yesterday was my local ‘stitch and bitch’ gathering. it only happens once a month and i missed last month because of flyball, so i was particularly looking forward to yesterday. the gathering starts at 2pm which leaves plenty of time for a yummy lunch at a cafe down on the beach, and we had an excellent table on the deck this time – this is was i got to look at while i ate my salt and pepper squid:
then it was off to the cocktail lounge at the local seaside resort/hotel. it was a slightly smaller group this month, which was nice, i feel like i got to talk to a few more people and met some new people i missed last month, and some new-but-old people who had returned from overseas. i like this group a lot, there is a good mix of older women, people my age, and some younger, so its a really nice cross-section of the local knitting community:
(the picture is fuzzy because my camera ran out of battery and i didnt want to use a flash, but thats probably a good thing!). i have said before i find big groups difficult and yesterday wasnt too bad like that, but a few things have been playing on my mind since. firstly, there were lots of weddings booked at the hotel yesterday and the lounge became very crowded with a whole heap of satin, perfume and hair spray. i was in jeans and sneakers, so it didnt take long for me to start feeling out of place. the constant sideways attention of a heap of ‘pretty young things’ looking at us knitting didnt help either. weddings make me feel queasy at the best of times, but yesterday it kind of got to me, all these people spending all this money on an appearance – it is not something ive ever felt compelled to do but i suddenly realised that even if i did want to, it was probably too late. its not that that bothered me, its just more of a realisation of what a different path my life has taken, and how things have happened and choices made that took me away from the normal mainstream social expectations of women my age.
there were some lovely young women at snb with babies too, all of them younger than me, educated, married, beautiful girls with beautiful children and it just made me think about how far i am away from that idea of ‘normal’. this is exacerbated every day where i work, because there are currently three pregnant women and two on maternity leave. all the women older than me have children, the younger ones probably will. i wont ever have kids now, and i dont want them either, but there was a time when i did. im not sure if i regret not having them, its not that really, its just a feeling of getting old, of being different, of not being able to relate at that level. in the back of my mind are mean conservative politicians whispering that i havent fulfilled my biological function as a woman, that im not grown up or mature because i dont have children. of course i know this is bullshit, because ive been places and done things that some people will never do (not all of them they’d want to either). but when women with kids get together and talk endlessly about kids, and you arent part of that conversation, it can be really hard work.
at lunch, we were talking about the public perceptions of knitters, and how there seems to be some assumption out there, among certain cretinous popular entertainment types in particular, that women who knit only do so because they dont have any other kind of life. of course, you only have to look around our group to see how far from reality this assumption might be. but its easy to make assumptions about things from the outside, when you are not a part of them. in some ways, i have been guilty of this assumption myself in relation to collective knitting activity, especially in the form of the Knitters Guild. a few of my friends joined last year but i didnt, i wasnt living in sydney anymore and i heard a lot of negativity from one or two people who were on the committee about various political issues. having survived many years of flyball politics, i had no desire to jump into that frying pan. but i have been going to some meetings of the inner-city group and have enjoyed every minute of it. so i have finally joined, and received my paperwork, complete with badge and lanyard on friday!
i am a little bit excited. it feels weird, to be pleased to be a part of this particular collective, but my decision to join was kind of justified when i heard someone at snb say yesterday (not about me) “oh i heard she even joined the guild, why would you want to do that?” a fair enough question, if you have the perception that its a bunch of crazy old women who have no life. but for me, its not about the politics, or wanting to get in there and change things. its about wanting to be part of a tradition, the organised recognition of knitting as a craft, requiring a guild. i know there ARE things that need changing, and they will change when the time is right, because thats what life is. change. and if at some point there is some role for me to play in that, well i will, but for now, its just about the collective. about being part of something that has a history that is bigger and wiser than me, that will continue long after im gone, and about being around other women who believe in that too.
in other words, its about the knitting. and i dont think any of us care what anyone thinks about that!