Saturday, 30 June 2007

One more step......

Madison Square Gardens and the Flatiron building, New York. The first triangular shaped, iron framed building in NY. Quite amazing.
Went into Glasgow today to meet a friend, and traveled by train. I love traveling by trains, looking out the window, seeing little surprises , like the deer eating some leaves off a bush on a precarious slope by the side of the tracks. I like the steady rhythm, as it passes through towns and countryside, and I like hearing the familiar names of the various stops .
Took along my knitting, just some plain old garter stitch, but the familiarity and rhythm felt comfortable, reassuring .
Then I got to thinking about all the people I knew who knitted, like my Gran. Whenever she was knitting something for us (not very often I hasten to add, she was like me, a bit slow!), she would tell us she was knitting for a little girl. There would then follow a story of epic proportions as I asked questions. What was she called ? Diane , What age was she ? only 6, but very small as there wasn't much food in her house. Why was Gran knitting for her ? Her mummy asked cos she couldn't knit, and needed something to keep her warm. It would always be such a melodramatic, pathetic story, that we would be feeling so bad about this wee girl, who didn't even exist (it was probably Gran recalling from HER childhood!)
Then there was my aunt and her gorgeous aran sweaters - always the aran sweaters, so by the time I was 5 years old, I was a bit "oh no , another aran sweater!" .
On Saturdays, it was a treat to visit the Fabric or Yarn shops, I loved flicking through all the patterns, looking at all the fabrics or yarns, and joy! if something was chosen to be made for me! Or if I was allowed to make something myself . My aunt taught me how to sew and knit (oh , and make a cup of tea for her from scratch! ) when I was 5, along with my Gran! It made me feel very important and grown-up .
And when they knitted or made something for me, I was clothed in love .
There were lots of people I knew who could knit beautifully , it was taken for granted in a way, nobody was paid for it, people were frequently asked to knit things, and very little thanks was given. Recently, shopping in a few yarn stores, the owners said they knitted items and only charged for the yarn, as people found it expensive ! One lady had knitted items, then the person who asked for them decided they didn't want them ! This made me so angry, and sad.
Sometimes the crafters , were their own worst enemies - my mother and Gran were often saying "I'm not paying that, I could make it myself!" , which, no doubt they could, but what about praise for the item someone else had made, and the service they were providing for others who couldn't "make it themselves".
Which is why I love my knitting groups, where everyone shares, learns from each other , and praises each others FO's. I've met so many talented , generous people and one of these days, I'm gonna name and proclaim!
So to Knitters past and present, I just want to say "Thank You!" ( and to sewers, crafters etc....)
On the comments : - Thanks Tash, I didn't notice that the Organic cotton clothing in New Look has no affiliation to a certified organic body, its certainly food for thought. I may try and contact New Look after my holiday to see if they have any further information about this . I compared the "feel " of the organic T-shirts to the non-organic ones, and they do "feel" better, but thats not to say they haven't been made in a sweatshop . It certainly isn't easy being green !


tash said...

What a lovely post - it's really interesting to find out about knitting heritage, knitters past and present, and why they knitted. I remember my grandmother knitting, she always knitted, my mother did the same too - various things, some for me some for herself, and I'm told that my great-grandmother did the same too. I like the female connection, old and new alike, sharing common ground.

p.s. I didn't think about the organic certification until I looked at the label and saw no stamp from any regulatory body at all. This confused me, as to be organic in every other sphere it does have to be regulated. However, having said that, there is a website which does go into great detail about who controls organic clothing production and the names of companies who do this. Apparently the Soil Association do now cover fabric as well as food, where they previously didn't. I had a look on the New Look website but found nothing about their organic range - it was an awful website!

heather said...

I have lots of family memories too of crafty things going on - my mum was a great knitter, Grandma was all about the crochet (how many anti-macassars did one woman need ??) and my Great Aunt was fabulous seamstress - so I was very spoilt both in terms of what was made for me and in what I had the chance to learn :0) I just hope I can pass a little of it on to my girls ...