Yes, I am writing this post mostly targeted towards women on a blog probably mostly read by men. But, being female myself, it is something that I am far more familiar with than knives or computers. I am, however, by no means proficient in this area myself…in fact I’ll come right out and say that this post is almost entirely hypocritical and written as much for my sake as yours.
Who doesn’t like homemade stuff? From the stick figure drawings that decorate our fridges to the knitted mittens and crocheted tablecloths our grandmas give us for Christmas. Almost never flawless, these items are still of far more value to us than their often prettier or more stylish counterparts in stores across the country. I myself have often received gifts (mostly from little siblings) of three-inch scarves barely long enough to warm my big toe, hats with either the head-hole sewn shut or both ends gaping open like craters (these last DO make nice neckwarmers…a proposition usually greeted by the maker with smiles and declarations of “See, that’s exactly what I made it for. I thought it would work better that way. Bet you thought it was a hat didn’t you? Haha.”) Of course I have always loved and cherished these gifts, evidences of the time and care my siblings have lavished upon me. I have no problem with that at all.
But when we grow up are we not to put away childish things? In our country of instant gratification, Walmarts, shopping malls, internet and factories, it is far too common that adults can do no better than those adorably useless trinkets we smiled at from kids. It’s not quite as cute when you receive from adults two-foot table-cloths that you have to graciously pretend were meant to be placemats, or lopsided curtains that you cringe to see adorning your windows but would offend the gift-giver to take down.
Handmade gifts are great, but we really ought to learn how to make them. We’ve all seen the intricately complicated masterpieces of lace or yarn that have been passed as heirlooms through generations gracing tables with their swirls and families with their histories. Most of us can agree that homemade gifts can be more meaningful than store bought ones, but we should make the effort to see that they are useful and practical too. As I said previously, I am as much at fault as the next person. I’m horrible at knitting, crocheting, sewing and most of these other lost arts. And I’m ashamed of that fact.
So here’s to all those moms and grandmas who love arts and crafts, and here’s one more person that wants to join the group. I don’t want to merely pass on heirlooms. I want to start some of my own. Find some needles, dig up some patterns, let’s graduate from the realm of headless hats and neckless sweaters.
Like most other arts it will take time and practice, but it can be done. And this doesn’t just apply to knitting and sewing…there are tons of arts that are being swallowed up in this demanding commercialized culture. Cooking, canning, drawing, painting, writing, journaling, or making music to name a few. And men (if you’re still here) some of these work for you too and I’m sure there are other things that apply to you as well…wood carving for instance. Put those knives to some use.