WASHINGTON: Knitting aficionados in the United States have got themselves into a knot since the Ravelry website, a kind of Facebook for knitters, decided to ban pro-Trump comments.
Knitters and crocheters were surprised this week to see their quiet hobby become entangled in the raucous arena of American politics.
"We are banning support of Donald Trump and his administration on Ravelry," the website, which has eight million members, announced on Sunday (Jun 23).
"We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy. Support of the Trump administration is undeniably support for white supremacy," it said.
Trump has repeatedly denied racist tendencies but critics accuse him of whipping up xenophobia, and he refused to condemn a 2017 march in Charlottesville, Virginia by torch-bearing neo-Nazis which led to a woman's death.
Ravelry did not specify which government measures it considers racist.
The site reassured members that - whatever their political views - their knitting projects, patterns and other data will never be deleted, even if a project is removed from the website.
"We are not endorsing the Democrats nor banning Republicans," Ravelry said.
"We are definitely not banning conservative politics. Hate groups and intolerance are different from other types of political positions."
Nevertheless, the site's decision left Republican knitters feeling needled. Many took to social media to say they support Trump without considering themselves racist.
A large number cancelled their memberships to Ravelry this week and denounced what they considered its militant politics.
"You know what @ravelry ... Trump is STILL your President and it makes me smile every day!" tweeted conservative author Michelle Hughes, who published a photo of a woollen cap bearing Trump's name.