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O'ahu born and Rockville bred, both Maryland and Hawai'i are home. Middle-aged knitter (believe me, my 40 is NOT the new 20) seeking the courage to live consciously, each and every moment. Now if I could just remember where I put my keys...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Chptr 39: Knitting Kulture

Shasa in Snuggie.  Bad Kulture Alert!
I don’t know why I thought, when I first began knitting again, that I would be instantly elevated into some upper echelon of the cultural elite. Actually, I have to take that back. There are several reasons:
  • Knitters are smarter than the average bear. We just are. Meet me out back later if you want to fight about it.
  • Knitting = public television and public radio.
  • Knitting = books or famous lectures on tape/cd.
  • Knitting = classic design (argyle socks, fair isle cardigans, wedding ring shawls, fishermen sweaters).

My intentions were good, when I started knitting again. In fact, they were admirable. Not only was knitting going to make me more culturally literate, but I was going to save for my retirement and be all thrifty while expanding my mind.

This was my plan:
    Napoleon For Dummies
  1. Work on just one project at a time, from start to finish.
  2. Only buy the yarn needed for said project (and no overbuying the dye lot of 12 for extra 1 skein needed just because it’s on sale).
  3. Get all my patterns from books at the library.
  4. Knit listening to classic books on cd (checked out from library). Finally check out the lecture series on CD “The Influence of the Napoleonic Wars on the Global Economy after 2000 A.D.” and not fall asleep.
  5. …or, perhaps, knit listening to public radio.
  6. …or, as I was just going to have basic cable with NO EXTRAS, knit watching BBC America.

Napoleon Dynamite [Blu-ray]
More my speed
I don’t even need to tell you what happened to 1 and 2 above. If you’re reading this, you know. Only a knitter who has come through the Great Depression and has the self-discipline to only have used 3 squares of toilet paper at a time all her life (my aunt Annabell, for instance) or who can walk through Costco or Sam’s Club and get ONLY WHAT S/HE CAME IN FOR could possibly stick to items 1 and 2.

As for 3, well… library books are great. And this is where Ravelry is a blessing and a curse – sometimes the perfect pattern is in a book that is at the Austin, TX, public library (or at one in my county, but all copies are checked out), BUT it is available on Amazon used in Like New condition for 13.99 plus $20 overnight shipping for guaranteed delivery tomorrow if I order in the next 2 minutes… and, well, you and I both know how a knitter in the frenzied stages of planning for a new project, sitting at work with papers-papers-papers and email-email-email to deal with feels at 2:57pm, and that sometimes all one can do to get through until 5ish is push the “Submit Order” button.

And item 4. Ah, 4. When I started knitting again, I had this vision that I would listen to all the classic literature I never read before but which having not read was causing a gaping hole in my Cultural Literacy as measured by countless Facebook polls. I tried, Gentle Reader, I tried. I started with the “A” authors. I had read all of Austen and Atwood. “B”s it was.

Wuthering Heights (Import, All Regions)Aha. Brontė. I’d read and loved Jane Eyre, so it was time to go with Wurthering Heights. I’d seen the movie, sort of, late at night in my teen years, probably hiding a hangover from my parents in the basement. Definitely a classic. So, I checked it out and brought it home and tried to knit by it and – don’t shoot – it was AWFUL. (At least when read aloud.) I only cared about the characters enough to want to bitch-slap most of them. Jane pining over Mr. Rochester had more sense. And as for the Napoleonic War lecture series, or its ilk, I see the dust on the case and lose all interest in the topic.

Church People: The Lutherans of Lake Wobegon (Prairie Home Companion)
My People (on mom's side)
Item 5.  Knitting while listening to public radio – I have done a lot of this. In fact for a year or so into my knitting adventures, my idea of the perfect Saturday night was a date with Garrison Keillor and friends and some pretty Colinette. But then the news comes on. No matter how dulcet her tones, Lakshmi Singh does not always have soothing news to impart. And it’s Saturday night and I want an escape…

A Bit of Fry and Laurie - The Complete Collection... Every Bit!Finally, item 6:  here is the problem I encountered about knitting while watching BBC series: I have to really watch to keep all the characters in “Little Dorrit” straight. “Prime Suspect” can totally distract me from my row count. “Hercule Poirot” and “Jeeves & Wooster” have so much physical comedy that one blink and a clever chuckle is gone forever.

And, so, last night, Saturday night, while Garrison was somewhere warbling about the first drifts of snow to hit Minnesota this year, and Miss Marple was poking around some shire or other for whodunit, and many many classic books on tape were collecting more dust motes in libraries near and far, I was watching “Hawaii Five-0” and “Bluebloods” and “Law and Order: LA” and "The Good Wife" and "Parenthood" using On Demand (“love”). I was knitting a fairly easy lace pattern and don’t think I made any mistakes.

Daniel Dae Kim & Grace Park autographed Hawaii Five-O poster
Yeah, she did.
I comfort myself because it's nice to know FOR SURE that Grace Park is not a Cylon.  And I can't figure out why any sane man (are you listening, Tom Brady?) would leave Bridget Moynihan, for anyone else, period, amen. And Alan Cumming and Archie Punjabi are the best supporting actors in a TV series, ever.  And Peter Krause and Lauren Graham (a local girl) might actually be dating (shades of Dexter).

And Albert Molina has won Royal Television Society awards.  Which has to count for something.


*As always, apologies to crocheters, weavers, spinners, tatters, yarnies of all persuasions –all who I am addressing under the large, 2-needled umbrella of “knitting”. I know you are out there and until we have a recognized way of acknowledging your presence, thanks for being willing to be id’d as “knitters”.


  1. Even with the best intentions, I have ended up with an awful lot of extra yarn. What's that about (lol)?

  2. Wow...I started knitting with similar intentions - and similar results! LOL