I always tell people that I am beyond blessed by my Knit Squad. I don’t even know how I am lucky enough to have landed in such good company. People who not only encourage my knits and fiber love but also help me be a better person. As I continue to use this space to feature spotlights on various makers and people in the fiber community, I thought I would introduce you to one of my squad: Cecilia Nelson-Hurt - also known as Creative CeCi.
I not only asked her our Maker Profile Questions but, as she is a professional in the field of Diversity & Inclusion, I thought I would also ask her thoughts on the current conversation of diversity and inclusion. She is after all the one who told me about the #Diversknitty hashtag on Instagram last fall.
Let me shine the Stitch & Hustle Spotlight ON: Creative CeCi!
1. Tell Us all about YOU?
Hey there, my name is Cecilia Nelson-Hurt, known in the fiber community as “Creative Ceci”. I am a Native New Yorker, with roots in the country of Panama. I would currently consider myself more of a knitter than a crocheter. I was first introduced to the fiber crafts by my maternal Grandmother, who taught me how to crochet when I was a child. I reconnected and recaptured this love when I taught myself to knit almost 20 years ago. I’m been in knitting heaven ever since…although occasionally, I’ll still whip up something crochet.
2. Do you fiber for love and hobby or is this your J-O-B? Or a bit of both? Share a bit of your fiber journey with us.
For me, my love of fiber is a lifestyle, not quite a job, and definitely more than a just hobby. I knit EVERYWHERE I go and plan many local and global adventures around fiber Whether it’s to attend a local yarn shop or a fiber festival, it’s on my list.
I started knitting shortly after September 11. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I would shortly thereafter develop a debilitating fear of flying. This was problematic as I was recruiter, and needed to travel constantly for my job. Knitting would grow to become the soothing balm that helped me, not only move pass my fear of flying, but also be a lifeline for me during times of grief. Knitting is the thing that kept me connected and helped me to hold it together when at times things around me seemed to be falling apart.
I’m also blessed to have an incredibly supportive “yarn husband” who enjoys visiting yarn shops on our travels almost as much as I do.
To this day, knitting remains my main tool to release stress at the end of a tough day.
3. What is the most cherished thing you ever made for someone else? Who is truly knit worthy?
Many years ago, a dear friend was battling cancer. I wanted to gift something that she would not only use, but something that signified strength and power as she went through rounds of treatment. I found the perfect throw blanket pattern, something she could come home and snuggle under as she rested and recharged. As I knitted the throw, I said prayers of healing and strength knowing that my friend would later be wrapped in my prayers. That was over 10 years ago and I’m thrilled that she’s not only cancer free, but also still has and uses the blanket I made for her.
Someone who is truly knit worthy is a person who appreciates the time, energy and love that goes into creating a handmade gift. A person who will cherish the gift for years to come.
4. What is the favorite thing you made for yourself?
That’s a hard one. This answer changes with the season...my most recent favorites are my Void Shawl by Melanie Berg, my Zweig and Sunset highway sweaters, pattern by Caitlin Hunter. My classic favorites are my 3 color cashmere cowl by Joji Locatelli and my Second Avenue by Amy Miller.
5. Who and/or what inspires you?
My who and my why is my daughter Atrice. She’s my inspiration and motivation. She’s one of the reasons I push myself to achieve my goals and never let the setbacks of life deter me. I want her to know she’s capable of accomplishing anything she sets her mind to, as long as she is focused, works hard, and remains determined.
6. Let’s talk about DiversKnitty Movement. You were the one who told me about the hashtag to begin with. To me it is interesting because I am the minority within my knit squad and am so enriched by that fact. What are your thoughts about Diversknitty and where would you like to see the movement take us?
The conversation on the lack of diversity in many areas of the fiber community is not a new one. In 2019, we saw this conversation reach a fever pitch and get attention on a global scale. I’m happy to see brands, publications, festivals, and others lean in and acknowledge the lack of both diversity and inclusion. I appreciate their actions to take steps to make conscious efforts to be mindful and affect a positive impact. I think it’s important that we all take a step back and closely examine the community to look for opportunities to create lasting change. Open and honest conversations about the lack diversity, inclusion and belonging are not only vital, but necessary in order to move forward. I hope we continue to have the difficult conversations, at times sit with the potential discomfort, and not quickly rush back to knitting as usual. I look forward to seeing true inclusion of all dimensions of diversity, not just gender and race, in every aspect of the fiber community.