23 January 2008

Knitting as an employment

Another historical knitting sighting, this time in The American Frugal Housewife, by Lydia M. Child (also author of "Hobomok," "The Mother's Book," Editor of the "Juvenile Miscellany," &c., for those who would seek out the further wisdom of this lady), published in 1832.

'Time is money.' For this reason, cheap as stockings are, it is good economy to knit them. Cotton and woollen yarn are both cheap; hose that are knit wear twice as long as woven ones; and they can be done at odd minutes of time, which would not be otherwise employed. Where there are children, or aged people, it is sufficient to recommend knitting, that it is an employment.
A few paragraphs later, she adds:

In this country, we are apt to let children romp away their existence, till they get to be thirteen or fourteen. This is not well. It is not well for the purses and patience of parents; and it has a still worse effect on the morals and habits of the children. Begin early is the great maxim for everything in education. A child of six years old can be made useful; and should be taught to consider every day lost in which some little thing has not been done to assist others.
Children can very early be taught to take all the care of their own clothes.
They can knit garters, suspenders, and stockings; they can make patchwork and braid straw; they can make mats for the table, and mats for the floor; they can weed the garden, and pick cranberries from the meadow, to be carried to market.

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