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ISSUE 7<br />


Unless otherwise indicated the information,<br />

articles, artwork, patterns and photography<br />

published in <strong>BLOCKED</strong> Magazine are subject<br />

to copyright ©2023 <strong>BLOCKED</strong> Magazine.<br />

All rights reserved.<br />

<strong>BLOCKED</strong> Magazine permits the online<br />

distribution of the magazine in it’s entirety.<br />

Distribution of any of the contents of this<br />

magazine are for purposes of sale or resale<br />

is strictly prohibited.<br />

Editor<br />

Neil of Uknitted Kingdom<br />

For all enquiries:<br />

blockedmagazine@gmx.com<br />

Cover Photography<br />

Whitefibers<br />

Illustrations<br />

Uknitted Kingdom<br />

Contributors:<br />

The Laziest Knitter<br />

Christine Smith<br />

Yelena of Scythia<br />

Uknitted Kingdom<br />

D. Marie Prokop<br />

Patterns:<br />

Uknitted Kingdom<br />

Proofers:<br />

Cézanne Pellett<br />

Laura Neubauer<br />

Denise Pettus<br />

Design and layouts:<br />

BS Studio

Dear ‘Knitfluencers’,<br />

Much harm has befallen the knitting/crochet/fibre world in the last five or six years. From the<br />

mass-labelling of good, decent people as racist ‘white supremacists’ and the destruction of individuals’<br />

lives, to the constant policing of our words and our products/projects.<br />

Many of you have stood by, quietly, supported, or in some cases, even joined in or led, with<br />

the bullying and nastiness. This is no longer tolerable.<br />

In the name of protecting the self-declared ‘marginalized’ you have directly or indirectly marginalized<br />

thousands of others. The fate of some of the targets of harassment, hatred, threats, and<br />

ostracization has been far, far more harmful than any of the imagined ’microaggressions’ described<br />

by their attackers.<br />

Fighting racism with racism is not acceptable.<br />

Fighting fascism with fascism is not acceptable.<br />

Fighting white supremacy with black supremacy is not acceptable.<br />

Fighting patriarchy with matriarchy is not acceptable.<br />

Fighting toxic masculinity with toxic femininity is not acceptable.<br />

Our plea to you is to ’stand in the gap’ between the oppressors and the oppressed. Use your<br />

considerable influence to unite rather than divide people. One word from you could have helped<br />

Kristy Glass, Nathan Taylor, Kate Davies, Maria Tusken, and all the others that you watched be figuratively<br />

burned as witches.<br />

As with all the witch-hunts of the past; history does not remember the witchfinders fondly.<br />

You may think that buying gifts for the bullies will gain you favour for now. You may think that<br />

constantly acknowledging their presence in your live broadcasts will protect you. Enjoy your precarious<br />

privilege, earned from the pain of others, while you still can. Someday, soon, you will be<br />

cancelled by those you fete. You are only ever one poorly chosen word or one inadvertent microaggression<br />

away from destruction; subject to the whims of your ’friends’. When that happens we<br />

will be here for you, but it won’t be easy. Many will remember that you were collaborators as they<br />

searched the virtual village looking for transgressors.<br />

Before it’s too late, stand up. Speak out. Do the work. Do better. Use your influence for good<br />

in the name of good, not for evil masquerading as good.<br />

Appeasing the few at the expense of the many has never been a wise action.<br />

Do the right thing.<br />

Yours faithfully,<br />

The blocked and the cancelled.<br />


Dear Reader,<br />

All together now, “Happy birthday to Blocked. Happy birthday to Blocked…”<br />

Can you believe it’s already Blocked Magazine’s first birthday?<br />

For me, 2022 sped before my eyes, yet in some ways, it feels like I’ve been working on Blocked for years!<br />

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank every person that has contributed to the content, supported financially via<br />

Patreon, and supported by reading, and continuing to read, each issue.<br />

In January 2022 Blocked was a solo project (albeit with several contributors). Now, Blocked is very much a team<br />

project. With the superb graphic designer, BS Designs, three unwavering proofreaders (Denise, Cezanne, and Laura),<br />

and soon, two in-house tech editors.<br />

Considering none of the contributors receive financial compensation for their work and “emotional labor” one<br />

might wonder where the Patreon donations go. The vast majority of the modest monthly amount is reserved to cover<br />

the overheads. Yumpu’s (the magazine platform) annual fee, ongoing monthly Streamyard subscription (for the<br />

Blocked Vlog), Stitch Fiddle (to create the dishident patterns), and Microsoft 365 (Office). There have also been one-off<br />

purchases (microphone, audio interface, earpiece) for the vlog. The cost of the book (reviewed in this issue) was<br />

purchased from Patreon funds. In 2023 Blocked will be sponsoring two knitters to undertake the TKGA Tech Editing<br />

qualification. This will benefit the magazine and the wider Blocked knitting community, as there are so few tech editors<br />

available to us. One self-imposed financial rule I follow: before spending patron funds I consider<br />

first if it helps create an issue/episode of Blocked, and second if it supports a person or business<br />

(yarn dyer, designer, reader, etc) within our community. In the interest of transparency<br />

I have purchased yarn for patterns that I’ve written for Blocked from the Patreon funds,<br />

the finished items have since been for my personal use or given away to my friends<br />

and family.<br />

The first issue was created in response to the bullies in the fibre world. In this<br />

issue, I revisit one of those bullies, Adella Colvin of Lola Bean Yarn Co., by providing<br />

a link to the complete transcript of her attack on Kristy Glass. This transcript<br />

is a true and accurate record of her own words. However, I have used [parentheses]<br />

for clarification or if I was unable to transcribe accurately or to describe<br />

relevant nonverbal cues. The transcript contains a lot of profanity. I have<br />

placed asterisks over some of the letters of those words. I chose not to put the<br />

transcript into the magazine in the form of an article because it is so unpleasant.<br />

This way readers can choose whether to click on the link to read her<br />

words or whether to ignore the link and continue reading the magazine.<br />

Some may question why I included it at all. Prior to release, and in the aftermath,<br />

Adella and her supporters claimed that I had used her words out of<br />

context. This addresses that accusation.<br />

I hope the Blocked Magazine Patreon account will attract more donors. I<br />

hope, one day, Blocked will be in a position where contributors can be compensated<br />

for their work. Until then, Blocked can only continue with the generous<br />

contributions from patrons, and the work provided by writers, artists, and<br />

designers. In order for Blocked to celebrate future birthdays please consider becoming<br />

