Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Repetitions within the domestic life...

Today we're tying up the chapter on Patterns and there's some lovely food for thought in those final few pages.

Repetition - much of my own domestic life has followed a repetitive pattern and though circumstances or an environment may change there are certain things which do not.

I laughed many years ago as a fellow homeschool mum voiced her frustration about the continual routine of washing clothes - "no matter how satisfied you feel when all the washing is done and hung on the line, you wake up next day and there's the next mountain of it waiting for you to start the same process over again. It's the same with dishes but they don't even wait a day!" 
I'd laughed because she had two children and I'd birthed seven but my initial response of  "girl, you have no idea how much washing you don't have" was left unspoken because I remembered back to the birth of my second baby and having two in nappies (cloth) and the realisation that a revolving door from washing machine to the clothesline seemed to swing endlessly round and round.

Regardless of how many children, how many family members, how many visitors - repetitive trips to the washing machine and the clothesline are indeed a very needful and integral part of the gentle domestic life, which is why I very much like the quote from Jane used in my top photo.

"The world of domesticity is a microcosm with its own, inescapable 'diurnal round', and a great part of the gentle art of domesticity is an acceptance and then a valuing of repetition." (page 110)

I quickly came to value the gift of motherhood but the gift of ever increasing housework took time to grow. But given time you realise it IS a gift, to have people to care for, to have the ability to LOVE not just in words and emotionally, but as a verb, as a doing thing, in acts of giving time and energy and patience and acceptance for the repetitions.

Now let's see what Jane has to say this week.


Once again Jane takes us on a journey through art and today we're looking at three wonderful paintings which highlight the knitting of socks.

The Sock Knitter (1915) by Grace Cossington Smith 

"...her eyes look down as she focuses on the tiny stitches and the memorised pattern. She is a wonderful subject for painters..." (page 108)

Daisy Knitting (1943) etching on paper by Edgar Holloway

"...soft blurred lines...seem to suggest that although Daisy is physically present, she cannot be captured fully as her mind is freed by the gentle, meditative rhythms of her knitting." (page 108)

The Purple Stocking (1919) by James Jebusa Shannon

"The girl looks so fresh and young, yet calm and confident with her knitting...the modern domestic angel knits socks, it says, and not in dreary drudgery, but with a spirit of bohemian beauty..." (page 108)


I had to look up that word so in case you're also wondering what diurnal means -
"Any pattern that recurs daily"

"...we can choose to be a part of, or apart from, this kind of repetition, because no matter what we do, the world will still keep turning." (page 110)

"Although I admit that I'll never be thrilled with many aspects of repetitive housework, I have discovered some more pleasurable domestic patterns that...I am happy to repeat." (page 110)

Jane then goes on to discuss the way a new project can have a repetitive rhythm between the excitement of starting and the delight in finishing - one reason why we, as crafters, repeat the process over and over, finding the pattern of making both therapeutic and blissfully zoning out.


"Ever since quilts first attracted my attention...I have been fascinated by log cabin quilts. I love...the endless permutations of patterns...I also like the fact that each block represents a home. Thus a log cabin quilt makes up a whole community of cabins or homes in a pleasing fusion of creativity and domesticity." (page 112)

Jane's "Sunshine After the Rain" quilt is made up of forty-nine log cabin blocks in tones of yellow and grey, depicting England's constant pattern of sunshine and rain all through the year
She added the fiery orange centres to represent a warm hearth.

This is her son Tom's favourite quilt as it was he who helped to bring all the blocks together into one rather beautiful flow which showed rays of yellow sunshine with grey diagonals of slanting rain. 
Must admit, I'm rather inspired by this quilt myself.

"Just as night comes after day and sunshine after rain, so a log cabin comes to every quilter." (page 112)

We're reading pages 114 - 125 next.

* Let's consider repetition in a gentle domestic life this week, so with that in mind share in the comments below (or in your own linked blog post) the challenges and delights you have found as a homemaker.

NOTE: Next book study post will be May 14th. 

I'm taking a two-week break from this book study as our home is being repaired after the January floods and whilst workmen are here for seven days, starting tomorrow, I'll hide away in the sewing room to complete "Phyllis May's Kitchen" and leave them to the dusty mess.


I'll share the free May pattern and announce the next giveaway in Thursday's (2nd May) blog post as I'm still deciding what to share with you...decisions, decisions.

Every week in the Tuesday book study post I'm encouraging readers and lovers of the gentle domestic life who have a current blog and have blogged about Living the Gentle Domestic Life this year to link their relevant weekly book study post for others to come by, visit their blogs and be inspired. 
 Please do not link to the same post on your blog each week.  Your posts should be new and relevant to the current week's study.
NOTE: If your link is advertising or not a true reflection of the heart for living a gentle domestic life it will be deleted. 

Bless you heaps,


Shortbread and Ginger said...

Another thought provoking post. Love those illustrations - so peaceful.
Thank you.

Wendy Duwe said...

Makes one think about our attitude towards what we do and how it affects others. Thank you Jenny.

Allie said...

