Bruce Willis Knitting

Out of Africa, by the Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson

I confess:Β  I engage in reckless behavior.

Sometimes I salt my food before I taste it.

I set the cruise control for two miles over the speed limit.

If the headache’s bad enough, I’ll take two aspirin instead of one.

But perhaps my most dangerous side, my Die Hard Bruce Willis persona, comes out in my knitting:

After 28 years of being married to a reasonably observant man, I can’t resist trying to surprise him for his birthday or Christmas with a knitted gift.

We’re not talking hats here, something I can knock off in an evening, having made some plausible excuse to close myself off in the bedroom and not let anyone — well, namely my Norwegian Artist — in for a fresh pair of underwear to hang up outside the shower.

No, I do sweaters — long projects that inevitably, over the months that they take to complete — will wind up in the same room, on the man’s chair, incontrovertibly in his face to the point that he has to think,

“Olive green and black. Those aren’t her colors.”

If that sounds too refined for the average male thought process, allow me to remind you that my Best Friend Forever is a Norwegian Artist.

You know — artist, as in painter, as in someone who works with color.

Opalescent Sea, by the Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson

That being said, he’s still male, which means that many times, while I’m doing astonishing things with pointed sticks, he’s thinking about re-graveling the driveway or fixing the door on the chicken coop or calculating the number of light bulbs around the house that have burned out, but that isn’t to say that he doesn’t have flashes of observatory moments in which he sees piles of yarn around my concentrated form and asks, like an exemplary husband should,

“So what project are you working on now?”

And that’s the alarming thing, because on this most recent task, a multi-colored knitted vest for his birthday, he hasn’t said a thing, not one word, about what it is that causes me to perch my glasses atop my head, bring the fiber project inches from my myopic eyes, (by the way, do you know that Bruce wears glasses {okay, sunglasses} too?) and undo stitch upon stitch upon stitch because naturally, since I’m working under the wire here, I’m making more mistakes in the last week before the big day than I did in the five months leading up to it.

Three days before deadline, I start a complicated (for me) buttonhole band at the same time the Toddler arrives for a visit. Commonsense dictates that intense concentration and two-year-olds do not inhabit the same space well together, but this doesn’t stop me from surging forward.

“SIT! Nonna — SIT!”

No matter that I am sitting already. I am apparently in the wrong place.

So, also, are my buttonholes, which aren’t — precisely — evenly spaced. Grounded firmly in denial, I continue knitting — faster — as if this will enable me to leave the mistakes behind. It works for Bruce on the freeway: granted, there are a few explosions here and there, a smashed bridge or two, but he always comes out okay in the end.

Port Townsend Bay, by the Norwegian Artist, Steve Hendersons

“It’s not that bad. Not really. Really.” It’s always a bad sign when I mutter. When Bruce does it, it’s cool. When I do it, it’s pre-dementia.

“SIT! Nonna — SIT!”

Darned if the child didn’t follow me into the sewing room.

In more ways than one, I admit defeat, and SIT, allowing the Toddler to slap me around for awhile until she gets bored and moves on to other destructive things.Β  At that point, I can focus my 55 percent concentration rate on doing my own ripping and tearing, modified car explosions.

Eventually, in the last two weeks, I had to move the project out into the open, to the point that, on a three-hour car trip to an oil painting seminar the Norwegian Artist was conducting, I knit while he drove, hoping that the scenery would keep him occupied. Fortunately, the road was winding and narrow.

At the workshop, I knit, fielding questions from curious participants:

“What are you working on?” one by one I was asked.

“It’s the Norwegian Artist’s birthday gift,” I murmured, pulling out the pattern.

“Ahhhhh. Your secret is safe with me.” And it was, all 13 of them.

Only after the workshop did I discover that I had overlooked a big chunk of the directions, and the right front of the sweater was no more a mirror of the left side than I am the twin of, well, Bruce Willis.

More car explosions.

You know, just like Bruce’s movies, this story ties up neatly in the end, as did, incidentally, the Norwegian Artist’s birthday present.

When the man opened his gift, he acted so surprised, that I honestly couldn’t tell if he was acting.

He was good. Real Bruce-like. Sexy. Norwegian. Only he has lots of hair.

Live Free. Knit Hard.

Ascension, by the Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson

This article is linked to Self Help Talk, The Happy Guy

21 Responses

  1. Great post!! I don’t knit but I could knit around, over and on top of my husband and he would still not know what I was working on. About a year ago he commented on a water color that we have over our bed. Is that new? Yes, I replied, 5 years ago! I love the Bruce Willis refrence, just great! I really enjoy your blog, thanks!

    1. Kathy: Perhaps it is time to invest in another piece of art, so that your husband can begin enjoying it in 2016. I know an incredible Norwegian Artist who specializes in oils — AND does payment plans!

