Monthly Archives: December 2008

The Non-Transferability of Human Experience

True or false?

Warm Ewe Up Swap Question the First

I have joined a yarn swap on Ravelry called, punnily, “Warm Ewe Up.”
One of the rules is that we have to have a blog and post on it at least twice a month. To get us started, the moderator is posing group questions to be answered on our blogs.
And, here is the first one:

#1 – Why did you learn to knit?
The short answer:
Because I’m a girl.
The longer answer:
Because when I was growing up, competence was expected in basic living skills. Because this was long ago enough that such skills were divided along gender lines. So, along with learning biology, French, history, and diagramming sentences (really!) girls learned to cook and sew and clean. “Home Ec” was required for all 7th and 8th graders, but I’d learned to sew and knit years before then.
The Even Longer Answer:
I lived in the country and my mom was extremely practical, adventurous about food and gardening and animals and projects, and we were expected to join in. My parents’ best friends were Don and Gudrun and Gudrun was from Germany and even more practical than my mother. So, of course, she taught me to knit.

What I’m trying to get across here is that it wasn’t a “hobby” that I “chose” at age whatever, it was just part of being female in my family.
I can also make a roux, fold napkins, ice a cake, milk a goat, can fruit, grow vegetables, quilt, embroider, sew, plan a party, refinish furniture, repair a roof, muck out a stall, tie a nice bow, play dumb, bake a pie, write letters, decorate, play pool, swim like a fish, and amuse small children.

Things I cannot do include I cannot do a single thing to do with machines (except a sewing machine, which I can clean, oil, and maintain), cars, car engines, car tires, (nope, can’t change them), mechanical stuff, electricity (nope, I can’t even replace a fuse), splitting wood, cutting down trees, operating a tractor, fishing, football, boxing, fighting (I’ve tried self-defense classes, but they don’t take), and I can’t whistle.

But Wasn’t that Sexist?
Of course!

Then Why Aren’t I Angry?
Because, as it happens, it suited me. If you look at the list, it’s not all staying-indoors stuff and it’s not all easy. As it happens I was a very skinny kid, not very athletic, kind of shy, a whiz at schoolwork, was called “creative” whatever that means, and didn’t like getting cold or dirty. So, just by luck, I didn’t feel like I was personally being excluded from things I wanted to learn or do.

What about girls who wanted to learn other, different, things?
Well, that’s what made it so sexist!
For that matter, times were tough for boys who might have wanted to learn to knit.
Ah, the 50’s and 60’s.
Things were tough for anyone with an unusual name, family, appearance, or non-conforming disposition.

So, it’s all Much Better now, right?
Sort of.
Well, it’s great that kids aren’t forced to learn gender-based skills.
But, if I were in charge of the universe, they would still have to learn some skills, except they would have a choice.
Instead, as near as I can tell, most kids don’t learn the things on the “boy list” or the “girl list” anymore.

Merry Christmas!!

To celebrate, here is a photo of a knitted
nativity scene that someone made from a
Jean Greenhowe pattern.


Warm Ewe Up Swappee!

That’s the term, right? I’m the spoiler and she’s the swappee?
Anyway, I can’t wait to start the spoiling — from reading her profile and associated online publications, Ms.XYZ sounds so nice. In addition, we have a lot in common. I dare not say what we have in common, lest she read this blog at some point. But, it gives me confidence about choosing things for her.

Quiet Afternoon

The tree is half-trimmed, my favorite cat is sleeping on the printer, I’ve sent the case I was writing to my boss, my dad is taking me out to supper (so no cooking tonight), the weather is raw and rainy, my daughter is home from out west and so far we’re actually having FUN together, my son is leading a tour at the Carnivore Preservation Trust
(really! Here’s a photo:)

All in all, I’d say it’s naptime!

Unfinished Gift Solution – Photos!

Ta da, the promised photos!
First, the scarf.
The pattern is on Ravelry – it’s The Corrugator

My Corrugator, intended as a Christmas present for my father,
is languishing in the beginning stage


So, as a placeholder for here is the wee little version of the scarf:


Finally, here is the presentation.
I plan to add the little scarf to a greeting card
and wrap it around Monet’s neck:


Hopefully, this will be better than mumbling
“Um, sorry it isn’t finished, but uh, things have been crazy.”

Solution for Unfinished Holiday Gifts

Bit off more than you can chew,
er, I mean knit, this December?
Me too.

Here’s one solution:
I started a lovely blue scarf for my father,
but it probably won’t be finished in time.
So, I knit a tiny, miniature scarf in the same
yarn and same pattern.
Next, I’ll make a greeting card –
maybe a paper doll of my dad,
or maybe “Santa’s Workshop” –
with the little scarf in the card.

I’m at work now, but photos to follow later!