I love repetitions in patterns - not so much in daily life. But I do believe that they keep us grounded, give structure to our days, and teach us to be grateful. If I had no dishes to wash, that would mean my family wasn't eating. Not that I would turn down a maid or two, lol....I remember thinking how in the world did the Proverbs 31 woman do all she did, but she had servants!!!! I do not....I do what God gives me, and He gives grace to me to get it done.

Tammy said...

My challenges are all the house work especially vacuuming and mopping with a small dog and 2 inside large cats and 1 is long haired. the other a medium haired. But it keeps me active and I never get bored. Would love some of those servants Allie mentioned. I make do and keep at it and little by little it gets done....Life would be dull with out all the pattern repetitions of domestic life

Linda in Arkansas said...

So far this is my favorite post in your series "Gentle Art of Domesticity". I do think finding joy in those repetitive duties brings us so much contentment. After all life is not really not made up of consecutive thrills or adventures - but love through caring gestures; making coffee, taking out the trash, wiping little noses, etc.

Debby in Kansas, USA said...

But Allie, we DO have servants! A washing machine, dryer, fridge, oven, etc. A couple of years ago, my friend made me aware of the same thing! I hadn't ever considered it! When I sit down to my morning bible study, I always think, "Have I assigned all the morning chores to my girls?" Humming away are often the washer & dryer, later on the dishwasher, crockpot, & the servants I assist like the vacuum cleaner!!

Debby in Kansas, USA said...

My biggest challenge these days is facing the reality of age!! I find myself despairing that it takes me longer to do things and sometimes there's pain associated with others. Carpal tunnel in my 20's have given me some hand pains in my 50's. Rather than chopping up all the veggies for a soup at one time, I have to do it with breaks or my wrists get sloppy and dangerous. Getting on my hands and knees to scrub the shower flares up a nerve in my back so I've resorted to using a deck scrubber!

The delights are a clean house, of course! I love the satisfaction of looking around and seeing order. Especially when I have some kind of flowers in full bloom and I can cut a big bouquet (today it would be purple Iris) for my favorite vase. I read somewhere that a housewife should always look for at least one thing daily to add beauty to her home. I really like that idea. Sometimes I'll clip one lone flower in the yard and put it into a tiny vase for the bathroom. Or in winter, I'll turn on some tiny white lights on the mantle to bring some warmth into the room. (My husband loves the lights).

I loved all 3 of the knitting pictures. Handwork is a favorite of mine and it always looks so peaceful and it really is! I think back to seeing all my female relatives doing it and I feel I'm carrying on something important and they would be proud to know they were part of it.

Winifred said...

When your children are small all you seem to do is wash, iron cook & clean & I only had two! Have to say of all the things, I loved hanging the oh so white terry towelling nappies on the line & seeing them blowing.

I love log cabin patchwork too so far have not managed to make a quilt but I live in hope!

Farm Quilter said...

Debby, what an amazing way to think about all the machines we use on a daily basis that we don't even think about (until the power goes out for an extended period of time)! You are absolutely right, they are our servants! You can keep the dishwasher and the dryer...I love to hand-wash dishes and hang laundry on the line! When our "servants" are out of order and we have to make do without them, life definitely changes!! I must say, from experience, I don't care to heat water on the stove for baths for my family and re-heating food without a microwave takes me back to the early days of my marriage when every little bit got re-heated in a pot on the stove!!

Deb said...

When I was younger and raising my child I enjoy the repetition of daily chores, it gave structure to my day and kept me focused on getting things done so I could spend the free time after the daily work was done playing with my son. Even time with my son had a pattern to our day, early morning was breakfast, dressing then walking to the park, now my days are my own and I spend them however I want and house cleaning or laundry can be done at any time while I stitch or read. The log cabin is the first quilt I made and still one of my favorite patterns.

africanaussie said...

I just love the feeling of a clean house, but get frustrated when I have a busy weekend and only do my weekly clean at the end of the weekend. I sort of feel that I am missing out a bit as I work through the week, only to find the house needing another clean by the following weekend! I have just started on a scarf/shawl that I loved the look of. Living in the tropical north there is never any need for something like that, but I love to knit in the evenings, so it will be a gift to my daughter who lives in Europe.

Chris said...
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Chris said...

I have never knitted a pair of socks nor have I ever tried to knit socks or mittens or argyle sweaters. Self confession time. I did learn to knit in college. I could not for the life of me figure out how to knit while watching my mother. Now my mother knit all the time. Not socks or mitts but afghans and sweaters. She had the yarn wrapped around her left hand and the working needle in her right hand and knit and perled to her hearts content. In college I watched as a fellow student sat holding the yarn in her right hand looping it over the needle in her left hand and her scarf grew and grew. I figured that I could do that. And I did. I made scarves and hats and a few sleeveless sweaters. But I had my mother to make more elaborate things.
I have decided to put knitting socks on to my 2020 goals list. Still working on the doctorate and got a few thousand more words added to SMOWJ. I think turning a heal and using 5 double pointed-needles would be a simple adventure compared to writing a dissertation.
Blessings, Chris