I cringed. My object was not a magical, enchanting Christmas decoration or well-loved child’s toy. It was a functional knitted hat. Insult to injury: I cannot knit, it drudges up frustrated memories as a six year old, disappointing my Grandmother.
The project’s spark extinguished. I had voluntarily signed up for another trial and tribulation, at an exceeding busy and stressful period (new job, new house, relocation); because I just can’t help myself. Perhaps life would be different if I’d successfully learned to knit.
The connection between my Grandmother’s knitting lesson and her tales of wartime were not lost on me. The ‘make do and mend’ mentality is one that I appreciate, if not the saturated slogan. I focused on this – and a stunning photo of my Grandmother at Saltcoats pier.
I thought of rationed stockings; girls drawing lines up the backs of each other’s legs; forbidden dances; stolen kisses. The war was an awful time of fraught emotion and loss, but with it came – for some – new found freedoms. Sexual liberation; opportunities to work; earn wages; broaden horizons. The chance for women to choose their destiny, not rely on ties to men (be it fathers, brothers or husbands).
By Laura McIntyre