socks and self-reliance

while this is comment on my lovely knee socks, what has happened has caused my mind to wander to another topic; how did our ancestors manage to get it all done?!?!

It took me two weeks to knit those damn socks (more on that below). How did the ancestors, who truly needed to be self-reliant, cope when they had to take care of ALL the aspects of their survival?  Where did they have time to build their homes, raise their food as well as preserve and prepare it, make all their own clothes, as well as sometimes needing to do the shearing, spinning and weaving too!  Yes, I know about the ideas of community and that some weave and spin, while others might farm or raise the cattle.  Still, they all had so much to do.  Realize that the knitters did it all day long, pretty much.  THere are these incredible little holders that tuck into the waistband of belt or apron to hold a needle while the other is manipulated with the yarn.  this allowed them to take their knitting out while they shopped or herded the cows, or what ever.  Still, the strain on the hands, the neck, the back. and with little light in the evenings to aid in seeing what you were doing.  Little hand stitches for holding the cloth into slacks, shirts or skirts!  Just awesome!!!  All while raising children, pigs and chickens, cooking meals, etc., etc., etc.!!

Put on my lovely new knee socks and before I’d gone 100 steps they were down around my ankles!  Oh I know exactly what happened.  This was a fine yarn and I’d used US#5 needles creating a relatively loose knit.  That meant lots of stretch.  The pair I’m working on now, the exact opposite. a 4 ply yarn that should use a US#9 needle and instead I’m using a 6.  That means a tight knit, some horizontal stretch, little verticle stretch. Matter of fact, its soo tight, they will probably stand up on their own and never sag or bag!!  These are only leg warmers I’m making, for those few cold cold days we have. Matter of fact, before I go a stitch more, will try them on and make sure they will stretch enough to go around the leg.  If I have to rip them out, do it before I’ve gone any more rows.

Do know how to make the knee socks fit better, other than ripping them out and re-doing.  which I may or may not do.  Lets see how the next pair in that fine yarn come out . . .My arthritis won’t really let me do a big project like that in #2 needles!!

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3 Responses to socks and self-reliance

  1. Angela says:

    I haven’t knitted yet, but its on my list of things I want to learn in the next few years. We have three angora rabbits and we’ll be getting angora goats hopefully in the spring or fall.
    I agree that it can seem overwhelming how homesteaders were able to live in the past, but when you look at pictures of how they lived and their faces, most weren’t happy…they were just trying to survive. Some had tattered clothes, holes, dirty looking children and deplorable living spaces. Not exactly inspiration to me. I want to look back to see what they did right and what they did wrong and build our homestead from that point.

  2. morgaineotm says:

    We have a huge advantage to them, technology. from doing research, to home schooling our kids, to solar and wind energy, gas powered refrigerators, pressure canners, etc. Some of what we see in those photos – like the ratty clothes and the dirt, is because they just didn’t have readily available hot water, time, or access to the resources. For those who lived miles away from neighbors or town, it was harder than for those who live in community. Look at the Amish, who do without much of our “conveniences”, but because of their community are clean and relatively happy. A mother overwhelmed in an Amish community has friends who will come and help her. For the poor woman living on the prairie, or during the depression (when a lot of those pictures came out), she had no one to help her cope. But yes, agree, to see those photos one has to wonder is self-reliance a better life. Good luck with your angoras. have you learned how to card and spin yet? Have a niece who is learning that, although she does NOT raise her own material (yet).

  3. Angela says:

    I haven’t yet learned how to card or spin, but that will come too. 🙂 We have a little patch of earth in Los Lunas, NM that we are working on right now. We’re not ready for the larger animals yet. It can be very overwhelming at times, even with the size of our family to get everything done. Where taking it one day at a time.
    I think that a daily look at their lives back during the depression and dust bowl even, allows us to see how things really don’t change, even with all the technology we have in our modern world. Crops still need to be planted, clothes still need to be sewn, food still needs to be cooked, and all the other daily things we do the same as those way back when. The microwave never gave me more time, neither did the dishwasher. For us its about learning a better way to live…its not necessarily easier. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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