You know, a long time ago when I was in my early twenties, in my second year of work after finishing Uni, 1983, I was happily knitting in my lunch hour along with several other co workers when the hospital social worker came in and clucked at us something about knitting being a away of keeping womens feelings in check, a way of controlling women and stopping them from speaking their minds, that our strong feelings were knitted up in our knitting and we were being subjugated because of it.
I have never forgotten her statement, it struck me to the core.
Mad militant feminist?
I do think she reflected the negative attitude towards what were seen as women's crafts in that time, as if women's traditional handiwork was to be valued less because it was something traditionally done in the home, valued less by women because it was done by women for free!
I remember feeling crushed,feeling guilty and a bit stupid.
Was I letting the side down because I loved to knit?
What feelings were tied up and knotted into my knitting?
Surely if I enjoyed knitting and did it of my own free will the only negative could possibly be that I spent too much money on yarn.
I don't think that strange notion still exists, does it?
Every woman in my extended family when I was a child was a knitter ( except Grannie who did crochet instead) and I can't remember them being bitter and twisted.
I do remember them as people who just got on and got things done and seemed pretty happy with their lot most of the time.
I honestly can't imagine living without knitting.
I do it because I love it, I love everything about it except perhaps knitting the second sleeve - always a bother that one.
Oh and sewing everything together can be a trial.
I knit for pleasure not monetary profit, except for the dolly clothes I guess.
I love that we can all get some great extra feedback by putting our finished projects up on our blogs and in Flickr and at Ravelry.
I love the supportive online craft community.
Is there anything better than selecting some yarn, some needles, a pattern either from your head or from a book, finding a cosy comfortable spot, perhaps with an easy to read magazine or book or an old movie on the TV and settling in to start?
You cast on do a few rows, happy with the size, the feel, the look.
OK, it's time to go get that cuppa and perhaps a biscuit or two, not chocolate though or cake - too messy.
Now you can really settle for as long as you can manage, maybe just until the end of your cuppa or maybe until the end of the movie - doesn't matter because you'll be able to find some more time later.
It is joy, isn't it, sometimes frustration and sometimes I guess like when you knit when you sit with a sick child in hospital you maybe are knitting your worried feelings into your work but they are the worried feelings of love.
I can't knit when I am angry, can you?
Knitting is such a pedestrian activity, anyone can do it, and you can do it anywhere and sometimes what you are knitting looks like nothing special but I can remember Stephen saying to the children when they were young that it was amazing that so many warm, cuddly and useful things could be made from just a length of wool and a couple of pointy sticks.
And no Kate, I rarely swatch and I rarely block and I didn't know it was a sin and I have been knitting for 45 years.
And my mother and aunts who have been knitting since the year dot don't swatch or block either.
I do steam things into shape sometimes, does that count?
But the best thing about making stuff is that you can make up your own rules and change the rules any time you like.
Read Rhonda's post to find out what knitting means to her.