CODEPINK DC house flooded with knitted squares from women worldwideMay 4th, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 4, 2009 CONTACT
CODEPINK DC house flooded with knitted squares from women worldwide
100+ women will stitch together 5,000 squares on Mother's Day in DC's Lafayette Park
WASHINGTON -- The basement of the CODEPINK house here on 5th St. NE has become crammed with knitted pink and green squares -- knitted and mailed to the house by women from Minneapolis to Germany, Los Angeles to Turkey within the past month. The doorbell seems to ring every five minutes with a delivery person bearing another shipment from another far-off place. The knitters have emailed and posted online photos of themselves knitting (view the slide show here) and nearly two dozen prominent blogs have discussed why readers should knit and send squares for CODEPINK this week, including ZippiKnits and Ravelry.
"There are postal bins spilling over with packages from all over the world, big boxes and small envelopes and everything in between," said Rae Abileah, CODEPINK national organizer. "Hot pink squares and green shaggy squares and rose squares and little notes and lovely packages everywhere. It's nothing short of amazing."
All of the squares, about 5,000, will be part of CODEPINK's ground-breaking knitting event this weekend during CODEPINK's 24-hour Mother's Day vigil in Lafayette Park across the street from the White House. About 100 women from around the world and dozens more from D.C. will stitch the estimated 5,000 squares together into a 150-foot "cozy" they hope to string across the White House fence. Children will stitch together 10" by 10" linen squares decorated by Iraqi children in refugee camps in Jordan.
The cozy is just one piece of the dynamic vigil, from 1 p.m. Saturday to 1 p.m. Sunday, meant to honor women living under occupation. Other events include creative workshops, face-painting and entertainment by the famous clown Patch Adams, live music, an interfaith service and speeches by Afghan, Iranian and Iraqi women. All is inspired by the original call behind Mother's Day created by abolitionist Julia War Howe in 1870 in her Mother's Day Proclamation, for women to work together to end war and create peace.
The event organizers were inspired by the "knittivism," or "craftivism," movement, or the use of crafts to inspire social change, foster community and self-reflection, reject consumerism and embrace originality. Knitting has boomed in popularity among young women in recent years within a growing, urban DIY-crafts movement -- encapsulated by journalist Debbie Stoller's "Stitch N' Bitch" book series -- with knitting clubs, magazine, blogs, and yarn shops appearing in cities nationwide. The Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote recently that yarn sales and knitting groups have increased since the economy plummeted late last year, as more people prefer to stay home to work on personal projects. Craft Yarn Council of America's (CYCA) 2005 Consumer Tracking Study show that knitting and crochet project numbers were up 13 percent than in 2004, and the biggest increases in activity were in the under-35, 55 to 64 and 65 and older age groups.
In just one month after CODEPINK put out its initial email call for the project, knitters mailed 2,400 squares to D.C. It's also been a hit in the blogosphere, with information of the event appearing in dozens of knitting blogs. "Such a terrific idea!" writes one visitor to the Bioneers Community knitting blog. "I'll get out my green yarn this weekend. thanks for letting us know about this way to celebrate being a mother." Writes another blogger on Zippiknits.blogspot.com, "I'm not particularly happy about President Obama's timetables in reining in the dogs of war or tipping the war machine on it's side, so I'll contribute in this way."
For more information, please contact Jean Stevens, CODEPINK media coordinator, at 508-769-2138.