07 February 2006

Vocation

My current project for the almanacalong


Mmmm. The scent of gently simmering Italian lentil soup, redolent of onion, celery, pancetta and olive oil, drifts upstairs, sharpening my appetite as I write this entry. Soups and roasts are my favorite dinners; while the food cooks, I have time to play with words or yarn, and the fragrance permeating the house gives me a cozy, safe feeling. The world outside is grim indeed, but I've made a comfortable home for my family, a place into which the world cannot intrude. This is my vocation; I am a homemaker. The world puts little value on my work -- feminists and patriarchs alike disdain what both consider to be traditionally women's work -- but my family appreciates me, and I am happy and fulfilled. I homeschool my children, I love fibercrafts, cooking, and even some aspects of housekeeping. A tidy house gives me real pleasure and I can only truly relax when I know that the dishes are done, the beds made, and the floors clean.

I've never felt a disconnect between my leftist/feminist philosophy and my vocation, but I know that the perception that the two are at odds is quite common. Homemakers, particularly homeschooling mothers, are generally thought to be politically conservative, fundamentalist Christians who value 'God-given' gender roles and a putatively happier time when all good people honored the traditional. When people see me knitting at the bus-stop, they do not think 'hip, young, urban knitter' even though I am relatively young and certainly urban, because I look far too motherly to be at all hip. Knitters, it seems, must fit into a particular pigeonhole so that journalists can write lazy, shallow articles about how 'it's not just for grandma anymore.' The 'grandma' knitters are, in these articles, dismissed and disrespected, and the focus is on stylish 20somethings, particularly any male knitters who happen to frequent the local stitch and bitch (kiss my ass, SFSE!) to which the intrepid journalist has ventured for yet another story about how knitting is cool.

The knitters themselves are reduced to props, and the craft of knitting is ignored in favor of it's trendiness (which, one would think, should be over about now!) Knitters, of course, know that the articles are pretty much rubbish and that the knitting world is wonderfully diverse. The hip 20somethings aren't knitting just because it's trendy (though some may have started for this reason) but because knitting is a delightfully fulfilling craft, because there is something magical and elemental about making things for ourselves, and because it's fun. That's pretty much why all knitters knit, and it's also why weavers weave, potters make pots, or spinners spin -- the creative act is intensely personal, but it is also social; creativity is an essential part of humanity.

I've gone from lentil soup to essential aspects of humanity, so I must be in need of a cup of tea, some chocolate, a good book, and some knitting!

5 Comments:

Blogger Liz said...

Your gull sweater looks BEEEAUUUUTIFUL! Way to go!

And I homeschool my kids, too. Knit on, from another almanac-a-long-er,

Liz

3:01 PM  
Blogger Dory said...

Very cute gull sweater, Meegan.

Thanks for sharing the photo.

I've still got two sleeves of that fishtrap aran to finish for the EZ almanacalong.

Fortunately, I've been disqualified from the Knitting Olympics for straddling an umbrella swift -- so I'll have plenty of time to finish the EZ project.

5:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a leftist, feminist, knittin' homemaker and proud of it. I decided long ago to define life on my terms. I read a great book earlier this year -- "Maternal Desire: On Children, Love and the Inner Life" by Daphne de Marneffe -- that was the most thoughtful, intelligent book I've ever read on why some of us choose to stay home.

I started that little EZ sweater and frogged it due to my poor yarn choice. Yours looks great!

Kerstin
whoopsydaisy.my-expressions/com

6:16 AM  
Blogger quiltyknitwit said...

I think of myself as a feminist, and that means that women can choose for themselves what works best for them, instead of someone else deciding. Your life sounds beautiful and fulfilling!

8:30 PM  
Blogger vinny said...

another feminist homeschooling knitter here.. just thought id say hi :D

3:25 PM  

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