On the heels of the worst retail weekend in our culture, I wanted to share a different sort of post. A slow post. A post that took weeks to even be possible. One that cannot be made with one-click shopping; a post that is not eligible for free two-day shipping, and will not cost less if you sacrifice Thanksgiving pie to wait in line early. Black Friday to Cyber Monday weekend, what a blight. I want to outpour my heart to every retail and commerce employee who willingly sacrificed and suffered in the name of a Good Deal.
I feel especially saddened (ok, angered) by this weekend because it impacts my family directly. For two decades my mom has been in the Black Friday fire as manager of a large retail business. Never defined by her work, but rather by her family and her life, she muscles through the hellish Black Friday season (yes, it's a season) with grace. It's we the kids who get fired up. Anyhow, she is better known for styling women in a line of slow, high-end fashion wear called cabi. (Although, Mark loves wearing cabi linen pants as much as I do.) To my mama, and my grandmother—an insanely talented seamstress whose artistic range spanned doll clothes to wedding gowns!—and the many women in my life who have opted for needles, hooks, bobbins, fabric and fiber rather than a quick deal: I have joined you.
I have fallen in love with natural fiber and consider knitting with animal and plant fibers a way to concretely support farmers. I knit this scarf for Mark using two skeins of undyed Icelandic sheep wool from a farm down the road. The wool is soft, the seed stitch pattern is squishy, and the tight knit makes it extra warm for braving this northern climate. The yarn cost $22 per skein, which is not inexpensive, but neither is the cost of raising, feeding, growing, and shearing sheep for the farmer. For a slower system, we must place worth on the whole system, not just the final product. Before box stores, before self-serve gas stations, before Amazon, commerce and trade were two-way transactions. More methodical, slower shopping is experiencing a revival, to be sure, and I am all in. Both feet in. As soon as I finished Mark's scarf, I wrapped him up in it and promptly got new wool onto my needles.
So it goes, slowly.