Save me, Elizabeth Zimmermann!

I finally laid my hands on a copy of The Opinionated Knitter, and I’m finding it comforting the way I would find a long conversation with my grandmother comforting. Neither of my grandmothers, nor my husband’s, are/were anything like her, excepting that three out of the four of them are/were knitters, but there’s something about the way she writes that reminds me of them. She, like my grandmothers, is of the World Where Everybody Knits.

I like to think I am, but I’m really not. Like natural inhabitants of the WWEK, I can’t really remember not being able to knit, though I can remember not being able to do it well. I can remember garter stitch on big needles, and long chains of crochet that didn’t turn into anything. I remember watching my mother make mittens, explaining to me about the thumb stitches held aside for later, about how the cables were made, about little bobbins of black and white and orange for the snowman design on the backs. I cannot remember none of that making sense to me. But for a long time, I was the only person my own age, whom I knew, who could knit. I am not of the WWEK. It is very pleasant to visit with people who are. They would say things like, “Come over and bring your knitting. We’ll have cookies.” And then you’d get there and you wouldn’t exactly talk about your problems, but you’d chat and knit together and things would somehow seem better, and you’d know you weren’t alone.

Feminism gains big in a lot of areas–most, I think–but loses heavily in women getting together to do crafts. Now, we work. When the author talks about women going from house to house to keep one another company while knitting, weaving, or spinning in No Idle Hands, or being lonely for the company of other women on the Oregon Trail during westward expansion, I feel that in my gut. And confidential to Emily from the Concord knitting group: yes, I know I should come over. Haven’t been able to manage the time yet, though it seems like I should have plenty. I hope you’ll still be there when I do!

Anyhow, I don’t know too many people who have had an awesome day today. Mercury’s in retrograde; that’s all the explanation we’re likely to get. My husband has borne my lousy mood with more complacence than I deserve. Maybe after we dispose of the boys for the night, I’ll get time to knit and find a cookie. And then things will somehow seem better for a while.

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