Knitting with Zombies

I was surprised to hear on the radio yesterday that zombies are a billion dollar industry in the United States (a fact that is somehow related to our stagnant economy).  Of course, as a Jane Austen fan, I’ve seen retellings of her works featuring characters reinvented as zombies and vampires (and even read a few), but I’d never conceived that this craze for the undead is currently generating so much income.  As I am a teacher and married to one as well, I seem to be in a constant struggle to have enough money to provide for my two boys (who have hollow legs and a propensity for trips to the emergency room and pediatrician’s office) while having any funds left for vacations, good clothes, etc. I am always toying with ways to make money, and would love to incorporate yarn, knitting, or spinning into any future revenue earning endeavors.  Hmmm, I thought as I drove my son home from school yesterday and heard “zombies” and “billion dollar industry” in the same sentence.  Maybe there’s some way to combine fiber and zombies.  A vampire knitting book seemed to sell well a few years ago.  But the only thoughts that came to mind seemed rather too weird and morbid—lacy shroud like hoods made out of white mohair, for instance or weird stuffed animals dripping with blood with their arms straight out.  

Putting aside my ideas for zombie-inspired knitwear design, I asked my eleven-year-old for ideas to combine writing about knitting and zombies, maybe in a fictional work.  James is a very creative kid, one who spends hours building with Lego or reading about historical weapons and analyzing which ones are the most lethal.  (His Christmas list includes a set of throwing knives and an extension knife that pops up from its case the wearer straps to his wrist.)  James seemed like a good source for zombie idea. 

“You can have some crazy knitting old lady zombie who spreads the knitting virus throughout the world,” he said.

James already thinks all knitters fit this description, so his words weren’t really new and didn’t spark any great insights in me.  I decided to let the zombie idea ferment awhile, went home and had dinner, took James to his fencing class, returned home, worked on a scarf, and went to bed.

When I drove James to school the next morning, an idea came to me.  I don’t have to create any fantastic, fictional worlds featuring knitting and zombies.  I live in that world right now.  Some of my worst knitting nightmares have been the result of my transformation, on many evenings, into a zombie.  On one such evening I went to a wonderful local knitting store (Cottage Yarn) for help with a complex baby sweater pattern and found that other middle-aged women suffer from the same disease—the “I-can’t-think-or-do-math at night virus.” 
I found this in my classroom.  Zombie knitwear, maybe???

In contrast, in the morning, when the sun is shining, I find that I can master a difficult knitting pattern or chart.  The “aha” moments seems to flow like smooth waves at Carolina beaches at low tide.  But, at night, exhausted from running to an fro all day and dealing with the whines and requests of my pubescent public (in English classes where I am on stage every day), my thoughts don’t click.  The connections don’t come, and I’ve learned that it’s much wiser to work on pieces whose stitches and pattern repeats I have already mastered.  At night, I am a zombie. 

The result, of course, is that I long for daytime hours—to drink coffee, knit, walk the dog, clean the house, do the laundry, cook dinner, shop for my family, make doctor, dentist, and veterinarian appointments, get my hair cut, pay bills, check my younger son’s school agenda, nag the older one to do homework or to pick up his dirty clothes, cook, clean out the pantry and junk drawer, visit my lonely 86-year-old mother-in-law, etc.  Instead, I have a couple of evening hours as a zombie woman to sometimes accomplish one of these tasks.  I leave home between 7:00 and 7:30 each morning and don’t get home usually until around 6:00. 

On the weekends, the chore list, coupled with reams of student essays to grade, bears down upon me.  But, blessedly, for a few hours anyway, I am bright and fresh.  I tackle new knitting projects, studying their instructions and casting on.  Then it’s time for the chores and cooking ahead for the week to begin.  I’m saddened when other women my age spend their weekend hours camping or picnicking with their families, volunteering at festivals and fairs, or taking their kids to amusement parks or other types of entertainment.  They are fortunate enough to not be zombies.  They somehow have time during the week when their children are at school to tackle the myriad demands of raising and family and caring for their home while simultaneously pursuing their knitting hobby.

I know that I am not alone, though.  There are many knitting zombies, and the magnet pictured below, that I found after I wrote this blog and Googled “knitting zombies” is true to the mark.  Zombies aren’t good knitters, and we sometimes struggle to be competent homemakers and moms.     
You can purchase this magnet at tinaseamonster, an Etsy shop.



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