knitting, hand mirror

I am appreciating knitting more and more. Right now as I try and fit in a few rows as many times in the day as I can, hoping to make a lovely parcel up for Lyra as soon as possible, I'm noticing the power of knitting for reflective time.

In some ways knitting takes absolutely ages. In an age where I can pick up a ready made jersey or fleece from the charity shops the Warehouse or many other shops for a few dollars and five minutes of my time, the time involved in making a jersey is e-nor-mous. The number of hours involved in Lyra's wee jacket are the gift I want to give to my friend who is so far away, but they also seem faintly ridiculous at times. I am delighted that when I was cold and in need of practical gardening warmth not long ago, I walked into the Sallies and found what I wanted easily and for just a few bucks. I'm wearing one of the two fleecy finds right now.

In other ways knitting is undemanding and gives a sense of achievement when there are other things I care about a lot but cannot control foremost in my mind. I've done about 30 rows of the hood today, alongside cleaning the dining room, making brownies, making meat loaf, feeding the chooks, tending to toddler wounds and collecting poo - Brighid currently fancies herself as a dog in her toileting patterns as far as I can work out. The knitting is tangible and lasting while tomorrow everyone will be hungry again, need to poo again and already the children have begun to recolonise the dining room with toys and projects.

After a gap of too long, I bought the Guardian Weekly in the weekend. The feeling of brainfood is wonderful. I really enjoyed the review by Kathryn Hughes of Amanda Vickery's book Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England. I've been having a wee google of Amanda Vickery since and wish we lived in a university town with a university library again... Mostly permaculture and the sound of the sea and being mostly at home with the children and making bread and blah blah is enough. Mostly. Hughes on Vickery's latest book:

But perhaps the most important chapter in this book is the one that tries
to understand female craft work. Late 20th-century feminists saw such
fiddly productions as a symbol of female repression. Other scholars have
tried to see subtle subversion stitched into these activities. Vickery
argues that we have lost the ability to read all those handmade quilts laboured
over by women who could have afforded to buy the finished thing. The fact
that so many of these items have survived suggests that they were valued, not
just by the maker but by her family and heirs. We should at least try to
understand that they were executed with pride and pleasure.

Vickery wrote an article on the bluestockings and art which I enjoyed here.

I've been reading and enjoying this kiwi feminist blog - the Hand Mirror. I think it's time I sharpened up my feminist thoughts. Not long ago I was reading a blog I have often frequented this year and that day was all about making your own dishwashing liquid and dreams of washing the dishes with daughters-in-law wearing dresses. It was a pivotal moment as I realised I did not want to go down this path. I've been doing the frugal simple living thing but I am not about to do the traditional female roles boxes and expecting that from the next generation. NO!

I will still be gardening and cooking and knitting and sewing but I'm also getting ready for a bit more outside the home work, a bit more focus on literature and learning. I've been noticing some scary things in our town on the expectations of girls front and I want more for me and for Brighid.


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