There are a couple of scenarios that come to mind in which I feel affirmed and euphoric in my bi+ identity. One of these scenarios is when I wear my handmade crocheted bi flag hand warmers. I love wearing them underneath a baggy sweater or coat in the wintertime. It feels good to wear a pride flag, and to literally wear my identity on my sleeve. Not everyone in public is familiar with the bisexual flag colors; however, those who are give you that affirming head nod and smile in public. Others will tell you in a discreet way that “they love your handwarmers.”
The experience of buying the yarn to make the handwarmers was euphoric in and of itself. I bought a skein of yarn that had the colors of the bisexual flag, and I also bought a skein of yarn with the colors of the lesbian flag so I could make some hand warmers for my friends. I was excited to find these skeins of yarn in the craft store. The employee checking me out at the counter was a trans man, wearing a bracelet of the trans flag colors. He also had a pride pin on his apron. I was with my mom who wasn’t familiar with the different flag colors. The man behind the counter ringing up the yarn pointed to the two specific yarn skeins of the flag colors and said, “I really like these ones.” The interaction in the store was an example of one of those moments where two members of the LGBTQIA+ community recognized one another in public and acknowledged it in a subtle way. I thought it was so awesome and the exchange made my day.
Crocheting and textile arts in general are affirming for me. I know there is a decent amount of queer history involved with the textile arts, specifically in relation to queer women. I see a lot of other gay women and non-binary textile artists online, which is super cool. I really love seeing other queer artists who design their own knitting and crochet patterns. It makes me feel like I am a part of a larger community of textile artists. I also really love and appreciate that stores carry skeins of yarn with different pride flag colors pre-mixed in, because of the handmade products that are generated from them. I’ve given my friends handwarmers and have even sold some other pairs online, which makes me feel great knowing that someone out there will be wearing something that makes them feel affirmed and proud of their identity.
Clara, @cleekaa on Instagram, is an artist and college student based in Michigan. She enjoys knitting, crocheting, drawing, painting, writing, going birdwatching, and frequenting her city’s local soup shop.