I have finally again picked up some knitting. I haven’t had a knitting project on the needles since the spring. I had a sudden inspiration a few weeks ago to try knitting lace. I’ve knitted lace patterns into things, but never lace to be sewn onto something else. I have two yards of beautiful yarn-dyed linen, and I thought a simple skirt edged with knitted lace would be lovely.
I bought cotton yarn – something I’ve only done once before – I really didn’t like knitting with cotton the first time I tried it. It seemed to want to stick to the needles. This yarn (Blue Sky Cotton) seems to be easier to work with, but it is too thick to be lace yarn. I’ve since ordered cotton lace yarn, and am putting this to use knitting a cotton dish towel. I am always running low on dish towels since I culled out the ratty ones with holes. My last cotton knitting project was a washcloth, and I have always loved the soft chunky texture from the knitting.
I wanted a sort of waffle-weave texture, so I made up a stitch pattern for it, that seems to be working well if I don’t forget where I am and add an extra row (or two). It’s a very forgiving pattern, being a rectangle and very repetitive, and a good thing to knit when we are all recovering from whatever awful illness Mirin brought back from scout camp. I will try to write it up in a pattern form when I am finished and share it here.
We’ve been reading a lot of E.M. Forster lately. Ethan just finished Howard’s End, and I am trying to get him to read this one now. I love Forster’s writing style, and how he writes so well from a feminine perspective. Passage to India is less philosophical than the other books of his I have read, but it has a lot of interesting situational commentary on imperialism. Living as I do in a country that makes its fortune largely from imperialistic policies, this book has just as much meaning now as it did a long time ago…almost more so because the practices are the same, but the specific justifications are slightly different. The excuse of “keeping the peace” for the violent natives while siphoning off all the wealth seems to be a very effective line.
When we were talking about it we got into a discussion on how the different countries implemented imperialistic policies. France, for example, tended to try to obliterate any local culture and make everyone “French” in their colonies. England, in contrast, liked to play upon the differences that were already there, and destabilize the culture in that way. Ethan mentioned that the Caste system in India was on the decline when the British took over, and they brought it back because it was useful for keeping people from getting together and organizing for their independence, and it also matched their own social system closely. Having just finished reading a lot of Jane Austen, I found that comment very interesting, particularly after reading Emma, which is all about social status (all of her books are, really). I can very much see the similarities between the English class structure and the Caste system.