Black Yarn Dyers and the case for Purposeful Support

With the creation and popularity of #diversknitty, #blackgirlsknit, #blackknittersofinstagram, and MORE there has been some increased attention paid to inclusivity in the maker’s realm. I feel like we celebrated together seeing the cover of Pom Pom Magazine Issue 23 (though a look through the back issues reveals a refreshing assortment of cover models). Indeed, this is an integral part of our mission. We care about inclusion, representation, and pro-Blackness (specifically).

A very well researched presentation of the topic can be found in “Black People Do Knit” a recent article written by knitwear designer Jeanette Sloan and on her blog post, “Black people do knit and the diversknitty conversation.

It is noteworthy that we disagree when she says that we need not support and follow artists just because they are Black. Specifically, she says “It’s important to know that there are black designers out there and where you can find their work, should you want to. But equally it’s important that you don’t buy their work or even follow their Instagram accounts purely because they’re black. It’s not about tokenism.” Rather, we insist that folks support artists simply because they are Black. Especially for their Blackness we recognize that for so many it would mean “in spite of their Blackness.” This is what pro-Black looks like to us since we are working towards a liberation in the face of rampant, engrained, and internalized anti-Blackness. We believe it is purposeful support.

I believe that tokenism occurs when Black folks are invited but silenced, featured but not included. So I am urging you to follow, support (money, shares, projects), and LOVE on Black artists.

To: Black women, especially, no one will love us like we love us.

To others, try to prove us wrong. Love us fully. Recognize the tendency to criticize and approach with apprehension the work of Black artists. Recognize the face of anti-Blackness rearing its head because it is all many of us are taught. Love on Black folks because you aren’t supposed to, because sometimes it doesn’t come easily…because we deserve it.

As we embark on #2019knittingchallenge, I hope that we push ourselves to amplify the work and art of Black folks. If you decide to do the points version (mostly for fun so DO it!) you get extra points for supporting Black artists through your yarn and pattern choices.

Below are some Black yarn dyers and Black-owned yarn companies. Follow their accounts, visit their shops, order yarn, write reviews, and keep their name close to your lips. People will ask you what yarn you are using, be proud to share!

As I do these posts, please email us if you know of folks who are not included (especially if that person is you). We want to add to our necessarily abbreviated list!

Black dyers and Black-owned Yarn companies