Episode 5: The Ghosts of Projects Past

Whenever I think of Deadwood, I immediately think of Super Mario Bros.

Stay with me here.

When I was a little girl, I had a nervous fidgety habit, borne of boredom and verging on compulsion. No matter what I was doing, if my hands were not otherwise occupied, they would surely be destroying something. If given unlimited time and fingernails, I would have completely de-wallpapered my childhood home. My mother tried giving me everything from silly putty to malleable wax to keep my evil fingers occupied, but the only thing that really worked was a ball of yarn.

My family watched a lot of movies — easily as many hours per day as most people spend on television. Since the TV was never on simply for background noise, anything we watched demanded our complete attention. This meant many hours of nervous fidgeting, and therefore  many optimistic crochet projects. Ten-year-old me never half-assed anything, so once I’d come to the end of my first sampler I immediately launched into a rapid-fire series of ill-advised projects. Like my attempt at solo synchronized swimming, these quickly unraveled works taught me that just because it looked cool in my mind didn’t mean I could do it.

Or rather, I should have learned that. For some reason, the lesson never stuck. What did stick was the connection between watching movies (or, later in life, television) and working with yarn.

Now I can return to the original, seemingly tenuous connection: Last summer, I finally got around to watching Deadwood. At the time, I had been out of college for a year and my job prospects were looking dismal at best, so I was working on using up my trunkful of scrap yarn. The problem with this method of knitting is that the number of projects that don’t require a large, uniform quantity of yarn is unfortunately small, and I hadn’t yet thought of knitting flowers (more on that some other time). I thought I had enough peach-colored cotton and enough small amounts of other colors to make Mario-themed pajama shorts. I also thought I possessed the expertise to pull off intarsia knitting while writing my own pattern. I was wrong on both counts. Furthermore, I apparently threw the project away when I last organized the Yarn Trunk, because when I went looking for it to get a picture of failure for this post it wasn’t even in my Shame Closet (where failed projects go to ruminate on what they’ve done wrong; not to be confused with the Shame Cabinet, which holds the Matrix sequels and the Star Wars prequels). I never throw old projects away, although every time I looked at this one’s malformed mushrooms the ghost of Al Swearingen would rise up and inventively curse at me for my foolishness.

That project eventually turned into these guys, which I made for my nephew while rewatching Spaced on DVD:

Now any time I think of those little guys, I’ll remember the DVD commentary and how I thought “Geez, they must have recorded this just seconds before Kevin Smith’s head disappeared up his own ass!”

So far in the dress project, I’ve been watching BSG, Coupling, and most notably Twin Peaks. I don’t know if the association will stick, but I kind of hope that when I look back on my wedding pictures I’ll see Kyle MacLachlan’s head superimposed over my dress and think to myself, “Damn good coffee!” I also hope that the dress doesn’t wind up in the Shame Closet, rocking itself to sleep and whispering “YO, K2tog, SSK, S2KP…”

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