Sunday, March 18, 2012

Perpetuating a Good History

The more I knit, the more I think about it. Why do I knit. Why do I need to knit? Where did knitting come from?  Who started it? Why do I need to knit? ~Actually that's the question Big asks but mostly he says it like this..."Why do you need more yarn?"
My kid is now asking those same questions.  He knows yarn comes from either animals or a plant source, but just exactly how? How do we get yarn... why do we need it? What do we do with it?
My favorite question he has for me is this ..... "Who actually thought that wrapping some yarn around a stick was a good idea? How did they know it would be so much fun?" 
 Who knows for sure where it started. HERE are some ideas, but most everything I read online kind of makes me believe that even historians aren't clear where knitting originated.  How about this?  It was spread by Arabian sailors and merchants who traveled the Mediterranean? Arabian nomads who carried the craft to Spain? In Spain picked up by the Catholics? I can imagine it being carried throughout Europe rapidly at that point. AND if you've read anything about history (fiction or otherwise), men were the travellers. Men pretty much ruled the world way back when.  (LINK to just one of many, many places I found information)
Who knows for sure... I've really found that the origins of knitting are hard to trace. There are several theories, but nothing that really says the first knitting evidence is this.    As men (and women) evolved and needed more; especially clothing.... knitting pops up everywhere.
Look at American history... especially during times of war. American men had to defend our country, American women had to pull together and keep their families and their lives knit together! Yeah.. that was pun and it was totally intended!
Engraving, "Six and Eighty-Six Knitting for the Soldiers." From The Tribute Book: A Record of the Munificence, Self-Sacrifice and Patriotism of the American People during the War for the Untion, 1865. (Courtesy of Lynne Zacek Bassett.)
borrowed from here............
All throughout documented United States History, women are shown doing their part for the war effort.  World War II certainly had women doing their part! Look at Rosie the Riveter!! 
 During the Civil War women knitted socks for soldiers. HERE is the link to Knitting Daily's current blog!   How about during the Revolutionary War? Yep... there too!
Try looking HERE   or HERE ! 
History does have a way of repeating itself... I could interject some comment about men leaving it all up to women to take care of things.... but you can do that on your own! I will say though... MY  soldier was lucky enough to receive a hand knit gift in a care package from home!

Really, my knitting history knowledge is gleaned from the people I knit with. The knitting places I've been and the stories I've heard. IF you wanted socks... you knitted them. IF you wanted yarn to make the socks... you sheared the sheep, carded the wool and then spun it into yarn. Lots of work for socks, but how else were you going to get a pair?

Why do I knit now? Especially since the industrial age made it easy enough to get a pair of socks and definitely smoother undies!?  Because I want to.  Really.  I have no reason to knit. Not a necessary, physical reason to, but it does make me happy. It fuels my need to make something with my hands. It even helps me feel connected to my history;  I like to think that somewhere down my family tree, someone made socks for their soldier, or at least a blanket for a brand new baby!
I do have blankets made specifically for me as a baby and some for my kids, so this is the history I need to perpetuate.  A good history of making things to make other people feel special. That's the reason I knit.
  That's the reason I will keep buying yarn, and needles, and, and, and..... and now spinning my own wool..... to keep the rest of my world happy.

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