Eleanor Roosevelt’s Knitting

(Words and music by and © Talis Kimberley, 2010)

Twelve heads of state in a crucial debate
(Knit one, purl one, yarn over, knit two together)
Tempers run high and hasty words fly
(Knit one, purl one, yarn over, knit two together)
A few thoughtful words from the corner are heard
Where the First Lady’s quietly sitting
And honours are traded and treaties are made

And Eleanor Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt’s knitting
Eleanor Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt’s knitting – purl one, yarn over, knit two together
(Knit one, purl one, yarn over, knit two together)

Funding’s discussed; we will do what we must
(Knit one, purl one, yarn over, knit two together)
Budgets are tight and despair’s at its height
(Knit one, purl one, yarn over, knit two together)
Wisdom’s required and everyone’s tired
But the task’s too important for quitting
Compassion and grace are etched clear on her face

While Eleanor Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt’s knitting
Eleanor Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt’s knitting – purl one, yarn over, knit two together
(Knit one, purl one, yarn over, knit two together)

So this is the pen that was handled by men
(Knit one, purl one, yarn over, knit two together)
Who signed into law Acts of commerce and war
(Knit one, purl one, yarn over, knit two together)
This battered old chair – great men have sat there
And its place in our history’s fitting;
Here’s the President’s gun, here the trophies he’s won…

And here’s Eleanor Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt’s knitting
Eleanor Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt’s knitting – purl one, yarn over, knit two together
(Knit one, purl one, yarn over, knit two together)


A Little Bit About 'Eleanor Roosevelt’s Knitting'...

I remember starting to write this at Riff's Bar in Hook, at an all day event we were playing. It's probably the first of very many songs I wrote from the start in two voices - knowing I would have Chantelle's voice alongside mine shaped the song, and it was also the first of my completely-about-knitting songs. At the time I erroneously thought 'well, that's knitting covered in song, then.' How wrong I was – and of course it's also one of many of my 'women in history' songs. It’s very often been the point in the set at which I ask the audience to get out their handicrafts, and sometimes I've taken along yarn and needles for those who didn't know in advance to bring their knitting to a Talis gig.


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