a patron by going to https://www.patreon.com/BlockedMagazine.<br />

Yours faithfully,<br />

Neil<br />


y the Laziest Knitter<br />

The Lazy Knitter’s Guide to<br />

Handknits<br />

CARING<br />

FOR<br />

It’s not uncommon for a person who has spent hundreds<br />

of hours mastering the art of knitting and hundreds<br />

of dollars on high-end yarn to struggle with<br />

washing and caring for their hand knits. We’ve all seen<br />

what happens when you put a wool sweater through a<br />

regular laundry cycle - it’s much like what happens in an<br />

oven with a Shrinky Dink. That beautiful garment felts<br />

and becomes a tiny, thick version of the original. You<br />

may reach for superwash wools to prevent this problem<br />

only to end up with a faded, pilled, and out-of-shape<br />

garment. Even acrylic garments can end up looking terrible<br />

over time after repeated laundry cycles. Why does<br />

this happen and how can we preserve our hard work?<br />

Let’s dive in.<br />

pilling<br />

What makes a hand-knit garment look old and worn<br />

faster than anything are those little fuzz balls (pills) that<br />

form on the surface. This happens when fibers poking<br />

out from the yarn felt together from the friction of rubbing<br />

or wear.<br />

Handknits are prone to pilling because the yarn we<br />

use is generally heavier with a lower twist than the yarn<br />

in commercially produced garments. Our hand-created<br />

stitches are also looser on average than those made on<br />

a commercial machine. This means that more fiber ends<br />

are exposed with handknits and are less locked in with<br />

twist and tension than machine-knit clothing. As those<br />

fiber ends are abraded, they felt together on the surface<br />

and create pills.<br />

Washing machines can create a lot of friction on the<br />

surface of fabrics. While your superwash sweater may<br />

not shrink with a machine wash, it may come out covered<br />

in pills. This is a<br />

big reason why handwashing<br />

is recommended<br />

even if the<br />

yarn label says it’s safe<br />

for the washing machine.<br />

removing pills<br />

Not everyone realizes<br />

they can easily remove<br />

pills with a Gleener or a<br />

sweater stone. These tools<br />

pull off the pills and leave the garment looking like new<br />

again. However, as they do so, they can pull more fiber<br />

ends to the surface. So, while the garment looks better<br />

afterward, it doesn’t take long before the newly exposed<br />

fiber ends start felting together and the garment looks<br />

worn.<br />

My preferred tool for pill removal is an electric<br />

sweater shaver. It<br />

cuts the fibers of the<br />

pills off at the surface<br />

with sharp<br />

blades which is a<br />

longer-lasting solution.<br />

detergents<br />

Laundry detergents<br />

come in many different “flavors” for many different<br />

reasons. What works to remove stains on cotton may<br />

disintegrate your silk blouse. What is used to lift grease<br />

marks may break dye bonds and lighten your fabric.<br />

Without getting too technical, silk and wool are<br />

fibers that are made from proteins. Many stain removers<br />

added to typical laundry detergents are for tackling protein<br />

stains like blood. If you use these detergents on silk<br />

or wool, they will start to break down the fibers. To see<br />

this in action, take a snippet of wool yarn, put it in a bowl<br />

of bleach, and leave it for 24 hours. When you return<br />

there will be no yarn left. It will have completely<br />

dissolved. It’s a fun experiment to do with<br />

blended yarns, like sock yarn. After 24 hours in<br />

bleach, you will have only a skeleton of nylon<br />

fibers left floating in the dish.<br />

The pH of a detergent also affects fibers. A<br />

typical laundry detergent has an alkaline pH<br />

meant for clothing made from cotton or synthetic<br />

Continued on next page...<br />


Lazy Knitter Continued...<br />

fibers. Protein fibers like wool become<br />

brittle when exposed to these<br />

soaps. In contrast, wool washes are<br />

usually pH neutral with added fiber<br />

conditioners like lanolin and have<br />

the added benefit that they do not<br />

require rinsing.<br />

Even if you choose to put your<br />

superwash wool garments into the<br />

washing machine, you can see how the detergent you<br />

select has a big impact on the longevity of your handknits.<br />

Wool washes like Eucalan, Soak, or Kookaburra<br />

are safe choices and are gentle on wool and most<br />

other fibers.<br />

washing<br />

How often you need to wash your handknits is dependent<br />

on the type of yarn used and how dirty your<br />

garment has gotten. Wool does not need to be washed<br />

after every wear as the lanolin content makes it naturally<br />

antimicrobial. I ordinarily only wash my wool<br />

sweaters at the end of the cold season before they<br />

need to be put up for the summer. Otherwise, I only<br />

wash them if they are visibly dirty or have picked up a<br />

smell. Before washing, you can try airing it out and spot<br />

cleaning instead of submerging in<br />

water.<br />

Washing your wool garments<br />

before storing is important. The<br />

dreaded wool moths are attracted<br />

to sweat and skin oils present in<br />

wool clothing that has been worn.<br />

They rarely infest fresh clean wool.<br />

Putting away washed garments<br />

lessens the chance that a wool<br />

moth will be attracted to and lay<br />

eggs in your clothes. (It’s the larva,<br />

not the adult moths, that eat the<br />

wool.)<br />

You may want or need to wash your cotton or bamboo<br />

handknits more frequently than once a season. It’s<br />

true they can be washed in a machine without the fear<br />

of felting. But even still, handwashing is still recommended<br />

to prevent pilling, color lifting, and distortion<br />

of stitches and handwashing extends the life of the<br />

garment.<br />

Obviously, if you are washing something large like<br />

an afghan, it makes sense to use a delicate cycle with<br />

cold water in a washing machine. The delicate cycle will<br />

reduce agitation and the resulting<br />

pilling. The cold water will help prevent<br />

dye lifting and shrinking. Make<br />

sure that the detergent you are<br />

using is appropriate for the fiber<br />

content of your piece.<br />

how to handwash:<br />

Fill a sink or basin with lukewarm<br />

water and submerge the piece for 15 minutes. You will<br />

want to squeeze the air out of the piece as you submerge<br />

until it can stay under the water on its own. You<br />

don’t want to put the piece under running water to<br />

avoid potential felting. Add a bit of gentle (pH-neutral)<br />

detergent or wool wash to the water. If the soap is not<br />

rinseless, you will need to submerge the piece again to<br />

remove the soap.<br />

As tempting as it is to stuff all your garments into<br />

the sink to get the washing done quickly, unless you<br />

know the yarn doesn’t bleed, you’ll want to wash each<br />

item separately. It’s pretty horrible to discover that your<br />

cream hand-knit sweater has picked up purple<br />

blotches from washing it with an eggplant shawl.<br />

After soaking, gently pull the piece out of the water<br />

while supporting the entire piece so the weight of the<br />

water doesn’t stretch out or distort the<br />

knitting. Give it a squeeze to remove<br />

excess water. (Do not wring.) Wrap it<br />

in a towel like a burrito to get out as<br />

much remaining water as possible.<br />

Note: You may want to consider investing<br />

in a spin dryer if you hand<br />

wash a lot of garments. These sit on<br />

your counter and will spin your garment,<br />

much like a washing machine,<br />

to remove most of the water. A spin<br />

dryer is far more effective than the<br />

towel burrito and will shorten the dry<br />

time significantly.<br />

Next, lay your item flat on dry towels and leave it to<br />

dry. After a few hours, you can flip the garment and put<br />

fresh dry towels underneath to help speed up drying.<br />

Make sure your item is very dry before storing away for<br />

the summer.<br />

Even if your yarn label says safe for the dryer, I still<br />

opt for air drying simply to prevent wear and tear. As<br />

your items are rolling around in the dryer, they are rubbing<br />

together, creating pills.<br />

Continued on next page...<br />


Lazy Knitter Continued...<br />

storing woolens<br />

You will want to store your handknits folded and<br />

not hung to prevent stretching. It’s also beneficial<br />

to store them in cotton or linen bags so they can<br />

breathe. If you store them in plastic and there is any<br />

residual water from the wash, you risk mildew and<br />

mold. An added cedar block or a lavender sachet<br />

will further help to repel moths.<br />

tying it all together<br />

Handwashing avoids excess friction which reduces<br />

pilling. Using a gentle, pH-neutral soap<br />

means you don’t have to worry about damage to<br />

fibers. When you see the recommendation of handwashing<br />

even though the yarn label says you can<br />

launder in a machine, it’s simply to extend the life<br />

of your item.<br />

As a lazy knitter, I would prefer to stick all my<br />

work in a washing machine and treat it like my<br />

other laundry. But when I think about the amount of<br />

time that goes into creating my handknits and the<br />

money spent on the materials, it becomes easier to<br />

muster up the motivation to hand wash. If you’ve<br />

ever accidentally put a gorgeous, cabled sweater<br />

that you spent a month working on through the<br />

wash, you know the heartache of losing all that time<br />

and energy. Because I only wash my sweaters once<br />

per season, it feels lazier to do the right thing rather<br />

than the “easy” thing and keep all my hard work in<br />

good shape.<br />

For my acrylic crocheted blankets, I still send<br />

them through the washing machine occasionally<br />

and deal with the resulting pilling with my sweater<br />

shaver. I will also put my superwash wool socks<br />

through a gentle machine cycle with wool soap and<br />

then hang them to dry. For my most expensive<br />

yarns and my most time-intensive projects, it will always<br />

be a handwashing.<br />

NEEDS YOU!<br />

© 2022 Conley Olson, @NantucketStudios<br />


• Test Knitters/Crocheters<br />

• Podcasters/Vloggers<br />

• Designers<br />

• Writers<br />

• Artists<br />

If you are interested in<br />

being a contributor<br />

email: blockedmagazine@gmx.com<br />



By Christine Smith<br />

Even though they are difficult events, death and<br />

