Monday, March 31, 2008

Knitting with sense and sensibility

Last evening I enjoyed the first half of PBS' latest version of Sense & Sensibility. Sublime. I knitted and rocked, and before I knew it, the episode was over and my latest prayer shawl finished. Well, almost. I've decided it's a bit too sensible, so I'm adding a chained fringe.

It's lovely to spend time in Austen's world. Such deep passions expressed with a glance, a wicked bit of good manners, or a curtsy and bow. Modern day cursing and eye rolls just can't compare to a well timed nod of the head to communicate disdain.

I certainly don't have the gift of understatement. I do, however, empathize with those well mannered, educated women who honored tradition and upheld their standards regardless of their financial circumstances. Today, we call that "class." I am surrounded by such women today and treasure each of them for their unstinting commitment to doing the right thing.

Yesterday I visited the home of a nice woman who's de-stashing her considerable collection of yarn. Dozens of huge bins fill a room in her home and everything is in SWEATER QUANTITIES, from cashmeres and linen to fine silks and Noro. She has hand-dyed, imports from small farms in England, labels in Italian and German, all in an amazing array of colors. I purchased enough black wool to make a knee-length hooded cardigan (to replace one I've worn out), a cotton cardigan for spring, and a shawl. And I paid about $1 to $3 a skein for most! (She's in the Atlanta Craig's List. Just search "yarn" and up she pops. She's also popular in the Metro Atlanta knitters group at Ravelry.)

So are Jane Austen and knitting in mind today? Jane speaks to my inner Donna Reed. (I was named for her.) While I'm fully capable of corporateering, I'm far happier at home cooking, gardening, repairing, decorating, scrapbooking, knitting, and entertaining. Jane's world was filled with gentle women who engaged in traditional activities of the day and demonstrated a deep contentment with simple walks, gardening, and social engagements.

I long for that kind of contentment. Who doesn't?

Okay, Jane's world is fantasy. But I'll take that fantasy, any day!

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