Advertisement

Trump Has A New Enemy: A Knitting Website With Millions Of Fans

Ravelry, one of the world's largest online knitting communities, has banned all support for US President Donald Trump and his administration, calling it akin to supporting white supremacy.

Site admins on Sunday announced a ban on forum posts, knitting patterns, profiles and "all other content" in support of Trump.

"We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy," Ravelry said.

"Support of the Trump administration is undeniably support for white supremacy."

An example of a Trump knitting masterpiece on the website

Fans of his MAGA message are still allowed on the platform, but they must keep quiet about it.

Knitting might just seem like a twee activity your grandmother enjoys, but as noted by Vox earlier this year, it has re-emerged as an Instagram-friendly DIY activity for people wanting to "keep their hands busy in an anxiety-inducing world."

Ravelry, which claims to have more than 830,000 monthly users, attempted to separate the Trump ban from American politics more broadly.

"We are not endorsing the Democrats nor banning Republicans," it said.

"We are definitely not banning conservative politics. Hate groups and intolerance are different from other types of political positions."

It also included a warning to users not to "try to weaponise this policy by entrapping people who do support the Trump administration into voicing their support", and said that "antagonising conservative members" was also not allowed.

Clara Parkes, a NYT best-selling author with several books on knitting, called it a "watershed moment" for the website.

"Ravelry is eight million members strong," she said. "I've been with them since 2007, and believe me, they do not take these steps lightly. This is a watershed moment."

The wider knitting community has recently been reckoning with racism in its ranks. Issues such as whitewashing and the amplification of white voices over those of people of colour were explored in the aforementioned Vox article -- both topics which require nuance and understanding to untangle.

Then, sometimes, you come across outright examples of white supremacy in knitting.

An anonymised screenshot of a knitted doll in the likeness of avowed white supremacist Dylann Roof, who murdered nine black worshippers in a Charleston church, was spread around Facebook groups earlier this year.

"Ok [sic] so a bit of an unusual commission finished today," the doll's owner said. "DISCLAIMER - the making of this doll does not in any way represent my views on race or politics."

Ravelry has temporarily closed registration for new members, but judging by Twitter, it appears  members support the move.

It should also be noted that support for Trump on Ravelry will earn you an immediate ban, possibly causing some pro-Trump members wanting to remain members to keep quiet.

"With the recent focus on racism within the knitting community, this couldn't come at a better time," one Ravelry member said on Twitter.

"I've never been more proud to be a member of Ravelry."

Contact the author: abrucesmith@networkten.com.au