funerals are part of our lives. It’s important to have<br />

thought through how you want to talk to your children,<br />

and each other when someone close to them<br />

dies. Rather than wait until the inevitable, think and<br />

plan carefully how you will deal with death so you’re<br />

as ready as possible. Two things in life are certain:<br />

death and taxes.<br />

When I was growing up, children were not included<br />

in the death and funeral process. I’m sure my<br />

parents thought they were doing the right thing at the<br />

time but eventually, I was going to have to experience<br />

it, and I think it would have been easier if I had been<br />

included in the rituals when I was younger.<br />

The first person I remember dying was my greatgrandmother.<br />

She taught me how to knit triangles<br />

from the single stitch to the longest row before casting<br />

off. It’s the only one-on-one memory I have of her;<br />

although I do remember her presence.<br />

The first comment I have here is targeted toward<br />

older readers. Actively engage with your grandchildren<br />

and great-grandchildren. Most likely, they will<br />

not come readily to you; you need to draw them<br />

in. It is your responsibility to do this no matter<br />

how awkward it feels.<br />

Great-grandma knitted or crocheted blankets<br />

for all the great-grandchildren. When I learned to<br />

knit at about 7 years old, mum encouraged me to<br />

show my knitting to my great-grandma. I needed<br />

something to take to her as I wouldn’t have gone<br />

without a reason. Perhaps this is natural shyness<br />

or the general thought that children should be off<br />

playing and the adults engaging separately. I remember<br />

great-grandma smiling my way, almost<br />

hoping for engagement. Anyway, mum was right.<br />

She had me up on the couch next to her as I<br />

showed her my knitted triangle. She wasn’t just<br />

being polite; she loved that I came to her and she<br />

felt my knitting and encouraged me. She asked if<br />

I knew about knitting it upside down and proceeded<br />

to show me. I was sitting to the left of her<br />

and I remember feeling her closeness. She was<br />

patient, showed me how, and guided my knitting.<br />

Once it was finished, I left the couch. I wish she’d<br />

done more with me. I wish she had told me about life<br />

when she was a little girl.<br />

It wasn’t too long after that she stopped coming to<br />

regular extended family dinners and I was told she’d<br />

died. Only the adults went to the funeral because the<br />

thought was that children were too young to understand.<br />

All I knew was that she was with God, and I was<br />

happy with that explanation.<br />

Her blankets remained with us for years. I wish I<br />

still had it with many darned patches. As a knitter, I<br />

know how much love and thought go into a piece of<br />

work and I would have liked to hold it, look carefully<br />

at her stitches and feel her love.<br />

When I was 10, Grandma died. We went to the<br />

hospital but the children had to wait in the corridor<br />

whilst my parents went into her room. It would’ve<br />

been good for me to see her for the last time. I didn’t<br />

know she was dying but it would have been helpful if<br />

we had been told that grandma was sick and not<br />

going to get better. Children can cope with basic information.<br />


Funerals Continued...<br />

I didn’t go to her funeral either. Maybe the adults<br />

wanted to spare the children from seeing adults upset.<br />

Perhaps that was part of it. But I think they didn’t realize<br />

that excluding children only means they delay the reality<br />

of grief. Even a childish, immature experience of grief is<br />

important in a young life. To live is to die and I still don’t<br />

understand why I was denied this reality. Especially as<br />

we were an evangelical Christian family, unafraid of<br />

death and certain of eternal destiny.<br />

My husband and I chose to include our children in<br />

the funeral of their Poppa. They were all young when he<br />

died. I don’t recall them viewing the body, we gave them<br />

the choice. They saw the tears, the laughter of recollections,<br />

and the peace known by believers.<br />

So that’s my second piece of advice: include your<br />

children in all life brings - the joyous births and the tearful<br />

farewells. Don’t deny them the entirety of life.<br />

Sometime after Grandma died, I was walking around<br />

the garden with Grandpa. I knew he was sad but I didn’t<br />

know what to say. He must’ve sensed it because he<br />

picked up an empty snail shell and told me that was like<br />

what it was when someone died. The shell of their body<br />

remained but the part which was Grandma wasn’t there<br />

anymore. She was with the God she loved and followed<br />

all her life. It made perfect sense to me then and I still recall<br />

it when necessary. That was one of the first theological<br />

teachings via an everyday example that was easy for<br />

a child to understand.<br />

However, he also told me he didn’t like grandma’s<br />

pale purple roses anymore because they are the same<br />

color as a dead person’s ear. I don’t know whether it was<br />

an attempt at a joke or not but it horrified me then and I<br />

still think of that when I see pale purple roses. Not so<br />

wise.<br />

The third lesson: think carefully about what is ageappropriate<br />

to tell your children. A dead person is not<br />

asleep. Those words frightened me as a child because<br />

what if I was thought dead but I was only asleep? It wasn’t<br />

until I viewed a body at a Maori Tangi that I realized a<br />

dead person doesn’t look asleep at all. Like the empty<br />

snail shell, I could see that the person was not there,<br />

only the body. I was so relieved! I was in my mid-20s.<br />

This was something I should’ve known years before<br />

then.<br />

The first funeral I went to was for my husband’s greataunt.<br />

I never knew her and my husband hardly did,<br />

either. But we were in the same city and it was up to us<br />

to represent our side of the family there. I felt unsure<br />

and afraid because I’d never been to a funeral.<br />

Only you know what is appropriate for your children<br />

to be told. But I can say for certain that it is a mistake to<br />

hide this area of our lives from our children. Tell them<br />

the truth. If you don’t know the answer, say so and find<br />

out if you are able to.<br />

The fourth lesson: Unless it’s a tragic funeral, I have<br />

come to view them as a chance for a mini-life audit. Each<br />

time I consider what is important in life, and each time<br />

I’m surprised how far I moved from it. What is important<br />

is people! Family, in particular. Death catches up with us<br />

all and as I get older I realize more and more how little<br />

life is left. In the time I have left to me, I want to be used<br />

well and for others. Funerals help me sort my priorities.<br />

They also remind me that my elderly parents have<br />

limited time with us. None of us knows when those we<br />

love will pass. Part of the mini-life audit is a reminder to<br />

spend time with them and value these chances. If you<br />

haven’t done it already, ask them questions about when<br />

they were young and what they remember about their<br />

grandparents. These moments are not only precious<br />

memories for the younger person listening but important<br />

opportunities to gather family history. When a child<br />

or teen asks a grandparent these things and then tells<br />

their own grandchildren in years to come, there are potentially<br />

hundreds of years of family history shared. Future<br />

generations will thank you for these memoirs.<br />

Funerals are a good time to catch up with people<br />

and extended families. What is it about a funeral that<br />

generates the action of coming together and why do we<br />

wait for a funeral to do this? I suppose it’s because we<br />

don’t plan a funeral but we must plan a reunion.<br />

It’s a good idea to talk to your elderly parents to plan<br />

their funerals and what will happen after their deaths. If<br />

they’re not willing to do this, don’t force it but do get<br />

some planning in for your sake and that of your family.<br />

The more basic plans are in place, the more time you<br />

will have to deal with the shock and immediate grieving<br />

process - not just yours but others, too.<br />

I’ve recently talked and planned with my parents,<br />

and it’s a relief for them and me to have the discussion<br />

behind us. They talked about some of their own experiences<br />

with funerals and we enjoyed a few laughs with<br />

black humor. These are times I already hold as precious<br />

memories. My husband and I need to get on with planning,<br />

too.<br />

To wrap up - when there’s a funeral, include your children<br />

as much as is appropriate. If you need help talking<br />


Funerals Continued...<br />

with them, get advice but don’t perpetuate unhelpful myths<br />

or misunderstandings. Don’t be afraid to let your children<br />

see you cry and grieve. If it means it’s time for you to sort<br />

out what you believe, then get onto that too. Ask pertinent<br />

questions of your older family members whilst you still can,<br />

and get these recorded digitally or written down. And get<br />

funeral planning underway if you haven’t already.<br />

The triangle pattern:<br />

1. Leaving a 6”tail (for sewing later) cast on 1 stitch.<br />

Turn.<br />

2. Increase into the first stitch (knit into the front and<br />

then the back of the same stitch), knit to the end of<br />

the row.<br />

Turn.<br />

3. Repeat 2. Until the triangle is the required size<br />

(in my example I bound off when I reached 30 stitches).<br />


y Yelena of Scythia<br />


Remember all the Instagram hacks in 2022? How<br />

many of your favorite indy yarn dyers completely lost<br />

online and physical storefront businesses because of<br />

Instagram hacks? Wait, none of them did? They just<br />

created new Instagram accounts, emailed newsletters,<br />

and moved on? Well, someone needs to tell Tara<br />

Sager at the now-defunct Rebel Woolworks that an Instagram<br />

hack isn’t the end of the world. Or maybe she<br />

used an Instagram hack as an excuse to just pack it up<br />

and defraud customers and Kickstarter backers.<br />

This story started when Tara Sager, owner of Rebel<br />

Woolworks, located in eastern Oregon, decided to<br />

participate in a small business competition for a grant<br />

in La Grande, Oregon. Rebel<br />

started a Kickstarter campaign to<br />

raise some initial funds and applied<br />

