My good friend, Kat, recently turned me onto The Gentle Art of Domesticity, which is such a lovely, inspiring book that I look forward all day to my half hour of nighttime reading while nursing the baby to sleep. This wonderful book is by Jane Brocket, the blogger behind yarnstorm, an equally well-photographed and inspiring blog. I have to admit here that with my knitting block, I had previously assumed that this was a blog for knitters only and hadn’t bothered to check it out. Too bad for me! This blog, and this book, are about nearly all the "gentle" arts of knitting, crochet, sewing, baking, quilting, and gardening. Heavenly!
There are so many intriguing recipes (for rock buns, fairy cakes, homemade marshmallows…), countless gorgeous photographs, and lots of lovely essays. One of the most striking to me was her piece on hands, a brief ode to their capability and competence. While reading it, I remembered myself as a little girl all of a sudden. I remembered the older women I knew then and admiring how weathered and worn and strong their hands looked. I thought all those obvious veins and tendons and rough skin meant that those were hands that could do something, that were good at many things, probably. And I couldn’t wait til my own hands were so well-used and capable.
Looking at them now, my hands are pretty rough-looking. For one thing, they’re very dry. Lotion smears up fabric and makes needles slippery, so I tend not to use it. The sides of my fingers are stained with green food coloring from the Battenberg cake (from this book!) that I made and decorated yesterday. My palms are calloused from recent digging and weeding in my garden. All in all, these are not hands that would win me any hand-modeling contracts.
But they’re the hands I’ve always wanted.