Is Starshower the new Honey Cowl? Only time will tell (but it looks good).

The M Word

Dear Kay,
I hate to say it, but there’s been some serious trash-talkin’ about us going on. Read this and weep, honey. I mean, hitch up yer mom jeans, put on your bifocals, slip in your choppers, and chew on the bald, hideous fact laid plain right there in the Portland (Maine) Press Herald:

“At Mason Dixon Knitting, two more traditional style middle-aged knitters, located on opposite sides of the country, share with one another their personal knitting stories.”

They’re calling us “middle aged.” MIDDLE AGED. MIDDLE FREAKING AGED. Halfway home. On the slidey side of life. One step closer to Thee. One foot in the–aw hell, you see what I mean, right?
Here I’ve already made a resolution to swear off cosmetic surgery this year, and now the Portland Press Herald is putting us in the Metamucil demographic. Nobody’s ever called me middle aged before.
I asked David, who just turned eleven, whether he thinks I’m middle aged. He said, trying to be helpful, “No, Mom! Really. You don’t. Middle aged would be, like, 52. Fifty-two is middle aged.”
Which means he’s thinking 104 is your average lifespan.
Why does middle aged sound so dire? Can’t we come up with some new way of describing a person who is, in my case, 43? I liked it when they cooked up a new name for furniture from the 1950s. It was no longer called old, crummy furniture; it was Midcentury. Midcentury is great. Maybe middle aged should be midcentury.
In my Pilates class today, there were a trio of Jessica Simpsons wiggling their way through the exercises. I’ve never seen such a collection of glutes. I was like, “Darlings! Take the day off! You could bounce quarters off those buns! Somebody could get hurt!”
I think the trick is to hang out with 20 year olds and just pretend I’m one of them. If somebody could just loan me a Chi Omega Valentine’s Mixer 2005 T-shirt, I’d be much obliged.
You’re as old as you feel, right?
Love,
Ann
P.S. Just to be clear about the cosmetic surgery issue, I’m no fan of the injecting and puffing and slurping out and hoisting up. Here’s a beautiful quote from a beautiful 82-year-old guy, Paul Newman:

“I’m not vain and insecure like many of my fellow actors and actresses. Quite frankly, I like the way I look. I’m not jumping on the Hollywood bandwagon and turning the clock back with a facelift. So what if my face is falling apart? I don’t give a damn. Everyone thinks they can stay pretty forever, but some come out of Beverly Hills surgeries looking scary to me. Everyone in Tinseltown is getting pinched, lifted and pulled. For many, it’s become a sick obsession. They lose some of their soul when they go under the knife and end up looking body-snatched.”

Clink! I raise my bottle of Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing in his honor.

132 Comments

132 Comments

  1. Dear Kay, One good euphemism for pre middle-age is ‘no longer in my first youth’. I think its something the Brits say.Early forties are too young to be middle aged. BTW I love both your book and your blog. Sarajane

  2. They say no publicity is bad publicity, but they don’t say anything about hurtful. Once we get “middle-aged” banned, can we work on a new word for bagboys and waitresses to call me? At my house, the M word is (shudder) ma’am.

  3. Well, they also said that the MDK writers live at opposite ends of the country – obviously they don’t know anything about the age at which ‘middle-age’ begins’, and they don’t know much about geography!

  4. Euphemisms for those of us in our 40s… Vintage? Classic? A cautionary note: hanging with twentysomethings will make you feel truly middle-aged. Trust me. I work with an office full of them and feel like the resident old bat.

  5. Hear, hear, Mr. Newman! Step away from the lip injections.

  6. Amen to the Paul Newman quote! There’s something to be said for letting your body mature gracefully.
    And, yeah, what exactly is “middle age” pray tell? If it’s halfway through the average lifetime, then I at 32 am approaching middle age. Pshaw! Whatever! Forget about ‘em and keep doing the fabulous things you’re doing!

  7. I say to hell with labels. I’m a 44-year old mother of two, and I simply refer to myself as a “grown-up.” That covers a pretty wide age range, doesn’t it?

  8. Hell, I’m almost 51 and I don’t care for the “ma’am” shit, or being called middle-aged, either.

  9. way to go! you guys rock, and the phrase “no longer in my first youth” or “at the start of my 2nd youth” seems appropriate. :o)
    I raise my bag of Newman’s dog treats to you!
    My dog, Fanny, raises both front paws too.

  10. ‘Traditional style’ knitters? What’s that- granny squares? I don’t think of you as traditional.
    Middle-aged does have a dreary tone to it- but what’s the alternative- perimenopausal? Third age? I’ll stick with m-a or ’40s’ for now.

