everyday magic: on knitting for dear ones and articulating gender politics

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with everyday magic volume ii: open-hearted, i debuted a bit of a shift in my knitwear models - my dear one, bryce, wears two of the three patterns. i chose him for a few reasons, some of which are really complex, others of which feel like second nature, but basically it boiled down to this:

  • using only myself for photos gets tricky, especially for certain kinds of items (although i'm getting better at them, but it's still more enjoyable to spend a shorter period of time getting a bunch of good shots rather than spending an hour twisting myself into a pretzel for semi-focused shots)
  • i'm very bad at a) asking for help b) having the patience to rearrange my packed schedule to accommodate others' similarly packed schedules and c) feeling comfortable asking someone for something that i then need to rely on them for 
  • i'm a femme and style things as such, which means i inevitably get people asking why i don't design "things for men". that's the primary topic of this post.
 bryce's toes are much easier to capture than my own...

bryce's toes are much easier to capture than my own...

so to quickly address the first two points, it's particularly tricky to get photos of your own feet and hands. this has definitely improved with my new camera body and its flip screen, but it's still a hell of a lot easier to stay behind the camera and shoot someone else's extremities in multiple clear but interesting angles. and when you do a photoshoot with someone else, it's not just 20 or 30 or 50 minutes with your camera in your studio. it's a social occasion, and i like to use it as such. but i don't always have time to work around other people's schedules when i'm on a tight turnaround, and when people are helping me out, i'm also not going to be a jerk and be upset with them for having their own priorities. working with bryce is easy because i'm always happy to prioritize time with him (unlike how my anxiety likes to remind me with most people of every single minute i'm not "working" while we catch up after the shoot over smoothies or coffee or whisky), and i can always trust him to communicate exactly what he can or can't accommodate which makes it a lot easier for me to schedule the rest of my time accordingly, and he's willing to put up with my ridiculousness while i get the shots that i want. 

as for the last note, he's also a masculine-of-centre fella. a fella who photographs nicely, which is convenient for me (although we always end up with a solid roll of bloopers which i enjoy for other reasons, re: cackling after the fact). and a fella who has a very different natural style from me, so for all those people who don't live in queer non-binary world all the time, and even for those who do, he's a solid contrast to me if i choose to model the exact same thing. 

so here's the thing about "menswear" and "womenswear": i think both are bullshit, because i think the gender binary is bullshit. if you want to wear a thing and you feel happy in it, you should wear it. end of story. unfortunately, that's not how the world works, and our society is so heavily impacted by toxic masculinity that restricts everyone (including masculine-identifying people), the idea of challenging that especially with anything femme/feminine can sometimes mean violence against your person. so i get it. i get that some people are never exposed to the concept of gender as a social construct or being a spectrum, and i get how that can manifest in feeling frustrated because you have a person you really love in your life who has a more masculine style and it feels like there are severely limited options for knitting them something they'll love.

in my mind, the patterns from the everyday magic collections hold two purposes: one is to make beautiful items for yourself, and the other is to make beautiful items for the people you love fiercest. i've talked before about making being my love language, and i think a lot of us can relate to that. since i know that anything i put on my body will automatically look more femme, i rely on bryce to show how those same items can be worn by people with a more masculine presentation. our gender identities and presentations are all valid and beautiful, and none should be held above any others as being better or more legitimate. i love being inspired by the masculine people in my life to come up with designs i wouldn't have automatically thought of for myself. i would never want to deprive those people of designs that are thoughtful and detailed and creatively rich just because they are handsome rather than beautiful. they are equally deserving, and masculine makers are equally deserving of patterns they want to make for themselves. 

pamela wynne's wonderful e-book handsome is what got me thinking about how to articulate this, and i'm so grateful to pamela and to hélène for connecting us because the timing of this is perfect.

everyday magic volume iii: burn it down comes out on june 24, and bryce will be wearing all three designs. he and i could easily swap any of the patterns in this collection and wear them well in everyday life, and probably we'd just style them a little differently. i hope you find something that makes you feel like your best self in this collection, and if not, don't worry, there are so many options out there and you can do whatever makes you feel best.