What a waste of a weekend. I am of the firm opinion that one shall sleep when they are dead, yet that is all I have managed to do. (Oh, and finish off one of my fetching gloves – I haven’t even made a dent the first of my two balls of yarn – and it too is a dream to knit with… at that price, it should be, methinks). I also began my cheat’s lace scarf, and will have to defrog it – I didn’t cast on enough stitches… and I may yet convert it into a masterpiece a la short circuit styles.

But here I am, still abed and feeling miserable, but all is not lost… I am weaving together the threads of a very interesting take on the rise of the need for a national identity – a good century before the generally accepted period of colonial independence and search for a heritage. No, the period under investigation belongs to the French and American Revolutions, and the rise of the machine… the Industrial revolution. Just the thought of how politics and society changed because of progress and a shift in political attitude is quite something. Why wouldn’t you need to reassess what the national identity is after such an upheaval. How much was lost during those decades, and how much is continuing to be lost due to technology and politics? To tie it back to knitting, I just look at my needles and the time, love and pride taken to create things for myself and others to wear and use. I learned how to knit from my grandmother, and she from hers. Knitting is timeless and part of my heritage. People have knitting, spinning, weaving, crocheting, and embroidering for millennia. Yarn-craft may be becoming less and less familiar as the generations wear on, but it, like other handcrafts have thrived through the ages and changed with society. Isn’t it reassuring to have such a constant? I know that one day in the hazy future, I will sit down with bright acrylic yarn and big needles and teach my children (and grandchildren) to knit and hopefully the tradition will continue – regardless of what politics, religion or society may bring.

If we were to lose all electronics and conveniences of modern technology tomorrow, it would be the artisans and craftspeople of the world that would survive and be prosperous about it. To say that we would be the new elite is too much, but we would be far better off than our “instant gratification” counterparts. That’s not to say that I would suffer withdrawal from my internet, cell phone and mp3 player, but I do count myself lucky for knowing a craft, and being passable at it. It will be quite a while before I can call myself a master knitter. I’m just happy with the zen and comfort of clicking needles and a beautiful ball of yarn.

Oh, and something to ponder and write about. /introspective rant.

Sorry to wax lyrical like that, sometimes I just need to sprout nonsense in order to get somewhere. Back to the establishment of the British identity, in an academic setting. 🙂
There are photos of yarn on the way!

Knitting: Fetching using Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed (Magnolia) on 4mm double pointed needles.
Reading:The Age of Cultural Reformation, Jones and Wahrman eds, Berkley and LA: University of California Press, 2002.Witness Against the Beast, E. P. Thompson, NY: The New York Press, 1993.
Listening: The March of the Ents – The Two Towers

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3 Comments

  1. I know just what you mean about being connected through generations by craft – my mother and grandmother taught me to knit, I’ve taught my daughter, and the interwoven path continues… I love the knowledge that I don’t need any electricity to knit (unlike most clothes sewing).

    Hope you’re feeling much better soon – don’t rush your recovery. There’s a very lingering flu around, we’ve been entertaining it at our home too.

  2. Yup, agree with that – need to establish an identity that is continuous and shared by a group whose traditional ways of living, working and thinking have been through radical upheaval.

    Small problem – ACRYLIC? Don’t let that be your legacy to those dear putative children. Let them start with something beautiful – it hooks them all the quicker.

  3. I say acrylic because I learnt how to knit using pright pink acrylic – I made a pink panther. Once I’d got gater stich down pat, my grandmother moved me to handspun and dye lambswool. The pink acrylic made me appreciate wool all the more!

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