Cyberfeminism, a Third Place and the New Materiality – Stella Minahan, Julie Wolfram Cox

This is definitely my type of article. So as you may or may not know, a Stitch ‘n Bitch is a gathering of like minded women, though men aren’t necessarily excluded.  The group typically partakes in eating, chatting, and knitting, of course crochet, sewing, embroidery, and other crafty pursuits frequently occur as well. These gatherings are known for meeting in a public space, but they can also meet in a home. The term Stitch ‘n Bitch originated with Debbie Stoller, author of the book of the same name. (Stoller is also the author of Stitch ‘n Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker.)

Minahan and Cox examine the role of Stitch ‘n Bitch in terms of five themes:

 remedial –  part of the movement to collective recreation (think Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam);

progressive – “a unique cyberfeminist phenomenon, one of women expressing their own thoughts and reflecting their own circumstances and environment”;

resistance – using craft to respond to the materialism of society;

nostalgic – “offers a romantic return to the past rather than, for example, a remedy to the present”;

and ironic – a return to a past that never existed.

I tend to think that for different women, different themes are most applicable. As a member of a public library based Stitch ‘n Bitch, called Knits ‘n Purls, I definitely saw a myriad of reasons for knitting. I also tend to be of the opinion that many of the themes overlap. I think in large part, our group met under the “remedial” possibility – knitting for social reasons. Do you, as a knitter and/or participant of a Stitch ‘n Bitch, identify with one particular theme?

The authors conclude, “This movement may be a new form of craft; a form that is cognizant of the new circumstances of the Information Society and the alienation that can be experienced, and that may provide a new movement that uses material culture to enhance social connectedness and wellbeing of women.”

I will end this post with that being said, but stay tuned, Stitch ‘n Bitch continues…

Old school Stitch ‘n Bitch