I knit. And I cook, write, take pictures. All for one low price.

Monday, December 15, 2008


I am posting today because I truly need you to help me understand something.

Do you remember this felted bag I made in September?

I brought it to this past weekend's craft fair, thinking that someone might like it and buy it. In the end, it didn't sell, which did not break my heart. But I also didn't want to take it back home, so I decided to give it to my craft fair neighbors. (Earlier in the day, I had also given away some kid's hats and a little girl's scarf to another fellow crafter who has two children. Everyone there was happy.)

So I'm walking to the next table, holding up the bag, and asking the young couple if they'd like a free felted bag. They took a look and told me, "No thank you, we're vegans." They had been selling vegan wallets made from recycled feed bags and part of their proceeds were going to an animal rescue place. I proceeded to tell them that no sheep or alpaca had died in the making of this bag, indeed all the animals simply get a haircut once or twice a year and then they are on their merry way.

The vegans said, "Yeah, but they die eventually." I suppose they meant that they will not support anyone who will use animals for human gain. They eyed the bag and me with a mixture of revulsion and an 'I wouldn't touch that with a ten-foot pole' kind of look.

I guess in all the years of sort of knowing about veganism, it never occurred to me that it is possible to turn down human kindness over the supposed suffering of a sheep. If you can't be humane and kind to your craftfair neighbors, how can you be humane and kind towards animals? I realized later that almost everyone at the fair had stopped by my table and commented positively about the yarn and the knitted items. My vegan neighbors had barely said hello.

I was a bit stunned -- and trust me I work with vegans, I am familiar with the philosophy of it all. I am not naive, nor ignorant. Heck, I'm a vegetarian. But I was stunned nonetheless. I managed to turn around and ask another crafter if she would have any use for the bag; and she said, with a smile, that she would not but today was her mother's birthday and if it was OK...? I said, "Yes, of course! And Happy Birthday to her!"

So it was all good in the end.


AlisonH said...

It's a beautiful bag, and I would have had a very hard time giving it up for adoption in the first place. Wow. I'm stunned at the coldness of those people when you were trying to offer the best of yourself to them and their blindness towards being generously dealt with. Wow.

How I see it: they were living by what they fear--and thinking it made them morally superior, at the same time.

You were living by how you love.

Bonnie said...

You were kind and generous - that's all you can do. Don't worry about them!

Kristine said...

That's a part of vegan mentality that I've encountered, and quite frankly, it bugs the heck out of me. I have a whole long rant about how humans aren't designed to be vegetarians, and blah blah blah, and while I kind of understand the basic vegan point of view, I just... it bugs me. Or maybe it's that I don't have a problem with vegans, as in people who don't eat meat, dairy, or eggs, but I have a problem with Vegans, who tend to look down on people who do.

As you say; if you can't be nice to your fellow humans, what's the point in being nice to animals? And truly -- at this point, sheep have been bread to the point where NOT sheering them would be brutal and cruel. You want to be mad about it, go bug the breeders a couple hundred years ago.

I'll stop the rant now. I'm sorry they were mean to you. You did not deserve that. Sending you love. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Karin, There are some people who are so insecure that they do not feel good unless they make someone else feel bad. It has nothing to do with being a vegan, it has to do with being an asshole. Forget about them. They don't deserve your generosity. Cathy

poorsusan said...

Craziness....if the sheep didn't get sheared on a regular basis, they would be in arms because of animal cruelty.

So they don't wear leather shoes? or have leather in their cars?

I can appreciate the dietary restrictions, but some of the attitude I can do without.

SpiderWomanKnits said...

I think they are taking it to a whole 'notha level! Sheesh. How do they live in their own skin then? Trim their nails? Did they have super long hair? How silly.

Karin, you are such a generous person. what a lovely birthday surprise for that ladies mum :-)

Vivian said...

I'm glad a lucky mom has your bag now. Like you said, how can we be kind to animals if we can't do so to our fellow human. I hope these people find peace with whatever they eat and use, because some research shows that plants have feelings too.

Mare said...

I understand that some folks have strong feelings about their own beliefs, aned that is fine. But they have no right to impose those beliefs on others, and there is NO reason to be RUDE. I would have been thrilled and honored to have that beautiful bag. You offered it out of love and generosity from your heart. Whatever they did in return was their bad karma...I agree with Vivian...Don't they eat?Don't they know that plants have feelings too? I feel fortunate to have found you and to have some of your lovely yarn...

leah said...

come to think of it, when i chatted with them they looked at me as though i was a bad smell. it takes all kinds i suppose. it's important that there are people out there fighting for animal rights but how about be kind to fellow humans at the same time.

magnusmog said...

I think that even though the bag may have gone against their principles, it would have been possible to refuse your offer with a little more grace and humanity.

Some people think that what they believe is so right that it is quite permissible to be rude, sanctimonious and mean, regardless of what it is they believe in. I've experienced that with religious people and also vegans.

I try not to waste my energy on people like that and to spend my time enjoying the people who are a joy to be with no matter who they believe in or whether they eat turkey or tofu.

Good thing is, your bag will make someone happy :)

Leslie said...

I'm very happy they are recycling plastic bags into wallets, etc., but I think they were rude. Please don't judge all Vegans by their attitudes and actions. I'm sure there are some pleasant ones out there.

jackie said...

Karin, the truth is there is no justification for their behavior. Their display of lack of ( no word to nicely describe) certainly doesn't help their cause. and by the way sorry to have missed the fair.I was without power,heat ,water and ammenities from early Fri. morn until late Tues. I hope you'll post some more upcoming fairs.

lori h said...

I was a lucky recipient of a gorgeous bowl at the fair the week before. Your kindness and generosity has touched me ever since. Every time I walk by the bowl I smile. Thank you, you made my first craft fair as a vendor a joyous experience and I look forward to the next one and to seeing all of the lovely people I met that day. I am sorry to hear of this response you recieved. Isn't it a shame and ironic that thier craft is from feed bags. Shouldn't they be making something out of tofu boxes? thank you for making my holidays brighter. lh

jmp said...

I'm of the opinion that animals and people can co-exist and cooperate, which is, I guess, why I'll never be a vegan. I'm not anti-hunting, for instance, as long as you're hunting for food and not for sport or material goods.