The Archaeology of Knitting


Like many others, I’ve spent my winter coughing and spluttering by the fire. My recuperation and leisure time is occupied largely with these two pieces of technology.

The radio cost me £3 a dozen years ago from a charity shop next to the rubbish dump in Stratford, where salvageable items were cleaned up and recycled. It’s been my trusty companion ever since, on long boat trips and sunny afternoons of working outdoors.

The knitting needles are a new obsession. Everyone I know is practicing their ‘oh, how lovely, you made me a slightly peculiar hat’ face. You might think knitting was as old a tradition as spinning wool, but knitting with two needles only began in the middle ages. At any rate, some of my happiest afternoons in January have been spent listening to Radio 4 and working the wool slowly into a shape that looks about right. During these short days and long nights, it’s a comforting and meditative way to make something new.


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