The Big Reveal
Now what do I do?

All I can think of is "cult of domesticity"

Let me start with a little story...

When I was a teenager, I worked at the public library, which meant that I spent a lot of time around books.  For some reason that I can't remember I took out a book on horoscopes which provided long profiles of the various astrological signs and what personality qualities those people had.  I was completely horrified with the Cancer profile which stated that I was going to be happiest as a mother, nurturing a brood of children, keeping a perfect home, baking, being a homebody and a bunch of other stuff that made this young budding feminist cringe.  There was no way I was going to end up like that.

Now here I am almost 25 years later and I'm feeling a sting of irony. 

It's not because I'm a mother, or because I am a bit of a homebody.  It's certainly not because I keep a perfect home (unless they meant a perfect disaster). 


It's because I'm weaving dish towels. 

By choice.

I don't particularly like doing dishes.  Nor do I feel that my store bought dish towels are inadequate in some way (the orange and red heart ones from Ikea are really quite pleasing). 

I'm just content with the idea that I can make my own dish towels using my stash of hempathy. 


Hemp dish towels.

What next?  Macrame?  (If I ever consider that, please arrange an intervention.)

I know that doing things for one's home and for one's own pleasure is not anti-feminist--though I can also remember that university women's studies course where I learned about the "cult of domesticity".  And learning a new skill like weaving and learning to apply it with different materials like hemp and with new techniques is the point of this exercise. Nothing wrong with that.


I was inspired by my new weaving books (I'll do proper reviews soon), and the need to try out something new.  I've already messed up and realize that these towels (I'm doing three on one warp) will likely be too drapey because I should have used a 12.5 dpi reed, not the 10dpi (fewer slots and holes).  I'm hoping they'll shrink in the wash. 

But I'm having fun.

Both with the weaving and that little recollection about my strong, self-assured, know-it-all teenaged self.


What till we get enough weavers together to have a tea-towel-exchange. I shit you not.

It. Is. Fun.

I so want to learn to weave, but having just gotten a spinning wheel, and still being fully enthralled with knitting, I think I need to space out the addition of new hobbies and their assorted tools lest my husband's head implode. I really would love to make tea towels, though! They look so nice! :)

Amazing the things we end up doing--and loving--isn't it?

Hello, new blog reader here!

Funny timing, as I have recently become more of a weaver, too... and I have something partially done on the rented rigid heddle loom at my side that I, too, fear will be too drapey (apparently the correct weaving term for this is "sleazy". Yes. Ask Syne Mitchell of WeaveCast.)... but I'm still pretty excited about the whole thing.

Lovely dishtowels!

Ah, macrame. So early seventies. My parents still have a "lovely piece" I produced in my early twenties. They keep it because I made it. Fortunately, it's displayed in their motor home so I only have to see it when we're camping.

Funny how it always comes back, eventually...

also funny that I've been eyeing my loom with a mind to tea towels - yours look great!

I tend to view domesticity as being a problem ONLY when you are being forced to do things you wish not to do in order to keep someone else happy, or to fit some societal mold.

I love to cook. I probably would NOT love it if I had a spouse and several children who either (a) expected elaborate meals every night (b) ate and scrammed, without helping with the dishes or even thanking me or (c) had a spouse who expected dinner on the table, no questions asked, meat, potatoes, and two veg, at 6:30 pm on the dot, every day of the year.

I also don't mind (and in the right mood, can even enjoy) cleaning house. But then it's just me and just my mess to deal with, and when it gets messy again I'm the only one to blame.

I knit socks. That's probably about as high on the Domestic Absurdity meter as weaving one's own tea towels.

I just started/finished my first weaving last night. I can't believe how much I love it. The whole reason I bought the loom was to make dish towels. I am studying to be a chef and thought that it would be fun. I love the fact that you daughter likes it as well. My nephew has been asking for months when he can help make fabric. (he is 4)

My mom wove tea towels for years (actually during her domestic drudge days) but may I just say that those towels are coveted, cherished, and regularly used. I'm after her to weave more when she's done her MBA this spring, so there you go. What you are doing is making things that are both beautiful and useful, and there's nothing anti-feminist about that!

Wow, beautiful dish towel. Makes me want to look into weaving. ;)

Yeah. "The Cult of Domesticity". Ironic, isn't it? I too often find my 17 year-old self standing over my knitting, or cleaning, or gardening saying "What happened to us?!? We were going to live in a loft in SoHo and write poetry. Remember? We were going to live for the theater and never-ever marry and never-ever have children and never-ever succumb to a boring, middle-class suburban existence."

Geez. What a snob she was. She had no idea how much happiness can be found in all those dreary-sounding things that I now do.

I'm with fillyjonk on this one. Anything done with a feeling of obligation and drudgery makes me cringe (which is why I should let my MIL know that I am not her knitting factory, because a full on garter stitch baby set will drive me bonkers).

I love cooking, but I don't like cooking most nights because I am in the kitchen by myself while the hubby sits on his duff and plays a video game. It makes me feel more like a servant than a partner, if you get my meaning. Knitting, weaving, etc. are done for pleasure even if they are domestic. That gets them two thumbs up in my book.

Love the idea of hempathy dish towels!! I have to say I find it empowering to be able to make these things...make's one feel slightly self-sufficient in these days where we can buy anything without even leaving our homes!

The way I see it, Feminism should be about women being able to choose for themselves what makes them happy and fulfilled... if it's a high-power career for one, it's being a full-time stay-at-home mom for another. And they are both perfect choices by feminist standards, because they made the choice, not society! Good on you for doing what makes you happy! ;)

(BTW, I am that sahm, and I homeschool my kids, and I knit and spin... it drives my mother and sisters crazy! But it makes me happy...)

To my mind, being a feminist just means not feeling you have to/can't do a certain thing, or be a certain way, because you are female. That's all. Although I remember the undergrad class I took with Joan Jacobs Brumberg on the historical development of women as professionals, and a lot of slides of Victorian ladies...

Enjoy the dishtowels. Handwoven ones are much nicer--I love mine. :)

Ah, the know-it-all teenaged self. I've got one of those too.


I find myself doing things all the time that my teenaged self would have objected too.

be cheaper to buy them...or send to india to have them made. Quicker too. Then you could make dinner faster;P

colour looks better in the flesh though...

Just delurked (you've been on my blogfeeder for a while now) so I could say that I totally share in the cancer profile sentiment. I remember thinking "Me? Homebody?" and when I got my loom, my neighbour asked me if this was fulfilling a "lifelong dream" that I've had. No, not really. But it sure is fun NOW! Your dishtowels look gorgeous, btw. I finished a 42" table runner a few weeks ago. I've never used a table runner in my life.

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