Posts Tagged ‘knitting’

Real men do knit.

August 20, 2020
IMG_0900 knitting

There used to be a popular show on TV featuring men wrestling. It wasn’t real wrestling but more a show made especially for those that seem to get satisfaction watching glistening muscled men beating the s..t out of each other,  extolling cruelty to the point of whereby the audience at home, in the comfort of their armchairs, would ask themselves if the intention was to kill each other. The oiled wrestlers would end standing high on the ring wires and hurl themselves on each other with such force one expected entrails to fly about. But no, not a single death ever shown on TV. In the life audience there would be almighty booing and egging on the wrestlers to even greater heights of murderous intent.

The odd thing was the surveys showing that it were women who seemed to get the most joy out of this pantomime wrestling. My friend’s mother was proof of it. Of all the shows I found her watching on TV, it was the wrestling that she would not miss out for all the money in the world. Perhaps there is contained within this TV cruelty, watched by some women a nefarious delight that men get what they deserved all along; are men not the war mongers, the wife beaters, the unfaithful animals often ruled by their one eyed, hooded but rampant genital? Perhaps men beating up men added an extra poignancy for the lady watchers seeing they did not have to do it.

As the days of the Covid-19 keep on passing, the demand on relationship counselling is at a peak. Hundreds of callers are queueing up on the Beyond Blue mental health line, suicides are up. Many women live in fear what will come next. Husbands are out of work, cooped up with families, unable to relieve their anxiety, hopelessness seeps in and with their often superior muscles, lash out. But it are the women, many of whom are rearing children doing the domestic work, spending most of their lives being ‘cooped’ up willingly and often happily. What is that men so easily let fly? Is it proof that women are stronger and much more resilient?

The picture below shows the period in France during the reign of Maximillian Robespierre with his penchant for executing hundreds of fellow citizens during the Reign of Terror 1793/1794. His excuse was to free France of its monarchy but in doing so he had to take drastic measures and heads would roll in the cane baskets. In those days there was no TV but that did not stop keen viewers from watching the procedures.

Une Exécution capitale, place de la Révolution, painting by Pierre-Antoine Demachy

History tells us, often in gory details, that Robespierre fought for the common man against the iron fisted monarchy whose Kings enlisted men for armies and wars. It were the women that Robespierre really wanted to liberate from this Royal tyranny. He did become the favourite leader who would take France to freedom and a republic. During the revolution, it was no wonder that during the beheadings of Robespierre’s enemies, the women were lining up in front rows watching the rolling of heads into the baskets. Many would queue early to get the best seats and take the knitting with them. At the height of the guillotine’s work it was rumoured a head would roll for every 6 rows of straight knitting. ( 50 stitches on the 5 mill needle)

The French word for a female knitter is tricoteuse. It is often used as a historical nickname for women knitters sitting beside the executioner working the guillotine  flat out separating heads from the prisoners, supposedly knitting during public executions in the French revolution.

We all know that Robespierre himself would fall victim to the guillotine the year after. So, is there a link between the tricoteuses of the 1790’s in France and preferences of females watching male wrestling on TV?

As an aside, I have taken the decision to start up my knitting again. The last time I did it was when about 12 years of age. I find it surprisingly interesting and very soothing. I just straight knit, so no pearling yet, but that might still come. I use 4 millimetres needles and a mixture of yarn 50/50 nylon to wool. The lockdown does force one to come up with solutions to pass time, and I suppose the knitting is one pastime that is fairly easy to do and one makes something at the same time.

I intend to make a throw rug.

 

Chores and knitting.

November 16, 2019

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Now on my own there is a need to get from dawn to dusk as painlessly as possible. The days have to pass, and grief impedes on the passing of time as nothing else will. It bites and fights at every moment that one passes on reflection. How else can it be? It has to be so in surviving, and carrying on with this life that was so much more glorious in the past than it is now. It will get back to some glory, I am sure. Helvi would want that.

One of the best form of passing time is the domestic area of ‘keeping things in order’. This includes the washing up. I always did the washing up, so no stranger to detergents and swishing my hands in warm water. I have a dish washer and both my daughter and Helvi kept urging me to start using it again. As a gesture of obedience and compliance I did give the dishwasher another go for a few days not long ago. Without saying anything to both of them, I stopped doing it. I prefer doing it by hand. Is satisfies. I now am forever scanning the sink to see if anything needs washing up and will almost out of a need to be busy create dirty dishes in order to wash up. It might seem a bit strange but, before you know it another hour has passed and the next chore might present itself.

I have done a lot of chores that many believe are traditionally done by women. However, I don’t think we were much given to traditions, or when it came to doing chores believing they were male or female oriented. However, she knew something might happen, so over the last few months she taught me the delights of using the washing machine.  It wasn’t complicated and hanging the washing was also a job I gradually mastered. Again, we have a cloth-dryer, but with generous Australian sun, why waste electricity? ( generated by burning fossil fuel).

I am egged on by trying to remain busy by the sweet memory of Helvi, not one to waste time. She was rarely bored. She used to knit little sleeves for wrapping around the coat hangers so, her and my clothes would be suspended by a woollen sleeve around the cloth hanger. She was a wonderful example of always using time to best use.

So, please chores. Keep me busy.

Socks No More

December 10, 2010

 

Helvi Oosterman

When I was a kid, we used to get hand-knitted woollen socks for Christmas. Mum was very busy and sometimes she had only enough time to finish one sock, and we had to patiently wait for a whole year for its partner. By the time I was ten, I had received roughly four and half pairs of socks…

Mum was lucky that she did not have to go shopping for the wool; it grew on the backs of our black and white Finn sheep, which was very handy. All she had to do was to send it to the local wool co-op to be processed into a knitting yarn. Some busy people called it  LWCO for short, but we had enough time to get the words out, and we used the longer version.

Our Mum was a gentle person, not one of those tough black and white people. She liked nuances and shades better and therefore she also asked the wool to be blended into soft grey. Of course in those days we had never heard of the Aussie Rules that tell you that girls ought to wear pink and that blue is for boys. We were blissfully ignorant of such rulings and were happy just to have warm feet.

Life was good; we did not even know that paedophiles existed in our charmed world. Our parents let us walk to school, so obviously no one had told them either about these bad people. In return we did not tell them of our adventures of swimming in fast flowing rivers and the games we played on breaking up ice floes in springtime…we knew of people who had drowned, but not THAT many…

Now the mums have to buy big black cars and become taxi drivers for their offspring, and by the time the kids turn ten they have sleepless nights before Christmas because they can’t think of anything new they still have to have. They have their laptops, WII’s, IPods, IPads and scooters and trail bikes, and socks and shoes to die for with labels etched into them. Even the pencil cases have to be bought only at some special Smiggle shop; pens and rubbers from K-Mart just don’t cut it…

On Christmas Eve Dad and Big Brother used to go to our own forest and came back with a proper Christmas tree, a spruce with sturdy branches, branches so strong you could hang  edible red apples on them, and of course home-made gingerbread biscuits and real candles firmly sitting in their holders…no, we never managed to start a fire…We made sure all the edibles were eaten before the 6th of January, the Finnish Independence Day, and also the customary date for taking the Christmas tree down and out.

Little Max saw a black plastic Christmas tree the other day at some shopping mall and thankfully thought it was horrid, so would have my Mum, if we would have talked about it too loudly on her well-kept grave.

They don’t make Childhoods or Christmases like they used to. I only hope that it is still politically correct to wish you all a very good Christmas…!