No seriously. What is the point of women-only classes to knit or crochet your own cushion covers or throws? (More flippin’ washing for women to do.)

Another such community engagement project plea came into my inbox for me to promote. The sessions aren’t even free.

I get that handiwork is a way for women to get creative. That mantra is pumped into me every time I raise my eyebrows. I know that funders fund projects to engage imaginary communities so that we don’t get depressed by austerity and real-life.


Older women won’t be attracted because they wore their own knits for years and smothered toilet rolls in cheeky crochet hand mades. They might go to save on their own heating bills but only if the project’s free. Younger women? Maybe those self-named “creatives” looking to spend their trust funds in opening up Dalston boutiques disguised as  community tea metre square cafés. The market is already swamped with bespoke throws and cushion covers. Mind you Leyton, that up and coming parish, has yet to be baptized with all that’s on trend.


An octogenarian was being asked to join a weekly craft group amidst gushings and oozings from women with disposable incomes. She kept quiet at the craft tea table as she continued to create a splendiferous crochet shawl. Outside on the quaintly re-cobbled market street full of dimly-lit latte houses and sun-dried odourless tomato filled paninis in bars she huffed “Why would I pay a fiver to sit around with those women to do something I can do already?”  Ah, the engagement process had failed: she’d missed the point about female camaraderie, the coming together of crafters, the well-being and enhancement produced by the drug of innocent repetition and time honoured patterning and after all, what’s a fiver?

Well-being through needle-work and knitting is the subject tomorrow at Toynbee Hall. I know because a fabulous crafting women told me so.

Now, February 1st looms large and I wondered how a knitted hijab might look. The point is not to attract men’s eyes to my head. Those knitted swimming costumes back in the day must have been torture for lusty eyes.

“What women want” , eh?

Back to my reading book. “A Girl is A Half-Formed Thing”.