Sunday, March 5, 2017

Random Weekend Thoughts

Of everything in my house I think my bed is my favorite. Beyond the obvious - it is comfy and sleeping is awesome - it is a perfect melding of my skills and my husbands. This weekend it is also causing me some philosophical mental ramblings.

You see, Husband made us an absolutely gorgeous headboard. He works for a company that makes custom live edge furniture. One week he had to go absolutely above and beyond to complete a project on time and as a thank you his boss gave him a piece of wood. For those of you not familiar with wood pricing, that is a much more generous gift then it seems. Neither of us really particularly cares for the aesthetics of live edge tables so he was thinking about just selling the wood, but that weekend Nick Offerman posted a live edge headboard on his Instagram and I actually liked it so I asked Husband to make me a headboard.

I love my headboard. It is beautiful and unique and suits us and our room. I adore it. I want that to be really clear.

I think I am jealous of the headboard.

Husband and I just moved so we have been giving a lot of the "grand tour" as people see our new house for the first time. Often when we have guests they ask "can I see the bedroom? I want to see the headboard." Or "Is this the headboard?" Which is great. I want Husband to get the praise and acknowledgment that he deserves because woodworking requires a great deal of knowledge and skill.

But just once I wish someone would walk in and ask "is this the wedding quilt?" Or "Did you knit this blanket?" Or even "did you make your pillows?" See, Husband made the headboard, but I made our bed skirt.

And our pillows.

And a quilt.

And a blanket.

And our curtains.

But I feel like my contributions to our household go largely ignored. Even though, hour for hour, I've got somewhere between twice to four times as much invested in our bed, that damn headboard steals the show. Today I've been thinking about why that is. I know that some of it is that most of our guy friends are also woodworkers so they are just straight up more interested in the headboard. Also, most of them are manly men who don't feel like beds need to be made pretty with pillows and blankets. However, that doesn't explain why our non-woodworker friends who like well decorated houses are more interested in the furniture then the soft goods. What might explain it is:

quilting and knitting are considered grandmotherly and apparently we no longer have respect for the skills of our grandmothers. I've been told more than once that I am too young to knit. Conversely I have also been told that it's a shame I don't want children because it's clear from my love of sewing that I would be a great mother. I don't even known how to follow the leap of logic on that one. My point is that my crafts are inextricably linked to maternity for a lot of people and being maternal isn't really highly prized. It should be, but it just isn't. Therefore the traits associated with maternity are also not highly prized. They aren't seen as real skills because being a parent isn't seen as a real skill ("any idiot can have a baby"). Never mind that sewing and parenthood are in no way actually connected skills.
Knitting and sewing are seen as a waste of time. No kidding, I got into an argument with a total stranger in a bar a couple of months ago because he told me asking for more than $20 for a hand knit hat was "Insane" I told him that a basic hat would take me a minimum of five hours and didn't I deserve to be paid for my time? He argued no, on the grounds that I "would be knitting anyway." Turns out he was a professional welder so I asked him to spend five hours welding me something because he would be welding anyway. He said no because welding was a "real skill. And beanies can be purchased for $2, so $20 was more then generous." He was an ass, but he also demonstrated two great points. Because knitting is portable and often done while multitasking it is seen as a way of wasting time. It is perceived as entertainment not work and no one is going to pay you to watch TV.
And cloth goods are cheap. The monetary value of woodworking has been driven down in recent decades by places like IKEA and other cheap sources of furniture, but not as much as cheap Chinese goods and fast fashion have driven down the perceived value of blankets, pillows, sweaters, clothes ect. When I look at the quilt on the foot of my bed I see a useable link to my grandmother, I see a continuation of skills that have been practiced for hundreds of years. I see memories from my wedding. What other people see is a pile of fabric you could buy at Sears for $60. I am often ask why I bother making anything myself when it can be so cheaply purchased.

So I shouldn't be surprised that the headboard is the show stopper of my bedroom, but every once in a while I want someone to ask me if I knitted the blanket on the bed and gasp "Wow, how many hours did that take you?" Without implying that it was a waste of all those hours because I could have just bought one.