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Here’s your sign

Bill Engvall is a great comedian. He seems like everyone’s best drinking buddy, has enough charm for any lady, but isn’t so gorgeous he seems unapproachable. He also has a fantastic routine based upon things that should be obvious, but somehow aren’t. Like the guy who goes home with bandages on his hand, and the neighbor says “You hurt your hand?” Okay, is there another reason someone would be wearing bandages? Bill Engvall would have a sarcastic response explaining that no, he just felt like bandaging his hand today. Thus the “here’s your sign” title.

I’m an avid reader. Anyone who knows me knows that. With a librarian for a mom, that was inevitable. One theme that I have seen recur in books is the knowledge of how to do something disappearing, because the folks who had the knowledge didn’t pass it on, for whatever reason. In some cases, the knowledge was considered so commonplace that it wasn’t necessary to pass it down. But, of course, something would happen, usually a plague or some other disaster, people would die, and the knowledge would be lost.

One of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan books summed it up nicely: Write it down. If you didn’t write it down, it didn’t happen.

I say all of this because I decided to bring out my Serenity infinity knitting loom the other day and give it a try, and realize that I didn’t know how to do single knit on a loom. More to the point, I wasn’t sure how to go about the back and forth process of single knit. On needles, when you knit, all of your stitches move from one needle to the other, so when you’re done with a row, all of your stitches are on one needle. You switch needles, and start another row. With crochet, you turn the object you’re crocheting and continue. With a knitting loom, I wasn’t sure. I didn’t know if you worked the last stitch only every other row or not. So I went looking for the answers online.

It took me until nearly four in the morning to find, finally, an answer that was clear enough to understand, and it was a YouTube video from Purling Sprite that did it. Sometimes I have trouble with written directions, and this was one of those times. A lot of those written instructions were simply too convoluted for me to follow, or the accompanying pictures were black and white and too grainy to see, and many of them would leave out things that would seem to be obvious to someone with more experience, where a beginner would follow the directions to the letter and then be left wondering why his/her creation didn’t look like the one in the directions.

This type of thing happens everywhere, not just crafts. My grandmother made fabulous codfish fritters when we were little that even fish-hating heathens such as my brother and I would plow through them. Delicious and perfect. Mom’s didn’t taste the same. But Grandma’s senility ended all chance of getting the recipe from her, and mom had to find her own recipe. Mom was a great cook, but none of us ever learned to like her codfish fritters as much as Grandma’s. They weren’t bad, they just weren’t hers.

I’m a huge advocate of books. They may not always be perfect, like many of the instruction sets I found, but imperfect is better than none. So much knowledge has already disappeared from the world already, because no one thought that future generations might not know how to access it. So: write it down!!!


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