Sunday, January 29, 2012


     This is not how I envisioned my retirement.  I had the traditional expectations of eating bonbons, watching soap operas, catching up on my reading, learning a foreign language, and resurrecting my dreams of a career in music.  Specifically, any chocolate that has coconut inside of it, All My Children, finally finishing James Joyce’s “Ulysses” (after three failed attempts), French, and becoming a decent jazz pianist.  But someone wasted no time in throwing a monkey wrench into these well thought out plans.  That someone would be my wife of thirty two years, Cathy Montoya, proprietor of Montoya Fiber Studio.  She wasted no time in pointing out that no one makes chocolates with coconut anymore, that All My Children is no longer on the air, that no one has ever actually finished reading “Ulysses”, that I’m already fluent in Spanish and only show-offs learn a third language, and that I’ll never play like Oscar Peterson no matter how hard I practice.  She also informed me that I would now have time to learn how to knit and also, time to help her in the store.  I protested, of course.  I claimed that knitting was not on anyone’s list of manly arts, like carpentry or auto mechanics or welding.  She countered by providing me with a rather suspect list of famous men who had been serious knitters:  Marco Polo, Leonardo da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, Franz Schubert, Otto von Bismarck, Babe Ruth, Harpo Marx, Aldous Huxley, Paul Robeson, Pope Pius XII, John Lennon and John Belushi.  Yeah, right.  Aldous Huxley?  Still, I couldn’t find any proof that Cathy was lying about these illustrious men so the next thing you know, I had gone and knit myself a scarf in a very uneven garter stitch.  And then, before I could realize what was happening, I found myself behind the cash register a couple of days a week.  Not only that, but also knitting in public.  Yikes! 
     Well, it’s been nine months now since I retired and in those nine months I’ve learned a whole bunch of knitting techniques that I’ve incorporated into five hats, three scarves, two neckwarmers, one mitten (not a pair of mittens, just one) one afghan, and a couple of odd-shaped pieces knit in hardware store rope.  Currently, I’m working on two large blankets of my own design, five radically different scarves that I’ve promised to make for my sister’s fiftieth birthday in October and something called a Rasta Cap for my nephew.  I’m also not ashamed to say that I’ve demanded that Cathy teach me how to crochet. 
     So now it’s a new year and out of the blue Cathy says to me, “Fred, you have to start a blog for my website.  Something that talks about knitting from a man’s point of view.  You never know, it could attract some male customers.” 
     Dear God, will the demands never end!!
     So look at me.  Here I am at the computer, typing up my first little essay.  I do have a few ideas regarding future contributions to this blog:  What’s the best music to listen to while one knits.  Why I only knit one mitten and never even started the second.  Why I dislike double pointed needles. The ridiculous amount of math involved when one comes up with an original design.  How I would go about writing a murder-mystery involving knitters, kneedles and yarn.  The secret passion I have for mohair, that most seductive of yarns.  My theory on why Cathy taught me the English style of knitting rather than the Continental style.  And a whole bunch of other yarn-related stuff.  So check out the website now and again and you’ll read about my personal perspective on the manly art of knitting.
     Right now I think I’ll take a well-deserved break from my #15 needles and my Brown Sheep yarn and maybe start reading “Ulysses” --- for the fourth time.   

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