I have always been more than a bit of a magpie, forever jabbering and bouncing around from one shiny new thing to the next. Not an especially trend-conscious magpie, to be sure — if I’m going after a shiny new thing, it had darn well better be a relatively strange or unpopular new thing to catch my attention.
When I first moved to rural Iowa, I discovered a place where people made the things that I was in the habit of buying — home-grown food, homemade furniture, handicrafts of any and all kinds, and above all: this is A Land of Many Fabric Crafts, at least compared to my experience of growing up in suburbia. My mother could (and still can) sew; she did 4H as a lass, farm kid that she was. Contrary child that I was, I took — and pretty much sucked at — Industrial Arts (AKA Shop) instead of Home Economics when given the chance, because at the time I resented any and all attempts to force me to do “girly” things, as many a tomboy does at that age.* The craftiest thing I ever produced was a sort of pathetic latch-hooked mini rug. I think I managed not to bungle the sad plastic ashtray that we made in IA, too. The rest was…well, it wasn’t pretty.
Because I remain contrary (although my attitudes toward gendered and gendering activities have changed substantially), I vowed that I would resist the craftiness. No quilter, me! No knitting! No applique sweatshirts! No potholders! I would remain a proud home skills philistine! Haha! Ha!
Mark your calendar, Mom. As of today, January 13 2015, I have Crafted a Large Thing.**
Still a contrary magpie, I did not take up proper knitting or crocheting, which requires a person to learn to use needles and count stitches and whatnot. No, I had a vision, and it led me to the Knitting Board or loom — not just a wee plastic one with the fat posts that little kids learn to knit on (I also have one of those), but a big ol’ adjustable wooden one. 17 skeins of #6 yarn later, I have a smallish throw/afghan that is a) very warm, b) only partially fringed, because I ran short and didn’t feel like going to buy more yarn, and c) probably heavier than at least one of my dogs. God help us if it ever gets wet — it’ll be like moving the lead vest they make you wear when the dentist x-rays your teeth.
Now it’s just a short, terrifying distance to inflicting misshapen sweaters on all and sundry as holiday gifts. Woohoo! Between this and the cooking, I’m coming over all domestic. It feels pretty darn funny, I don’t mind saying.
At least I have a blanket to keep me warm…
*I took that class with a man who had one of the most unfortunate possible names for someone teaching the lot of Beavises and/or Buttheads that we all were as teenagers: Mr. Shipman, bless him.
Say it quickly. Do not enunciate correctly.
Petty scatological insult ACCOMPLISHED!
**I made a friend/colleague a nice, warm scarf a couple of weeks ago. That was a smaller thing. This is a BIG Thing.