Sunday, October 05, 2008

Then and Now

In the middle 1800's, women dressed like this:
And this:

Young girls dressed like this youngster, or in garb very close to what she is wearing.

While I can't picture myself covered head to toe, even fingertip, in all that fabric, and being limited in movement by the hoopskirts, hats and petticoats, the ladies of that time period and I do have something very much in common. By now, you've probably even guessed what that common thread might be. Yes, knitting.

The thought occurred to me as I sat on the sidelines of a Civil War Re-enactment yesterday. Bill and I took my kids to the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center to watch a battle and tour the Presidential home. I sat on a paved path beside a shaded, grassy lawn, watching the drama unfold, all the while knitting on my latest project. Clad in jeans and a campaign t-shirt with an orange wool sweater over top, I watched these ladies parading by, some toting little costumed children, and realized that over 150 years ago, during the Civil War, they were knitting too. Even some of what we knit is still the same; socks, mittens, scarves. Things to keep our loved ones warm.

This skill, knitting, that has been around for centuries, provided those women with the same benefits it gives me. I'm sure they knitted to keep themselves busy when they were worried. I'm sure those women knitted to calm themselves, and help assure their families that all would be well. Even with this going on outside, all would be fine if Mama was sitting down with her knitting, right?
Even as my son posed in front of the gates that Pres. Hayes stole from the White House when he left office, I couldn't help but feel connected to the past... and grateful I don't have to wear those ridiculous dresses!

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Blogger The Gadabout Knitter said...

How cool to see all that! I've never been to a re-enactment but I definitely want to go now!

It is awesome to think that knitting connects us to the past!

Sunday, October 5, 2008 at 7:18:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Kelli said...

I would like to state for the record that any time period that required you to wear a shift and two or more petticoats while keeping your arms covered for modesty's sake is not an era I would want to live in. Even if I do re-enact it once a year.

Cool pictures though. :)

Sunday, October 5, 2008 at 8:16:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Jeanne said...

I don't know - I think it would be sort of nice to wear a hoop skirt! Just for a little bit! Great pictures...

Monday, October 6, 2008 at 9:09:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Sourire11 said...

Very cool trip. Also way to represent with wearing a campaign t-shirt! The map is slowly turning blue...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008 at 4:35:00 PM EDT  
Blogger La Cabeza Grande said...

I like your focus on the ties that bind us, past and present; in this case, of course, it is knitting.

BTW, I didn't know those gates were stolen from the White House.

Friday, October 10, 2008 at 4:38:00 PM EDT  
Blogger becky c. said...

I wore a hoop skirt for Halloween one year and loved it! I think I was born in the wrong time.

Friday, October 10, 2008 at 10:42:00 PM EDT  

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