Knitters, concerned and good-natured women with a sense of the humor, contributed to an the idea I had pre-Portland, when I lived in New York. When I finish this post, I'll contact them with the surprisng proof it worked: use provocative knitting to raise awareness about HIV. Like this one, The Princetonian, the first of my college amulet series.**
Knit a Condom Amulet, the title I'd been using for a little paper zine give-away, became my second blog -- 7 amulets by 5 knitters. It was beautifully designed by a woman in New Jersey I only knew online and the phone.
The image at left is a screen shot of the statisitics for the blog that I check once in a while to see if it still has visitors all these years later. After the initial outing, viewership has been low. Once a very kinky crowd, definitely not fiber folks, were entranced by some of the content.
A couple of the amulets ---Man Thong, Bra & Breast Pouch (pink one here by Lisa Daehlin) -- are especially so. Comments on the blog are closed; simply out there hoping to be discovered.
October 13, 2011, was the all-time big bump of 2,356 visitors, October 14 another 564, October 15, 223, the next day, 296. And another 192 for the finale. Five days, close to 3,000 hits on a blog that usually has 20-30 daily visitors! Turns out this time it was by our target group--knitters. These were from Knitting ParadiseSM - Knitting and Crochet Forum whose membership is in the thousands. [We also started a group on Ravelry, an even larger online knit and crochet community.]
It began with "Deb," an active Forum member. She linked to our site and noted, "No, I'm not kidding. Hey, someone might want one of these!" And then the deluge.
Culturally the Forum knitters appear different from those on Ravelry but, without a rigorous study, who knows? Judging from their photos, they are generally older women than most on Ravelry. Many were shocked: should this even be happening? Some, amused. Others thought it just might be a way to "...begin talking with my granddaughter..." That's it, ladies! Referring to Michelle Edwards' beaded amulets from corn silk yarn, one poster was ambivalent:
first amulet is very pretty & COULD be used for something else...but someone might recognize it from this site. LOL
I plan to join Knitting Paradise (could use some extra magic with current projects on the needles) to thank "Deb" for introducing our site to her fiber friends. Forum member "Jenna" the Ball Band Condom Amulet (Kay Gardiner design) would be just the thing for people she knew, "Christmas gifts for single girlfriends, holds at least three condoms."
In the past, when I've heard from an knit amulet enthusiast, the knitter wants to find out if their creations could be sent to me:
"I work for the AIDS Resource Group in Evansville, IN and love your idea... inspired by patterns and made a few amulets for the "environmentally concious" condom user out of "plarn" (plastic bags made into yarn). Is there an address that I could send them to?"
My response is that we hoped the person's own circle would provide ideal recipients, that the primary idea behind our project was more personal: gift someone close to you--like "Deb" and "Jenna." You know, the personal is always political, as we used to say back in the day.
** College series includes: Oberlin, Columbia & Oregon State Universities, send in yours for posting here.
Ask President Obama and Congress to fight AIDS with science and medicine, not ideology. Condoms must not be an afterthought. Click on the link below to sign.