  11. Ann,
    When a writer gets one thing wrong in a sentence, you get to discount the whole paragraph as “cr@p”! You also get to discount the writer’s intelligence – “idiot”. So…since you and Kay live on the same side of the country (east to west), the whole thing is cr@p written by an idiot. See how this works?
    The only trouble with this philosophy is that you and Kay write. So be careful!

  12. PRIME of life, dude. Prime of life.

  13. I’m 47 and I prefer to think of it as “my second childhood.” Or, hell, even my third. And when my boys finally leave the nest? Katy, bar the door! Woot!

  14. Oh that is a low blow. Why didn’t she just do you in and complete dismiss you with the “soccer mom” designation? And “traditional style?” Has she seen your book? Clearly you should ignore this article as its author is mentally enfeebled.

  15. If you’re middle-aged, and you’re only ten years removed from my stint in the same dormitory, then that makes me ALMOST middle-aged and that just can’t be right. I think you are the Diane Keaton of knitting. How the heck does that woman get better looking each year? Weird.
    I heard Clint Eastwood say much the same thing as Paul and also that he can’t cast anyone sight-unseen anymore based on what they previously looked like because he or she might have gone and “cosmeticized” themselves in the interim and quite possibly could now look ridiculous.
    Keep at the Pilates, Ann. It’s like taking anti-aging classes. I swear that stuff is magic.

  16. Old fashioned indeed. A big Bronx Cheer to Anna!!!Pthuuzzzzzzz!!!!!!!!zzzzzzzz!!

  17. At the age of forty, we have only been (real) adults for twenty years, so technically, we’re only twenty!
    Knit on!!!
    I have a good bra, I don’t care how old I am!!

  18. Sorry to hear about your mis-characterization in that article Ann. I remember when someone called my Mom middle-aged right after she turned 40. It was a store clerk nonetheless. That didn’t go over too well…

  19. Clint Eastwood had the nerve to say that?? His face is so tight and unmoving he looks like he was embalmed weeks ago. Talk about ridiculous looking.
    I don’t mind being called middle aged (because, well, I am), it’s the ma’am or missus thing. When did I stop being miz??

  20. Middle aged? Oh well, their loss.

  21. Well, uh, ummm, the Portland Press Herald is my hometown newspaper. Sorry about the middle-aged slam. I’m 49 and prefer to think of myself as “adult” or “grown up”. But some days, frankly, I do feel middle-aged! BUT NOT ELDERLY! No matter what my kids say.

  22. I only left the “twentysomethings” yesterday and I am already offended by ma’am comments. I have noticed for the last few years that every waitress /bagboy calls me ma’am. I dreaded 30 but know I think that I will embrace it.

  23. I dunno, I’m liking the ma’am. I think you are officially middle-aged when you like the boys for how respectful they are, rather than how hot they look. I’m so there.

  24. Lordy, if you guys are middle aged I’m, um, old. But I’m not!

  25. Well, I’m older than 43, and I’m not middle aged! Pshaw on them!

  26. I opened up the comments hoping to hear a lot of raging about how ultra-young we are. Yay! We may not be ultra-young but we are HOT STUFF: rated M for Mature Audiences (if you can remember movies that were rated M, by definition you are OTD) (Older Than Dirt).
    I would never quibble with Paul Newman but (a) he’s a guy and (b) he looks like he looks, so (c) it cain’t be that BAD, ya know? But I love the thought. For me, not going under the knife for a quick chin reduction (for starters) is all about Fear of Being Thought Vain and Ridiculous, and Fear of Dying from Bad Anesthesia and Then REALLY Being Thought Vain and Ridiculous. xoxox Kay

  27. Well, we could be French and call ourselves “a woman of a certain age” (I wanted to write it in French, but it was so long ago now . . .)
    And there’s nothing wrong with being traditional, but I think that’s an inaccurate description of your book. I prefer to think of it as “accessible.” I love Debbie New’s Unexpected Knitting — to read. I’m far more likely to use your book to actually make something, or as a stepping off point on the way to making something. And for my own knitting, I prefer to make things that are to be used in daily life.

  28. Here’s to Paul! Always liked that man.
    As for middle aged . . . I’m (wait I’ve gotta count) oh yeah, I’m 43 and I am NOT MIDDLE AGED!

  29. I’ll be 43 next week. A woman in my exercise class remembers me from high school. She’s a year younger and looks older than me. I’m still not looking forward to my birthday though.

  30. Looks like that writer doesn’t know much. She doesn’t know geography, doesn’t know much about knitting, if she thinks yours is traditional, and doesn’t know what constitutes middle-aged. Having gone to the link, the reporter is also not a very good writer…jumping here and there and trying to hit too many ideas in a small space. I think you should just ignore her. Do I sound a little defensive? Guess that’s cause I’m 48 ;).