      Knitting’s fun. It’s as simple or as complicated as you want to make it, and it’s soothing to do something with your hands. I’d teach you if we lived nearby.

  2. I find this post so amusing and so very true! I have no problem surprising my husband for birthday or Christmas with a knitted gift, as he pays absolutely no attention. But he always knows the exact storyline of any old western rerun he’s watching. It’s fine with me, makes no difference, just glad I have my knitting so I don’t have to watch Matt Dillon and be utterly bored to tears.
    Great post, love the Norwegian Artist’s work though, guess he does a little more than watch t.v.

    1. Sharon: As long as your husband notices when he receives the actual gift, that’s what matters!

      The beauty of knitting is that it is there when you have to be in front of the television as well, watching something that you’re not precisely interested in.

      We watched all five seasons of Alias, which is definitely NOT dull, and I was able to knock out three sweaters in the interim. I had to make sure that they weren’t complicated, though, since my eyes were pretty much glued to the screen.

  3. Wonderful post! πŸ™‚ I have a similar problem – knitting gifts for my wife πŸ˜‰ I scheme to do something, only working on it when she’s not home, and always forgetting one major difficulty in maintaining the secret – I can’t buy the yarn without her taking me to the yarn shop and providing the necessary money! :S

    1. KnitSteve: Ouch! There’s got to be a way around having the recipient there when you purchase the yarn. I am fortunate in that the Norwegian Artist just does not get excited about going into yarn stores. He — and all the progeny — know how long I spend there, so they make alternate arrangements — ANY alternate arrangements — to be somewhere else.

  4. I don’t know how to knit, but my daughter and I plan to learn this summer. We bought her a beginner knitting kit for christmas that we haven’t tried yet. So we will “live free”, but I’m not sure how “hard” we’ll be knitting. I’m hoping this won’t be our first and only knitting project. πŸ™‚

    Funny story. Thanks for sharing your life with us.

    1. Alecia: Join your daughter in the knitting adventure! That way, when she gets frustrated, you’ll know why, and when you get frustrated, she’ll feel good.

      Seriously, it’s a great activity for moms who spend a LOT of time waiting in assorted offices, at sports games, etc.

  5. I loved everything about that post and I can’t wait to read more. It was so entertaining and so TRUE of a husband. The Bruce Willis reference was hilarious and even though I don’t knit, my Mom does and I could totally relate to it all.

    The Norwegian Artist does beautiful work, too. You are quite a talented duo!

  6. Oh my gosh, you crack me up!!! I love your knitting story… and I really wished you had a photo of said sweater that you worked so hard on getting done for the deadline… maybe your artist can pain t a picture of it?! Heehee. πŸ™‚

    1. Steph: I had thought of posting a photo, but to be honest with you, I was so relieved to have finished the thing that I didn’t want to talk to it for awhile, much less photograph it. I’ll see how time changes my attitude.

  7. Julie Witt

    Awesome post! I have knit and crocheted sweaters for my husband and other family members, but since they are always wanting me to make them things, they are on me like whit eon rice as soon as I start a new project asking me who it’s for! I literally have to hide in my room and knit to make it a surprise! I have smaller projects, like socks, stashed under couches and chairs to pull out when the recipient is not home, too! I love it, and I wouldn’t change making them things for anything, but I could do with a bit less of their curiosity πŸ™‚

    1. You are very generous. Most of my projects are unabashedly for myself — I remember my daughter making a quilt for her best friend, then later seeing that quilt on the floor, used as a rug!

      When I make something for someone, it comes with strict instructions — with the caveat that if they don’t follow them, they’ll never ever get anything from me again. I can’t take seeing the dog sleeping on a sweater!

  8. Magdalena

    Loved the Bruce Willis knitting blog -even though I’m not good enough a knitter to have learned how to unknit! “Please, teachuh?” usually helps!

    1. Magdelena: Based upon this most recent pair of socks I am working on, I can assure you that, at some point and on some project, you will get more experience than you really want or thought you ever would need, in unknitting!!!!!!!

  9. Virginia Davidson

    I’m such a slow knitter… πŸ™ Started a winter scarf a couple of years ago, and have knitted only one ball of yarn. For such an amateur as I, it *is* a very difficult yarn–has thick-and-thin dangley-type things all along the thread, which I’ve never quite gotten the hang of–at least, not fast.

    But you inspire me! I should get it out of the closet and do a few more rows. And a few more…and a few more. Eventually it’ll be done, and gorgeously soft and warm!


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  12. Ha! Can totally relate to you there. You can’t serve two masters at the same time but sometimes, we are just too stubborn to think otherwise. And yes, especially if you have some toddlers around.

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