for a small business grant<br />

from the City of La Grande Urban<br />

Renewal Agency, which Rebel won.<br />

Tara was then able to open a storefront<br />

complete with a dye studio in<br />

downtown La Grande. She received<br />

glowing press in the local<br />

paper, The La Grande (Ore) Observer.<br />

As part of the Kickstarter campaign, Tara created a<br />

unique colorway named Dreams that would be a reward<br />

for a successful Kickstarter campaign. This colorway<br />

was to be exclusive to the Kickstarter. When the<br />

colorway became much desired, and Tara started selling<br />

it on her website in addition to her then-successful<br />

Kickstarter, red flags ensued.<br />

Rebel Woolworks opened a storefront in 2021 to<br />

much local acclaim. Things appeared to be going well.<br />

However, the Kickstarter rewards were taking a long<br />

time to fulfill, and Tara appeared to be focused on<br />

dying and delivering the Dreams colorway to online<br />

and store customers before her Kickstarter supporters.<br />

Backers started asking questions on Kickstarter. The<br />

excuses began.<br />

Tara alleges that her storefront and dye studio<br />

flooded due to rain twice. I did some searching both<br />

on the La Grande Observer website as well as generic<br />

internet searches and found zero news coverage of<br />

flooding in downtown La Grande in 2021. I did see<br />

plenty of local news coverage of flooding in the region,<br />

including La Grande in 2020, but nothing in<br />

2021. If there was enough rain for downtown businesses<br />

to flood twice, I would expect there to be local<br />

news coverage. I’m not saying that Rebel Woolworks<br />

didn’t flood, but I could not find evidence of floods in<br />

downtown La Grande when Ms. Sager claims her<br />

storefront flooded—twice. In fact,<br />

the La Grande Observer did a follow-up<br />

story on Rebel Woolworks<br />

in April 2022 and there was no<br />

mention of Tara’s flood claims.<br />

When the noise surrounding<br />

the lack of delivery on the Kickstarter<br />

rewards increased, Tara<br />

posted about how she is an artist<br />

and a creative, and she needs to<br />

create instead of just doing the<br />

same colorway over and over. She claimed that she<br />

had to dye 6,000 skeins of Dreams, presumably between<br />

website sales and Kickstarter rewards. The<br />

numbers are immediately suspicious as there are only<br />

168 Kickstarter backers. Between skeins of Dreams<br />

and coordinating colors, only 600 skeins (including<br />

mini skeins) were due to be delivered as Kickstarter rewards.<br />

Either she is making up numbers or she didn’t<br />

limit the number of skeins of Dreams that were available<br />

for sale on her website. She has delivered to<br />

some of her Kickstarter backers, but not all, and many<br />

of the larger reward tier backers have not received any<br />

rewards.<br />

Instead of dying skeins of Dreams, Tara ghosted<br />

her Kickstarter campaign and started dyeing quarterly<br />

Continued on page 14...<br />


DISHIDENT #9<br />

by UKnitted Kingdom<br />


Each issue of Blocked will contain a ‘secret’ pattern.<br />

The design will only be revealed as you knit. The<br />

instructions might uncover an image; a design, or a<br />

word/message.<br />

When using cotton these secret squares make<br />

excellent dishcloths. If you make 4 or 5 of each square<br />

in wool or acrylic they can be seamed together at the<br />

end of the year to make a small Afghan or lap blanket.<br />


Each dishident uses approximately 41 to 43g of<br />

worsted weight 100% cotton. Follow the yarn<br />

manufacturer’s recommended needle size.<br />


→ Row 1 [WS]: k45<br />

← Row 2 [RS]: k45<br />

→ Row 3 [WS]: k45<br />

← Row 4 [RS]: k45<br />

→ Row 5 [WS]: k45<br />

← Row 6 [RS]: k45<br />

→ Row 7 [WS]: k4, p37, k4<br />

← Row 8 [RS]: k45<br />

→ Row 9 [WS]: k4, p9, k4, p12, k4, p8, k4<br />

← Row 10 [RS]: k45<br />

→ Row 11 [WS]: k4, p9, k4, p12, k4, p8, k4<br />

← Row 12 [RS]: k45<br />

→ Row 13 [WS]: k4, p9, k4, p12, k4, p8, k4<br />

← Row 14 [RS]: k45<br />

→ Row 15 [WS]: k4, p9, k4, p12, k4, p8, k4<br />

← Row 16 [RS]: k45<br />

→ Row 17 [WS]: k4, p8, k6, p11, k4, p8, k4<br />

← Row 18 [RS]: k45<br />

→ Row 19 [WS]: k4, p7, k3, p2, k3, p10, k4, p8, k4<br />

← Row 20 [RS]: k45<br />

→ Row 21 [WS]: k4, p6, k3, p4, k4, p4, k12, p4, k4<br />

← Row 22 [RS]: k45<br />

→ Row 23 [WS]: k4, p4, k4, p6, k4, p3, k12, p4, k4<br />

← Row 24 [RS]: k45<br />

→ Row 25 [WS]: k4, p37, k4<br />

← Row 26 [RS]: k45<br />

→ Row 27 [WS]: k4, p16, k8, p2, k7, p4, k4<br />

← Row 28 [RS]: k45<br />

→ Row 29 [WS]: k4, p17, k2, p7, k2, p4, k2, p3, k4<br />


← Row 30 [RS]: k45<br />

→ Row 31 [WS]: k4, p19, k2, p5, k2, p4, k2, p3, k4<br />

← Row 32 [RS]: k45<br />

→ Row 33 [WS]: k4, p21, k2, p3, k7, p4, k4<br />

← Row 34 [RS]: k45<br />

→ Row 35 [WS]: k4, p5, k8, p4, k2, p3, k2, p2,<br />

k2, p9, k4<br />

← Row 36 [RS]: k45<br />

→ Row 37 [WS]: k4, p3, k4, p3, k5, p3, k5, p3,<br />

k2, p9, k4<br />

← Row 38 [RS]: k45<br />

→ Row 39 [WS]: k4, p3, k3, p7, k3, p21, k4<br />

← Row 40 [RS]: k45<br />

→ Row 41 [WS]: k4, p12, k3, p6, k4, p3, k2, p2,<br />

k3, p2, k4<br />

← Row 42 [RS]: k45<br />

→ Row 43 [WS]: k4, p9, k4, p7, k2, p2, k2, p2,<br />

k2, p, k3, p3, k4<br />

← Row 44 [RS]: k45<br />

→ Row 45 [WS]: k4, p5, k4, p11, k2, p2, k2, p2,<br />

k4, p5, k4<br />

← Row 46 [RS]: k45<br />

→ Row 47 [WS]: k4, p3, k3, p14, k2, p2, k2, p2,<br />

k3, p6, k4<br />

← Row 48 [RS]: k45<br />

→ Row 49 [WS]: k4, p3, k3, p4, k3, p3, k1, p3,<br />

k2, p2, k2, p2, k5, p4, k4<br />

← Row 50 [RS]: k45<br />

→ Row 51 [WS]: k4, p5, k7, p3, k3, p3, k4, p3,<br />

k2, p2, k3, p2, k4<br />

← Row 52 [RS]: k45<br />

→ Row 53 [WS]: k4, p16, k3, p18, k4<br />

← Row 54 [RS]: k45<br />

→ Row 55 [WS]: k4, p37, k4<br />

← Row 56 [RS]: k45<br />

→ Row 57 [WS]: k45<br />

← Row 58 [RS]: k45<br />

→ Row 59 [WS]: k45<br />

← Row 60 [RS]: k45<br />

→ Row 61 [WS]: k45<br />

← Row 62 [RS]: k45<br />

BO<br />


CO Cast on<br />

k Knit<br />

p Purl<br />

TIPS<br />

If preferred, slip the first OR the last stitch of every<br />

row to create a neater edge. When purling a stitch<br />

immediately after knitting a stitch; pull the excess<br />

yarn out of the purl stitch before knitting or purling<br />

on. This helps to reduce loose/baggy knit stitches.<br />

NOTES<br />

Occasionally a dishident or secret square might not<br />

be suitable for children and ‘polite company’.<br />

Where this is the case it will be made clear.<br />


In her own words<br />

Click on the link or scan the QR code to read the true and accurate<br />

uncut transcript of a live Instagram video posted on 29 Nov 2021<br />

by Adella Colvin of Lola Bean Yarn Co.<br />

https://www.yumpu.com/s/ivfygnRNjMkVmOUo<br />

WARNING: Contains profanity and may be considered disturbing.<br />

Link to actual Video<br />

https://youtu.be/ZjvYTyDQ9qU<br />


Lost in Alaska Continued...<br />

advents, a John Muir collection, and a Titanic collection.<br />

She just went silent on the Kickstarter rewards,<br />

completely ignoring her backers. She simply<br />

stopped posting updates or responding to messages<br />

on Kickstarter, while hosting events at her<br />

storefront. Her reason? Difficulty navigating the<br />

Kickstarter website. Tara was able to set up the Kickstarter<br />

and take $9,800 in support, but when<br />

backers start asking questions, she disappeared.<br />

Tara alleged that the Rebel Woolworks Instagram<br />

account was hacked in May 2022 and that because<br />

of that hack, she lost significant money, which<br />

put her business at risk. As a way to help after the<br />

hack, she put her fall and winter advents on sale for<br />

20% off. On June 4, 2022, she posted on her new Instagram<br />

account that the Instagram hack completely<br />

destroyed her business and that she was closing her<br />

storefront, moving to Alaska, and starting a new job<br />

as a construction project manager in July. Oh, and<br />

her husband also found a new job in Alaska. Tara<br />

claims this was all of a sudden, unplanned, and necessary<br />

to care for her family. She stated that she<br />

would ship out all outstanding orders, refund unfulfilled<br />

Kickstarter rewards, and absolutely ship out<br />

fall and winter advents after her move to Anchorage,<br />

Alaska.<br />

On June 5, she was still selling advents on her<br />

website. On June 9, her website was down. On June<br />

10, her website was back up, but Tara posted on social<br />

media that Rebel Woolworks was closing for<br />

good. By September, the Rebel Woolworks<br />

website was down completely.<br />

According to people who posted on the Demon<br />

Trolls group on Ravelry, Rebel Woolworks never issued<br />

refunds to Kickstarter backers. Several people<br />

also reported that Tara was not responding to<br />

emails or direct messages. The website and email<br />

address are shut down.<br />

Amazingly, Tara Sager had the gall to continue<br />

to sell advents on her website after announcing she<br />

was moving and shutting down her business. It<br />

takes longer than days to find new jobs in another<br />

state, cancel leases and arrange for an interstate<br />

move. It seems clear that her advent sale was a cash<br />

grab.<br />

According to the La Grande Observer, there is<br />

no requirement for Rebel Woolworks to return the<br />

small business grant. This is unfortunate. Larger<br />

businesses that receive tax incentives, and often<br />

smaller businesses as well, are required to meet certain<br />

hiring or investment targets to receive grants or<br />

tax incentives. These tax incentives and grants are<br />

generally subject to clawback, where the business is<br />

required to pay the money back if hiring and investment<br />

targets are not met. I wonder if the City of La<br />

Grande is aware of what their 2021 grant recipient<br />

did to customers and the knitting community. Perhaps<br />

they should consider more requirements from<br />

grant recipients and have a clawback mechanism in<br />

an effort to protect taxpayer funds and customers. I<br />

can only hope that Tara Sager does not return as an<br />

indie yarn dyer under another name. While her yarn<br />

is beautiful, the knitting community certainly doesn’t<br />

need yet another dishonest dyer.<br />


By Uknitted Kingdom<br />

Dropped STitch<br />

Correcting the Copyright Claims<br />

Imagine, for a moment, that you are a very successful<br />

indie designer with around 150 self-published<br />

patterns. To date, your pattern sales (on just one knitting<br />

platform) have grossed $1,180,937.00. Granted<br />

