55.3 F
Bellingham
Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Local knits collar for Justice Ginsburg

Eowyn Savela wears the lace collar knitted for Justice Ginsburg. // Photo courtesy of Riveters Collective

By Kiahna White-Alcain

For Eowyn Savela, president of the women’s empowerment group Riveters Collective, what started out as an idea from a documentary quickly turned into a dream come true.

Savela said she received a handwritten letter from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after she and other members of Riveters Collective mailed Ginsburg a letter and a handmade knit-lace collar for her to wear.

Justice Ginsburg’s response, dated April 5, was written to express her gratitude, reading: “The collar will suit my new robe perfectly … Huge appreciation for an effort that touched me deeply.”

Originally named “Pantsuit Bellingham,” Riveters Collective started as an open Facebook group as a way to keep a “women forward” theme following the results of the 2016 election. The inspiration behind “Riveters” came from “Rosie the Riveter” after her empowerment through women stepping up to get the job done in World War II.

Founded and created by Elizabeth Hartsoch the day after the presidential election, Riveters Collective came from a desire to create a collective mindset. Savela said empowering the group as a whole is the main focus.

“I had a need that other people also had,” Hartsoch said. “I don’t know that there was anything special about me except that I said ‘I needed this’ and I was gonna make it happen.”

For many, the day after the 2016 election was a hard pill to swallow, Hartsoch said. She said she knew that in order for her to find her footing and have a voice, she had to do something. The creation of Riveters Collective at the time was looked at to be a Facebook page of 40 of her friends. She never thought it would turn into what it is today, she said. The Riveters Collective now has over 4,000 members in their Facebook group.

Riveters Collective is a nonprofit brought together by in members Whatcom, Skagit and San Juan County, however, most of the members live in Whatcom County. The group maintains a reputation of being inclusive to everyone, Savela said.

According to Savela, many of the women that run the nonprofit are all working mothers with jobs outside of the group.

“We do this in our spare time,” Savela said. “We are all just regular people… kind of making our way as we go.”

After watching the 2018 documentary “RBG,” Savela said she was instantly inspired. In the documentary, one scene features Ginsburg showing her closet full of mostly handmade collars that people have made for her, which was the start of the idea.

“Seeing that they were handmade and people have made them I thought ‘oh I could do that, I’m gonna do that. Why not?’” Savela said.

Nearly a month went by before the plan was fully executed, Savela said. Early in 2019, Riveters Collective started holding monthly meet-ups at different happy hours and get-togethers around town.

Savela said she finally found time to execute her idea, and after finding a beautiful lace pattern online, she began the project.

The lace collar knitted for Justice Ginsburg. // Photo courtesy of Riveters Collective

“I thought it would be more meaningful if we could involve more people than just me making this thing,” Savela said.

After more happy hours, board meetings and group gatherings, the collar was brought together by multiple people, some only doing a stitch or two.

Little did they know, the power of knitting and a handwritten letter could inspire so much. Hartsoch said she never thought something like knitting would get Ginsburg’s attention.

“In our efforts, all kinds of skills are valuable,” Hartsoch said. “Knitting is a valuable skill in advancing what we’re trying to advance, and if knitting is a valuable skill, then everybody has skills that are valuable.”

Something like knitting is typically seen as a woman’s task, which proves there are stereotypes that come with certain skills, Hartsoch said. Riveters Collectives is starting to break that mold.

“All of these skills and tasks that are traditionally associated with women are valuable in what we’re trying to build,” Hartsoch said.

The efforts behind Riveters Collective have not gone unnoticed. What started as a documentary watch party, a fun hobby and a way to show their appreciation has turned into words of encouragement from Ginsberg herself.

“This is totally craftivism,” Savela said. “We are women-led, regular people, making a difference.”

To the efforts that touched many, Ginsburg’s appreciation are best shown through a handwritten note and a promise to wear the collar.

“The collar will suit my new robe perfectly. I will wear it during the last sitting period of the current term and many times thereafter,” read Ginsburg’s letter.

To learn more, visit https://riveterscollective.org/ and join their Facebook group to support their mission.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

3,950FansLike
1,241FollowersFollow
5,463FollowersFollow
0SubscribersSubscribe

Must Read

Resident advisers hold open forum with university officials to discuss concerns

Written by: Bram Briskorn and Questen Inghram Over 300 people packed into Arntzen Hall, room 100 as if it were...

Sports: Pros and cons of Seahawks’ NFL draft pick Malik McDowell

Why did the Seahawks go after a defensive tackle with their first selection in the 2017 NFL draft? Coming off...

The history of the KKK in Bellingham

By Emily Stout You may think of the Ku Klux Klan as a distant monster, an organization that tormented the South....

Latest News

Western suffers $11 million loss due to remote quarter

 Losses attributed to reduction in student residents, state funding By Connor...

How the mask mandate looks in Whatcom County

Everything to know about how local jurisdictions are handling the order By Connor Benintendi

Call your grandparents

The isolation caused by the pandemic is hitting older groups harder, it’s our job to help them stay connected.

Commercial fishing industry braces for strange season

 Upcoming local, Alaskan fishing season will be seeing low prices, high uncertainty Boats in Squalicum...

Staying healthy is essential right now, no matter the method

Many are turning to simple self-care practices in order to promote their own health. // Illustration by Julia Vreeman

More Articles Like This