What do Druids do?

stripy bum
Knit! If my circle of female Druid friends is anything to go by at all, wool has become a frequent feature of a modern Druid path. I have friends who spin, who weave, knit and crotchet and make the most beautiful items. Many of them talk about the whys and wherefores of this, because it is not a necessary thing to do at present, given what’s available. It is an act of connection, engaging with female ancestry. It takes a lot of time and work to go from raw sheep to wearable jumper and for the women who came before us, this was a big feature of life.

I’ve had a go at spinning, but am too tense, so I over-spin. However, I can see the hypnotic and meditative aspect of spinning. I learned to knit as a child, and have been doing some fairly basic crotchet, so I know how the rhythms of that act on my mind and body, how I can fall into it. Anything can be undertaken as an act of devotion or as an expression of spirituality, but there are many reasons why working with wool to produce clothing functions in this way. As a Druid with a desire to add beauty to life and to work with inspiration, woolcrafts have a lot to offer.

Except that I’m not terribly good at it. A few weeks ago an opportunity came up to try a pattern for a lacy knit. I’ve never knitted from a complicated pattern. I realised both that I wanted to do it, and that I firmly believed I couldn’t. It would be beyond me to make something delicate or pretty. I could not handle a difficult pattern. I would fail. I took these assumptions out and had a good, hard look at them. I recognised voices not my own, and assessments of me as an awkward, graceless creature that had not come as a consequence of ever trying something like this and failing.

Trying was an intimidating process. I had two false starts as I got to grips with what the pattern meant. Both times I very nearly gave up, with the proof in my hands that no, I couldn’t follow a pattern, just like I’d been told and no, I could not make a pretty thing. Finding the will not to quit was not an easy journey for me. Third time round, and I only messed up very slightly at the beginning, and it’s not wholly obvious from a distance. Third time round I knitted the pattern, and it came out ok. (It’s the stripy thing tied across my hips in the photo)

This year has already had me challenging some long held assumptions about who I am and what I am capable of. It’s a disorientating process. By doing that, I can grow and change. But then, that’s also what Druids do.

And… the pattern is here – http://www.ravelry.com/designers/theodora-wildcroft

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

7 responses to “What do Druids do?

  • linda gaylord

    What is the name of the pattern you followed? Is it a shawl? I like the colors.

  • Connie Reed

    I crochet and spin, and this year I have a goal to teach myself knitting again (I did so a long while ago and have been itching to mess with it again). Working with fiber is therapeutic and calming. I do feel a connection to our ancestors and I love watching the process of raw material become a functional thing. Sometimes I work for the finished project, but often I simply pick up string and tools for the sheer pleasure that the process of working with it gives me. You made a lovely scarf/belt!

  • Chris Hurst

    That made me smile! Well done you – it looks lovely and so do you. It’s honestly a wonder I ever make anything, most of the time I feel I drag victory slowly and cautiously from the jaws of imminent failure. I’ve been working on a green man lately, a bit special for someone who certainly is, and I’ve literally had to put him away a few times and look at him with fresh eyes a few days later to see if he’s “rubbish” or not. He’s not, the “rubbish” is only in my own eyes and the Peanut Gallery of My Stuff. Bless you for your blogs!

  • angharadlois

    Looks fantastic!
    I have only just begun to knit, as well, after cautiously negotiating some misconceptions… the first being that I couldn’t make anything delicate and complicated (I mean, by my standards, even a basic garter-stitch scart is delicate and complicated!); I had tried to learn knitting for about 20 minutes age 9 and it was decided then and there that I would not be any good. The second misconception, which I hate to admit, is that women’s work is dull and worthy. I want to make things with fire and metal and physical strength! Those are the things that make people say “wow, you can do that?!” It has taken me a while to learn that, just because others undervalue the traditionally feminine domestic crafts, does not necessarily mean they have no value. I am learning a lot from watching and reading fellow druid knitters 🙂

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