The other week, someone said something rather extraordinary to me (at least in my opinion). I was at choir practice, and I tend to bring muffins or cookies to practice as a little snack for everyone there. I also tend to bring my knitting (usually a sock) which I like to work on inbetween songs. Toward the end of practice, someone commented that I must be very talented, since I was able to knit socks AND make such great goodies.
At first it was flattering -- I'm glad people like my baking. But then I got to thinking. People think I'm very talented....because I know how to knit and bake?
When, exactly, did knitting and baking become such rare skills? As recently as fifty years ago, practically all women knew how to bake and knit (or crochet or some similar needlecraft). It was considered a given that she would have those two skills. When did the ability to loop string and combine sugar, milk, and flour together become so unique?
Personally, I blame the feminist movement. When women rebelled against the idea of staying at home, they rebelled against all the domestic skills that went along with it. It's a shame really. I'm not saying that the feminist movement was bad. Far from it. It gave women the power to choose what they wanted to do with their lives, which is great! But that doesn't mean that a woman has to give up all domestic abilities, just because she no longer HAS to stay at home. I am one of those rare people out there who believe that all people everywhere, whether man or woman, need to know how to sew a button on, mend a ripped seam, cook a basic meal (yes, muffins and cookies can be pretty basic), and have the knowledge and dexterity to knit and/or crochet at least a hat. Honestly. None of those things are really that hard.
But I'll still enjoy feeling flattered whenever anyone stares at me agog when I walk around carrying five really tiny knitting needles and magically creating footware with them.