Women have always been known for working with their hands. If we’re not doing intricate needlework, then it might be putting up preserves or canned food, or maybe mastering the fine arts of crochet and knitting. Housework is probably the one thing we all have in common; certainly nothing would get done if not by hand.
There is something satisfying, deeply satisfying about doing things by hand. In today’s digital world oftentimes that takes us no further than typing out an email or quickly texting off a message without hardly thinking about it at all. Yet, those “hand-made” endeavors just don’t seem to fit the bill.
When I was growing up, my mom loved to sew. She taught me how to thread a needle, then how to work her sewing machine. Little by little it dawned on me that I could create something out of literally, nothing. Start with some scissors and a pattern, and end with sewing on hooks and eyes and hems. Then, being able to wear what I made was the best part of all.
When I was in high school, my best friend’s mother knitted. She would buy knitting kits from Herrschner’s, then she would put together the most intriguing afghans I had ever seen. It wasn’t long before Marlene and I were sitting down with knitting needles, figuring out how to cast on. Our first projects were terrible; but that’s how you learn.
Something kept us coming back. Even after we both were married with children and living far away from each other.
Knitting has an expression all its own. Nothing else seems to be able to take its place. Over the years, knitting has evolved into the type of craft that you can use for just about anything. Whether you wear it or not, knitting is there. What’s its secret?
In the culture we live in, being “somebody” seems to be so important. Tweets and video’s are all around us; these vehicles are ways of giving us areas of self-expression.
So, knitting is also a wonderful way of showing others who we are. That’s why it has gained in popularity over the years. That, and the fact that knitting can be done by yourself, but also in a crowd. Nothing seems more satisfying than getting together with your friends or co-workers, or other knitting enthusiasts in the light and warmth of your local yarn shop or your living room, and just knitting. Talking and knitting, what could be better?
It is well documented how healing knitting can be. If you want to bring your blood pressure down, then pick up a set of knitting needles. The gentle click-clack of the needles is almost mesmerizing. We knit to help us through difficulties; nothing seems to soothe my troubled soul quite like knitting.
In other areas of life, such as sickness or grief, knitting is there. Creating little preemie caps or prayer shawls, helps us as well as the person receiving the gift. Once you understand the beauty and the purpose of “giving” in your knitting, you will be changed forever.
Say what you like, but I love a beautiful home. I love my home filled with precious treasures, memories from a lifetime, gifts thoughtfully given to me over time. And in between the flowers and crystal and other finery, there is my knitting. Lacy afghans or colorful placemats, pretty washcloths in colonial colors, shrugs for cool weather and sweaters for cold. Scarves, of course, for all seasons.
Housewifery seemed to take some bad raps until the idea of “home” as another way to be creative took its rightful place in society. Martha Stewart showed us how to be masters of “homekeeping” Now, no matter where we live, big or small, there is always room for domesticity. Here there is a gentleness, a refinement that we oftentimes don’t find in the greater culture.
That’s the biggest secret of all: creating our world and its beauty. It comes from us. It’s not “out there”, but inside. We make it what it is. To going from room to room at sunset and clicking on the window candles, to cultivating flowers in our garden and watching the hummingbirds flit contentedly all summer long. Beauty within our homes has a lot to do with cookies baking in the oven and cozy evening suppers enjoyed by generations together or just the two of you.
When all is said and done, knitting is a wonderful craft, not only to know, but also to pass down to our children and grandchildren. I am waiting for the day I can sit with my granddaughter and teach her how to cast on, too. There are some things that only Grammy can do best!
Just writing about knitting makes me long to pick up my needles and finish the mohair scarf that I want to be just the right length. Then I can get busy with the other three projects pending. It just never ends; the knitting. There are always good reasons to knit.
That’s why women knit. For the love of it. For its beauty. For all it speaks to us. And what it will say not only about today, but for all of our tomorrows.
Take your knitting to heart!