Saturday, October 9, 2010

Unknown Heroes and Inventors

Driving home in rush hour traffic is a great way to let the mind wander (safely so there's no accident!) I bounce past so many topics in my head, its hard figure out how I started at Chief & Bert and end up at pasta salad. Somehow there's thread that binds all the topics but I'll be darned if I can keep up with my free flow thoughts.

Yesterday it all started with the knot in my shoe getting stuck while I was putting them on in the morning. By the time I got in the car I was thinking about my shoes. Who was the person who invented the way we tie our shoes? At some point in history someone decided to use shoe laces and tie them in a bow. People like this person - let's called her Sally cause I'm guessing it was a very clever woman who's husband then took credit. So anyway, Sally was untying the knots in her kids shoes for the 8 millionth time and she decided there has to be a better way. She plays around with the leather laces and discovered if she put little loops in them she could pull them out so much easier. What a time saver. So Sally showed her friends and her husband. They showed other people and eventually it became the normal way for us to tie our shoes. None of us will ever know Sally's real name.

In knitting the same thing happens. Who invented knit? purl? YO? So many things we do in knitting that are just there. Taking fiber and twisting it together and then taking 2 of these twisted strands together to make a stronger one called plied yarn. Who thought of that the first time!?!

Now with the Internet some of the new techniques are getting people's names attached to them. We're learning about the people who make of knitting lives different. Barbara Walker invented SSK (slip,slip, knit) some 20-30 years ago, It decreases a stitch but instead of the stitch leaning to right as they do in k2tog, the SSK leans to the left.

It's a simple thing to us now but when I learned how to knit- it didn't exist. Magic loop didn't exist back then. Knitting is just 2 stitches - knit and purl - but thanks to our unsung heroes, knitting today is so much better than it was even since I started knitting. So, thank you Barbara Walker. Thank you everyone to all the unknown inventors who have invented a new technique for us or created a new tool to make our knitting such a new pleasure.

And- if anyone knows who invented tying shoe laces with loops - let me know so I can thank that person too!

1 comment:

Jen said...

We may not know some of their names, but we can certainly still be thankful of those inventors by continuing their craft!