Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanks to Knitters Past and Present

This is the week we remember the people and places for which we are thankful.  I remembered my family and friends and gave an extra "Thanks" to the universe that put me in the 21st century in a progressive democracy. It occurred to me early this morning as I worked on a scarf for Christmas on etsy that I had forgotten the generous, anonymous women who invented knitting. I began to wonder why a woman in the distant past put knotted loops on a stick of bone or wood and make more loops with a second stick until there was a piece of cloth to cover herself or a young child. Which genius woman with an enormous amount of spatial intelligence figured out how to make a reversible ribbed fabric for extra warmth? Who was the artist who saw the potential for twisting stitches into cables and knots?

I think they must have been incredibly generous. I envisioned them sitting around a fire, infants and children wandering about, showing other women and girls how to use their needles and thread to make cables and ribs for extra warmth.

Knitters are still generous with each other. I attended a knitting retreat in Pennsylvania this past October. I took classes in brioche knitting and lace making. Eleanor the teacher, was kind to us all and generous with her time and attention to details.  She passed on hints and techniques that she had found helpful in her own career. Learning brioche was a challenge, but we did it with her help. During the breaks between classes other knitters shared their experiences and techniques with each other.

Next time you take up yarn and needles, give a quick nod to the woman who taught you to knit, and to the women who invented knitting. As you struggle to master a new technique or stitch, remember the unknown knitter who invented this challenge. Ask them for their help as you design your own patterns and create a sweater no one has worn before.

Be forever thankful for their work and for the opportunity we have today to find other outlets for our creativity, mathematical skills, and design talents. I suspect very woman architect, engineer, mathematician, product designer and  patent lawyer has an ancestor who invented a new knit stitch or technique in the distant past. I am, however, aware of my own prejudice. Knitters rock!

Happy Thanksgiving.

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