Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Ask anyone under 30 to name the most famous set of female twins and they would most likely name the Olsen twins, Mary Kate and Ashley.  Ask anyone from my generation, however, and I think most would mention Esther and Pauline Friedman.  I know, I know.  Right now you’re saying, “Huh?  Who the heck are the Friedman twins?”  Friedman was their birth name.  These sisters married men named Lederer and Phillips.  Still don’t know who I’m referring to?  What if I were to mention the newspaper columns they wrote?  “Ask Ann Landers” and “Dear Abby”.  Aha!  Now you know who I’m talking about.  Only the two greatest advice columnists ever and read religiously by so many baby boomers back in the 20th Century.

I have decided that what this world needs is a knitting advice columnist.  And I aim to fill that position.  Now I’m not talking about someone who can help you with technical knitting problems.  As a knitter I would put myself in the advanced beginner column so I’m hardly qualified to be doling out advice on technical matters.  No, what I’m thinking about is someone who will advise on matters more philosophical in nature.  It’s hard to explain exactly what I mean by this, so I think it’s best if I show you a few examples.  This advice column, soon to be published in some famous knitting magazine or other, will be called Knute’s Knitting Korner.  I’m a big fan of alliteration and Knute is the only name I can think of that begins with the letters “KN”.  So here are three sample letters and their corresponding answers supplied by Knute.  (Besides Knute Rockne, was there ever anyone else blessed with this name?)

Dear Knute,

     I play Bridge with the same three people twice a week.  One of these ladies always brings her knitting.  I think she purposely drops out of the bidding so that, more often than not, she ends up being the dummy.  Then she promptly begins to knit while the rest of us finish the hand.  This can become rather tedious when one is partnered with her.  After all, this is not a knitting circle.  It is a serious game of Bridge with a small but not insignificant bit of money involved.
                                                                                          Trumped in Tennessee

Dear Trumped,

     I had to get out my very worn copy of Hoyle to fully understand what exactly a “dummy” is in Bridge.  Couldn’t they have come up with a better term?  Silent partner or something?  Anyway, you have to understand that some people are so fond of knitting that they have to have a project with them at all times.  Why don’t you make some lemonade out of this lemony situation?  Insist that if she is going to knit at these twice a week events, then the knitting project she’s working on has to be intended for one of the three of you.  She may continue being a rotten Bridge player but at least you and the other two Bridge aficionados will get a nice scarf or hat or maybe even a sweater out of the deal.


Dear Knute,

     I am an avid knitter and I would very much like to get into the Guinness Book of World Records with something that I personally hand knit.  Any suggestions?

                                                                                  Ready to see my name in print

Dear Ready,

       You don’t mention your age.  This is a crucial element.  Ideally, one should begin trying to set an individual knitting world record when one is 10-years-old.  The world record for the longest scarf knit by one person is 11,363 ft. 11 in.  That’s a little over two miles long and it took 23 years of knitting to complete.   You could try to top the record for the world’s fastest knitter.  Right now this is held by a lady who knit 118 stitches in one minute.  I just timed myself so I could fully grasp the meaning of 118 stitches in one minute.  The result?  23 stitches in one minute.  Other records are equally as daunting.  The longest I-cord is over 16 miles long.  The biggest knitting needles actually used to knit something by hand were 11 and-a-half feet long.  My recommendation is that you knit something totally outlandish.  A 20 foot long Cardigan sweater perhaps?  Looking forward to the next issue of the Guinness Book.


Dear Knute,

     I recently read through all of Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations and I could not find one quote that mentioned knitting.  Surely at some time, someone must have said something quotable about this noble art.

                                                                             Quincy the Quoteaholic

Dear Quincy,

The problem with Bartlett’s is that some of their most famous quotes are actually misquoted.  Rene Descartes did not really say “Je pense, donc je suis.” (I think, therefore I am.)  His correct quote is “Je tricote, donc je suis.”  (I knit, therefore I am.)   And Hamlet, in his most famous soliloquy, is contemplating whether he should knit or crochet hats for his buddies, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, when he states, “To knit or not to knit.  That is the question.”  Speaking of crochet, Alexander Pope favored this art over knitting and once said, “To knit is human, to crochet divine.”  But seriously.  Forget Bartlett’s.  You want a book full of incredible knitting quotes?  Read anything by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.  Here’s a favorite from her book, At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much.  “Heirloom is knitting code for - This pattern is so difficult that you would consider death a relief.”

And now, while I wait for Vogue Magazine to make that life-changing phone call to Knute, I shall find my size 3 needles and begin this ridiculously hard heirloom shawl pattern I found on the Internet .

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