  31. Paul Newman will forever be one of the sexiest men alive. Period.
    Ann and Kay, you are not middle aged. The reporter is an ijut.
    Kathy

  32. May I suggest “prime” as in, ‘Honey, stand back! I’ve just hit my prime!’ Has the advantage of lasting as long as your talent can make it, too…

  33. Jealously rears it’s ugly head! Knitters of a certain age unite. We won’t be called “middle aged” just because we aren’t 20-something.

  34. Paul is a very wise man.

  35. Aack. My father in law recently told my husband and me, during a discussion of medical issues of various family members, that at nearly 38, we were now “middle aged.” Gee, thanks. How nice of you to put it that way.
    I say we take back the term with pride. Mathematically, it might be right, so let’s just get rid of the baggage that comes along with it.
    PS, I don’t really think of your knitting as all that “traditional” or at least not in the stodgy sense. Newspaper writers are always getting things all wrong…

  36. Funny I was just pondering this earlier… according to MEDLINE, upon which I labor when I am not surfing knitting blogs (!), the check tag for “middle aged” includes those aged 45-64. It was a milestone for me when I hit the lower end of this range this summer, and changed my check tag… woo hoo… creak…

  37. What planet are these people living on? One is not “middle aged” until one reaches the age of 60. And, frankly, we British merely raise an eyebrow when questioned about our age, look down our noses and state flatly “a lady never mentions her age”.
    Fiona

  38. I think Cara hit the right note with “Prime”!
    I’m 46 — which probably is pretty close to the middle, I’m sure. In fact, having had breast cancer, I think I’ll be lucky (and glad) if it *is*.
    Sometimes I think the world is emotionally about 13 — that age when you think you’ll die if you ever have that pooch in your tummy your mom has. Little do you know that if you’re lucky, you’ll grow up enough to know how minor a problem that really is.
    Besides, you guys are cool – more-traditional my foot!

  39. I guess I am “Older than Dirt” cuz Kay says if I remember M (means Mature) ratings on movies – and I do – I am OTD, ma’am. I’m not sure I became old enough to see those movies, but do remember the rating. “Last Picture Show”, rated M, mom took my sister to see it and was mortified. Today, it’d by PG-13!
    I am a few years older then you, Ann. I have given up worrying about what other people call me. Heck, much like poor David Allan Coe, they never even call me by my name. It is Kathleen and so many want to nick it (Kathy or Kate or something) or add a Mary to the front of it, I’ve given it up as a lost cause. I do state my preference a time or two and then I give up.

  40. You are absolutely not middle-aged, because I aspire to your level of hipness and being a mere slip of 23, I shudder to think what that says about me. And you can totally have my Delta Xi Phi 2005 Spring Mixer shirt, if only in thanks for your amazing book. Cheers!

  41. Kudos (can’t believe I just said “kudos”) to you, Ann! For what it’s worth, you hardly look 38.
    And you’re right…you’re as old as you feel. So, that makes me about 10.
    Smiles,
    Erin

  42. Bless your heart! When I turned 42 my neighbor, who is 35 and, so he says, young and vivacious, asked me how I felt to have lived more than half my life. Well, I had felt pretty darn good until that point. One mid-life crisis later brought on by said young and vivacious neighbor I figure I’m doing just fine. As my grandmother used to say, “I can still sit up and take nourishment, so I’d say I’m okay.”

  43. Sorry, me again —
    Ann, go over to January One and read the entry for January 18. Now, there’s someone who gets it:
    http://www.januaryone.com/

  44. As I celebrated my 48th birthday yesterday, I completely share and applaud David’s philosophy. Wise, wise boy!
    Long live Mason-Dixon! where else could we turn to learn the ancient, venerable tradition of mitered striped pop-art blankets and knitted baby jeans, which so enriched our ancestors’ hope chests?

  45. I am 52, which I like to think of as being “a grown-up lady.” In the past year, I have had someone be absolutely, positively, not-very-politely FLOORED that I could be that old–AND I’ve had my 11 year old daughter referred to as my grandaughter. Oh well. I have resolved to not leave the house without mascara anymore, though– both eyes, no matter how many times I’m interrupted while applying.
    I hate it when people who don’t know anything about knitting write about “the craze.” Especially when they’re not very good writers. Yeesh.

  46. Middle-age is always ten years older than whatever age we are. It’s kind of like the pot of gold at the end rainbow that way.

  47. Uuugh. It’s been ten minutes and my eyes are still rolling over the hip, happening twenty-somethings “rocking the knitting craze” story. Generation Y is taking knitting to the streets, man, and you Oldsters just can’t handle this much coolness. Oy vey.
    Sometimes I miss the days when the KnitList only had 3000 members. Then again, the fibers are much nicer and plentiful these days. . .

  48. I could loan you a Chi Omega mixer t-shirt from 1995, if you want. =) It was only ten years ago and yet I feel like I’m knocking on the door to the M word, myself. Yikes!

