Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Off Kilter

I was amazed yesterday to have to renew the book I'm reading. Have I really had it three weeks? It never takes me that long to read a book! And it's a fascinating look at U.S. social history, too. You know, before things were mass-produced, people depended on home spinning and hand knitting. Even when you could buy whatever you wanted there was still money to consider, and much-needed stress relief - as when crossing the country in a covered wagon, under constant threat of attack and disease and death.

It's no surprise the biggest surges in mass knitting have occurred in wartime. From the Civil War to WWII soldiers begged for hand knit socks. They were easier on marching feet, and lasted longer, and men, women, and children at home were happy to oblige and knit constantly because it gave them something constructive to do when the safety of their loved ones was out of their control. People got very, very tired of navy blue and khaki.

Yesterday I had a note from the friend who gave me the idea for a chemo cap challenge, saying how tired she and her knitting group are of pink: they've made 100 pink chemo caps in the last three weeks. And it occurs to me that cancer is war, and chemo caps the new must-knit project. They're a necessity, and knitting them gives us something to do while we wait for a cure.

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