Thursday, January 6, 2011

Stiches Create A Connection To The Past

I believe that I have mentioned that I have been in process of learning to circular knit with four needles. I would love to be able to make mittens,socks,sweaters,etc for the family. I have a book that is very good in describing all the steps I need to do,but some of the steps as a newbie took a while to figure out. I finally know what K2TOG and SSK are,so I don't have to refer back to the book to see how to do it. I still drop stitches,and my work isn't the smoothest.I do know that all comes with time and practice,and at some point my knitting projects will look just as lovely as some of the work I have seen at craft fairs.

I am probably more surprised than anyone at how much I enjoy knitting.When I was younger,it did not appeal to me-it seemed like something old ladies did. However,our new life direction led me to learn this skill,and I am enjoying it immensely. I also have new appreciation for the time that is involved in any knitting project.

Right now I am working on my first pair of socks. I used my foot as measurement. The first sock wound up being big enough to fit Rick! Hmm. I think I know where I messed up,so I am trying the smallest measurement for my second sock.I think I measured from the wrong spot on the sock. My first sock has several dropped stitches that I attempted to work back into the work. This second sock I have started and restarted four times. I am a few rows into the upper cuff of the sock,which is a K2 P2,with each row beginning and ending after the marker.

While I was casting on stitches for the third time,I started to think about  back when women would make all the clothes for the family,from shirts down to underwear. Sewing,knitting,and crocheting require a lot of patience. As I sat there
gamely knitting and purling,I imagined that it was up to me to provide the family with warm socks,otherwise,no one would have any. I felt pressure to knit faster. How could I ever provide socks in a timely manner for my family? It takes hours for one pair. What if I had to provide entire wardrobes? Sheets? Pillowcases? How could I ever get all this done? I would fail my family miserably. They would have cold feet,be naked,and sleep on a bare mattress and pillow if they had to wait for me. Let alone the fact that I can't sew!

Of course,if I lived "back in the day",I would've learned at a very young age how to sew,knit,and crochet. It would be second nature. As the woman of the house,it would be one of my duties to make things for the family.I would be able to  provide clothes,underwear,socks,sheets,pillowcases,and  lovely lace to make things pretty. By the time I reached my ripe old age of 43,I would be able to whip out things quickly because I would be doing it so much.

Is it any wonder that when we read about this time in history that women were,for the most part,cooking,cleaning,and sewing? Cooking and cleaning didn't take up too much time (houses back then were not big,nor did folks own much,so maintenance didn't require hours and hours on a daily basis),but sewing takes a while. In the "Little House" books,after the cooking and cleaning are done,Ma is always sitting her rocker,knitting. Or she is sewing something. The girls as well. Even Mary can sew or knit after she has lost her sight.

This is another skill that while it is not lost,it's not necessary. We have stores where we can buy whatever we want,whenever we want. I think it's rather sad. I have found more insight in a pair of socks  created from my own hands than I ever had in a package from a store.

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