Friday, May 23, 2008

A word about knitting (or, at least, a word I found while knitting)


I don't know, but it rather leaped off the page at me. Faggot. Just wasn't expecting to see this word in the knitting books.

The original meaning of the word (or, at least, the oldest meaning of the word that I am aware of) just meant a bundle of sticks. You would gather a bunch of little sticks and tie them together and keep them around the house for when you needed to start a fire. And perhaps there were other uses for bundles of little sticks, like maybe you need them for basket weaving or something.

And then later it became slang for homosexuals, and I think maybe in some places they still call cigarettes faggots. But in either case I don't think that I've ever heard the word used in casual conversation, and the few times I've heard someone yelling the word it did not mean anything as harmless as a bundle of sticks, and I don't think it was meant to refer to cigarettes either.
So I'm looking through this book on knitting, and there are pictures of faggoted ribs and faggoted ladders. The panel called "tuck-stitch variation of faggoted ladders" is just wonderful and would be good for a costume, but I don't think I'll be able to duplicate it, at least not anytime soon. And if the definition of the word faggot just means bundle of sticks, then I suppose that is a good description of the design. But it still seems very odd to me, and you'd think that all these years later that someone would have come up with another word.

Can you picture a group of old ladies discussing their knitting? That's a lovely faggoted ladder you've made there. If I had the time I'd put some faggots here on the side of this sweater. If I hadn't have decided to put in faggoted ribs I'd be finished with this by now.

I'm sure that I'll have more to say about knitting later, but for now I just had to share that little bit.


The Diva's Thoughts said...

You are right, You'd think after allthese yearrs they'd come upwith a better word. Hmmmmm

Have a great memorial day Weekend.

Dame Honoria Glossop said...

I think that faggoting just meant 'tying in a bundle'.

There's a type of embroidery called 'faggoting', produced by pulling out horizontal threads from a fabric and tying the remaining cross threads into groups of an hourglass shape. You see it sometimes in clothes catalogues. The current Boden catalogue has a white shirt with faggoting.

laughingattheslut said...

I don't think that I've seriously looked at a clothing catalogue since Sears stopped sending them out when I was a teenager, so I can't say for sure that the term doesn't appear reference to clothes here, but I don't think so. This is the first time I'd seen it used like that, though after I saw it in the one knitting book I found it pretty quick in another one.

I think around here if I've ever heard the word faggot that it was either being yelled at a particular person or else it was said after the word flaming.

I think that one might hear the word from a certain history teacher if you're particularly annoying while trying to say something about his beloved Spartans.