Mary Morony, Author of Apron Strings, Done Growed Up and If It Ain't One Thing

Teaching Girls to Knit

Children are rarely impressed with their parent’s knowledge. Or at least if my children were, they kept it to themselves. Not one asked me to share any skillset I might have acquired along my long and winding path to now. Teaching girls to knit had never crossed my mind. Perhaps the novelty caused by my children’s lack of interest is why teaching twenty girls in Uganda to knit was such an honor. But I suspect it had more to do with the following:

Hunger

They were hungry for any knowledge and knowledge that would enable them to help support themselves even more. When faced with the choice of eating or not, and your body is the only commodity you have the choice is a no-brainer.

Creativity

Learning a skill as inherently creative as knitting spoke to a human need we take for granted. A need one quashed by poverty—the need to create. Life in the slums is too focused on mere survival to leave much room for any creative endeavors. Since not one of my students could read a pattern, I gave just a few parameters as to how one goes about making a bag and they had only just learned knit and purl. Of the twenty or so bags created not one was like another. Each girl created a distinctively their own bag with only the rudiments of knit-purl skills. Even before we got to bags and the only stitch anyone knew was knit scarves poured forth from the creative girls as different as the knitters themselves.

Relief from Boredom

Knitting relieved boredom. There is only so much television a person can watch. When there wasn’t anything else to do teenage girls could get into trouble. You know an idle mind is the devil’s workshop so with so much yarn there suddenly was lots to do.

To be fair to my children they have never had as much incentive to knit and that is quite okay with me. If they had as much incentive as my Ugandan buddies I believe they too would have appreciated someone sharing their knowledge of the skill.

 

 

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