Katherine the Great
I like to think of myself as a storyteller. Mostly I tell stories about knitting.

I was lucky enough to hear Brené Brown speak about her new book, Braving the Wilderness, Tuesday night. I expected a talk full of warmth and inspiration. What I got was a challenge. Brené spoke about several things that were not easy to hear. America is more segregated politically than we’ve ever been. The feeling of “if you’re not with me, you’re against me” is hurting us all. Brené mentioned that in 1976, around a quarter of people* lived in areas where the winner won by a landslide. In 2016, that number was 80%. This explains why the civil political discourse of the past is nearly gone. We’re no longer living with and connecting with people who vote differently than we do.

This climate is why my Instagram feed has been 100% non-political up to this point. I wanted a safe space to be with my fellow yarn lovers. I avoid Facebook because some of the people I love with my whole heart post political triggers. I have tried to talk politics with my friends and family. If I’m being honest, it was not to share and exchange ideas, it was to “convert” them. Lately, I can feel myself pulling away from people I care about. I talk to them less frequently about things that matter because it’s more comfortable to talk about shallow things we agree on. Brené is challenging us to connect with people who don’t think like we do. She writes, “People are hard to hate close up. Move in.” So, I’m leaning in and will have open and honest exchanges. I’m going to listen.

And I’m putting my yarn where my mouth is.
If you’re one of the first 3 people to post a comment that includes 2 things about yourself to help us get to know you and at least one political opinion/fact/idea pertaining to an issue you’re passionate about, I’ll send you the yarn of your choice from my destash page ($25 or less). If you’re not a user, you may select a handknit washcloth or sock ornament in the color of your choice.**

Please don’t call anyone a name. I have to approve comments, so if trolls show up, you won’t see it. You’re safe here. I know ya’ll and we can do this. It may not be comfortable; I think it’s worth it.

I’ll go first.

Hi, I’m Katie. I love our 12 year old yellow lab so much that I dream about cloning her. She’s smart, sweet and soft as a bunny. We’re so lucky to have rescued her.

As I’m pretty sure you know, I knit far too much…wait, is that a thing? I have 6 knitting projects on the needles right now; I’m hoping to be down to 5 by the end of this weekend. The key to happiness is achievable goals, ya’ll. :)

I hear moms worried about the safety of their kids in restrooms. The bathroom ban was supposed to help that. My understanding of the facts is that bathroom safety is not threatened by transgender individuals. The only incident I’ve personally heard about was a person that seemed to be a straight man in a women’s restroom. He did not cite protection from anti-discrimination laws when he was escorted out. The Texas bathroom ban died quietly in August. I do not know if that’s the last we’ve heard of it.

Another topic I’m mulling over is the sugar in our food. Sugar is more addictive than cocaine (which we do regulate) and is contributing to our national health costs being high. The World Health Organization recommends 25g or less and there’s 22g in the small chocolate milk McDonald’s serves to kids. One idea is a sugar tax. or maybe we should limit the size of sodas? So, you can drink 32 oz. of soda, but you’re going to need 2 cups. What ideas do you have?

I’m concerned about the future of our planet. I feel that corporations are not willing to cut profits a little to pollute less. Regulations are needed. Also, I’d like to leave pristine National Parks to future generations.

We need tax reform. Companies paying zero percent tax while using our aging infrastructure is not acceptable.

So, people who knit and/or who admire knitting, let’s hear your ideas about the issues.

*I cannot recall if it was 20 or 25%.
**People will be able to select yarn based on the order they post in.



  1. Mandy says:

    Hi, my name is Mandy. I am a clinical social worker and I live in Iowa. I am married to a woman who is the love of my life. As you may imagine, I am very passionate about equality for all, including the LGBTQ community. As a therapist, I have not seen that any person’s mental health issues are improved by decreasing or removing their civil rights. Additionally, since I serve some of the most disenfranchised individuals/families in my community, I believe that healthcare that includes mental health benefits should be available for all. While it’s difficult, I do think that we need to bridge the gaps between individuals, groups, and communities if we wish for our society and political system to become less polarized.

    • Katie says:

      Hi Mandy,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment! Looks like you and Katherine (comment below) are both from Iowa, so way to go Iowans! :)

      Thank you so much for the work you do. I’m sure that’s difficult and draining at times.

      I too would like to see mental health benefits available for all. It also would be great if we could work through some of the stigma that keeps people from seeking help.

      Are you from Iowa originally?

      Thank you for your willingness to work on bridging the gap! :)

      Ps. I’ve emailed you about your yarn, so please let me know if you don’t see the email. Thanks again!!! :)

      • Mandy says:

        Thanks Katie! How funny that that two of us who have commented are from Iowa…maybe that means we can really get the conversation going here in our state! I would love that as Iowa has some growing to do, in my opinion…

        I am not from Iowa originally. I was born in Ohio, and have also lived in both Texas and Chicago. However, the bulk of my life has been spent in Iowa.

