Though I sometimes balk, I’m mostly willing to accept that knitting, crochet, and even sewing, are generally old-fashioned.  Knits might be in, but knitting, generally, is not.  As I write this, I try to think about what the possible symbolic appeal of a big bulky sweater is to the general non-knitting population, but I’m too far down the woolen rabbit hole to conceive of the thoughts of the non-knitting public.  The thing I find appealing about a big bulky sweater is the hands that made it, even if those hands were just pushing buttons on some big machine.  To my mind, a good knitted garment conjures up at least a glimpse of a little lady knitting in a shack on the Scottish moors.
And perhaps, because that is my knitting tableau of choice, I have been keeping a little cozy catalog in my head of knitting popping up in unexpected places, and I though that perhaps I should just post about it, instead of keeping it to myself.  I will present them in order from least to most unexpected.
The first two instances appear in books, so I’ll try to make them quick to make way for the pictures.
I’ve been reading the Anne of Green Gables series of books  The last one, Rilla of Ingleside, is set in the Canadian home-front during WWI.  Let me say, heart break and romance and gossip aside, those ladies spent the whole war knitting socks for the soldiers.  There is one scene where Susan, the old house-keeper, is knitting and reading at the same time.  These ladies knit when they are socializing, they knit when they can’t sleep, they knit all the time.  After hearing news that the Germans have broken through the British line, the ladies of the house are all beside themselves with grief, thinking the war is lost, and this exchange takes place:

           “…They all walked the floor; except Susan, who got out her grey war sock.
                 ‘Mrs. Dr. dear, I must knit on Sunday at last.  I have never dreamed of doing it before for, say what might be said, I
            have considered it was a violation of the third commandment.  But whether it is or whether it is not I must knit today
            or I shall go mad.’
                  ‘Knit if you can, Susan,’ said Mrs. Blythe restlessly.  ‘I would knit if I could—but I cannot—I cannot.’”

Don’t worry though, because just a few pages later we find Anne knitting away, though in agitation she knits four inches past where she should have turned the heel. 
The second instance in a book was a little less expected.  Besides the Anne books, I’ve also been reading some great 1940s screwball mysteries by the pseudonymous Craig Rice.  They are full of hard drinking, wild driving, and three or four murders a novel, so imagine my surprise and pleasure when I came across this passage in 8 Faces at 3.  The main characters go to the Chicago brothel where they stashed a possible murderess:

              “They found Madam Fraser engaged in teaching Holly the intricacies of a new knitting stitch.
                       ‘Oh, hello,’ the gray-haired woman said as they came in the door.  Then to Holly, ‘No, dearie, no.  You
               wind the yarn around twice, and then—,’
                        ‘Show me too,’ Helene said.
            There was a brief discussion of the pattern, the eventual effect, and the kind of yarn to use.  Jake thought it
            gave a pleasantly cozy touch to the murder.

I think it is pretty cozy too. 
And this leads me to my final instance of knitting popping up unexpectedly.  Like most knitters, I’m sure, I like to knit and watch movies or TV.  And I’m not sure if most people are like this, but I’ve definitely watched all the new content I’m interested in on the streaming video section of Netflix, leaving me to re-watch plenty of old favorites, but also leading me to watch a lot of movies that are chosen a little haphazardly.  That is how I came to watch Foul Play, a Goldie Hawn, Chevy Chase vehicle/Alfred Hitchcock homage.  Though it seems, judging from the Wikipedia page that the film was not a critical success, it does have a lot to offer: a young Dudley Moore, a behind the scenes shoot out at a performance of the Mikado, and, most importantly, death by knitting needles!  Also, I would like to give a shout out to the set dresser, because though Goldie Hawn’s character seems to be exclusively a knitter, there are a lot of nice crocheted afghans in her apartment as well, leading me to believe that either, this lady crafts a lot off camera, or she has a very devoted Grandma. 
Goldie knitting while sitting on a pretty nice Granny Square afghan.
Goldie's hand reaching into her knitting basket during the attack, and then her attacker, laid low by knitting needles.
Goldie looking cozy under a beautiful ripple afghan.
Now, I've got a little goal of posting every day this week, so there will be some real crafting coming soon!
8/15/2010 10:45:03 am

I think it is generous of you to suppose that the set dresser just did not know the difference between knit and crochet...or perhaps your scorn for this confusion is implied?

Your MIL
8/20/2010 02:50:59 pm

And speaking of knitters in books, don't forget Madame Defarge in my favorite novel, A Tale of Two Cities.

5/1/2015 05:43:45 am

I've seen pictures of Goldie from the sixties that look pretty candid, where she's in a yarn store. So, I think Goldie's into the yarn crafts.


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