Friday, July 8, 2011

Finished Object Friday and thoughts on Teaching girls to be sucessful

I have a small group of women I get together with monthly for dinner.  All are amazing women, executives, leaders in their community, interesting hobbies, caring people.  None of them are knitters but me.  All have had the experience of being the only woman at the table at work, the highest level woman at their company and over the last two decades have seen the huge progress women have made in the workplace.  I don't personally like to focus on the thought that women are being held back because of gender, I'd rather just keep working away to prove that wrong.

But even so I recognize that there are differences between men and women and also how we raise children.  We had this discussion last week on studies that show women believe their skills and talents are "fixed assets" - ones that don't change over time, while men see their skills as "developable assets".  The original study is discussed by Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson in her piece, “The Trouble With Bright Girls.”  Her work focuses on girls and boys and how girls are more likely to quit in the face of difficult tasks.  Its an interesting piece.

Of course I thought about it in terms of knitting.  Every day I learn something new about knitting, from books, the web, other knitters.  I know my skills have grown and developed a huge amount in just the last six months as I did the Masters Level Two.  And that was after 25 years of knitting.  So it wouldn't occur to me that my business skills would be any different.  Perhaps we should be teaching girls knitting and other creative arts where developing skills and knowledge are very visible!  This would be great training for later in life.

On the finished object side, I'm not where I thought i would be.  My large lace project, Hansigne, is still on the needles with just a few rows left.  My cardigan is being blocked so the lace stands out and as of yesterday was still very damp.  I have finally updated my Ravelry project status with pictures of the Level Three swatches.  I have a couple in this post and if you want to see all of them so far, please go to

And for much more exciting finished objects, head over to Tami's.


  1. I love that first swatch, it's beautiful. Interesting concept about fixed vs developable assets... Very thought provoking.

  2. I like your idea about teaching girls crafts that can illustrate how skills and learning never ends. I've been a firm believer that we never stop acquiring new information or skills until the day we die. We are learning machines. I think it is sad that girls don't believe this. I wonder if they are being told "don't upset yourself, it's alright if you don't manage" rather than being encouraged to battle on through, the way a father would his son. I may be wrong, but I think it would be an interesting study.

  3. That first doily is beautiful!

  4. I think all genders would benefit from learning to knit, not just girls. It would give young boys a way to calm themselves and show them that knitting is not just for girls. As to the gender issue in work, I fear we set girls up to fail when we approach their upbringing with the "you can do anything you want, even if you are just a girl" attitude. When we preach it at them, separate from boys, it's as if only the girls have to be told this bit of wisdom, because the boys already know it. Why can't be just bring them up secure in their individual confidence as a person, not a gender.
    Love the pieces you are showing. Very interesting patterns.

  5. I love the attention to detail in your work :-)
    I think girls' attitudes to learning skills can be totally impacted by the attitudes of their parents; as a parent, what's hard is finding the balance between healthy encouragement, and detrimental pushing ...

  6. Very interesting article, thank you for sharing. It's rather curious to see that women, generally considered to be more creative and with more passion for art, see their skill-set as something fixed and given.
    Just shows how important it is to have other hobby (different from professional work/study) to enable us to let a little bit of different perspective into our daily lives. I knit to get away from maths!

  7. I love this post. Thanks for sharing. In my industry, it is very male driven and I was in a position of authority. I found a lot of my coworkers didn't take me as seriously as the male in the same position as I was, even though I worked harder, took my job more serious and actually knew more about what we were doing. I'm not normally one to get into the great male/female debate, but I saw it every day. To be honest, it gets a little tiring, having to prove ones self more just because of gender. I also worked in a very immature industry (the entertainment industry) which didn't help.

    Love the knitting.

  8. It was so interesting to read your entry. Your photos are also so inspirational and I can only hope to be as talented as you one day!

  9. I love Stitched Together's comment about we are "learning machines." What a cool way to think of it!