I was at the craft store the other day looking at yarn and how-to-knit kits, and it struck me how different things are from my grandmother’s
generation, my mother’s generation, and my generation.
While I agree that some extreme feminist positions have been detrimental to family values, not all of the changes in our lives are attributable to feminism, nor are they negative. Automatic appliances like washers, dryers and dishwashers have reduced the time required to do household chores, and globalization of trade has made goods a lot more accessible and cheaper. That has changed a woman’s role in the household.
For my grandmother’s generation, sewing, knitting and crocheting was the only cost-effective way to have new clothes, socks, sweaters, bedding or tablecloths. Today you can go to Wal-Mart and buy a sweater for $20 and a pair of jeans for another $20.
If you go the yarn section at Wal-Mart, you can buy a skein of yarn for $3-6 depending on the type of yarn, so to knit a sweater, depending on the size, would require 5-8 skeins of yarn. If you do the math, it’s not cheaper. The math is even worse for jeans. Denim fabric is expensive, and you likely will have to go to a fabric store for all that’s required – heavier thread, a heavy gauge sewing needle that won’t bend under the pressure of stitching the heavy fabric, a sewing pattern, a suitable zipper, some metal buttons or clasps for the waistband, and you are likely looking at close to $50 to try to sew those jeans. Also, zippers and button holes are tricky for the novice and require some practice, so the first crack at sewing a pair of jeans may not even result in a comfortable garment. And I haven’t even thrown in the cost of any adornments like rivets, sequins, embroidered appliqués, or stitched designs.
So, I bought a kit and I will likely buy one or two balls of yarn at about $5 each, and make a couple of scarves as a hobby. It is not necessarily cheaper than what can be store-bought but it’ll give me something to do while watching TV. I’m pretty sure the men aren’t doing what my grandfather did either, going into the woods to chop down a hardwood tree with an axe, cutting, chiseling and shaping the wood into furniture with hand tools, only after going out back to slaughter and pluck a couple of chickens that the wife can cook up for dinner.
I have enjoyed this thread. It has made me reflect on a lot of things, learn from others and gain some perspective.