edited at midnight to add: and just like that (clicks the fingers) we lost our first woman prime minister. Abby and I feel quite sad. Deposed by the greatest spoilt brat of all time.
See, yesterday Julian printed out the argyle charts for me from his vest pattern which meant I could start knitting the front of his vest today with all those little balls of wool which insisted on rolling round and round the floor in an infuriating way which meant I was hunting about for something to put them in when I remembered the vintage embroidery box that I restored a few weeks back that just needed the hinges re-attaching and whilst I was thinking and gathering all of this I was reminded of last night’s very spiteful attack on our prime minister Julia Gilliard for KNITTING.
Now without doubt, the PM has had some dodgy moments over the last four years. But she’s also achieved some very fine things and has at the same time been subjected to the most revolting personal attacks – many very sexist. Attacking her for KNITTING – with claims that it made her look like an old crone, a man in drag, and completely out of touch with real women – is just the dizzy limit. For god’s sake – the poor PM has to have some down time and why is knitting in any way an unacceptable choice.
The whole attack was not just petty – and yet another example of how poor Julia will be crucified no matter what she does – but demeaning to an art that is both useful and beautiful, too everybody who has ever picked up a pair of knitting needles and a ball of yarn, and trivialises the hours put into every jumper that has warmed a child, every pair of socks, beanie and scarf that has kept the chill at bay from one point of this planet to another, and every cardigan that has been worn with pride then carefully handed down to the next generation.
Anyway, I felt inspired to drop Julia a line so I thought I’d share it here along with the pictures of the pretty embroidery box, now employed as an argyle ball holder (scroll to the botton for the before shots :-) …
Dear Prime Minister Gillard,
As a woman, feminist, student nurse, passionate advocate for the rights of children, women, people with disabilities, and refugees, campaigner for environmental sustainability and animal welfare, and KNITTER, I would like to congratulate you on the lovely photos and story that appeared in this month’s Women’s Weekly. I think your knitted kangaroo was very sweet and a lovely, thoughtful and personal gesture.
I don’t actually read the Women’s Weekly, but saw the corresponding article on the ABC news last night and was outraged on your behalf by the snide, spiteful and immature comments made by Christopher Pyne, Julie Bishop and Trish Macrossin. They clearly pay no attention to what their constituents get up to in their spare time. We are not all passive consumers, chained to commercial media, believing every word of drivel served up to us by those who regularly seek to incite, demean and divide. In contrast, like you, many of us seek pleasure and peace in creating something with our own hands. And this does not make us less of a person or worthy of contempt!
I am so disappointed by the sexist culture currently flourishing here in Australia – especially with regard to you – where it is now even considered acceptable to ridicule, in a completely sexist manner, a woman who chooses to spend her precious personal time knitting! No one challenged the rights of Joe Hockey, Christopher Pyne, Nigel Scullion, Barnaby Joyce, or Peter Garratt, all who appeared in front of a stove on Annabel Crabb’s Kitchen Cabinet program, to stand up in parliament because they knew how to cook!
How dare people suggest that because you know how to wield a pair of knitting needles, that somehow makes you less worthy of your role. The depth to which our public commentary will stoop knows no bounds and is sadly indicative of a dangerous tendency for so many in our society to be shallow observers rather than valuable participants.
If more people spent time exploring the real issues that beset this country, as well as turning their own hands to a bit of sustainable creativity, instead of constantly looking for opportunities to tear down, we would be a much richer, more compassionate, and productive society.
I knit in public all the time – on trains, in parks, cafes, at the beach – and regularly have such lovely chats with people of all ages and backgrounds – from rambunctious little Jewish boys at the local playground, to the heavily tattooed young man on the train, to the hardworking owner of our local Chinese takeaway, to the frail elderly ladies I have nursed in hospital, to the busy young students I share many of my days with – who want to know what I’m doing, how to do it, what part knitting has played in their families’ lives, and how much they would love to try it.
Knitting brings people together, creates goods that are both beautiful and useful, and expresses how much we think of someone, when we are prepared to dedicate the time it takes to knit them something special, warming and comforting.
I appreciate your knitting was probably seized upon by a publicity person as a means to help create a more human-you. Be assured – it caught my eye! There are many things you have done during your tenure that I applaud, and sadly, many things that have left me very disappointed. However, to attack you over your practice of an ancient, incredibly intricate craft that has been perfected by both sexes and in cultures around the world for thousands of years – is infuriating.
It is also a petty, ignorant and sexist attack on all those hundreds and thousands of people in our community who seek to create something unique and beautiful with their own hands, suggesting no man in his right mind would do so and any woman who does is not to be taken seriously.
I do wonder how she gets up each morning. It must be so dispiriting to be constantly attacked – even when you try to do something nice (she has knitted a kangaroo doll for Prince William and Princess Kate’s babe).
Whilst I am very aware the PM has many more important things on her plate a silly little part of me hopes that some aide reads my email and as the PM is striding off to another ghastly meeting, the aide is able to say “Hey! We got a funny email from a voter who thought your knitting was cool and that the naysayers were totally out of line.”
It’s a forehead smacking time we live in.
Here are the before photos … found at a local op shop. Have been searching for more ever since, but alas, no luck.
How funny are these little lumps of stuffing! You should look out for a little vintage embroidery box, dear reader, and if you need some help to recover it, email me and I’ll walk you through it!
Three huge huzzahs for all those who make things with their hands!