I have a very dear friend with whom I correspond regularly by letter and a while ago we were writing to each other about the sense of sisterhood we felt whilst working together to get some pieces finished for an art and crafts fair we were doing a stall at together.
We were sat up late the night before, by this point mainly powered by pots of tea, frantically finishing some pieces, and both of us felt a nice sense of connection, of solidarity through our handcrafts and through our love of textiles.
Now, this feeling of a sisterly union I’ve felt before, both in my reenactment days as there was often several of us, the night before the event huddled together doing last minute repairs and finishing our clothing (not the best thing to do by the light of a campfire, but needs must!)
I felt it today, whilst sitting in a nearby cafe chatting to a new friend about anything and everything,and I feel it when I go to my local knitting group.
It seems to be that this sense of coming together and having a stitch and bitch (or knit and bitch) or something similar is sadly missing from society today. The feeling of women coming together to be creative and just be women together seems to be something we cling to with the pressures of modern life. (And I’m not saying men should be excluded, I’m just saying its nice to spend time with other women)
Having moved to a town where I literally only knew a couple of people, making friends wasn’t easy as there were few places I could go to meet them, other than pubs and I don’t like getting to know people around alcohol.
Its taken doing something seen as traditionally feminine – knitting – to meet independent like minded women who have a wide range of interests and are interested in learning new skills like spinning (again, I’m not saying men don’t want to learn, I just haven’t met any yet).
There seems to be a paradoxical situation where women who have ‘feminine’ hobbies or careers feel they have to apologise for them and that I don’t agree with. I love to knit, sew, embroider, embellish and have pretty things. It doesn’t stop me believing in equality for the sexes. I can be a feminine feminist, dammit!
I applaud the current move in ‘subversive’ crafts, such as subversive needlework, The Anticraft, Sublime Stitching (God I wish I could afford to import some of her patterns!) etc, as well as Knitta Graffiti and similar activities but am just astounded by the resurgence of the mend and make (do) ethos that’s happening these days and it makes me proud to feel a sense of sisterhood with all this amazing creative women.
(I think that makes sense……)