Passing the Time with a Purl
There are three things that we would all do well to remember; stereotypes don’t do anyone justice, assumptions are dangerous, and real men knit.
We’ve seen the image of Ryan Gosling admitting to relaxing to the sound of knitting needles clacking together while he knits. It’s heartwarming, and makes us love him even more. But lets face it, he gets to knit to pass the time on a movie set. On a movie that he’s being paid handsomely for. We all know, it’s a good way to pass the time.
But, what if the time you had to “pass” was entire years, or decades? What if you are a political prisoner, imprisoned on an island where your job is picking up rocks? Sometimes “what if” is reality.
That’s what happened for the prisoners of Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years (in prison for a total of 27 years). It is said that their favorite way to pass the time was to practice their purl and rib stitches. Getting those stitches perfect became the game, like a sport, and rallied these men together.
What’s Tradition Got to do With it?
Knitting, in most people’s minds, has been assumed a traditional women’s pastime. Men didn’t do it, as it was widely considered a “crafty” hobby. And grandmas everywhere did well to uphold the stereotype, knitting us those amazing Christmas sweaters every year. (We still love you, gran!) And now, those ugly Christmas sweaters are now “in” fashion.
But what if knitting was the thing that kept you alive? Gave you hope in a hopeless place? And helped you gather you the strength to shift an entire country’s political atmosphere. The entire country of South Africa was on the verge of abolishing one of the most divisive relics of social injustice: apartheid. Racial equality was about to become a reality, and we like to think that knitting helped get it there.
Watch this video from the BBC, as we think you’ll be inspired:
What about you?
Good things come from knitting. So, how does knitting help you? (Hopefully, its not just about passing the time.) Let me know!