On the weekend I attended a fancy dress party with the theme of Nerdy Obsessions. In between the storm troopers, star trek uniforms, miriad of Dr Who’s and random Lord of the Rings characters, there was one girl in blue jeans, knitted cardigan, with beanie, scarf and clutching double pointed needles which had the beginnings of another project on them. Who would have thought that I would have met another girl knitting at a party? I went up excitedly and asked her what she was making, which turned out to be a matching beanie to the one she was wearing, which she’d finished that afternoon. We had a quick chat about knitting in general and then suddenly, a horrifing thought dawned on me.
“Did you bring your knitting because you carry it around or because it’s a nerdy obsession?”
She grinned and said, “Because it’s a nerdy obsession.”
My heart sank. Not only because craft is kind of a nerdy obsession, but also because inbetween all the geeks chatting to each other about their favourite star wars villian and arguing about the best Bab 5 episode ever, that I’d spotted a knitter and rushed over to talk about knitting in exactly the same way. Also, because I had my knitting in the car purely because I carry it around to do when there’s a couple of minutes of downtime.
Needless to say, Jude found the whole thing hilarious.
I sat down for a minute and then decided that if she could knit at the party, then I’d go get my knitting and do it too.
After a couple of hours we decided to leave, so I packed up my knitting and started the rounds of goodbyes. I went up to the young craft lady and asked her how many rows she’d done. She replied that she’d been mostly talking so not many.
I’d been talking all night, and still did 47 rows.
Never mind. We all have our obsessions.
Speaking of which, I’m most of the way through No Idle Hands, the social history of knitting in America. It’s an awesome book and I’ve really enjoyed reading it. There was a quite a lot on pioneer women and children, and necessity knitting, blankets, stockings ect, and how during the Civil War and then again during the first world war, it was considered a lady’s duty to knit as many socks, jumpers, helmets (balaclavas), scarves and mittens for the boys overseas. It was all the rage to hold Knitting Teas where all the ladies sat around and chatted while knitting. Aside from those nation-wide orgainsed knit-ins, it also talks about fairs and markets where knitting and craft work was sold, usually for charity, and how after the families needs were met, that ladies often got together to create things for those less fortuntate than themselves. Just like in Pollyanna, Ladies Aid societies sprung up all around the country.
Although it’s strictly an American History book, I do think that a lot of it would be true for Australian women too, and reading it only feeds my desire to find out more about Australian craft history.