The Pegotty

According to John Seymour in The Forgotten Arts and Crafts (Dorling Kindersley, 1999), the pegotty, or "knitting Nancy," "was a wooden gagdet that had pegs protruding, either all round it, or from its corners. It was used for knitting long, tubular strips of wool" (347).

Why make this the title of my blog?

First, because I love the word. It has hard corners and protrudes out into space, with the sharpness of the initial P and then the rhythmn of the g's and the t's. At the same time, it has a nice line to it, rambling along like a creek finding its way through the hillside.

Next, because I am trying to find a way, by using a high tech medium like a blog, to create a community. It's a lovely paradox: 21st century technology to rebuild something like the guilds of the Middle Ages. For me, a blog is a way to connect with others. That's not to say that I am unaware of the ego at work here. In searching for a title, I became all too conscious of the hordes of writers presenting the minutiae of their thoughts and lives as Great Literature. Even more painful, to my mind, are the overly clever efforts, the semi-amusing word play, the titles that pun on every term imaginable. It was not out of the possibilities that I would choose to name my blog "Does the World Really Need Another Blog?" But, having admitted that I like the idea of others noticing me, I truly put my toe into the blog pool in order to meet other knitters, amateur writers, and to give myself a reason to have to sit down and write on a regular basis.

Creating something is good. And that's another reason that I chose Pegotty as my title: because the point of view of this blog will be a focus on the reclamation of neglected arts. Knitting's resurgence illuminates our culture's desire to reconfigure craft for our own era. We want to sit still occasionally, make something tangible, and then share it with others. The crafts that I ponder may be domestic, such as weaving or cooking or dyeing yarn, or they may be literary, or they may be about yoga. But the predominant plan, at least at the beginning, is to pause, let the mind relax, and make something, whether it's a shawl or a note about teaching yoga. I like the chance to create something on my own, and then stand back and admire it.

One other reason for the title: it is silly. Hopefully, I won't be taking myself or my writing too seriously. Life is short, laughter important, absurdity a given. My new favorite DVD is "Dead like Me": an odd but compassionate look at the life of an 18-year-old grim reaper who died when she was hit by a flaming toilet seat falling out of the sky. It's good to notice how little sense life can make, but how we continue to make friendship and compassion and community ways to negotiate the ridiculousness of it all.

That's it - got to go eat my breakfast and get ready to teach my Sunday yoga class.



Anonymous said…
Hi Janet!! I smiled when I saw your knitting gadget. Our church made several of these and I had a particular friend who was very productive with it. She produced hat after hat in wild colors that we all wear. She started it as a project for the homeless and underprivledged. I love your blog, it has been so long since I have gotten to hear some of your thoughts. I also have to smile at the crow....this one is difficult too if you have a large pulls you back over. Neat blog...keep up the good work.....Leslie
JANET said…
Yeah Leslie! I am so glad to hear from you - and what are you doing up at 5 am? Reading in your sleeping bag?