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