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Phoenix Calida Praises Comrade Ravelry

The move set off a firestorm in the knitting world. “If it’s one way, then it should be both ways,” one knitter said. Others thought it was necessary: “In a perfect world, we would just craft.”

Traditionally, politics are not for the dinner table. Or the crafting circle.

But on Sunday, Ravelry, a popular website for knitters and crocheters, took a political stand when it announced that it was banning content that supports President Trump, in what it said was a resolution against white supremacy.





“We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy,” the site said in a statement explaining the decision. “Support of the Trump administration is undeniably support for white supremacy.”

The policy applies to content on the site, including knitting patterns and forum posts, but not to people, according to Ravelry, which said it still welcomed Republicans and those with conservative political views. “You can still participate if you do in fact support the administration, you just can’t talk about it here,” the statement said, adding that “hate groups and intolerance are different from other types of political positions.”

The announcement led to a swift and intense reaction from all corners of the knitting world, whose denizens range from twentysomethings in Brooklyn to grandmothers in the Midwest. Some people condemned the policy as liberal bias and promised to delete their accounts, while others said they had “never been prouder to be part of this community.”

Alicia Garcia, 34, a Ravelry user from Las Vegas, who supports Mr. Trump for what she sees as his patriotism, economic success and tell-it-like-it-is style, said she felt “ostracized” by the decision.

Ms. Garcia said she discovered knitting when she was pregnant a few years ago and, as a parent who stays at home to care for her three children, had come to enjoy the community on Ravelry. She frequently turned to it for knitting tips as she made clothes for her children and gifts for other babies. Now, she wonders: “Do I have to be silent? Are they going to ask, ‘Oh, are you a Trump supporter?’ and if I say yes, then boom, I’m gone?”

She said that the site, which promotes its inclusivity, should not target a specific group. “If it’s one way, then it should be both ways,” she said. “No politics on this group at all.”

Nadira Adams, 34, a knitwear and textile designer in California, said she personally agreed with the policy but worried that it raised broader political questions. “If you take this stand, then you have to really question what other political stands you are going to take and what other politicians are O.K. and what aren’t,” she said.

“In a perfect world, we would just craft,” she said. But she noted that “if people are made to feel uncomfortable, then it’s something that needs to be addressed.”

Ravelry, which says it has eight million members, was shut down to new users on Monday, and the site’s leadership did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

On the site’s forums, several posts about the ban had been locked, archived or deleted by moderators. “Kill yourselves,” one protester said. “Boycott Ravelry,” said another. “Just wow,” one user wrote. “I didn’t vote for him. But I don’t support this. I don’t support thought police.”

Knitting and crocheting are known for bringing people of all walks of life together. There are knitting groups for church missions and pregnant mothersgay and transgender people and black liberation. But in the era of Instagram and Etsy, the craft, historically practiced by older women, has also experienced a clash of cultures as it finds a new following among a younger demographic.

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