I have been listening to Anne of Green Gables on audio book as I knit my Hey, Teach! cardigan. This was one of my very favourite books as a child, and I have been amazed at how much detail I have remembered. Equally, however, I am definitely appreciating new things about it... I doubt I picked up on the knitting content first time around, for example! The book starts with a woman knitting, and I have just come to the part where Anne goes back to school, and is welcomed back thus:'Sophia Sloane offered to teach her a perfectly elegant new pattern of knit lace: so nice for trimming aprons'
It feels appropriate to be engaging in an activity that would have been so familiar to women and girls at the time whilst listening to a story about them. I'm not sure whether Anne herself, or non-fictional versions of her, would always have enjoyed knitting: I have read about children being made to sit and knit a certain number of rounds on a sock before they were allowed to go out and play. Nevertheless, it was a common currency of knowledge which, as 'Sophia Sloane' shows, could be shared and passed on, and it is nice to think that I too can participate in it. I suppose I do not have the same need to knit that Victorian women did (my legs may still be warm even if I do not knit myself stockings), nor quite the same uses for it (I have yet to experience the urge to trim an apron...), but I bet they paused every now and again to stretch and admire their work in exactly the same way that I do.
I wonder if, conversely, they glowered at things that did not turn out quite the way they had envisaged? I have been doing so at Forecast. I did what I was talking about, and ripped out and re-knit the button-hole band (on the left in the picture below), picking up fewer stitches, which I think now looks just about ok. The button band, on the other hand, which I had previously thought was perfectly passable, now appears flared by comparison. I decided to block it, and see which side looked better. I'll keep you posted...
In the meantime, here are some things I love about Cambridge:
The de-stressing bouncy castle that the college erects every exam term.
I've passed this poster in the pigeonhole room a few times, and finally got round to photographing it. In case you can't make it out, someone has taken the time to modify its message to 'Do you think you are an academic?'.