  49. The idea of a person’s age somehow describing their knitting is so incongruous to me. One of the things I enjoy about knitting is that age does not matter in a group of knitters. We all have differences that are not necessarily age-based, but we share this wonderful art of knitting and so share common ground. That comment in the article was a window into that author’s preconceived notions or narrowness of mind.

  50. I saw that too. But, what do they know? They looped me in with the 20-somethings. I’m 31!

  51. To me, you will both always be 25…old enough to know better but still young enough to do it anyways. Exactly when is middle age? For that matter when is old age? Someone needs to clue my 64 year old godmother who still climbs mountains in Tibet (and she knits too!).

  52. you are both “spring chickens” in my book!
    at 60 years young,….i’m just happy to get out of bed in the morning, and have all my parts work! (or, at least most of them!)

  53. I thought middle age was whatever age my mom is. She was middle aged when she was in her 40’s and I was in my 20s. Now she is still middle aged, even though she recently turned 60.
    Can we just say we’re in our “best decade ever”?

  54. Let’s hear it for 43! WE ARE NOT MIDDLE AGED! We are aging gracefully. I got told at a Christmas party I looked like I was in my 30s, so I guess even though I want to lose 25 pounds I’ll keep up with the Pilates magic too! (Then we’ll be able to smack around anyone that calls us old, an added benefit.)

  55. And it had to be in my local(ish) paper, even. I’m so embarassed. Still, I made a comment about it, as, I suspect, shall others. Perhaps they will reconsider their wrong-mindedness. I also noticed that they messed up on the link to the Yarn Har(o)lot. *sigh* I suppose they at least some effort.

  56. I really detest age-related crap. I’m 41 and usually get from folks just meeting me, “You don’t look 41.” My response? “What the hell does 41 look like? Did I miss a class? Leave my cane and orthopedic shoes at home? Get out of my face and hand me a beer, sweetie.”

  57. And it had to be in my local(ish) paper, even. I’m so embarassed. Still, I made a comment about it, as, I suspect, shall others. Perhaps they will reconsider their wrong-mindedness. I also noticed that they messed up on the link to the Yarn Har(o)lot. *sigh* I suppose they at least some effort.

  58. Cripes
    “at least MADE some effort.”

  59. Well, given average life span of those of us who are 40-50+, technically, mathematically speaking we are middle-aged.
    Does that matter or mean anything other than mathematically? NO!
    Age is a number. Give it no more power than that.
    Frankly, the “traditional” style part struck me as a bit off. Maybe basically but for Pete’s sake (oops, age showing…alert…) let’s hear it for fresh color sense and fun. Yeah, let’s here it for women who are fun!!! Let’s hear it for people of any age who go with something, put forth energy and create new things, new books, new relationships!
    Go, girls, go!
    Gerrie in MN at 51 yrs and 23 days

  60. I just finished reading the Press Herald article about knitting and picked up your blog. The article was very pro-knitting (altho the person profiled is all of 26). Love the knitting and will be following your blog, you guys are a hoot. (By the way, I’m a 3-time Grammie of 55, still wear my hair long, am an avid knitter and love doing construction – as in hammer and nail work – when I have the time.) I’m trying to get my granddaughter interested in knitting, but at age 6 she’s still a little fumble-fingered. There’s still time! The needles are calling, ‘bye for now.

  61. Middle aged? I am Suzanne. You are Ann. You are Kay. Nothing else. Didn’t their mommas teach them not to call people names?

  62. Here’s my middle-aged story:
    In my mid-30s, I had a bad virus and went to Urgent Care. Years later I happened to see the dictated note from the (20-something) resident doctor which began: “This middle-aged woman presents… ” What a low blow! Guess I must have looked really ill. But he DID know my age….
    Now at 43, I don’t embrace the label; however, since I believe my children have sucked the life force out of me, perhaps it’s appropriate.
    Go Paul!

  63. Years ago my life insurance agent told me that in her industry 32 is considered the beginning of middle-age. I asked her what came before that, and she replied, “Too young to know any better.”

  64. I remember that, somewhere around when I was 34, I mentioned to my Mom that I was in my mid-thirties and she immediately protested. I certainly was NOT! I asked her how much more “mid” can you get than the 34-36 range, but it didn’t help . . . having her youngest daughter in her mid-30s made her feel old.
    Of course, now that I’m 40, it’s a whole new ballgame….

  65. Paul Newman thinks his face is falling apart?! Pardon me while I plotz. He is SO beautiful. Really.
    I just had my 35th birthday and am starting to wonder when I’ll have to accept “middle age.” I don’t yet. I’m not even totally sure I’ve grown up yet…better check with my kids…

  66. Oh, great. I’m having a cranky mid-winter day, and some kid says 52 is middle-aged. I’m 53. It’s a reeeeeeally good thing I bought chocolates tonight, that’s all I can say.

