My Favourite T-Shirt

I have had this t-shirt for over 20 years. I got it while living in Kingston, Ontario, which at the time was home to the notoriously decrepit P4W (or Prison for Women). The local Elizabeth Fry society was very active and sold these shirts as a fundraiser.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Elizabeth Fry, she was an Englishwoman (1780-1845) who did a tremendous amount of work to improve the lives of women and children who were held in prisons. Since her death, the Elizabeth Fry Society has continued to uphold her principles and advocate for the rights of women in the justice system.

I haven't had any involvement with the justice system, but I do knit. I loved this shirt the moment I saw it, and I still love it today. But it's a lot harder to explain than it used to be.

Twenty years ago, knitting was definitely not the wildly hip and popular activity it is now. A ladies knitting circle signified all that was quaint and sedate, and so it would be most unexpected for those ladies to be involved in anything political or controversial. Elizabeth may have been a bit of a radical, but was also reportedly admired by Queen Victoria. And twenty years ago "terrorist" was not the charged term it is today. Back then, this was simply a witty, slightly provocative image to wear on a shirt.

I still wear it, but try to stay out of airports when I have it on.

P.S. Blogger tells me this is my 600th post. Unbelievable! Here's my first...


  1. Great t-shirt, Heather! Gee, I wouldn't try to cross the US border wearing it either. I have 20-year-old t-shirts too but none of them are quite so subversive as yours. My favourite says "She who dyes with the most fiber wins!"

  2. Anonymous7:58 PM

    Consider yourself very, very lucky to be living in one of the few places left on the planet where humour is allowed to retain its subversiveness. Humour is supposed to poke fun at the Emperors in our lives wearing no clothes! 9/11 took care of that though. Oh, and better not use the T word in any of your e-mails either because we all know now that basically all forms of electronic communication are being monitored. Wear your t-shirt proudly on wonderful Gabriola where enough people remember a past that, while not perfect, had a wicked sense of humour.

  3. Anonymous10:26 AM

    congrats on 600, quite an achievement. love the first one. the photo is lovely, I'd wear that t-shirt close to home!

  4. This t-shirt reminds me that I want to read Derrick Jensen's novel (can't remember the exact title, but it's about a "terrorist" knitting group that goes after rapists), something I've thought about while flying and knitting. . .

    I also read your first blog entry and related so strongly to all you expressed there: the notion of "plenty" amid "scarcity" and how this plays out in our lives.

  5. Congrats on your 600th post! Are you afraid that the TSA will confiscate your knitting needles if you were to wear your favorite t-shirt to the airport? ;)


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