FOR the past six months activists across Scotland have been sitting in their homes, or in gathered groups, knitting squares in wool colours that represent the land, the sea or the sky. Their clicking needles have also created honey bees, flowers, bugs and birds.

These are an Extinction Rebellion group called Knitstinction Rebellion, and what they are doing is often described as craftivism. Mass die-ins, blocked roads and fake blood sprays, of the type Extinction Rebellion have become known for, are not the only way to change the world. You can also knit your way to a better one. Or crochet. Or embroider. Activism, after all, has many threads, and the needle of protest already has a long history, dating back to the suffragettes and beyond. It’s also having a bit of a moment now.

Craftivist Collective’s 10-point manifesto was used by the World Wildlife Fund in a campaign that led to the changing of a law to protect migratory birds. It’s an approach she has been honing for the last 10 years, on a journey that began on a five-hour train ride to Glasgow. She was working for the Department for International Development at the time and taking a Pendolino train whose swaying she knew would make it hard for her to read work papers or answer emails, so she decided that instead she would pick up a cross-stitch set of a teddy bear picture.


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