  67. I’m 58, I think that is middle age, I wouldn’t think of a person in their 40’s as such. I agree that there must be something better to be called than ma’am, but since I work in retail and have to train kids 16+ all the time how to address a person that they do not know, it’s what we fall back too. It’s that or ‘yo….. and they think I’m picky!

  68. Well here’s the thing, you couldn’t produce a blog or book like Mason-Dixon if you weren’t 43. It takes experience and one doesn’t have that at 23 or 20 or what ever the happenin’ age is. 20somethings produce blogs about knitting but not like your blog. You are experienced! Your book is trendy. And like they said in Fried Green Tomatoes you have more insurance. (And so do I!) The author should print an apology.

  69. Ouch! Is 43 middle aged? Guess I’m middle-aged then. But, I don’t feel old. Maybe it’s the coupling of the word ‘traditional style’ with ‘middle age’ that smarts so badly. Whatever it is, I hate it…
    Ang

  70. I will have lived 43 years in a few weeks. (My birthday isn’t on the calendar…so none for me, thanks…) I do NOT refer to myself as an adult. I have become more responsible, but I am not an adult, therefore I am not middle-aged.
    My children are sure that when I was born, dinosaurs roamed the earth, as it was cooling, yeah, whatevah! If this is middle-age, cool, I can live like this for a very long time. And, I don’t look nearly as good as either of you.

  71. Oh, for heaven’s sake. I’m sixty-three and I just don’t pay much attention to whatever ridiculous category people want to put me in. I work out at the gym, wear makeup when necessary but not all the time, have recently lost 20 pounds and am back in a size 10, and I just go ahead and do my thing. People are surprised to learn how old I am, but frankly, I don’t give a flying F***. (Maybe THAT’s what affirms my state of elderly wisdom: not giving a flying F***.)
    My best mentor around the aging thing is Gloria Steinem. She is exactly ten years older than I am. When she turned 50 (and I turned 40), she was interviewed about what it meant to her to turn 50. Some reporter asked her how she managed to look “so young,” and she replied “This is what a healthy 50-year old looks like. I don’t look young; I look 50. Women have been lying about their age for so long that we have lost track of what we should look like at any particular age. I am not interested in lying.”
    Go, Gloria! (And Paul, too.)

  72. Middle aged my dimpled butt! I’m 45 and refuse to be called “middle aged” until I can wear a knitted/felted red hat and purple dress. I plan on having a ball doing wearing that red hat, and just as much fun as before I can wear it. Besides, I can tell stories that can make my 20 something co-workers say “no way”. Then again, if someone wants to call me middle aged, I’m going to have to enjoy every minute of it (with or without that knitted/felted red hat).

  73. I’ve always respected Paul Newman. Thanks for making me aware of another reason! And Y’ALL are ageless.

  74. Oh, dear! If 43 is middle-aged, then at 47-1/2 I’m probably ready for assisted living! Hang in there, girl! You’re twice as wonderful as any 20-something!

  75. With the way Paul Newman looks he doesn’t NEED any work.

  76. One step close to Thee? Dahlings take the day off? You are hysterical.

  77. Oh I remember the day, when I was 35, that my 13-year-old daughter and I went shopping for an upcoming vacation. On the drive home I asked her if she liked the bathing suit I just bought…she said, “yes, it’s a nice middle aged suit.” I was so horrified I almost drove off the road and even at that tender age she knew enough to babble on and try to make it right. She is now 39 and I am 61. Revenge is sooooo sweet….every chance I get.

  78. “Hey, Portland Press-Herald — there’s a time machine on the phone, and it says it wants its ‘knitting is hip’ article from 2003 back!”
    (Ok, I guess I’m not that good at the trash-talking.)

  79. Oh, dear. I do not yet feel middle-aged and I’m going to be 48 this year.
    Correction: I DID not feel middle-aged until
    you said that Paul Newman is 82. That CAN’T BE RIGHT!
    Now I feel OLD. Not even middle-aged — old. I skipped right past the middle age.

  80. I hate those “M” words Middle-aged and Ma’am — Ok I am 53 and I have white hair — but I have had white hair for a decade at least and I had salt and pepper hair in high school. And they say “you’re only as old as you feel — well some days I feel OLD so I don’t want to go by that either — So I will stick by “You may have to grow old but you never have to grow UP!!”
    :D

  81. Hear, hear!

  82. Girls! If these people told you that you had grown tails, would you believe them? Turn around to check, sure! But you wouldn’t just believe them straight off. You are not middle-aged. You are not even aged. I’m 23 years old and love your book to pieces, especially the patterns, and even more especially all the commentary. So…forget them! You’re not middle-aged. In the sweater of life, you haven’t even finished both sleeves yet.

