knitting yarn and books. A good deal of yesterday was devoted to this activity.
The yarn has been piling up. It is not mine. It has been given to me by other people with words like, "Can you use this? Maybe you can make something and sell it for your friend in Africa?" and "I thought I wanted to use this but I don't like it" and "I know I am never going to knit it".
Right. I am not going to knit it either - but I will use it. I can sell some of it - although for nothing like the original price. The money can go to the unaccompanied children my friend cares for. I can sort the odds and ends into "useful for blanket squares - people" and "useful for blanket squares - animal" and "useful for charity hats". It can then be handed on to people who make those things.
The tiniest odds and ends of bright acrylic yarn can go to a friend who takes a craft class for underprivileged children.
Oh yes, I can make good use of it all - but it is time consuming.
And then there are the knitting "books". Most of them are those flimsy booklets of a few pages with patterns all in the same yarn. The yarn is out of date and so are the patterns.
And, if you look at them carefully, they tell you about more than changing fashions.
I have some pre-war and war-time patterns in the current pile. There are garments made from very little yarn - a few ounces of thin yarn. The patterns are often lacy. The women are slim - apart from the patterns for "matrons". Garments sometimes come in two colours. This was, I suspect, to cater for knitters who had "a little bit of this and a little bit of that". Nothing would have been wasted.
And there was a great deal more knitting involved.
When did these knitters knit? It is likely that the vast majority of knitters were women. They were often holding down jobs by then. They were caring for families in the absence of their husbands. They did not have many labour saving devices in the kitchen or the laundry. And yet they found time to knit and sew. They had to find time to do both because, without it, their families simply would not have been clothed.
Now we have ready made clothes. "Knitwear" means cheap, mass produced garments sourced from Asia. Most of them are not wool.
Women still go to work but they have many labour saving devices in the kitchen and the laundry. The food they buy at the supermarket is often at least partially pre-prepared. They do not need to make bread. Most things are easy to wash and require little or no ironing.
And they have "no time". The idea of knitting or sewing to clothe their family is foreign to them. The few who do knit and sew also do it in a different way. Yarn is thicker. The patterns are plainer and they take "less time" to complete.
We are, it seems, constantly busy - but we are less productive.