Friday, September 12, 2014
It used to be normal
Rubbish. This is just normal knitting speed for someone who was taught properly in childhood.
This is one of the great crimes of modernity, the robbing of these skills from young people. I grew up watching my mother and grandmother and their friends doing this constantly. None of them ever went out without some kind of needle work tucked into their purses, and any time they had reason to wait, in the post office, at a bus stop, out would come the stuff and off they went. Throughout my childhood, I took it for granted that this is just what ladies did.
And they all knitted this fast. Crochet too. Later in life, my mother took up bobbin lace and tatting.
So familiar were the movements that when I finally decided to pick it up myself, at 16, it took a few lessons from the (of course) English mother of a friend, and in no time at all, my fingers just automatically started doing what I had grown up watching.
But I realised how culturally impoverished modern young people have become when I took some knitting with me to a meeting of student pro-lifers in Toronto one weekend. As the speakers were talking, I sat at my spot working on a pair of socks. They were all fascinated, and quite taken aback. I told them that my mother had knitted her way through her undergraduate degree (maths and marine biology). She said it drove her professors mad to see her there, fingers flying, looking as though she wasn't paying attention, but they soon learned that it actually aids concentration. These days of course, the kids sit in class looking at their phones and tablets. (Note to self, if I ever teach a class in anything, the first person to pull out their phone while I'm talking will get the ruler across the fingers.)
Mothers, if you don't know how to do these things, learn them, and do them in front of your kids. Save Western Civilisation; learn to knit.