        I appreciate you and this discussion, too. Thank you!

  2. Katherine says:

    Hi, I’m Katherine. I knit and spin and sew. I also have a 12-year-old dog. Mine is a beagle that I got as a puppy. He’s the sweetest dog in the world and I love him so much. I’m a young math professor and I really like thinking about hard problems or figuring out puzzles.

    I moved to Mandy’s state from Texas a little over a year ago. One thing that really surprised me when I got here was seeing confederate flags and “immigrant hunting license” bumper stickers on the backs of pickup trucks (I live in a semi-rural area). I thought I was leaving that stuff behind in Texas, and I don’t understand why I see so many confederate flags in a place that wasn’t part of the confederacy. I think it’s really important to respect the human dignity of every person, and I just don’t understand the hostility and assumption of nefarious motives that so many people around here seem to have for people who don’t look like them. It makes me really upset that many of my co-workers don’t live in the town where we work because it doesn’t feel safe to them – and I feel conflicted about the fact that I do like living here, because I know it’s my white privilege that allows me to live here.

    • Katie says:

      Hi Katherine,
      I so appreciate you spending your time reading and commenting! Mandy (comment above) is from Iowa too. I wonder how close ya’ll are? :)
      Your beagle sounds delightful!

      I was a math major my first couple of years of college before transferring to the college of business, so I have a lot of respect for math professors!
      Which part of Texas were you in?

      I don’t see many confederate flags around Austin yet I’m very familiar with them in other parts of the state. Those bumper stickers are disturbing. They dehumanize immigrants when everyone other than Native Americans are descended from immigrants. One of the things Brené talked about was hate stemming from fear. I suppose if you’re in a poor rural area, you’re worried about immigrants taking your job and not being able to provide for your family. Additionally, some people are likely worried about fitting in.

      I believe the assumption of nefarious motives comes from the lack of connection. Someone with an immigrant for a close friend wouldn’t have a bumper sticker like that. I’m not sure what the answer is as to how to help people begin connect and make a friend and stay safe. Maybe we need giant mixers?

      Thank you again for the thoughtful comment! :)

  3. Bonnie says:

    Thanks for posting this, Katie. I’m Bonnie. I work at a religious not-for-profit and spend a lot of my free time knitting. I am currently in a sewing class and am dreaming about Making More Stuff. I feel strongly that our job as humans is to look out for those who have less than us and for those who are discriminated against. I esp. feel that’s the job of politicians. I’m a bleeding heart liberal and perfectly comfortable with the term. If we’re not trying to make lives better for the people who need it the most, what’s the point? I feel like I could do more…
    Bonnie recently posted..Stripy, Stripy, StripyMy Profile

    • Katie says:

      Bonnie, I admire your heart for others! If and when I figure out what more we can do, I’ll let you know! :)

      Feel free to call your congressfolk about healthcare this week if you have time! :)

  4. Nancy Hiraoka says:

    I’m Nancy, and posted my comment over on Katie’s Instagram. Guess I can’t follow directions very well :-). Anyway, I wanted to post again because of something that Bonnie said, about the job of politicians and feeling you could do more. Sure hit a chord with me! Going forward, I plan to get more involved in the election process and support those who represent us.

    I knit as well, but lately have been doing a lot of embroidery. Most of what I make become gifts for others so I need to switch things up a bit now and then. Maybe I will start knitting socks, maybe not. Katie, I would love to know how many pairs of socks you have knit so far?

    I live with and take care of my 95 year old Mom after my husband passed away two years ago. I have learned that the grief never goes away, it just takes somewhat different forms.

    • Katie says:

      Nancy, Have you considered getting involved right now? I’m not thrilled with how the healthcare debate is going and my understanding is there will be a vote Wed. – if you can, please let your voice be heard! :)

      It’s lovely that you still have your mom. Is she a crafter too?

      I’m sorry for the loss of your husband. That sounds rough. Tough times in my life have given me more compassion as I realize I never know what burdens someone else is carrying.

      I’ve knit around 65 pairs of socks. That seems like a lot and not that many depending on how you look at it. :) I’ve enjoyed each pair and lately enjoyed gifting them most of all! :) They’re like a hug for your feet! :)

  5. Nancy Hiraoka says:

    Thanks, Katie! Life can be downright cruel; all the more reason to treasure each day. And make it count, like letting our voices be heard. Good advice!

    My Mom has done a lot of crafting over the years; knitting, hardanger embroidery, painting, gardening, playing the accordion and piano. Check my Instagram for a lovely picture of our “band”.

    Yeah, from my perspective, 65 pairs sounds like a lot :-). I have one pair of gifted knit socks and they do feel like a “hug for your feet”!

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