Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Practicality vs. Art

Have I shared with you my theory about knitting generations?

My mother is a very skilled knitter but she doesn't really like doing it. Her mother, Hilda, was a knitter without parallel. No matter how skilled her work, Hilda knitted because she had to.

My mother sees knitting as her mother's drudgery, and if she doesn't have to do it she won't. I don't have the negative association. I see knitting somewhat romantically, something my beloved Grannie used to do. And so I can knit with love for the process. (I wonder if the generation after us will feel this way about ironing?)

For our grandmothers, knitting was about practicality. They were making clothes for the family. They were making garments and accessories to be used, that would last, that were to meet a need. Knitting was a chore, not an art.

I was reminded of this recently. An older friend of the family was showing me a blanket she's working on for a new baby in the family. Beautiful, detailed, lacy work... In acrylic. Cheap, nasty, rough acrylic. I could feel the pills forming as I touched it. Surely she can't be enjoying the process, knitting with such awful yarn? Surely it must be a chore.

Oh wait, it is.

No comments: