Knitting isn’t just about knitting

It’s about people getting together for a common interest.  In between the teachable knitting moments, conversation wanders all over the place. You can learn a lot about a little. You learn that no matter how diverse we are, there are so many ways in which we are the same. 
Over the past week, conversation in my classes has taken us into the world of medicine, British history, cooking, and digital clocks- to name a few.
by ysolda Flickr

While teaching the Otto Bear class at Westport Yarns, one woman remarked to another that she was really knitting very fast. The “fast” knitter said that the “knits people together” all day.  She’s a Surgeon PA.  How cool is that?  Did knitting make her a better Surgeon PA where she sews people together or did her job make her a better knitter? Maybe a little of both.

That led to a discussion of how our interests when we are young often translate into our life choices.

Mary’s son liked to speed when he was a new driver.  Today he is a nurse, EMT, and drives an ambulance.  Awesome – right?

When I was in the 5th grade I had just learned to knit.  At that time, I also wanted to be a math teacher.  Now I teach knitting and design.

The students were learning how to work the Kitchener Stitch which grafts stitches together seamlessly.  Since I like trivia, I explained the origin of the Kitchener Stitch. The short version is that is came about during WWI and is named for The British Secretary of State for War, Horatio Herbert Kitchener.  You can read the full story here.

Rosie asked if that’s the man on the recruiting posters in England.  She later sent me a picture and this link.

Last night at the Frieze Shawl class we talked about how the way things were done historically influence how they are done today – whether or not the reason for it still exists.  I’ll explain…

It started with a discussion about why the Iphone snooze button is automatically set to 9 minutes. 
“Historically speaking,  clock experts say when snooze alarms were invented, the gears in alarm clocks were standardized. The snooze gear was introduced into the existing mix and its teeth had to mesh with the other gears’ teeth. The engineers had to choose between a gear that made the snooze period nine-plus minutes or 10-plus minutes. Because of the gear configuration, 10 minutes on the nose was not an option. From this page and here.

That reminded me of the old story,

“The new Jewish bride is making her first big dinner for her husband and tries her hand at her mother’s brisket recipe, cutting off the ends of the roast the way her mother always did. Hubby thinks the meat is delicious, but says, “Why do you cut off the ends — that’s the best part!” She answers, “That’s the way my mother always made it. “

The next week, they go to the old bubbie’s house, and she prepares the famous brisket recipe, again cutting off the ends. The young bride is sure she must be missing some vital information, so she asks her grandma why she cut off the ends.  Grandma says, ” Dahlink that’s the only way it will fit in the pan!”

I grew up watching my mother wipe down meat with a wet paper towel, so I did too – for years.  Only to learn that the reason why (she did that)was a holdover from her being raised in a kosher home where you’re supposed to wash meat.

Of course when I decided to write this post, I google-checked my information.  The (current) opinion is that “this is where habit and tradition bump up against modern science and understanding of what actually spreads germs.” 

Public Service Announcement from the USDA, “Washing raw poultry, beef, pork, lamb, or veal before cooking it is not recommended. Bacteria in raw meat and poultry juices can be spread to other foods, utensils, and surfaces. We call this cross-contamination.”

Of course these kind of random acts of conversation can happen when you get a group of women together under other circumstances. Knitting groups are my (most common) point of reference.