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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Knitting and Armageddon

I've seen a couple of news reports, specials, and even an episode of a series about "doomsday" people, and to a person they believe they will have to be totally self-reliant in the near future.  The idea is that through war or other means, civilization as we know it will cease to exist.  They hoard weapons, water, and food.  I hope they're wrong.  But if they're not, one thing I haven't heard discussed is how they will remain clothed.

I don't see any of them hoarding clothing, or fabric, or needles and thread to mend their existing clothes.  They do not appear to be planting flax, or cotton, or herding sheep.  I am not aware of anyone having a loom stashed away.  And this brings me to knitting.

If I believed that I needed a fortified homestead independent of the utility grid where I might need to live for a year or more with minimal contact with the outside world, I would want to make sure I had clothes.  I can already cook from scratch on a wood stove, build a fire and a shelter, mend a fence, and purify water.  (Thank you, Girl Scouts, for making this all possible!)  I can plant a garden, and maintain it.  (Thanks, Mom.)  I'm sketchy on how to make soap and detergent, but I'm sure there are books that I could stock.  But clothes?  Should knitting be considered a basic survival skill?  For me, yes, just to keep my sanity.  But in general, is knitting a survival skill?  Or sewing?  Weaving?  Spinning?

When would we have the time to knit, what with all the farming and cooking from scratch?  Would we ever knit for fun?  Or just out of necessity?

What about blacksmith skills?  Or glass-blowing?  Are the doomsday people one hailstorm away from a home without windows?  Candle-making?  (And does that mean bee-keeping?)  What about fuel?  I have no idea how to make lamp oil.  Or an oil lamp, if I'm unlucky enough to break mine.

Some of the many things that make knitting a joy include that I can do it in the evening, in my heated home, under electric light, with beautiful yarns I didn't need to make myself.  I'm not a gifted spinner, and I don't know where I'd get silk, linen, cotton, and alpaca anyway.  I'm allergic to wool, so shepherding is probably a non-starter.  All of a sudden, Armageddon is looking really unpleasant!

I've decided that Armageddon is an unacceptable outcome.  Survival is important, but what's the fun if I can't knit anymore?  You can call it denial, but I'm happy living the life we have.  Let's not screw it up.
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