  83. ‘Middle aged’ is an outdated concept, useful only for saddos who know no better. Unless of course you’re Neil, who has been middle aged since birth (even his Mum says so). It’s all about the attitude! (I, meanwhile, have never [mentally] progressed past 18, and the odd moments when I think perhaps I am older are a terrible shock, I have to say) x x x x

  84. If 42 is middle aged then what am I at 45??? Ancient???

  85. Kay, you know I totally relate to your aversion to being called “middle aged”. I just turned 48 this year and well, I just don’t want to hear that either! LOL! It reminds me of the first time someone called me “Ma’am”. I was only 19 and it nearly KILLED me! Made me feel oldddd… well you know what I mean!
    Instead of referring to you as “traditional” and “MA” they should have said “endearing and funny”. I love the blog. Keep up the great work!

  86. I don’t think that writer bothered to even look at your blog.
    Besides, you’re younger than I am, Ann, and I’m certainly not middle-aged, so you all couldn’t be either.
    And I knew there was a reason I love Paul Newman.

  87. I just purchased a used little sports car and suggested it was due to “mid-life” crisis. I will admit I also used the excuse that it would be a fuel efficiency device while traveling to yarn shops and gatherings. I am 56. I’ve also stopped saying I’m getting older as I am happy with the wisdom I’m gaining and wouldn’t want to go back to any previous age. Therefore, I’ve decided to say I am “blossoming.” Opening, opening, then when I’ve crammed everything I can into the blossom and opened it to the fullest,I’ll just make way for the next blossom and consider everything a fine run.
    As far as you two are concerned, you CAN’T be middle aged since I am. Listen to your son.

  88. That was a fairly horrible article overall, so it is rather unsurprising that she misrepresented this blog.

  89. Nothing makes a person look older than trying to look younger. Word to the wise.

  90. Nothing makes a person look older than trying to look younger. Word to the wise.

  91. Lemme tell you, at 56, if this is middle age, bring it on! That means I’ll live to 112! Lot’s more years of knitting to do.
    Believe me, at 43 you’re NOT middle aged and that MAN doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about.

  92. Dear Ann,
    I hate to point out the obvious, but Paul Newman at 43 was so ultra hot, how could you MIND being that age? I don’t mind being called middle-aged because when I ponder how far I’ve come, and I see I’ve got that much living left to go, I’ve got a lot to look forward to. Besides, for my whole adolescence my dad prepared me. When I turned 15, he said,”Halfway to 30!” (which I thought was ancient)

  93. I hate both M-words: “middle-aged” and “ma’am.”
    And I gotta say that I also hate having reached That Invisible Age, you know, the one when people glance quickly at/through you and move on, if they deign to notice you at all. (How did this happen? When exactly did I become invisible? I miss my youthful beauty and color.)
    A friend said once that, since the average human life span was 75 years, ages 1-25 represent our youth; ages 26-50 are our middle years; and 51-75, our elder years.
    I added the previous paragraph hoping to cheer you up, since it’s laughable to suggest that anyone who’s 26 is middle-aged. However, at the time my friend said this, I was offended to think that I was already middle-aged. Later I laughed off his words–but I’m not laughing so much now, today, since his theory puts me squarely in the elderly group.
    Ha! I’m older than dirt! Now *I* need cheering up.
    Sigh.

  94. I’m also 43. Several years ago, an elderly lady told me that “the first blush is off the rose”; she meant me! What a hoot.

  95. Heck, if I were a guy and looked like Paul, I’d be happy too!!!
    Nonetheless, am definitely middle aged (52+), and not looking to be a botox babe for sure. But I dunno, maybe the grey hairs could be disguised….

  96. As a former Mainer, I can say that no one likes the Portland Press Herald ANYWAY.

  97. As a former Mainer, I can say that no one likes the Portland Press Herald ANYWAY.

  98. On my 45th birthday a sports doc said to me “‘A woman your age’shouldn’t be running.” Possibly true….but ‘a woman your age?’

  99. MIDDLE-AGED, SMIDDLE-AGED!
    They can call me whatever they want as long as they don’t call me “late for a yarn sale”!
    The only number that really matters to me is the number of yarn balls in my S.T.A.S.H.!! As long as I’m alive, and knitting, it’s all good!

  100. Well Ann and Kay,
    At least we’re with you on the middle-aged thing: Mel is sticking up for you and left a comment at the end of the article:
    “Mel of Kittery Point, ME
    Jan 23, 2007 5:58 PM
    A very nice article, but I’d have to disagree with your characterization of Ann & Kay of Mason-Dixon Knitting as “traditional style middle-aged knitters.” Ann & Kay are hip, funny, and about as far from acrylic afghans and toilet paper cozies as one can get. Have you even read their blog? Also, Nashville & Manhattan are not on opposite ends of the country. ”
    :) We love ya.

