However, the title of his "Homemade Life" got me pondering.... "Homemade" is something that I too often aspire to produce: Baking, jam, other food... but not hand knitting. I like my knitting to look handmade, not homemade. Same for my sewing. I'd like to be able to surprise you with the fact that the well-made, well-fitting garment / bag that you've just complimented me on is a product of my own hands – as opposed for you to be able to guess from the hanging threads, mis-matched seams or any other poorly disguised clues that would point to its origin.
I find it an interesting distinction. My baking is, most definitely, home made. "Rustic", is more accurate. Happiest making gingerbread or fruit loaves – used to love Madeira cake but its inexplicable fall from the "pretty-much-guaranteed-to-always-work" tin has made me fearful of trying again. Cakes with very little or no icing, cakes I often serve straight from their greaseproof paper: These are my friends. There's a different kind of happiness when baking the predictable chocolate cake with my boys: Two layers of sponge with two layers of a simple chocolate icing – and two beaters licked to shining "cleanliness". It’s not elegant but it's tasty – and who can be disappointed with a wedge of freshly-baked, delicious cake?
Ditto my jam. Spend hours and hours growing, collecting and preparing the fruit – but lose interest at the final hurdle: Presentation. Of course the jars are clean and sterile but, once sealed, they're lucky to be labelled let alone decorated. Again, I assume that the tastes and flavours will speak for themselves (although that's not always the case!). Why this lack of interest in the packaging? When I could so easily crochet a cover, cut out some pretty paper or even just neatly write the date and contents on a label.
With my knitting, however, it has to be the entire package: Thoughtfully chosen, beautiful yarn and a diverting pattern lovingly knitted and then carefully put together. Why? Because I'm aware that so much can be lost with a badly-constructed garment? Because my standards as a knitter have risen? Because I'm a professional knitter? Because I'm a Knitter?
Which, by the same argument, means that I'm not a Baker – or indeed any other kind of Domestic Goddess. My home is mostly clean and mostly tidy, but you don't have to look too far to find the imperfections. My garden is, erm, a work in progress: Occasional elements of "ta-da" – depending on the season and energy exerted. My cooking, while under seasoned (thought I'd get that in there before anyone else did!) is usually edible – and the list goes on.
Oddly enough, these rough edges no longer cause me the distress that they used to. There's no doubt that having a young family has forced some of this (clearly a freshly vacuumed carpet is for emptying the entire contents of the Lego box) – but I find that there is a certain amount of satisfaction in being able to complete a task, and complete it well. Not all my tasks, clearly, maybe only one or two. And I guess it speaks volumes that of these few, my knitting is one.