you have probably paid taxes and fees, but still, you<br />

have undoubtedly netted a very lucrative amount,<br />

enough, perhaps, to buy a second five-bedroom<br />

home. Good for you!<br />

As a capitalist, I admire anyone that makes lifechanging<br />

amounts of money from talent and/or hard<br />

work. I have even more admiration for those that, having<br />

succeeded financially, then encourage others to<br />

make money for themselves.<br />

This brings me to this issue’s ‘Dropped Stitch.’<br />

In episode 97 of “I’ll Knit If I Want To,” Andrea<br />

Mowry (the designer alluded to above) answered a<br />

viewer’s question about copyright.<br />

The viewer asked,<br />

“I'm wondering about the etiquette/legality<br />

regarding selling your knit finished objects as a<br />

side project. Is this only OK if you designed the<br />

pattern of the knit? Is it OK to knit up a pattern<br />

that someone else designed and sell the FO (finished<br />

object) without their consent or sharing the<br />

profit? We never want to infringe upon a copyright<br />

or break community etiquette but it would<br />

be a fun little side hustle to sell some fun items<br />

on Etsy or at farmers' markets.”<br />

Mowry replied,<br />

“I have gotten this question a few times and I<br />

also have noticed an uptick in people selling finished<br />

objects for my patterns on Etsy so if you are<br />

doing that please stop.<br />

Basically, it completely depends on that designer<br />

and their copyright. In my copyright, it<br />

very specifically states that you're not allowed to<br />

sell finished items from my patterns. In general, a<br />

good way to know if that designer would be OK<br />

with you selling finished items is they will state<br />

it…if there is no permission given, don't assume<br />

you can. Definitely at least reach out, but a lot of<br />

times it will be stated right in the copyright. So<br />

go read the copyright and if you can't find anything<br />

on it I would definitely recommend asking<br />

that designer before you go sell things from their<br />

patterns.<br />

So in regards to my patterns, I do not give<br />

permission to sell finished items from my patterns<br />

so please don't, and thank you for respecting<br />

my copyright.”<br />

Mowry’s assertion about copyright is incorrect. I<br />

posted a polite comment under her Youtube video explaining<br />

the limits of her copyright and she promptly<br />

removed my comment and any other similar comments.<br />

Copyright is a tricky subject to pin down. It’s particularly<br />

confusing when it comes to clothing and exceptionally<br />

confusing when it comes to knit/crochet<br />

wear.<br />

Where Mowry is correct is that her written pattern<br />

is protected under copyright. Purchasers do not have<br />

the right to copy, sell, or distribute a pattern for any<br />

purpose other than personal use. You are permitted to<br />

give the pattern away as a gift for someone else to<br />

use, but you are not permitted to copy the pattern first<br />

for your own use.<br />

Compare this to reading a book. Once read, how<br />

often have you lent or given a book to someone else?<br />

People generally would consider giving away a read<br />

document perfectly acceptable – but draw the line at<br />

photocopying that document and reselling it.<br />

In the case of music, copyright laws have been<br />

regularly breached on a huge scale. In the days of<br />

vinyl, cassette, and CDs, copying was common. If you<br />

Continued on next page...<br />


Dropped Stitch - Continued From page 15<br />

Copyright only covers<br />

selling or copying<br />


of the recipe,<br />

NOT THE<br />


recorded music from the radio, cut a vinyl record, or<br />

burned a copy of a music CD, you were breaking<br />

copyright law.<br />

The issue Mowry raises is, who owns the product<br />

made from a pattern?<br />

Mowry receives compensation for her talent/work<br />

from every pattern sold. She will only be denied her<br />

rightful compensation if the pattern is stolen, copied,<br />

or shared. Under normal circumstances, once the pattern<br />

has been bought and supplied, the contract between<br />

seller and buyer has now concluded. At no<br />

point during the sale of a knitted item is Mowry (or<br />

any other designer) losing potential income. Mowry<br />

sells patterns, not garments.<br />

You have the pattern.<br />

You purchase the<br />

yarn and tools needed<br />

to knit the garment. You<br />

spend a significant<br />

amount of time knitting<br />

the garment. From casting<br />

on to binding off,<br />

you own that garment<br />

and the designer has<br />

no physical claim over<br />

it. Like any other item of<br />

clothing you own, you<br />

can give it away, sell it,<br />

adapt it, destroy it, or<br />

do anything to it or with it you see fit.<br />

The material the garment is made of belongs to<br />

you. The craftsmanship of the garment is completely<br />

down to your own skill. You are ethically and legally<br />

permitted to sell this item on Etsy, a farmers’ market,<br />

or any other trading space. Much like with recipes for<br />

baked goods, it’s perfectly acceptable to make a<br />

batch of cakes (using a baker’s published recipe) and<br />

sell them. Copyright only covers selling or copying<br />

the words of the recipe, not the baked cake.<br />

Mowry and others often compare knitting patterns<br />

with sewing patterns. It could be physically possible to<br />

buy a sewing pattern and mass produce an<br />

entire shop’s worth of identical garments in a<br />

reasonably short time period. This is not the<br />

case with hand-knitting patterns. Realistically<br />

how many Weekenders (Mowry’s most popular<br />

design) could a knitter make in one month? One?<br />

Two? Three? Enough to gross $1,180,937.00? How<br />

much would a knitter net from selling a garment made<br />

from a Mowry design? After the cost of the yarn has<br />

been deducted, and the time spent knitting accounted<br />

for, a hand knitter is unlikely to make a profit.<br />

S/he will, if lucky, just about break even.<br />

Copyright in knitting can only cover written patterns,<br />

unique never-before-published stitch patterns<br />

or images, trademarked logos or images, and unique<br />

constructions. A sweater constructed in a pre-published<br />

fashion, with any pre-published stitch is, in and<br />

of itself, not covered by copyright. Unless you invented<br />

the sweater concept<br />

you cannot copyright it. I’ve<br />

raised this point before using<br />

the 56/64/72 stitch sock, with<br />

a stitch pattern from a stitch<br />

dictionary, and any standard<br />

pre-published toe and heel.<br />

The written pattern itself is all<br />

that can be copyrighted. In<br />

this specific instance, it isn’t<br />

impossible for 2 or more designers<br />

to independently<br />

publish exactly the same<br />

sock pattern – just using different<br />

yarn,<br />

terminology/phrasing, and<br />

images.<br />

An exception to this would be Fair Isle and intarsia.<br />

Original image designs, created by the designer,<br />

would absolutely be protected by copyright.<br />

In the USA copyright laws relating to the selling of<br />

hand knitted items created using a copyrighted pattern<br />

have, to my knowledge, not been tested. Mowry<br />

(or another designer) would have to instigate, and pay<br />

for, legal action in the hope of winning.<br />

Mowry claims that her copyright “very specifically<br />

states that you're not allowed to sell finished items<br />

from [her] patterns.” An example of this can be seen<br />

below.<br />

16<br />

Continued on next page...

Dropped Stitch - Continued From page 16<br />

This month’s ‘Dropped Stitch’ is:<br />

Andrea Mowry<br />

©<br />

For incorrectly educating the public<br />

about the rules of copyright.<br />

Copyright only is valid for a printed pattern<br />

not the finished piece.<br />

©<br />

The problem here is twofold. Firstly, as already mentioned, physical knitted items are not covered by the pattern’s<br />

copyright. Secondly, the agreement implied here is null and void because the purchaser could not reasonably consent to<br />

this agreement before purchasing the pattern as buyers only get to see this once they receive the pattern! To have any<br />

hope of being legally enforceable the buyer should be given this information before purchase.<br />

From a legal perspective, Mowry has dropped a stitch. From an ethical or community etiquette perspective I would<br />

argue that, after making over a million dollars from the knitting community, it is unethical and downright mean of Mowry<br />

to attempt to prohibit (predominantly) less wealthy and less privileged knitters from making a few bucks from selling an<br />

item, made by their own hands, with yarn paid for from their own wallets, using a pattern legally purchased.<br />

I hope the millionaire, Andrea Mowry, chooses to be less mean-spirited in future.<br />

Patterns published in Blocked carry copyright notices. However, these are not contracts entered into upon<br />

purchasing (they’re free!). Although one or two Blocked designers have requested that knitters/crocheters refrain<br />

from mass-producing items for sale, this is just a request.<br />

Copyright laws can vary between countries. Please refer to the copyright laws of your country for more information.<br />

USA Copyright<br />

https://library.osu.edu/site/copyright/2014/07/14/patterns-and-copyright-protections/<br />

https://www.copyright.gov/<br />

UK copyright<br />

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/copyright-notice-knitting-and-sewing-patterns/copyright-notice-knitting-and-sewing-patterns<br />


Knitting Patterns, Hand-Dyed Yarns,<br />

Tools, Notions & More!<br />

www.knittymcpurly.com<br />

Hand-dyed yarns, Opal yarns, patterns, tools, and notions.<br />

https://www.etsy.com/de/shop/AnnaKnitterYarns<br />

New Zealand yarn store.<br />

Ships worldwide.<br />

www.skeinz.com<br />

Knitting Patterns<br />

https://www.ravelry.com/designers/liz-clothier<br />

Anne Pinkava<br />

Knitting Patterns<br />

www.lovecrafts.com/en-us/user/maker/fdba7e1e-93b6-4b6f-9f82-06ef18d0ec8c<br />

Knitting Patterns<br />

https://galilee-life.com/vendor/deplorable-knitter/<br />


Amigurumi/Crochet Patterns<br />

http://www.yankeerose.etsy.com/<br />

Wise Owl Knits<br />

Knitting Patterns and Tutorials<br />

www.wiseowlknits.com<br />

Karen Juliano<br />

Blogger<br />

& Knitter<br />

Fabrics, Sewing Patterns,<br />

and Tutorials<br />

littleragamuffin.com<br />

Knitting Patterns:<br />

https://www.lovecrafts.com/en-us/user/maker/647c869e-a568-4b05-8fb4-b8f868600ec4<br />

