On Being a Sock Knitter


Grace Cossington Smith painted her younger sister Madge knitting socks for allied soldiers in the trenches during the horrors of the first world war. Like many women of this era left at home to wait and brood for their men fighting in distant lands, this nervous energy was channeled into one of the few positive and practical outlets available - craft.

Women like Madge and Grace knitted their hands off - socks, vests, balaclavas, gloves, caps, even gentlemen's undergarments (!!), in the name of peace and the return of their loved ones.

This is one of my favourite paintings because it reminds me of the higher purpose craft serves - to give comfort where it is so desperately needed, to bring kindness and good-will to those who are suffering, to send a message of hope and love to those who might despair.

In this last week we have lived through some of the darkest days in Australia's history which could also be argued to be some of our brightest. Men, women and children have pledged their support to the victims of Victoria's bushfires in innumerable creative ways. Sock Knitters have come out of the woodwork. Beyond the copious donations of financial aid there has been one of the most spectacular and spontaneous outpourings of good will this country has ever witnessed.

Well done to all of you who sit reading this and those who have in some way contributed to the crafting effort. Handmade Help has become a testament to the generosity of crafters who carry on the grand tradition of Madge, the Sock Knitter. You are amazing!

1 comment

Anonymous said...

Love the variety of offers of help - I am 70, can knit and have lots of wool, materials lying around - will wrap and drop off to help! Keep it up girls and guys.AnnieP

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