It gets embarrassing sometimes. At Christmas parties this year a whole lot of people greeted me with a “hello, what are you knitting these days?” kind of comment. I tended to downplay it, “Oh nothing much, just a pair of socks,” and try, feeling a bit uncomfortable, to change the subject to something more “sophisticated”. Is that what people think when they see me? Knitting? A handy-crafty kind of domestic, kind of frumpy kind of person? “I am a so much more” I would grouse inside. But then it got me to thinking.
On jury duty a couple of years ago a lawyer in long black robes stopped dead in his tracks as he was passing me where I was knitting, waiting to go into the jury room. He came over and talked about his grandmother, briefly, he was in a hurry, and went on his way. A colleague who is struggling to find a way back from a long illness, struggling to reconnect, stops me whenever she sees me and asks me about my knitting, “did I finish that project from two years ago? What are you making now?” And last week, at a class I am taking, a fierce young woman, a strongly feminist union activist who describes battling the system daily, who radiates energy and beauty and is a force to be reckoned with (she kind of scares me and makes me hero worship her at the same time) approached me as I was puttering along on a project and said, kind of shyly, “Would you ever make me a pair of socks?”
Knit blogs are one of the most popular categories of blogging. The topic of how we value the craft and how we value its makers in this time of cheaper, ready made socks and sweaters inevitably seems to come up in the writing on them, along with the pictures that present the work. I stumbled into the universe of craft blogs a few years ago and was completely inspired. On the surface it is just this homely little activity but consider all the moments of connecting it gives! I think I need to appreciate that it gives someone something to talk about when they see me, a little “social bridge” as it were. And to challenge all those ideas of domestic, frumpy, handy – crafty. My hands are happy when they are working with colour. My heart is happy when some little object ends up on someone’s neck, keeping them warm. All good.
So now I am working on some socks for that gorgeous woman. I asked her what size feet she has. Size 12. Oh my.