Knitting Patterns and Tutorials<br />

https://www.ravelry.com/stores/birdie-beanie<br />

Love Stitched<br />

https://galilee-life.com/vendor/love-stitched/<br />


By Uknitted Kingdom<br />



20<br />

In one of her “Casual Friday” Youtube videos, “Knitting<br />

a 16th Century Stocking // Casual Friday<br />

S6E03Knitting a 16th Century Stocking. S6E3,” (Roxanne<br />

Richardson, 2023) Roxanne Richardson discussed<br />

a book titled “The Typical Tudor” by Jane Malcolm-<br />

Davies and Ninya Mikhaila (2022).<br />

“The Typical Tudor” is part<br />

of a collection of historical descriptions<br />

with fifty patterns to<br />

reconstruct 16th-century clothing.<br />

Richardson used a knitting<br />

pattern from the book to knit a<br />

stocking as part of an ongoing<br />

project she is covering in her<br />

“Casual Friday” series.<br />

What makes The Typical<br />

Tudor different from other<br />

books in the collection is that it<br />

includes garments worn by the<br />

ordinary public of the time<br />

rather than by the aristocracy.<br />

Having an interest in history,<br />

particularly the history of common,<br />

everyday people, my curiosity<br />

was piqued.<br />

With a cover price of £58<br />

plus postage and packaging<br />

the 216-page paperback book<br />

is extremely expensive. I justified this expense by telling<br />

myself I hadn’t purchased any yarn in 2023. But, as one<br />

friend pointed out, “it’s not even February yet!”<br />

The book arrived this morning (Jan 24) and when I<br />

opened the packaging the book was beautifully<br />

wrapped in brown paper. Seriously, this impressed me.<br />

It was wrapped with more care than a Christmas or<br />

birthday present.<br />

The cover, although softback, is of good quality<br />

with a gatefold (aka French flap) with a printed ruler to<br />

help with scaling up the sewing patterns and 16th-Century<br />

terms for currency, measurements, and numerals.<br />

With high-quality, cool-to-the-touch, glossy pages<br />

that enhance all the images, whether drawn or photographed,<br />

there is an image of one sort or another on almost<br />

every page. Casually thumbing through the book<br />

is visually interesting.<br />

With 18 pages of bibliography and endnotes, it’s<br />

clear this is a widely researched tome. I’ll return to the<br />

quality of the research later.<br />

The data drawn upon is extensive. Over 55,000<br />

items of documented clothing were analyzed. Using<br />

contemporary diaries, wills, import<br />

and export records, portraits, and<br />

household expense accounts for servants,<br />

amongst other records, makes<br />

this a fascinating read. Each garment<br />

includes where the information was<br />

sourced. Each is a tiny snapshot of a<br />

real person. An example of this can<br />

be viewed here: Malcolm-Davies, J.,<br />

& Mikhaila, N. (2022). The Typical<br />

Tudor: Reconstructing Everyday 16th<br />

Century Dress. Amsterdam, Netherlands:<br />

Amsterdam University Press.<br />

https://youtu.be/rfc1bLLk-ss<br />

Of the fifty patterns included,<br />

there are only a handful of knitting<br />

patterns. They include stockings,<br />

garters, caps, and sleeves. Interestingly,<br />

the book notes that there are<br />

very few knitting patterns available<br />

from this era, so all the knitted patterns<br />

were reverse-engineered<br />

based on archived items from the period, descriptions,<br />

and paintings. Tudor knitters would have used doublepointed<br />

wires or whalebone needles to knit in the<br />

round. The purl stitch wasn’t believed to have been discovered<br />

at that point so any instances of reverse stockinette<br />

stitch would have been achieved by turning the<br />

work and knitting on the reverse side.<br />

If you’re a knitter hoping to find a plethora of Tudor<br />

sweater patterns you’ll be disappointed. There is a<br />

small section dedicated to 16th-century knitting techniques<br />

but this information, in itself, does not justify<br />

buying the book. However, I would recommend this<br />

book for sewers, or anyone, with an interest in costume<br />

design, re-enactments, and historical fashion. It would<br />

make a great coffee-table talking point. The less mature<br />

amongst us will giggle at the “breast bags” and “cod-

Typical Tudor - Continued from page 20<br />

pieces.”<br />

This is a book that I know I will revisit. There are<br />

gems scattered throughout, such as my favorite, a<br />

16th-century quotation attributed to “an onlooker.”<br />

“Some women ‘may well wear velvet in the street…<br />

who cannot afford a crust of dry bread at home.’”<br />

(page 16). In my youth, I often heard elders describing<br />

someone as “all fur coat and no knickers.” It’s interesting<br />

to see how such comments evolve throughout time<br />

yet the base meaning remains exactly the same.<br />

Is it worth £58? That depends. If you value the time<br />

and research that has gone into collating the information<br />

in the book, absolutely! If you’re looking for<br />

knitting patterns, and not much else, save your money!<br />

Overall I’m very happy with the book and, for me, I can<br />

see the inherent value of the information. To me, it was<br />

money well spent. Now if only I could afford a crust of<br />

dry bread.<br />

“Much Adoe About Nothing”?<br />

I do have one major criticism of the book, one<br />

which cannot be ignored.<br />

My American friends generally felt that my criticism<br />

of “The Typical Tudor” didn’t really justify an article. However,<br />

my English friends were all as<br />

appalled as I. Judging by the reactions<br />

from my small cross-section of<br />

friends the following might be<br />

viewed very differently depending<br />

upon whether you live in “The New<br />

World” or “The Old World” (to use<br />

the vernacular of Tudor times. Either<br />

way, my opinion here does not detract<br />

much from the book. It is more<br />

that the book is just the latest example<br />

of what I consider to be the alteration<br />

of history to suit a particular<br />

agenda. Decide for yourself.<br />

It begins with the cover and the title of the book,<br />

“The Typical Tudor.” They’re misleading and promote,<br />

what I believe to be, an untruth.<br />

The word typical is defined as “having or showing<br />

the characteristics, qualities, etc. of a kind, class, or<br />

group so fully as to be a representative example.”<br />

(“Typical Definition & Meaning,” n.d.) Tudor is defined<br />

as “Of, relating to, or characteristic of the period of the<br />

Tudors (1485-1603).” (“Tudor Definition & Meaning,”<br />

n.d.) So a typical Tudor can only be one of two things:<br />

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/<br />

Much_Ado_About_Nothing<br />

1. A member of the English royal dynasty between<br />

those dates. Or, 2. an average/standard English person<br />

living in England between those dates.<br />

Within the book, Jane Malcolm-Davies and Ninya<br />

Mikhaila chose to use black models of seemingly Caribbean<br />

descent. The cover depicts the midriff of a<br />

black woman. They may have anticipated some questioning<br />

of this as they include a paragraph about black<br />

Tudors on page 10. Furthermore, they released a video<br />

to explain their rationale, We Were There.<br />

https://youtu.be/TebZdJU0Hiw (Tailor, 2019)<br />

There were several black people recorded as living<br />

in England in the Tudor period. The source used to<br />

support this is a 2017 book by M Kaufman, “Black Tudors,<br />

The Untold Story (2018). I read this book recently<br />

and was quite astonished at the poor research and liberties<br />

taken to reach conclusions.<br />

Kaufman claims just 10 black people lived in England<br />

during Tudor times. These are;<br />

John Blanke, the trumpeter; Jacques<br />

Francis, the salvage diver; Diego, the circumnavigator;<br />

Edward Swarthye, the<br />

porter; Reasonable Blackman, the silk<br />

weaver; Mary Fillis, the Moroccan convert;<br />

Dederi Jaquoah, the prince of<br />

River Cestos; John Anthony, mariner of<br />

Dover; Anne Cobbie, the tawny Moor<br />

with soft skin; and Cattelena of Almondsbury,<br />

independent singlewoman.<br />

As this isn’t a review of “Black Tudors” I’ll refrain<br />

from dismantling Kaufman’s claims one by one. Instead,<br />

I’ll focus on the example shown in “The Typical<br />

Tudor.”<br />

John Blanke is the now-famous trumpeter depicted<br />

in the Westminster Tournament Roll (1511). This<br />

is the ONLY known contemporary portrait of a black<br />

person in Tudor England.<br />


Typical Tudor - Continued from page 21<br />

Based upon nothing more than the above image,<br />

Kaufman asserts that John Blanke was born in North or<br />

West Africa. She identifies him as a Muslim wearing a turban.<br />

The latter point isn’t so much of a stretch, but looking<br />

at the image it’s impossible to tell if this man was a<br />

black African or a Middle Eastern Muslim.<br />

Wrestling at the Field of Cloth of Gold. (n.d.). [Tapestry]. London,<br />

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland: Hampton<br />

Court Palace.<br />

Historic Royal Palaces [@HRP_palaces]. (2020, October 16). It<br />

could be speculated that this Black French trumpeter is actually<br />

John Blanke. He left Henry’s court records in 1512, so by 1520 he<br />

could be the Black trumpeter in the Tapestry. We don’t know, as<br />

many French court records were destroyed during the Revolution<br />

from 1789. [MO]. Twitter. Retrieved January 26, 2023, from<br />

https://twitter.com/HRP_palaces/status/1317026691626246144/<br />

photo/1<br />

However, in “The Typical Tudor” a different image is<br />

used. On page 10 the image (above) of the black trumpeter<br />

in the top left is used as evidence for John Blanke.<br />

The problem with using this image is that this depicts<br />

France and cannot, therefore, be considered “Tudor.”<br />

Furthermore, as noted in the tweet by the Historic<br />

Royal Palaces, it is only speculated that the 2 images are<br />

of the same man. The only common feature between<br />

them is the trumpet. The assumption here is that 16thcentury<br />

trumpeters of color were so rare, so atypical, that<br />

there could only be one black trumpeter in the combined<br />

kingdoms of England and France.<br />

For argument’s sake let us assume that the 10 people<br />

described in Kaufman’s book were all born in England<br />

(they weren’t) and were all indisputably black Africans<br />

(they weren’t), they would still not be representative of an<br />

entire cultural era.<br />

Even by 2023 population data a typical English person<br />

cannot be classed as black. The percentage of white<br />

people in the country as a whole far outnumbers the<br />

black population. However, if one wanted to portray a<br />

typical Londoner the story would be different. With a<br />

white indigenous population of only 36% a typical Londoner<br />

is more likely to be black or Indian/Pakistani. In<br />

Manchester, the percentage is almost equal with 49% indigenous<br />

white. To those that dispute these figures,<br />

please note I’m using the “indigenous white” figures not<br />

“white European” or “white other.” (Regional ethnic diversity.<br />

(2022, December 22). Retrieved from<br />

https://www.ethnicity-facts-figures.service.gov.uk/ukpopulation-by-ethnicity/national-and-regional-populations/regional-ethnic-diversity/latest<br />

