I do still knit. (Though this week was an unusually busy week).
I've started two new smallish things:
1. A pair of just-simple socks (2 x 2 rib cuff, 7 x 1 rib for the leg/ instep) made of Opal "Elves and Fairies" (can be seen here; I think the one I'm using is 5527 (lower right corner) but the color patterning hasn't really shown up like that yet.
I STILL love the self-patterning sock yarn. It may not be so great if you want to do cabled or lace-stitch socks (though even then there are some patterns that will work with it), but it's just fun. And it's one of those things where I look at it as I'm working on it and think about how the world we live in now is amazing. A hundred years ago, if I wanted to knit socks, I'd probably have to either walk, or ride a horse, or take a buggy to the local wool shop. And I'd probably have a choice of a few solid colors of yarns (or, maybe, if I lived somewhere like Scandinavia, a flammegarn, but I think ombre and variegated yarns were rare back then). Two hundred years ago I'd probably have to spin the yarn myself, unless I lived in a very well-populated area. And of course, in those days, I'd be knitting sock after sock after sock for my family (either for a husband and children - and at my age what it is now, likely grandchildren - or, had I remained a "spinster," I'd probably be knitting for brothers and nephews and maybe for the troops of whatever war we were engaged in, or for the poor....) And it wouldn't be the same as coming home after a day's work and thinking, "Ho hum, I feel the need to do something with my hands" and being able to pick out a pretty yarn and make socks for myself. And have there be no deadline on when they have to be done - no children who have outgrown their old pairs, no husband who's worn through his socks and will get chilblains if they are not replaced immediately.
And what's more, if I want yarn? I can shop from many, many different places on the internet, in addition to the small amount of sockyarn I can buy right in my town. And I can pay for it electronically, either with a credit card (credit cards were much less common, and were little-used, even when I was a child, not that long ago) or by a direct transfer from my checking account, or whatever. And if it's a real time issue, I can pay extra and have it sent extra fast to me....no waiting months on a slow boat from Germany or whereever, and waiting weeks for it to be packed out on a horse to where I lived.
I think it was Twain that said "work is what a body is obliged to do, and play is what a body is not obliged to do." So much of what used to be women's WORK in the old days - work in the sense that if it did not get done, there would be serious consequences - has become more like play these days. Not to belittle what we do - "play," especially in modern America does sound like a dismissive term - but that we have time to make things that are useful and beautiful, but that we have the choice to make or to buy. (For example: I buy boot socks rather than knitting them. For one thing, the modern "miracle fibers" that wick perspiration away or prevent chafing or stand up better to repeated applications of insect repellent - are valuable to me. And for another: I wear boot socks out fast enough that I'd rather buy them, and save my sockmaking for "good" socks).
And yes, in the work/play continuum I'm leaving out the privileged Victorian and Edwardian women who would have had servants and dressmakers to do all the boring stuff, and who did "fancy work" or perhaps knitted for the poor. But most of my ancestors alive 100 years ago would have been farmwomen who, if they had any "help," it would be a woman coming in once a year to help with the heavier parts of cleaning, or someone to help with putting food by when it was canning time. (Though I think in my family, it was much more common for women to call in all their relatives and for them to all work together - sort of a canning bee - and everyone share in what was canned)
And while I admit some days I wonder if I might not be HAPPIER as a farmwoman (at least, on the more difficult days of teaching), probably, really I would not. I'm glad I've had all the choices and opportunities I did, both because of the progress women have made in the last century, and because of how my family "came up in the world" with greater educational levels of the more recent generations...
2. The other thing I actually started AND completed. I'm participating in another "craft bronies" swap on Ravelry, and I realized I had the Mochimochiland Tiny "Fantasy Creatures" pattern that I had bought a while back. I bought it, in part, because I thought the unicorn in there could be modded to be a tiny Pony of any variety. And so, my swap-partner had named her favorite pony....so I made a "chibi" (small, round and cute) version of that pony using the pattern. (I used worsted-weight yarn, so it wouldn't be SO tiny). My swap-partner also has a young daughter who likes the show (not sure how young - but apparently young enough to still openly engage in imaginative play). She mentioned her daughter's favorite pony, so I think I'm going to make a chibi version of that one and send it along (with a note that my swap partner can choose whether to share or not!) I'm also going to include the Pony coloring book I bought a while back, and maybe get a package of inexpensive but decent colored pencils (I don't think crayons would survive the heat...) to send along with it. (I also have some FANTASTIC sockyarn to send, and a poster I got free from We Love Fine that has DJ-PON-3 and others on it, and a set of stitchmarkers that are horses, and the blindbags....so I've got a decent box I think. The price limit was $30 and I went a wee bit over, but that's no matter to me.)