Knitting is not just about stitching yarn through a loop. It can also be a social occasion as knitting circles around the world can attest. At homes and yarn shops around the country, knitters gather around a table, sitting on comfy couches and chairs, to share their work, stories, and gossip.
Here in Miami, most of the knitting circles I know about are in yarn shops. On certain days, lady-knitters gather to knit shawls or wraps, share the wine, and knit-and-bitch as the gatherings are popularly known.
I’ve attended a few knitting circles but have opted to stop going for lack of more men showing up. In particular, I miss the company of gay men attending a knitting circle. The conversations around the table would be significantly different, I think, than the more common discussions of aches-and-pains, doctor visits, and family disputes some of “the ladies” enjoy discussing.
When I try to start a conversation on the merits of wearing a cockring at the beach if you’re prone to shrinkage (I’m asking for a friend), or the latest episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race, I’m met with blank stares and polite smiles from members I think would feel right at home at the judges’ table. Sometimes I want to say I think Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen are secret lovers, but everyone at the table will confess to being avid FakeNews viewers and that they don’t trust a “gay albino” (I kid you not) to deliver proper news.
I knit alone, mostly, listening to podcasts and audiobooks when the pattern I’m working on is not demanding and the stitches are repetitive. In the last couple of months, I’ve put away some books I had to return because they’re just crap. I have also enjoyed others that I find myself sharing with friends. Here are some of the books I’m in the middle of, as I knit a shawl to gift my mother for Mother’s Day.
Sapiens; A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harrari, narrated by Derek Perkins. Did you know we come not from apes but from a distinct species that evolved over thousands of years? Well, that was news to me. Harrari’s account of how we became the brutes we are today is fascinating and easily accessible to readers/listeners who want to take a scientific tour of how we came to be.
The Cruelest Month, by Louse Penny, narrated by Ralph Cosham. Honestly, with the number of bodies dropping in the town of Three Pines, it’s a wonder nobody’s moved away yet. The only way to get out of town is by being killed. Which is just as well because that means Inspector Armand Gamache returns to the sleepy Canadian town to unravel yet another murder mystery. The charm about Penny’s novels is not that they are actually good mysteries, but that the recurring characters are likable and grow on you from novel to novel. Except for Clara, who I can’t stand. I hope they kill her soon. But it’s Inspector Gamache who ultimately wins you over, and I can’t wait for someone else to get bumped (Clara, please let it be Clara) so you can find out who-dunnit in the Great White North.
Runebinder, by Alex K Kaler, narrated by Zach Villa. I like my fantasies gay and Runebinder does not disappoint. This YA-fantasy is full of magic, foreboding, death, necromancers, and post-apocalyptic mayhem. At the center of it all is Tenn, a young man with trouble controlling his magic powers, and his paramour Jarrett who may or may not have secret designs on Tenn other than getting into Tenn’s pants. Runebinder is a fun story easy to get lost in.
Shortest Way Home; One Mayor’s Challenge and a Model for America’s Future, written and read by Pete Buttigieg. He’s gay. He’s been described as “the most interesting mayor you’ve never heard of.” He’s running for President. His partner is Twitter’s newest darling. And in this book, Mayor Pete, the 37 year old mayor of South Bend, Indiana makes a passionate plea for renewing America. The more I see, hear, and learn about this guy, the more I like him. Mayor Pete is the perfect knitting or driving companion.
Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. NPR’s comedy news quiz that never fails to make me laugh. This show is constantly one of the best podcasts to listen to at the gym, driving around town, or knitting rows. Listening to the show helps me feel like I haven’t lost my mind because of the disaster Washington politics has become, and it makes for a good way to keep my sanity intact — if only for an hour.