  101. P.S. I’m 28 and I LOVVVVVE your book and your blog and YOU! I feel like I’m 18, even more so when I’m knitting. The thought that most consistently runs through my mind when I’m knitting is, “gosh! I wish I found this earlier in life!”
    When I was 20 I could bounce quarters off my ass, too. Not so much anymore. LOL!

  102. Ann, wish I could help you out with the Chi-O Mixer t-shirt, but I don’t have any dating earlier than 1991. Maybe we should make our own next month (mixer and t-shirt)!

  103. As one for whom the 40’s was a decade ago, I am quite bothered by the terms/phrases “middle aged”, “getting older” “old”. Here’s an idea: the 3 basic life stages are 1)young; 2)older; and 3)old. What about referring to them as 1) good; 2) better (and better and better); and 3) best. Like wine, aging brings out better qualities.

  104. Middle Aged! Hah. If you’re middle aged then I’m middle aged, and there’s not a cheeseball’s chance in Hades of me copping to that.

  105. How about “medieval”? So…loaded with excellent textiles and great stained glass!

  106. Groucho Marx said “you’re as young as who you feel.”

  107. Well, I am a mother of 3, grandmother of 11 and just started my own business last year. I am in my prime and loving it. I think I am older than most of you reading this.
    Wisdom, that is what comes with age and it is beautiful. So to hell with middle aged. What a crock.

  108. Given the alternative, getting older is way better than dying young.

  109. “M’am” is better than “Sir,” which I get a lot of, regardless of shoulder-length girl-cut hair, and what I’ve been told is a pretty face.
    “Middle-Aged” might be better than “Dead,” though you can ask me again when I’m sixty (I always promised my father I would live to 120). And then I’ll probably punch you anyway.

  110. As with the first commenter, I was under the impression from British literature from last century that middle age didn’t begin before a person reached half a century – see any of Graham Greene’s writing. I would say that the Maine Herald is outright wrong for that!

  111. Who’s he kidding..He’s already had so much face work there’s no skin left

  112. This commentary written for the Portland Maine Press Herald should demonstrate to the reader who knows a subject well, the fact that many who are writing for hire have only surface knowledge of a subject. They are rushing to meet a deadline and fulfill a requirement for pay. They might possibly not have even a glimmer of true fact in their article. Horrors. Caution when reading anything in print.

  113. This commentary written for the Portland Maine Press Herald should demonstrate to the reader who knows a subject well, the fact that many who are writing for hire have only surface knowledge of a subject. They are rushing to meet a deadline and fulfill a requirement for pay. They might possibly not have even a glimmer of true fact in their article. Horrors. Caution when reading anything in print.

  114. I’d say you were definitely in your middle youth.

  115. Lol…I had my third child aged 43. I`m 48 now and she`s 5. I don`t get to be middle aged till she`s left school, surely?

  116. The first adjectives that came to my mind upon reading MISS Fiorentino’s (emphasis intentional) “article” were puerile and sophomoric. It seems clear to me she did very little research other than talk to a couple of 20-something knitters. Her geographic locale made many of our heroines (and heroes) pretty accessible – she could have really worked this into a much deeper and comprehensive story. “Her personal stories are entertaining yet step-by-step intensive.” WHAT? Vas is dis??? What does she mean. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee gives us instructions for her stories??? WHAAAT?
    Oh well, what are you going to do? Laugh maniacally and continue to knit/purl thinking “My student loans are all paid off – I have more money for stash” buwahahahahahaha.

  117. I’ve been struggling with the middle-aged concept since I turned (gasp!) 48. I certainly don’t feel like I’m middle-aged. I like to think I don’t look like a middle-aged woman, but the mirror is beginning to think otherwise. And I suspect that as I continue to add the years, the “official” middle-aged age is going to keep getting pushed back. Right now it’s hovering somewhere around 55.

  118. Sorry struggling to focus on the question at hand (maybe it’s the bi-focals ?) ‘cos I was too distracted by the fact that Knitbabe Beth of the article actually knits bikinis ?! I suppose somewhere I knew that somebody must but, despite my many, many, OMG SO MANY, years of knitting I have never understood this. I like to handwash my knits and I don’t know what she’ll be washing it with if she wears that in the pool – but it won’t be her hands !

  119. Oh. Now I read the article and I just feel bad for the author. Clearly someone who, uh, well, not so much experience, maybe. Like maybe with not so much experience researching a topic and getting all the infos straight and, uh, knowing that a “special interest” group like knitters care a great deal about being (mis)represented. I had several “what???” moments when reading it, and I have been following knit blogs since even before Mason-Dixon Knitting was on the scene. And knitting even longer, of course. And I’m just shutting up now.

