So the current media circus swirling around Julia Gillard is to do with an article for the Women’s Weekly showing her knitting. Now it’s not exactly a secret that she knits, this has been known for some time. Yet suddenly she’s being attacked all over the place for it. Mainly old white men are calling her ridiculous for showing off a hobby popularised by 50’s housewives. Like this trite example:
She is giving encouragement to young female politicians by plying a hobby now synonymous with mad old aunts – Andrew Bolt
Like he’s such an expert!?
So, is knitting such an olde worlde hobby that it will lead Julia further from the voters?
The more than three million users of Ravelry, a knitting website, are sure to disagree.
Also, I personally disagree. I like the idea of Julia knitting in her spare time. It’s something I totally relate to. I’m a rather busy person and it’s great to have a hobby that you can do while you do other things. I can knit while I read, watch tv or have a conversation with friends. I also get to know people through knitting, I can totally imagine having a chat with Julia about her favourite type of yarn and trying to persuade her to use circular needles.
Tony Abbott grinning inanely from his bike however leaves me cold.
Knitting allows you to make pretty things. Since I started knitting in late 2007, I have made the following items (and many many more):
I love it for the beautiful colours. A good skein of yarn is a wonderful thing, it feels delightful in your hands and has colours to die for. Having a house full of yarn means having a house full of warmth and colour. Better yet, you can make it yourself. Chris Pyne may make cracks about spinning a yarn (yeah, never heard that one before), but it’s an amazing thing to be able to do. How many people do you know who can take a sheep and use it to clothe their family?
One thing you may notice about most of the knitted things above is that I like to knit lace. It’s a bit weird since I don’t often wear lace, but following a lace knitting pattern seems to itch my brain in a really satisfying way. I do make practical things like jumpers, hats and fingerless gloves but I always come back to lace.
I also like having a productive hobby. I’m not good at doing nothing or even doing one thing at a time and even when I’m relaxing I am driven to create. Knitting means that I can relax and have something to show for it. If I’m really tired, I just pick up an easier project. Knitting is portable as well, I can do it on the train and on planes. I would knit in meetings at work if I could get away with it.
But how many others share this hobby? Well you might be surprised. In my city I know of about six knitting groups that happen at least once a fortnight. I also do some social knitting at work during Wednesday lunchtimes. Some people at my work who knit don’t come along to this, but do show me their projects or ask for opinions about patterns.
There are a lot of us and we’re a diverse range of ages. A knitting retreat that I helped organise recently had people aged from their mid 20s to nearly 80. The mean age would have been mid to late 30s.
My point is that knitting is awesome, funky and it’s not going away in a hurry. The usual mansplainers should check their facts before they run off at the mouth. I don’t love everything Julia does, but I thoroughly approve of the knitting.