WHAT KNITTING CAN TEACH YOU ABOUT STORYTELLING

IMG_0323You’re a write eejit when you can’t control your knitting habits.

It hit me the other day like a blast from a water cannon that I’d become one of those crazy-aunt knitters. I knit things for people, unasked. I decide what they want—shape, color, pattern—and gift it to them so they feel obliged to wear it occasionally, and are terrified of tossing it in the bag for The Good Will.

“Socks, here ya go!” “Hats, I got that.” “Legwarmers—I thought of you!”

Yes, I know it became very trendy to knit a few years back, but honestly, I wasn’t riding that wave. I’d done it in a halfhearted, multiple unfinished projects at the back of the cupboard, way since I was a kid. I blame television, or rather, bad television. You need a distraction on hand—hence the knitting.

The success of my knitting hinges largely on how good what I’m watching is. I can rate a show, by how many rows I rip out the next day: the better the show, the more mistakes I make.

Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, all six-month sweater projects, for sure.

What do these programs have in common? Great storytelling, gripping scenes, emotional involvement. They suck you in. And sigh, yes, the writers of these shows are such experts in their craft that before you know it, you’ve knitted three armholes, or two left sides. I can always tell how good a season of Game of Thrones is if I’m still knitting a winter sweater in May.

Instead of torturing nearest and dearest with my knitted offerings, I should be sitting on the couch with a pen and paper, taking copious notes on story arc, character development, tension building. And I swear I will, just as soon as I’ve finished this tea cozy hat.

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