It’s “Spring Break” for my university, which means that I can work at home all week. If you thought “Spring Break” meant “not working”, you clearly don’t know any professors! But it will be a bit more chill, which I’m super grateful for, because goodness gracious, I could use a break.
I’ve finished the first sleeve on Gridlines, and am actually nearing the end on the second one. I’m still really loving this sweater. If my face doesn’t look like the face of someone really loving her sweater, well, that might be because I’m also still really angry and frustrated and just straight-up heartbroken about the fact that Elizabeth Warren is now out of the race for the Democratic nomination.
I make no secret of my political leanings here on this blog, and I haven’t made any secret of the fact that I was an ardent Elizabeth Warren supporter, and a pretty dedicated Team Warren volunteer. I’m so thankful to Elizabeth Warren, for everything. I don’t think I’ll ever “get over” the misogyny and erasure, but I will also never stop fighting for the things that made me want to be involved with Team Warren in the first place. But my heart hurts, and this feels very personal to me – I’ve watched the politician I most closely identify with, the politician with whom I share so many traits in common (intelligent, obsessed with planning, dorky, joyful, professorial, feminist, compassionate, etc) be either erased, or treated like absolute garbage by the media and the people of this country in which I live. That just hurts, ok?
But I’m not *surprised*. How could I be surprised? I’ve been a highly intelligent female-identifying person my entire life. It’s never been lost on me that when intellect comes in a female body, it is despised, that I live in a culture where *I* am despised…how could I not notice that? It’s never been lost on me that in order to gain recognition, women have to work twice as hard and be twice as prepared as men, and once we get recognition, people will resent us, and as soon as we start to seek power, the people who used to like us will start to see us as “nasty” even when we haven’t changed one bit. Those dynamics aren’t a mystery to me, and they probably aren’t a mystery to anyone who identifies as a woman. I see how things are – I’m just stubborn enough that I want to try to change them, as Sisyphean a task as that may be. Nevertheless, I will persist.
On that front, this is really, really good. It gets at what is so pernicious and frustrating about sexism in the context of elections…of course there are an infinity of factors that contribute to a candidate not winning, but that doesn’t mean that sexism isn’t one of them. And I guarantee you that sexism colored voters’ interpretations of even those other factors…male candidates are permitted mistakes and imperfections in a way that female candidates simply aren’t. But because it’s complex, we can’t “prove it”, and many people are happy to gaslight us about it. And because we hide behind our worries about *other people’s* sexism, and code it in terms of “electability”, we never have to face it. But dammit, I want us to face it. And it’s not just in elections, it’s everywhere. So many people are so eager to explain why something you faced wasn’t *actually* sexism. I’m just so tired of the gaslighting.
The day Warren dropped out of the race, she and Roger Lau made an all-volunteer call at 6pm, so I had my phone on speakerphone at the dinner table to listen in. She pretty much said what she said in this Medium post, but it was still just lovely (and heartbreaking) to HEAR her saying it (with a few additions), and to hear from Lau, too. But what I want to remember is this: My daughter saw that I was tearing up, so she reached over and squeezed my elbow, and kept holding it until the call was over. Oh, my sweet child! She’s sad about Warren dropping out, too – we were hoping she’d come here, and that my daughter could meet her and make a pinky promise with her. But I’m so glad she could listen in, and see her mama care so deeply about something, and that her impulse was to give her mama a loving squeeze. All those little girls who made pinky promises with Warren, and the little girls who wanted to but didn’t get a chance…they’re going to do amazing things. I just have such immense gratitude to Warren for showing what a better path could look like, for being a woman who is unapologetically smart, angry, and passionate about her plans, for modeling the kind of accountability, openness, listening, learning, intersectional thinking, and ownership of mistakes that I think is necessary if we are to have a healthy government (and healthy relationships, in general).
Right now I’m also trying really hard not to panic about COVID-19. The thing is – I keep hearing about how it’s only really dangerous if you’re elderly or have a compromised immune system or an underlying lung or heart condition, and while I’m not elderly, I do check the other two boxes, and my spouse checks one of them, too. I’m thinking that the odds of a student bringing the virus back with them from Spring Break are about 100%, so I’m thinking about what I will need to do to continue teaching while also keeping myself as safe as I can. These are such strange times that we are living in (and oh, how I wish we could have chosen someone as competent and prepared as Elizabeth Warren to lead us through them!).
But anyway, back to the sweater. Alternating yarns for the sleeve remains as annoying as I said it was in my previous post, but I’m powering through, and I’m really excited to be able to wear this sweater as the weather begins to warm towards Spring-like temperatures. (We may still get a blizzard, though, because this is Western NY we’re talking about…you just never know!) I kinda did my own thing with the decreases, decreasing a bit more rapidly at the upper arm and then at the rate recommended by the pattern below the elbow; I didn’t want the super-loose sleeve fit that I saw on some of the finished Gridlines on Ravelry, and that seemed to result in a good fit for me, at least. I also finished the first sleeve with an i-cord bindoff, just like I used at the neckline, because I love the combination of garter stitch with an i-cord edging.
I’ll almost certainly finish this sweater over Spring Break, so I’m starting to think ahead to what I want my next project to be. The second I saw Jacqueline Cieslak’s Water Bearer cardigan, I became obsessed with it, but have been struggling to figure out what to knit it with; as much as I’d love to get a bright turquoise hand-dyed yarn like she’s using for the pattern sample, I have a stupid number of sweaters’ worth of yarn in my stash, and I’m determined to knit it down. I’m currently leaning towards using the brown Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool that I’ve had for darned near a decade – yes, it’s kind of plain, but it’s the right weight, and I think the brown might look a bit like woodgrain in that gorgeous brioche shawl collar. And I could certainly use a brown cardigan in my wardrobe. But there are so many other sweaters I want to knit, too, so we’ll see if that actually ends up being the one I knit next!