What is a locking wheel nut, anyway?

Oh I’m so spectacularly bored! I’m at the garage waiting for my car to be fixed. I should be in work, but the car wouldn’t start this morning, and if I don’t get it sorted now, I’ll be done for all week. Does it sound like I feel guilty for not being in work? I do! I haven’t had a day off sick for about four years. 

So I’m in the waiting room at the nice shiny garage, and the mechanics are lovely but keep asking me questions I don’t understand, and I have to reveal my ignorance about the car I drive every day. I think I was just asked ‘Do you know why you don’t have a locking wheel nut on the rear off side wheel?’. Of course I don’t know – but if you’ve dropped any stitches, I’ll be happy to pick them up for you! My feminist senses are tingling, but it’s ok because C doesn’t know anything about cars either, so I don’t feel like a ‘useless girl’. 

I’ve done all the work I can do remotely – lots of emails sent and records updated this morning. But now I’ve got no work I can do here, and I’ve committed the yarner’s cardinal sin: I have no WIPs with me. I’ve got about 20 at home, but that’s no use to me now! So to pass the time, I’m going to try to do an inventory of all the WIPs I haven’t got round to writing about here yet. 

1. Baby blanket of African flowers. 

2. Cream and green dress that needs buttons. 

3. Pink baby cardie that needs about 4 inches of boring stocking stitch, and which I think will be absurdly huge. 

4. Blue hand warmers that I started, but the first one is too small, so I need to frog and restart. 

5. Pink hand warmer – only one because I did the first one and got bored. 

6. Crofter hand warmer – exactly the same circumstances. 

7. Beige hat for C’s mum. 

8. Baby blue crocheted crescent shawl. 

9. Grey and orange sock yarn cowl. 

10. Granny squares blanket in Cath Kidston colours. 

11. Cushion covers – one needs the ends sewn in (20 million of them) and one needs the cross stitch design finishing. 

12. (Oh god, they’ve just asked me another difficult question!) A crochet purse my for mum that I really need to finish before Friday. 

13. A hat for my sister that should have been finished more than a month ago. 

That’s all I can think of. Now, WIPs that only exist inside my head so far:

1. A blanket made of nine giant solid granny squares, in Ice magic light, possibly with a white border. 

2. A peaked hat with two buttons in dark grey and probably red. 

And finally, a show and tell:

I made about five purses last summer, to keep ‘in stock’ as presents. And last month I needed a little purse, and suddenly remembered them! It’s a bit ropey because it was the third thing I had ever crocheted, but I love my little nautical purse 🙂

Paint it purple

This isn’t exactly a post about knitting or crochet or wool. It’s about women – it’s International Women’s Day today. This morning I celebrated by calling C “The Patriarchy” whenever he made a suggestion or wanted to push the trolley at the supermarket. I also posted a status on Facebook making reference to how Taiwan apparently mark International Women’s Day – by releasing survey results about women’s increasing waistlines. Now, I have done basically no research on this, so I can’t speak with any authority, but I was quite shocked when one of my friends – an educated healthcare professional, and a really very kind and lovely woman – didn’t automatically agree that this seemed a bit ridiculous. We both gave our point of view, and that was that: no animosity, no hard feelings. And I’m not going to use this platform to air my views about something I’m no expert on.

However, I am an expert on being a woman. I’ve been doing it for years – I’ve got the anatomy to prove it and everything. I am a fantastically lucky woman, with a family who want what’s best for me, a boyfriend who supports me wholeheartedly and lets me boss him around sometimes (OK, most of the time), an education system that supported me to the point where I can now contribute to it, a healthcare system that’s saved my life, kept me healthy and let me cry on them, and a network of friends – men and women – who are happy to let me be me even when I’m being a bitch. I’m part of a society that doesn’t gang rape and kill me for going out of the house on my own in the evening. My contributions to that society, small as they are, are valued and rewarded. In a very small way, I can be a role model. We might have a very long way to go on embracing gender equality, but when I walk out of the house with no make on, or the wrong sort of clothes, or the wrong sort of hair, or trainers that have definitely seen better days, no one points and stares. And my part of the world lets me be confident enough to say a firm “No thank you” to anyone who might.

But it isn’t OK to settle for that. Malala Yousafzai can tell you that. Jyoti Singh would have been able to tell you that.

We can’t change the world today. It’ll be a long time before there are significant, meaningful changes. But put it this way: you can’t knit a cardigan in an afternoon – that doesn’t mean you never cast on. You knit away, one row a day, for weeks and months and years. And then, eventually, you’ve made a difference. You’ve created something that makes the world better. Maybe you dropped a stitch or the sleeves aren’t quite long enough, but something new exists because of you.

So find a way to make a difference. Educate yourself, and be grateful that you can. Call on your network of strong female friends and ask them what they think. Donate your time to a women’s charity. Mentor a young woman who needs some help. Or just get on your blog and write a post about how it really is time we cast on that cardigan.