Yarn Along: Raspberry Ropes & No Idle Hands

The sunflowers are in bloom as the temperatures stay high, and I’m knitting away on a wool sweater for my Junebug.  I’ve picked up the stitches along the cabled “scarf” portion of the yoke, did the arm increases and now I’m just motoring away on the body.  That’s about 7.25 inches of body there, and I’m going to keep going until 9.5 inches or so, when I’ll start on 2 inches are ribbing.

I’m a little anxious over the yoke and its fit.  I was smart this time and added a few inches to the measurements so that there would be some “give” in the garment, but the cabled yoke on this may not have needed any such give.  We’ll see.  Don’t make fun of me if this ends up fitting Bluebird better than Junebug.  (It would get more wear that way…but then I’d have to turn right around and knit up another sweater to fit Junebug because that just would not be fair to the poor girl!)

The book this week is No Idle Hands: The Social History of American Knitting, which I’ve been working on since last summer.

I love this book, as it combines two of my favorite things:  history and knitting.  It starts off with the Colonial Era and guides you through American history via the knitting habits of the times.

I’ve made my way to the beginning of the Second World War, and all this reading about women rallying their domestic skills to support the troops just invokes a strange nostalgia in me.  I don’t want war–it’s the idea that a generally feminine vocation was needed during those times.  (Well, not as much by WWII, but definitely during earlier wars.)  Knitting has been all but relegated to the world of hobbies and amusement, and it used to hold such an important place in the daily lives of women.

It’s hard to explain the pull of wearing clothes you made yourself, or eating food that you grew in your backyard, or just fixing something without having to pay a professional to fix it for you.
Personal satisfaction with a job done well?
A feeling of success?
Whatever its name, I like to do things myself, and I find myself yearning for a time when people truly understood the significance of knitting sweaters for your children, instead of quipping, “You know you could buy that at Wal-Mart for way less, right?”  A time when everything wasn’t going so fast and you could attend quilting bees with your friends and talk to your neighbor over the back fence before heading in to fix dinner.  I love having a washer and dryer, and a dishwasher and all those modern-day conveniences; but I sometimes wonder…
Maybe Little House in the Big Woods is a dangerous book for young children to read, as it fills their heads with the idea of personal industry and self-reliance.  I am so interested in that lifestyle and I totally blame Laura Ingalls Wilder for planting the idea in my heart!

Regardless of which century I’m living in, I can always knit and it will make me happy.  I’m very excited about how this cardigan will turn out!  Who can resist such a happy tweed?  (Actually, that would be me.  It seems I’ve done a lot of knitting with very bright pink yarn in the past year.  I have a secret little hope that the girls will branch out in their color preferences over the next few years, despite pink being one of my favorite colors.  It’s a whole lot of pink.)

Reading about interesting times and knitting for a spunky little girl–there aren’t a whole lot of other ways to pass one’s time more pleasurably.

Join the Yarn Along at Small Things.
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