Well, now it’s 2021.

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And these are indeed Hard Times for Soft Hearts like mine. We’ve been living with this pandemic for 10 months. The numbers of COVID cases and deaths just keep rising, and seem likely to only rise further as we move more deeply into the post-holiday surge. We’re not vaccinating fast enough. And on Wednesday, while I was teaching a mindfulness class over Zoom, armed Trump-supporting insurrectionists launched an attack on the US Capitol. As so many have noted, this was both terrifying, heartbreaking, and shocking, and also entirely predictable and unsurprising. This is precisely where we’ve been headed, because the Republican party has recognized for a long time that it cannot remain in power by appealing to a majority of voters, and thus seeks to remain in power by any means possible, and in particular, by treating everything outside of Republican power as illegitimate, and stoking the fears of angry white people through the cynical use of misinformation. This is precisely what many in the Republican party have been working to incite; it is the precise result one would expect if a group of easily manipulated people had their resentments fed, over and over, and were led, over and over, to believe that the election had been stolen from them. That does not, of course, excuse any of the people involved in storming the Capitol for their actions; it simply more deeply implicates everyone who pushed that inciting misinformation: Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and of course Donald Trump himself, among many, many others.

That the attempted coup failed does not mean that we can simply move forward as if nothing happened, because something DID happen: the US Capitol was breached by armed forces bent on preventing Congress from doing the work of certifying the election. Does anyone imagine that if those forces were anything other than the Trump-supporting white people they are, the response would be so tepid? Can you imagine how we would be responding if our capitol had been breached in this fashion by a group of say, Black folks, or Muslims? The insurrectionists were able to get as far as they did without serious consequences because they weren’t seen as a threat by the police whose job it was to protect the halls of Congress – which tells you an awful lot about who “we” see as “we the people” and who doesn’t get that benefit of the doubt. (Though I’m less inclined than Masha Gessen to assume that there were NOT also some cops who were in cahoots with the insurrectionists.)

I’ve never been someone who believed in the self-congratulating mythology of this country, but even still, the grief I feel witnessing the images of white supremacists desecrating the US Capitol building is pretty intense. And I know enough history to know that if we do not reckon with what happened, and hold accountable *everyone* who was involved in it, that we run the risk of simply emboldening those who would destroy our democracy. (I also know that it is misleading to say that we are the world’s oldest democracy; we’ve only been a TRUE democracy, at least on paper, since 1965’s Voting Rights Act.) We MUST take this seriously, because if we do not, it will come back to haunt us, just like Hitler came back to grab power after his own failed attempt. To my mind, this means at the very least ensuring (via impeachment) that Trump can no longer run for any public office, but that’s not the end of it. Think how many people he has in his orbit who would would be delighted to take the reins to their own ends; some of them are likely to be far more polished and competent than Trump (a pretty low bar, actually). This damage is going to be so very hard to undo, but we must.

I had meant to write up a big post about my own plans for 2021, and while it feels weird to write about “trivial” stuff when there’s so much going on, that’s pretty much just how life is these days, so I may as well write about those plans here. I’ve got a number of projects in various levels of progress, knit-wise: there’s the Wardie cardigan (for which I’m now working on sleeve #2), the Bleideag pullover (still knitting sleeve #1), and the Water Bearer cardigan, which still needs to be ripped back because I messed up the brioche on one side. I also need to fix the sleeves of that kangaroo-pocket pullover!

Wardie Progress
[Wardie looks so strange when you’re working on the sleeves!]

In terms of new projects, here are a few things I’m hoping to work on:
1. Another Farmhouse cardigan, this time in the Cascade Eco+ in “Aporto” that’s been hanging out in my stash for years.
2. A yoked pullover inspired by the mittens on the cover of the latest “Making” magazine; I have some old Rowanspun DK in a yellowy green that I can pair with some Knitpicks Aloft, and I love the idea of a yoke covered in embroidered flowers. (I know there are a few designs out there already that are similar to this idea, including one in that very same issue of “Making”, but I’d be adapting the heck out of them anyway because I either don’t like the look of the flowers or don’t like the silhouette.)
3. A couple of summer tops; I’ve got enough Silky Wool leftover after the Caesura V project that I could knit a light short-sleeved cardigan to wear with dresses, and I’ve had an idea for a long time for a boxy t-shirt that would make good use of some old sock yarn.

One thing I’m currently debating is whether to try to self-publish any designs this year. None of the designs I submitted this fall when Brooklyn Tweed was doing a call got accepted, but I did get an offer of yarn support for one of them if I wanted to self-publish it. I’m just…not sure what I want to do. For one thing, the design is one of the collection of “parent-child” knits that I’ve been putting together since M was born, and if I went the self-publishing route, I’d kind of want to put together an actual collection, and that feels daunting. But also, the process of self-publishing in general feels daunting. It’s a whole different world than when I self-published my first patterns a decade ago, and I don’t feel equipped to navigate it. I’m not great at the self-marketing side of things, and don’t know how to use social media in that way (nor am I especially interested in doing so). That’s part of why I submitted to the BT call, because so much of that side of things would be taken care of by them. I also don’t know how to self-publish on any platform other than Ravelry, and I have very complicated feelings about doing ANYTHING through Ravelry given how abysmally they handled the accessibility issues with their website redesign (and frankly, I’m not even confident that I’ll still be able to USE the site after they get rid of Classic View in a few months; I’ve not yet tried using the new website to see if the improvements they’ve made in the interim make it possible for me to use it without migraines). So…I don’t know whether to accept the offer of yarn support and follow through on self-publishing things, or not. It IS neat to see others knitting things I designed, but perhaps I’d be happier just continuing to make bespoke designs for me and my kid?

So anyway, that’s where I am at the start of 2021: worried about where my country is headed, and uncertain where *I* am headed, in terms of knit design. Just kind of generally unsettled. I hope, dear readers, that you are taking good care of yourselves, and I hope for all of us that we are able to make 2021 a year of healing and progress.