  120. Another thought on MA….I was watching Rear Window a few weeks ago..Jimmy Stewart was definitely middle-aged in that pic- gray hair and no pecs, no muscle tone (check out the massage scenes) and he was a leading man. COuldn’t happen today.

  121. I’m all for aging gracefully and naturally, but I am not assuaged by the Paul Newman quote. Have you seen Paul Newman? I was about 4 feet away from him in a theater a couple years ago, and let me tell you, the man has every reason to feel *just fine* about how he looks. He’s Paul freakin’ Newman!!

  122. HILARIOUS. I feel so much better….. THAAAAAANK YOUUUUUUU. (Victoise who lives around the corner from Knitty City, NYC & enjoyed your reading)

  123. I am a 22 year old knitter who has been knitting since childhood. I take offence at the way twenty-somethings are portrayed in the article. We are not all sorority-girl airheads knitting bikinis and elf hats. This article reminds me of most beginner knitting books with a bunch of patterns for ipod cozys and scarves that can be done in an hour because the yarn is so chunky. Now, there is nothing really wrong with this and I am not trying to insult the knitter that was profiled. I would just like to comment that I am a twenty-something who prefers more useful knitting. And I have been knitting since before the craze and I will be knitting long after (well past middle-age which hits, I think, around 100).

  124. just a word on middle-aged… my mother who is 61 is a very young 61. her advice is and always has been, the key to staying young is to not act your age. she doesn’t act her age and my friends are always amazed when they find out her true age (which she often shares!)
    so there, why put any lable on it, just act young and you will be young!
    btw, love your blog, love the book m d knitting, and i’m 1/2 way through my 1st log cabin blanket because of it! there’s a photo on my blog of it, however i’m much further along now! sorry for the long comment…

  125. WTF! That’s just crazy talk in that article…
    I double dog dare anyone to find more hipper bodacious babes than all y’ll.

  126. I am also 43. And all this time I have been hearing that 40 is the new 30! :)

  127. Dear Ann,
    I’m just a pond skip away from ya, sweetie in Kentucky. Here, we like to put it this way, kids are on their first legs, adults on their second, seniors on their third.
    So, the next time some idgit calls you middle aged, correct them! Your simply on your second legs and they are wearing theirs out fast enough.

  128. I’ve just joined the 40s and I have to say I feel darn good about it. “Middle aged” sounds a bit staid. I like and often chuckle at the phrase they use for 1950’s houses on those shows where real estate agents are showing really expensive mediocre houses in California….”Mid-century modern”. :-)

  129. That’s what’ll happen when they let 12 year olds write articles. Let me do some perspective-izing. When I was in my own personal early forties, I visited my friend Edith, who was 91. I told her (not kidding) I felt old! She nearly fell off her chair laughing. I wouldn’t have wanted to take responsibilty for an old woman hitting the floor, but we certainly had a good chuckle. “You are so young!” she told me, as only she could have known. I hope, in the future, you’re interviewed by someone’s smart, hip Granny.

  130. Hi, I am the Jodie Foster that was also represented in the article. When the writer called to interview me, she asked my age, but conveniently left it out of the article, seeing as though I am 40… I agree with those of you who feel that the twenty somethings, and all knitters in general are not portrayed that well. Because I was commenting on a new knitting group that I was starting locally, I asked the author if she would be attending. Her reply, ” No, I don’t knit. I would like to someday.”
    Needless to say, you are correct in your assumptions that she could not have been a real knitter….
    Just thought I’d let you all know.

  131. Hey gals,
    Just so you know….don’t take that article in the Portland Press Herald to heart. The child who wrote it was looking for ‘twentysomething’ knitters to interview so I referred her to several. She also knew diddly-squat about knitting. I wish I’d known she was going to make mention of you in the article; I would have pointed out how fun and ageless and sassy the book is. I’m 42, and like the rest of us who are approaching ‘middle age’ (stupid old-fart term) I don’t feel any different inside than when I was 18.
    Anyway, apologies from Portland, Maine. If you’re ever up here, please visit us!
    Anna Poe
    KnitWit Yarn Shop
    yarnonthebrain.com

  132. I second Anna’s apology on behalf of all knitters in the state of Maine. The article itself presents such a tiresome and uninventive premise that I won’t even waste time addressing it here. But I will say that Maine is a small enough state that I’m sure we can gather up a posse to hunt down this little kitten and break her kneecaps for you — or, at a minimum, deposit her on a remote island and force her to eat nuts and berries for a week. And in the meantime, if you ever do grace our fine state with your presence, I hereby vow to gather all my cronies from our respective nursing homes and give you both a rollicking good time.
    Clara