Here is an excerpt from my 'talk' to our local University Women's Club last week:
...Gandhi practiced non-violent, non-cooperative protest: he convinced people to spin and weave their own clothes so that British factories would be idle and his people would have rewarding employment.
If we look at North America, spinning and weaving mills were an important part of the fabric of our lives. Everyone knew someone who spun or wove. There was a connection and an understanding about the process ...and about the value of the process. We had control over how we clothed ourselves, and we paid our neighbours to do it. Now, most mills have sold off their machinery to 'developing' countries. We no longer understand or value the skills and the labour that go into the necessities of our lives. Important knowledge and skills are disappearing. Perhaps, like Gandhi, we should be taking back control and making or purchasing locally made items.
With the industrial revolution, factories ended the need for hand knitting, ...but knitters continue to knit. They knit for the love of the craft, for the soothing benefits, for the chance to be creative, for the problem solving and design challenges, for the excuse to commune with friends ...and for a beautiful custom made item.
Knitting, spinning and weaving are "arts with a purpose."