I know it's a bit old hat to laugh patronisingly…
The theory surrounding knitting as therapy crops up from time to time, and has hit the headlines again in recent years as we enjoy another golden craft heyday.
So I was fascinated to see this advert for Penelope (a W.M.Briggs brand) tucked away in the back of a wartime era Needlework Illustrated (No.172). The text reads as follows:
“News from a Hospital somewhere in England.
By means of handicraft requiring varying degrees of attention and skill, occupation helps the patients to improved physical health. The one shown in our photograph escapes from the boredom of inactivity and from depression by embroidering Trace Art Needlework designed by Penelope.”
Even more interesting to see sewing being promoted as a male pastime, although it does beg the question: is it only acceptable for men to take up these traditionally female crafts during traumatic times when they need to escape ‘the boredom of inactivity and depression’? Is there a clue in that phrase as to why fibre hobby crafts are so closely linked to female social history?