)<br />

To be overly generous, if we multiply the 10 black individuals<br />

allegedly living in Tudor England by 10, even<br />

100, black people in England could not be considered<br />

“typical.”<br />

Some will accuse me of racism for pointing this out.<br />

That’s nonsense. The issue with “The Typical Tudor” isn’t<br />

that it contains black models, it’s that it is deliberately<br />

misleading by titling the book “The Typical Tudor.” If the<br />


Typical Tudor - Continued from page 22<br />

book had been titled, “The Typical Tudor Outfit,” or<br />

“Typical Tudor Fashion” then the ethnicity of the models<br />

would be irrelevant and could include any and every<br />

nationality and ethnicity in the world. But it is not. The<br />

book is erroneously or deceptively implying that black<br />

people were typical and representative of Tudor England.<br />

If a book was published titled, “The Typical Bugandan”<br />

with a white cover model and white models inside<br />

alongside modern-day black Ugandans, the accusation<br />

of cultural appropriation would be laid at the publisher’s<br />

door.<br />

There is a growing trend of inserting different ethnicities<br />

into English and European history. Future generations<br />

will have no reason to believe that Anne Boleyn,<br />

the mother of Elizabeth I was anything other than a<br />

woman of Caribbean descent. It won’t be long before<br />

Charles II, known by his mother as “the Black Boy” because<br />

of his dark hair and eyes, will be depicted as a<br />

black African.<br />

Those ignorant of England’s history have, this very<br />

week, renamed Black Boy Lane in Haringey, North London,<br />

La Rose Lane. Thinking that the original name is<br />

racist and offensive (it isn’t), Haringey Council renamed<br />

it after John La Rose, a black activist and author. Despite<br />

spending £180,000 on public consultations, the<br />

Council ignored the wishes of the local residents and<br />

went ahead and changed the signs. As a clear indication<br />

of the residents’ disapproval, one of the six new<br />

street signs was vandalized less than 24 hours after it<br />

was renamed.<br />

Witnesses claimed the vandalism was “mostly<br />

peaceful”.<br />

Is this all “Much Adoe About Nothing”? “The Tempest”<br />

in an English teacup? Or, am I justified in my concerns?<br />


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By Uknitted Kingdom<br />

“BEGGING”<br />

The Mysterious Mrs. Major<br />

In December 2021, Adella Colvin, of LolaBean Yarn<br />

Co., posted the following on Instagram:<br />

“Bean would like to raise a few dollars for her favorite<br />

teacher who teaches diversity and inclusiveness in her<br />

lessons and makes all of<br />

her kiddos feel special…<br />

She pays for lots of stuff<br />

out of pocket and we’d<br />

like to help with some of<br />

that. We’ll match the donations<br />

up to $500!<br />


COLVIN.”<br />

The post was accompanied<br />

by a photo of<br />

Adella’s daughter.<br />

At first glance, this<br />

seems like a very kind<br />

and considerate thing to<br />

do. However, in my opinion,<br />

Adella is a racist,<br />

black supremacist bully,<br />

so something about her sudden kindness and<br />

generosity was bothering me. Alarm bells were<br />

ringing but I couldn’t quite figure out why.<br />

The first aspect of this post that concerned me<br />

was that Adella was collecting the money into her<br />

own private account on the Cash App payment<br />

service. This meant that there wasn’t a third party<br />

that could ensure that all the funds raised went to<br />

the teacher.<br />

The second aspect was that in the UK at least,<br />

teachers are not permitted to accept money from<br />

the parents of pupils. Christmas and end-of-year gifts are<br />

allowed, but accepting money would lead to a formal<br />

disciplinary hearing and possibly dismissal. Parents giving<br />

money to teachers can be interpreted as bribery and<br />

could leave the teacher open to accusations of favoritism<br />

and/or grade tampering.<br />

The third aspect was that, although teachers do pay<br />

for some stationery and equipment out of their own<br />

pockets, if the school is underfunded and short of resources<br />

a parent would be better advised to raise<br />

money for the school as opposed to an individual<br />

teacher.<br />

It turned out I wasn’t alone in my concerns. Two other<br />

Instagrammers contacted me about this and one had<br />

contacted the Georgia School Board to check the guidelines<br />

on teachers accepting money from parents. Someone<br />

from the School Board contacted Adella and as a<br />

result, she shared the following on Instagram.<br />

Alongside the unverified financial details, Adella attached<br />

a screenshot from her<br />

Gmail account thanking “Mrs.<br />

Major” for performing a “great<br />

public service.” [See above.]<br />

Adella also included a<br />

screenshot of a note from<br />

“Angela Major,” the<br />

teacher, thanking her<br />

for the money. This particular<br />

screenshot is<br />

troubling. The email is<br />

from a personal Gmail<br />

account, not an official<br />

school account.<br />

Teachers shouldn’t be<br />

sharing personal email<br />

addresses with parents.<br />

Begging Continued on next page<br />


Begging Continued from Page 26<br />

Gmail accounts are notoriously easy to create and<br />

need no official ID verification. A user can create any<br />

number of accounts with any names available.<br />

The teacher says, “We don’t get a lot of recognition.”<br />

As a former teacher, this is a phrase that doesn’t ring true.<br />

Teachers receive lots of recognition.<br />

It’s money they don’t<br />

receive much of!<br />

Then the clincher. “Thank<br />

you so much for your kind<br />

words and for all the support<br />

you guys give Lola to help her<br />

be a confident successful<br />

kiddo.”<br />

Teachers should not thank<br />

pupils’ parents for helping<br />

their own children. Surely this<br />

is an expectation and not<br />

something to be credited as<br />

extraordinary or special. Isn’t<br />

it a parent’s job to support<br />

their children’s endeavors?<br />

Mrs. Major uses the word<br />

“kiddo.” This is the same word<br />

used by Adella in her fundraising<br />

text. In a Live Instagram<br />

on 6th January 2022<br />

Adella also used the term<br />

“kiddo.” Unusual? Maybe.<br />

Maybe not. I tend to notice<br />

patterns in speech and<br />

written words. Through teaching<br />

and marking assignments, I<br />

became quite adept at recognizing<br />

when a student was<br />

guilty of plagiarism. We all<br />

have verbal tics, preferred or<br />

consistent vocabulary, and a<br />

writing style (including patterns<br />

in errors) that make it easy, not<br />

necessarily to identify the<br />

writer, but usually to exclude<br />

them from being the likely<br />

writer.<br />

The readiness with which<br />

Angela Major gave her Paypal account is also notable.<br />

The Paypal account Adella shared is simply in the name of<br />

“Major.”<br />

I decided to try to find Mrs. Major. Finding her on the<br />

school faculty list would alleviate some of my concerns.<br />

Adella had previously shared details of her daughter’s<br />

school and a simple staff search on the school website<br />

shows that Angela Major does not work there.<br />

I wondered if Adella deliberately misled her followers<br />

into thinking her daughter attended this<br />

school to avoid any unwanted contact.<br />

So I checked with all the elementary<br />

schools in the area. Angela Major doesn’t<br />

work at any of them.<br />

I double-checked with another elementary<br />

school (with the same name in<br />

the same State). Angela Major doesn’t<br />

work there either.<br />

I contacted the school and, unfortunately,<br />

because of recent media attention<br />

regarding an employee and<br />

meth, they did not accept my email<br />

(most likely because I’m overseas). For<br />

me, this trail has run cold.<br />

To be clear, although I have my own<br />

suspicions as to the nature of what is<br />

going on here, I am not accusing Adella<br />

Colvin of any wrongdoing. I am accusing<br />

her of deceiving her Instagram followers.<br />

There may be a perfectly<br />

reasonable explanation for the mysterious<br />

teacher and a perfectly good reason<br />

for the deception. However, if I was<br />

one of the generous donors, I would be<br />

asking Adella some hard questions!<br />

There is something particularly distasteful<br />

about using your child’s image to<br />

beg for money over the internet. It’s also<br />

unethical to beg for money from<br />

strangers on the internet to give to a person<br />

in receipt of a teaching salary simply<br />

because she “teaches diversity and inclusiveness<br />

in her lessons and makes all of<br />

her kiddos feel special.”<br />

Adella is not without means. Asking<br />

her followers to reward her daughter’s<br />

teacher, rather than doing it herself,<br />

shows just how willing Adella is to manipulate<br />

her followers.<br />

Adella isn’t alone in begging from internet followers.<br />

And, before accusations of racism are liberally thrown<br />

around, begging isn’t restricted to any particular race of<br />

knitter/crocheter/dyer/shop.<br />

Begging Continued on next page<br />


Begging Continued from Page 27<br />

The Italian Job<br />

In the UK, Woolly Wormhead, a British hat<br />

designer, is currently in the process of begging<br />

for donations from her followers on Gofundme.<br />

The first campaign raised €14,232 ($15,453.39)<br />

of her €17,500 ($19,001.85) goal to help her<br />

“lead a happier life.” This money went towards<br />

buying a home in Italy.<br />

After buying the home, Wormhead<br />

launched a second Gofundme account. Currently,<br />

she has raised £2,902<br />

($3,592.59) of her £7,500<br />

($92,84.77) goal to “help [her]<br />

with [her] new home”! (The currencies<br />

are correct as are their<br />

equivalencies as of 28 January<br />

2023.)<br />

In addition, she is begging<br />

her followers to buy her home<br />

furnishings from Amazon and<br />

Ikea wishlists. Except for an Ikea<br />

mattress, none of the items on<br />

these lists could be considered<br />

essential.<br />

To add insult to injury (for a<br />

Brit), Wormhead made the following<br />

statement, “We’re unable<br />

to access many of the financial<br />

benefits that could help us due<br />

to Brexit and its impact on British<br />

citizens living abroad.”<br />

Unless you live in the UK or<br />

pay tax in the UK, this might not<br />

be something you understand.<br />

In the UK, regardless of<br />

wealth, income, or working status, everyone that has a<br />

child under the age of 16 (and older in some cases of<br />

disability) receives welfare in the name of each child. The<br />

richest and the poorest receive the same. It is the largest<br />

percentage of Benefit (welfare) payments made by the<br />

government. Unemployment and disability payments are<br />

a tiny fraction of the overall budget compared with child<br />

benefits and state pensions.<br />

Low-income parents can also claim a benefit called<br />

“Working Tax Credits.” Unemployed and/or disabled parents<br />

have access to many other benefits in addition to<br />

Child Benefit. For some, it can be more lucrative to be<br />

unemployed than it is to work for a living.<br />

Having the audacity to ask for money whilst<br />

surrounded by 'stuff' begs the question,<br />

how much more do you need? Feeling as<br />

though you have the 'privilege' to ask<br />

others to fund your lifestyle choices, rather<br />

than to purchase your products, takes<br />

some guts.<br />

Wormhead wanted to eat her cake<br />

and have it too by moving to Italy, yet<br />

still wanted to claim all the benefits<br />

available to those in the UK. If the<br />

“marvelous” EU will not support her<br />

and her family in Italy, why should UK<br />

taxpayers?<br />

Wormhead has stated that she is<br />

VAT registered. This means that in<br />

Italy her business must have an annual<br />

gross turnover of more than<br />

€65,000 ($70,578.30).<br />

https://www.vatcalc.com/eu/2023-euvat-registration-intrastat-thresholds/<br />

A business can choose to VAT register<br />

if the annual turnover is below the threshold, but it<br />

simply isn’t worth it. It is considered madness to register<br />

a business that has a lower turnover. It is illegal to have a<br />

turnover of more than the annual threshold without registering<br />

for VAT.<br />

In the UK, the VAT threshold is currently £85,000<br />

($105,227.45) per annum. Whether Wormhead is registered<br />

for VAT in Italy or in the UK, she should be able to<br />

draw down an income from her business.<br />

I can’t help but think that these serial grifters are<br />

laughing at their donors.<br />

Begging Continued on next page<br />


Begging Continued from Page 28<br />

UberEat Me<br />

Another person known to beg online is Fatimah Hinds,<br />

of Disturbing the Fleece.<br />

Her example isn’t as audacious as Wormhead’s but is<br />

still notable. In September 2022, Hinds was regularly visiting<br />

a family member in hospital. She begged her followers<br />

to pay her hospital parking fees, her lunches, and requested<br />

Uber Eats Canada gift card certificates. In an outof-character<br />

move, Hinds even waived her “no DM” rule,<br />

but only for those donating money for Uber Eats.<br />

Buy My Free Breast Removal<br />

The British yarn dyer Stranded Dyeworks, currently living<br />

in Scotland, begged followers to pay for an elective<br />

double-mastectomy in order to pass as male instead of female.<br />

This is a free NHS surgical procedure. The £10,150<br />

($12,565.40) raised of the £10,000 ($12,379.70) goal was<br />

purely to bypass the 2-year NHS waiting list.<br />

It will be interesting to wait and see if Stranded also<br />

tries to raise money for the necessary ongoing hormone<br />

treatment as, with all prescribed drugs in Scotland and<br />

Wales*, Testosterone is also free to NHS patients.<br />

*NHS patients living in England are the only British residents<br />

that have to pay for prescription drugs at a current<br />

cost of £9.35 ($11.58) per item.<br />

Opinions on medical transitioning are not the issue<br />

here. The issue is begging for money to pay for a free surgical<br />

procedure.<br />

Beyond Begging and Radical Requests<br />

Businesses such as Beyond Yarn regularly beg for<br />

money to keep their businesses afloat.<br />

More recently, the amateur magazine Radicle (sic)<br />

Threads has been begging for money in order to publish<br />

their next issue. Each issue has a cover price of $30, so<br />

why have the publishers not budgeted for the next issue<br />

from the sales of the previous 2 issues? Sadly, when businesses<br />

can’t survive on the profits from their sales, the<br />

business is no longer viable. By charging 3 times the cover<br />

price of magazines such as Vogue Knitting Magazine, has<br />

Radicle Threads priced itself out of the market?<br />

“A beggar hates his benefactor as much as<br />

he hates himself for begging.”<br />

– Oscar Wilde<br />

“Beggars market their incapacity.”<br />

– Mason Cooley<br />

PATRONAGE vs. Begging<br />

It's important to differentiate fundraising where the donor receives something in return from those<br />

that do not. For example, Sockmatician received donations to finance the writing of his book (release<br />

date TBC). In effect, this was a pre-order as each donor will receive a copy of the book once it is published.<br />

If the fundraiser had been to pay his rent, and the donor received nothing in return, then it would<br />

be unethical.<br />

Likewise, Patreon accounts, such as Fruity Knitting and The Bakery Bears, allow content to be provided<br />

for free. Much like Blocked Magazine, Fruity and the Bakery Bears have overheads to cover but do<br />

not charge people for that content. Generous patrons donate to assist in the production. It would not be<br />

appropriate to have patrons if viewers and readers were charged for the content as well.<br />

