Knitting the Zombie Apocalypse January 27, 2023
When I was a young girl, my grandmother taught me to knit. For many years, all I could knit was rectangles, but you can make a lot of things with rectangles. Scarves, blankets, even hats. My Dad, whenever he saw me knitting, called me “Madame Defarge” after the Charles Dickens character in A Tale of Two Cities who is best known for knitting while public guillotine executions were going on during the French Revolution. At nine, I really didn’t know who Madame Defarge was, but, as an old, crusty woman I kind of like the idea of coding the name of future victims into my knitting, plotting revenge against my enemies while looking like a doddering old fool. Another thing my Dad always said was that it was a great advantage to be underestimated. He’s right about that.
As with most things, it went by the wayside as life got more complicated. I have a complicated job, complicated children, a complicated husband.
Then, coronapocalypse happened. Life came to a screeching halt for a hot minute, and when it started picking up again, it was largely virtual. I found that I only mattered from the shoulders up, and my hands scrambled for something to do. Knitting turned out to be the perfect solution. It only required just enough brain power to combat my restlessness and Zoom fatigue, while leaving enough to fully participate in whatever meeting I was in. I got better and better, as one tends to do when one practices a skill, and took on more and more complicated projects.
I don’t, as some people I know do, call myself a ‘fiber artist’. At best, I am a next-level paint-by-numbers artist. I have some skill at following complicated directions and counting successfully. I do not spin or dye my own yarn. I do not create my own patterns. I rarely even pick my own colors, using the ones I am told to use. Someone more creative than me tells me when to knit and purl and slip and I do. After years of practice, I can make my stitches even, which is a skill, but not a particularly creative one.
It’s meditative. It’s repetitive and calming, and something useful comes out at the end. A pair of mittens. A sweater. A shawl.
It’s also going to be my skill that I hope will keep me alive when the Zombie Apocalypse comes. I cannot shoot a gun or a bow and arrow. I’m no good in a fight. My peripheral vision is non-existent. I don’t have emergency medical skills and blood and gore icks me out. I don’t know how to identify the kinds of mushrooms that are tasty from the ones that will kill you. But. I can, probably, whittle two sticks into knitting needles and turn long grass into much needed blankets and sweaters and fishing nets.
Admit it. You’ve wondered what your skill will be and why others will bother giving you some of their food.
In the meantime, I can go into bespoke yarn shops and order on-line and make my daughter a sweater to take back to college with her so that when I’m not there to hug her she can put it on and feel all the love I’ve woven into the threads.
Love, and the names of my enemies.
 There’s a lot more to Madame Defarge. Madame Defarge – Wikipedia
 Says – thankfully, he’s still with us, though honestly I haven’t heard him say that particular bon mot in a while.
 And crocheting
 This is assuming that all the thousands of aluminum knitting needles in my house and millions of yards of unused yarn have somehow disappeared, but come on, people, this is the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE we’re talking about. We have to be resourceful.
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Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Asked in the First Place” was awarded the Gold Medal for humor in the Foreword INDIES awards in 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here. If you want Lori to help you market your book, click here.
Knitting the Zombie Apocalypse