I Can Has Helping Yur Cablz
February 4, 2009
Motoring along here on Rowan 32’s Pearl. This will be a quick note today because I’m still suffering the aftereffects of leaving another movie in the middle because it was so appalling.
[WARNING: The Wrestler SPOILER ALERT and also some gruesome imagery ahead, so skip ahead to the cat playing on the handknits if you're as squeamish as I am.]
Yesterday, a galpal who shall remain nameless because she was seen at the Green Hills Regal Cinema with a fresh pedicure and a blown-out flipflop in 30-degree weather–as tragic a sight as you can imagine–semi-talked me into seeing The Wrestler. OK, I was an easy mark, in a weak orbit. I decided to go as part of my pre-Oscar research.
I didn’t ask for my money back on this one, because I knew full well that it was about a broken-down professional wrestler trying to make a comeback. I knew it would be gritty, and tough, and hard to watch. I’d seen Mickey Rourke win his Golden Globe when he thanked his dogs, which I found extremely moving, and I knew he was kind of a busted-up guy portraying a busted-up guy.
HOWEVER. I was not even vaguely prepared for the scene where The Ram and another wrestler agree beforehand that their fight will involve barbed wire and a staple gun. And sure yeah why not, we get to see every glistening staple in our hero’s poor back. It’s a good five or ten minutes of straight-ahead amateur suturing and abuse. At that point, my scarf went over my head and I started checking email on my phone. Finally, Pedicure Pal leaned over and said, “It’s OK now. He’s in the hospital now. He had a heart attack.”
I just want to know: does anybody out there who saw this movie think that this over-the-top gruesomeness is necessary to the telling of this guy’s story?
Look. The scariest movie I ever saw was Psycho. I still take a shower with the curtain cracked. Yet Hitchcock never showed a knife hitting Janet Leigh. He knew how to play on the viewer’s anxieties. There was art in the way he messed with us. There’s no art in the violence shown in The Wrestler. It just feels exploitative, cheaply manipulative of the audience, low. And it means I can’t get to the heartwarming part when friendly stripper Marisa Tomei finally puts on some clothes and she and The Ram go have a beer together.
Or see the poor kid in Slumdog Millionaire find his true love and win all the rupees.
I can’t figure out to whom to complain, so I’m writing this here in hopes that somebody has an idea about how to howl properly about all this nasty business in movies today. Now I think I should have asked for my money back, so at least there would be a piece of paper somewhere that reads “Reason for Refund: Pointlessly Violent.”
END OF GRUESOME PART.
NOW, ON WITH THE CAT PLAYING ON THE HANDKNIT.
This is going well enough. The yarn is Rowan Wool Cotton, one of the durable all stars of the yarn world. Kermit thinks knitting needles are alive, somehow.
I am grumpy about the left leaning cables but not tragically so. This project is such a foundling that it’s fun even if it’s imperfect.
See how smooth the right leaners are? How ragged the left leaners are? Well, I finally remembered the tip I read from the Queen Of All Things Cabley, Melissa Leapman. Now that I have cable fever, her Cables Untangled is looking more tantalizing than ever. And I need to get her latest book, Continuous Cables: An Exploration of Knitted Cabled Knots, Rings, Swirls, and Curlicues, because those crazy tangled cables are really my favorite.
Anyway. Her tip for making those left leaners look better is to work the purl stitch to the left of the last knit cable stitch by wrapping the yarn in the opposite direction from the usual way. It twists the stitch, tightening it. On the next row, when it appears as a twisted knit stitch, knit through the back of the stitch to untwist it. I’m going to give this a try, even if means that half of my right front looks warbly and the other half looks smooth. I really want to improve it, asap.
Other Helpful Tidbits
Readers ask how to knit cables without a cable needle. The incomparable Grumperina explains it in her clear, surprisingly ungrumpy way here. We love you, Grumperina!
For those of you who have our new book, Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines, there’s a quick tutorial on page 50, accompanying the pattern for the Stephen Colbert Socks. This is my favorite sock pattern in the whole world, because you can make the cables wander wherever you like, liberated from a cable needle.
Another reader inquiry: How do you do an increase that is less noticeable than the Make 1?
Here’s a nice, quick instruction from Knotions. The idea is that these lifted increases don’t create a big hole in your knitting the way a Make 1 does. These are much more subtle, and they blend in well. I love ‘em.