In my language we use the word handiwork when we talk about all sorts crafts, anything really that is done by hand as the word implies.  Although, the word tends to have a bit more feminine slant covering more of the things that women tend to do more than men, like knitting, crocheting, sewing and embroidery.

Handiwork was the name given to the class where they taught those skills in school when I was seven.  The boys learned something called "smíði", a word that might be related to the english word smith which means metal worker.  The Icelandic word has a more general meaning because it captures a lot of materials like wood, metal and stone, but not wool, fabric or yarn.  I like to do both and would have enjoyed going to the boy's classes if they had been open to girls.  But nowadays they are, of course, and girls are free to explore a wealth of materials in their creative work.

I still like the feminine materials and love to have some handiwork going.  I have been doing a lot of knitting and crocheting as well as spinning, dyeing and cleaning both goat wool and eiderdown (yes, I'm still doing that).  There is something very comforting in having something on the knitting needles (or the crochet hook as the case may be).  It's like having a great big book to read.  Something that one can turn to again and again.  But then all too quickly it's all over.  And there is a sense of loss and emptiness that needs to be filled.  This didn't use to be a problem because in the past I hardly ever finished projects, but I have found that as I get older I also get better at finishing what I start.  I now have two new sweaters and a growing stash of beautifully coloured yarn.


  1. I also like to knit and crochet .. I relax and free my mind!

  2. In German is "Werken" (working with wood and metal etc.) what the boys had to learn and "Handarbeiten" what the girls learned: Sewing, crocheting etc.
    I like the natural looking colours of Your wool.


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