Reaching back into time (and into the bottom of a box that surfaced during unpacking yesterday) I come up with my first-ever attempt at both knitting in the round on DPNs, and at stranded colorwork in the round:

I did ita couple of yearsafter I started knitting, about the same time I began becoming rabid about knitting in general. I used a bunch of Shetland scraps raided from my mother’s stash. Like most samplers I do, I didn’t bother planning or charting anything out before hand, I just did it on the fly, experimenting with technique, color, size of floats, number of DPNs (I tried out everything from 3-6 on this piece), and pattern.

Now. Have you guessed what this thing is? It’s not a mitten or glove. It’s not a sock. It’s not a piece of gentleman’s intimate apparel, either (were it so, the size alone would make it pretty spectacular, athough the itch-factor might be somewhat limiting).

It’s a putter cover I made for The Resident Male. He took up serious golfing around the same time as I picked up serious knitting. No connection between the two pursuits other than this item.

There’s a social history lesson connected with this cover, too. I knit on this mostly at lunch hour at work, and on a couple of business trips because I wanted it to be a surprise gift. My boss at the time saw me knitting away on the thing in the airport, and upon our return to D.C., called me into his office.

He gave me a long lecture on why I should **never** let anyone who knew me in a professional capacity **ever** see me doing needlework. He went on to say that I should **never** wear or display my own products at work, because no one would take me seriously in the world of work if they connected me with domestic pursuits.

To be fair, even though it was the mid ’80s, I was working in a big-time construction/project management firm – in an extremely conservative industry largely devoid of women. But this particular workplace was backwards-thinking in the extreme. To illustrate the mindset there – I once got an employee recognition award given to me in public,with the introduction "And here’s the little lady who put the lie into the statement that you can’t have boobs and brains both."[shudder]

Back to knitting, I can report that I

  1. blissfully ignored his advice and kept knitting,
  2. moved on to another employer after it was explained to me that my promotion track as a fem was nil; and
  3. to this day, proudlywear and display my products everywhere I work.

For those of you born after the Carter administration, the attitude displayed by my former boss was common. Another oft-heard diatribe was that women shouldn’t do needlework, because all forms of needlework were artificesthat restricted women’s sphere of interest and creativity. This attitude was more hurtful, as it largely came from other women. (If you think I’m kidding about this, look into the book The Subversive Stitch by Rozsika Parker.) For a long time this attitude wasin part responsible for the decline in interest in knitting and stitching among younger women.

I am delighted today that things are on the upswing. I can be an aging grrlnerd, and have interests and accomplishments as diverse as fine embroidery, lace knitting, computer gaming,and SCA heavy list fighting, and no one will think the less of me for doing or having done any of them in particular. Now if only I could do something about that "aging" part, as it is having a real drag effect on employability…

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