. history after winning her election in Delaware.

Marilyn Strickland, the first Korean American woman ever elected to Congress, and the first Black person to represent Washington State at the federal level.

Ana Irma Rivera Lassén, the first Black, openly lesbian woman to become an elected lawmaker in Puerto Rico.

Deb Haaland, Teresa Leger Fernandez, & Yvette Herrell, whose elections made New Mexico the first state in U.S. history to elect only women of color as members of Congress.

Stephanie Byers, the first openly trans person of color ever elected to a state legislature in the U.S. AND the first openly trans person elected to the Kansas state legislature.

Jenifer Rajkumar & Zohran Mamdani, the first two South Asians voted in to the lower house of the New York state legislature.

Taylor Small, the first openly trans person elected to the Vermont state legislature.

Michele Rayner, the first Black, openly LGBTQ woman elected to the Florida state legislature District 70.

Thanks for joining us as we spent this year celebrating women who were first. Please take some time to learn more about these absolute legends. We hope the whole year, and especially these women we’re showcasing today, have you Finding Hope.

True Colors: ID Card

As a child first in a small town in rural Botswana, and then in the capitol Gabarone, Tshepo Ricki Kgositau (born 1987) loved to play house and dress up. She loved to be the mama and try on makeup and high heel shoes, raising eyebrows in her community. Teachers expressed their concern about her, and wondered aloud if something was wrong with her. You see, Ricki had been assigned male at birth, but had been living her truth her entire life. In middle school, she finally had more widespread support in her community, which gave her the confidence to be her most full self truth. In her early ‘20s, Ricki lost her ID card, and ran into a huge problem when she tried to replace it. Since the government had her on file as being assigned male, but she presented as female, she was told she could not get a new card. For 7 years, Ricki fought through the courts to be permitted to be fully represented in her government-issued ID. and finally, in 2017, she won the case, allowing all Trans folk in Botswana to be fully (and legally) represented as themselves on their ID cards. Our ID Card colorway is in honor of Tshepo Ricki Kgositau and the inspiration she has been throughout her life. This colorway used to be called Time-A-Turner.

You can find all of our in-stock True Colors yarn on our website.

True Colors: Blues Mama

The Mother of Blues, Ma Rainey (1882-1939, USA) was one of the first people to record a Blues song, in 1923. She grew up in the deep south, and was born shortly after slavery was abolished. The arc of her professional career typified what was available to Black musicians in the US at the time: she started out performing in minstrel shows and traveling with vaudevillian acts, and later performed the Blues in a more modern way. She was at the forefront of the Blues movement in the US, and was a strong mentor to many female blues musicians who were coming up. Although many of Ma Rainey’s songs that mention sexuality refer to love affairs with men, some of her lyrics contain references to love affairs with women, as well, such as the 1928 song Prove It on Me, which refer to an incident in which Ma Rainey was arrested for taking part in an orgy with other women in her home. 

“They said I do it, ain’t nobody caught me.
Sure got to prove it on me.
Went out last night with a crowd of my friends.
They must’ve been women, ’cause I don’t like no men.”

Ma Rainey was not only an inspiration to other Blues performers of her time, but she also was a huge inspiration to the sexual revolution of the 1970s, and songs like Prove It on Me became important touchstones to lesbians confirming their truth. We named our Ma Rainey-inspired colorway Blues Mama. This colorway used to be called Flame Cup.

You can find all of our in-stock True Colors yarn on our website.

True Colors: Jewel Box Revue

The Jewel Box Revue was a drag show that played the biggest stages possible, like the Apollo Theater and Radio City Music Hall. The show featured 25 drag queens, and one drag king, Stormé Delarverie (1920-2014). Delarverie was born in New Orleans, and was bullied for being biracial and a butch lesbian. She joined the circus as a teenager, and rode jumping horses for a time. Her work with the Jewel Box Revue was revolutionary in many ways, one of which being that the Revue performed for and featured both Black and white people, not something that was super common in the segregated 1950s. Delarverie was also one of instigators of the Stonewall Rebellion. After her time at the Revue came to a close, she was a protector of her community, and she patrolled the streets of areas of NYC heavily populated by the LGBTQIA+ community until she was in her mid-eighties. To honor this amazeballs woman, we renamed Taking Umbrage Jewel Box Revue

We have a little ditty of a neckwarmer made up in Jewel Box Revue: Shannon’s Alma Lou in a one-skein Bulky neckerchief.

You can find all of our in-stock True Colors yarn on our website.