When you see online personalities fundraising, step back for a moment and ask yourself:<br />

• Is it a registered charity?<br />

• If not, what do you receive in return for your donation?<br />

• Is the goal a cover for poor financial decisions or management?<br />

• Is the goal greedy or extravagant, such as buying an expensive car or house?<br />

• Is the goal to help someone in genuine need?<br />

Whatever the answer, it isn’t for me to lecture anyone on how to spend their own money. If you want<br />

to donate to someone that is clearly running a grift, do so. But please, know what you’re entering into.<br />


YOUR<br />

By D. Marie Prokop<br />

Darkest Dress<br />

From the forthcoming novel The Good Shepherd<br />

“Thank you for letting me borrow this beautiful bonnet,<br />

Mrs. Wickersham,” Leona said. Her thin fingers caressed<br />

the black velvet lining.<br />

Mrs. Wickersham grabbed Leona’s old, gray, motheaten<br />

bonnet from the dresser and threw it in the bin.<br />

She pressed her lips taut.<br />

“Black is the appropriate color for a funeral. At least<br />

you have a black bonnet now. I should have ordered a<br />

black dress for you to have on hand for such ominous occasions,<br />

but one never expects death. Attending two funerals<br />

so close together is quite unusual, don’t you<br />

agree?”<br />

“Yes, Mrs. Wickersham,” the girl replied.<br />

“Is this your darkest dress?” the dowager asked. She<br />

frowned at the gray plaid frock Leona wore for the second<br />

time that week, a hand-me-down from the dear girl<br />

whose funeral they attended yesterday. Leona wiped a<br />

tear from her eye before the widow caught sight of it. She<br />

cleared her throat.<br />

“Yes, Mrs. Wickersham. It belonged to Justine. She outgrew<br />

it.”<br />

“Oh, poor Justine. The woods are a dangerous place<br />

these days. Lord have mercy.”<br />

“Yes, ma’am.”<br />

The old dowager tied the bonnet’s ribbons into a bow<br />

under Leona’s dimpled chin.<br />

“I don’t understand how it happened. Justine was a vulnerable<br />

young lady, but Luke Harris was quite a strapping<br />

young man. Whatever creature is in those woods must be<br />

fierce indeed. The magistrate is in a right bind trying to<br />

calm this town.”<br />

Mrs. Wickersham peered out the window to view some<br />

travelers on the road. Everyone in Framingham appeared<br />

to be making their way to attend today’s funeral.<br />

“We must stay strong, Leona. It’s the women folk who<br />

keep a community going, you hear me? When the men<br />

take off to fight another war, or drink themselves into a<br />

damned grave and leave you a widow, it’s us women who<br />

carry on and rebuild. You may think you’re just a poor little<br />

orphan girl, but you are more, much more, Leona.<br />

Being female is a privilege. By God’s mercy, we are overcomers.<br />

Promise me you’ll remember that.”<br />

“I promise, Mrs. Wickersham,” Leona said.<br />

The widow’s beautiful home wasn’t Leona’s first refuge,<br />

and it wouldn’t be her last. But Leona owed her life to the<br />

charitable widow. True to her beliefs, the widow spent the<br />

last year caring for Leona, a stranger, as if she were kin.<br />

After wandering the Massachusetts countryside for<br />

months, a frightful storm had forced Leona to seek refuge.<br />

She found it on the covered porch of a massive<br />

white-framed house, the lightning causing it to shine like<br />

a lighthouse. She collapsed on the porch swing just as<br />

the housemaid, Nellie, came out to rescue the potted<br />

chrysanthemums.<br />

Nellie’s daughter, Justine, was buried yesterday. Today<br />

they interred the local caretaker’s nephew, Luke Harris.<br />

Luke’s uncle was Mrs. Wickersham’s groundskeeper.<br />

“I haven’t seen Mr. Harris since they found Luke’s body.<br />

I wonder if he’ll come to the funeral. Chester claims he’s<br />

lying in the cellar cradling a bottle of whiskey. I should’ve<br />

fired that drunkard years ago. He goes missing for days.<br />

Always has,” Mrs. Wickersham said.<br />

Leona closed her eyes. She hadn’t slept well all week,<br />

even though, as Mrs. Wickersham’s ward, she was given<br />

the fanciest bed in the mansion. The glorious feather mattress<br />

once belonged to Mrs. Wickersham’s mother. The<br />

rest of the household slept on muslin bladders stuffed<br />

with straw. But all the luxury in the world couldn’t bring<br />

Leona rest. She was especially burdened, destined for a<br />

lifetime of nightmares. Horses whinnied outside the front<br />

door of the parlor.<br />

“That’ll be Chester with the carriage,” Mrs. Wickersham<br />

said, exiting the room.<br />

Leona followed her, taking tentative steps. She stopped<br />

in front of the large stained glass window on the north<br />

parlor wall, a unique portrayal of Jesus, the Good Shepherd.<br />

In his right hand, he held a crooked staff. In his left<br />

hand, he cradled a wooly lamb. A wolf lurked amongst<br />

the trees in the background.<br />

“Leona, come,” the widow said.<br />

They arrived at the cemetery behind St. John’s Presbyterian<br />

Church at dusk. This year, the brisk fall introduced<br />

the usually peaceful New England town to paranoia and<br />

fear. As the carriage rumbled along, Leona stared at the<br />

30<br />

Black Dress Continued on page 31

Darkest Dress Continued...<br />

tired sky streaked with red and orange. A full moon waited<br />

its turn in the center of the horizon.<br />

Leona first met the deceased, Luke Harris, on a cold winter<br />

day last year. She had been exploring the grounds and<br />

found herself trapped in the hedge maze like an animal as<br />

the last vestiges of heat exuded from the setting sun. Curled<br />

into a ball on the snow-laden path, Leona fought to keep<br />

warm. The next thing she knew, a strong, muscular arm<br />

pulled her up. A young man held her elbow as he guided<br />

her back to the main house, his long dirty fingernails pressing<br />

through her sleeve. Justine introduced him as the<br />

groundskeeper’s nephew, Luke.<br />

When Leona lifted her face to thank him, she couldn’t<br />

speak. She froze all over again as soon as she viewed his icy<br />

blue eyes. For years, eyes like his had appeared in her<br />

dreams. She obsessed over them, though not in a romantic<br />

sense. It was an obsession much less pleasant.<br />

Besides, Luke loved Justine, and it was obvious Justine<br />

welcomed his affections. Her thin cheeks flushed every time<br />

he entered the room. Leona sensed they’d become more<br />

than mere admirers months ago. Nellie, Justine’s mother,<br />

didn’t know. It wasn’t Leona’s place to tell her. Besides, she<br />

had other concerns.<br />

Those icy blue eyes were now trapped inside a pine coffin,<br />

but they continued to haunt Leona. For her, blue-rimmed<br />

irises symbolized failure. The preacher’s low voice interrupted<br />

Leona’s thoughts.<br />

“’Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of<br />

death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me. Thy rod and<br />

Thy staff, they comfort me.’”<br />

Pallbearers lowered the casket into the freshly-dug grave.<br />

Leona scratched her collarbone. She considered the garment<br />

she wore today that, like her, was more. The dark dress<br />

was a smart wool tartan with silver weft threads. Its beauty<br />

was twofold. A simple, yet attractive style, it also kept out the<br />

cold and repelled stains.<br />

Mrs. Wickersham’s gift—the black bonnet—weighed on<br />

Leona’s petite head, resting on the twisted bun of kinked<br />

ebony hair gathered at the nape of her neck. Her coifed<br />

mass of dark curls was pierced with a silver hairpin, the only<br />

item of her mother’s she possessed after her parents died,<br />

leaving her a wandering orphan. Leona was never truly alone<br />

though. Death accompanied her like a shadow.<br />

A long howl from the nearby forest interrupted the<br />

preacher’s Old Testament reading. The circle of mourners<br />

gasped. Mothers clutched their children, and the men’s eyes<br />

scanned the woods for movement as they reached for their<br />

rifles.<br />

“Everyone, remain calm!” the magistrate shouted. He gathered<br />

his deputies and they approached the tree line located<br />

a few yards away from the cemetery. The fearsome bellow of<br />

the mysterious predator, longer and louder this time, caused<br />

some of the men to step back.<br />

Mrs. Wickersham’s eyes followed the men progressing into<br />

the forest. She turned to Leona.<br />

Her chair was empty.<br />

“Leona, where are you?”<br />

The forest was littered with fallen leaves and dead<br />

branches, but Leona’s footsteps were silent. She glided<br />

through the trees in search of the creature. As she tracked<br />

the beast, she remembered the pale blue eyes of the animal<br />

that ripped out Justine’s throat. Leona had arrived on the<br />

scene too late to save her.<br />

Mrs. Wickersham didn’t know how right she was. Leona<br />

was indeed more than a poor little orphan girl. She possessed<br />

an ancient strength and an ancient burden.<br />

Turning at the sound of a cracking limb, Leona faced the<br />

beast. Clouds of hot breath puffed into the chilly air from its<br />

snarling snout as it paced back and forth over the dead foliage.<br />

The impatient moon pierced the trees and illuminated<br />

the frosty ground.<br />

“Mr. Harris, why didn’t you tell Luke about his heritage? He<br />

just turned eighteen. You promised to explain things to him<br />

before the next full moon. We could have helped him handle<br />

his condition. Now Justine is dead. And their baby.”<br />

The groundskeeper, in the form of a gray and brown wolf<br />

with silver-blue eyes, growled and leaned back on its<br />

haunches. Mr. Harris was gone. The animal before her possessed<br />

no reason or logic, only the instinct to attack first.<br />

“Don’t fight me. You’ll lose,” Leona threatened.<br />

Without hesitation, the wolf lunged.<br />

Leona thrust her mother’s sterling silver hairpin into its<br />

hairy throat and waited for the life to drain out of its icy blue<br />

eyes. The animal’s blood dripped on her dark dress.<br />

Back at the grave, a mourner tossed a shovelful of dirt<br />

onto Luke Harris’s casket.<br />

Sign up for D. Marie’s Author Newsletter at daysoftheguardian@wordpress.com<br />

for book release announcements<br />

and other news. Thanks for reading! *** All Rights Reserved.<br />

This excerpt may not be copied or quoted without the permission<br />

of the author. “The Good Shepherd” by D. Marie<br />

Prokop © 2017<br />


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