Thursday, September 23, 2010

Adele Speaks

My name is Adele Abrams and I finally got a chance at the microphone, so to speak. Finally the chance to bring up something that has been bothering me for a long time. I work with Molly Pink at Shedd & Royal Books and More and every time I go through the mystery section it makes me want to throw a hissy fit. It’s about Miss Marple and her knitting needles. If only Agatha Christie had talked to me, I’m sure it would have been Miss Marple and her hooks.

The whole point was that Miss Marple was listening to conversations and watching what was going on around her while she appeared to be caught up in her knitting. It would have been so much easier if she was crocheting.

With knitting as her cover, she had to carry around a bag of stuff all the time. Not so with crochet. To start with crochet hooks are easy to carry. You can slip them in your pocket or purse. Most of them are no bigger than a pencil. No pointy tips to poke a hole in your bag or in you if you happen to try to carry knitting needles in your pocket and bend at the wrong time.

No need to carry bags full of yarn either. All Miss Marple would have needed to instantly appear to be occupied with her handiwork, was a wad of string. She could have whipped it out, along with a hook and started making a coaster or a string flower while people around her dropped clues.

No clacking needles to drown out any whispers, she was trying to hear, either. Crochet is stealth. Let’s say Miss Marple was actually making something. Let’s say she was so busy observing the people around her, she wasn’t paying that much attention to her handiwork and she made some mistakes. To fix her knitting errors, she’d have to unknit or very carefully take out rows until she took out the mistake and then so carefully put the stitches back on her needle so all the tiny loops were going the right way. It can sometimes lead to swearing, which would definitely have blown her cover as a sweet little old lady.

She would never ruin her image with crochet. Crochet works with one stitch at a time. If she made a mistake, she could rip it out with abandon until she got to her error.

So, the next time any of you read a Agatha Christie book featuring Miss Marple or you watch one of the Mysteries featuring her on PBS, will you do me a favor and think about what I said? I’m sure you will agree.


  1. Absolutely! Good point, Adele. Knitting really just doesn't make *sense* for Miss M. You've made a great case for crocheting, too.

  2. I was knitting on the NY Thruway (no, I was *not* driving!) and a steel knitting needle fell out of all the stitches and rolled under the door where I couldn't reach it with my scrabbling fingers. Somehow, it ended up being slammed in the car door. The bend is not near the pointy end, so the needle is still usable.

    I switched to crochet. Yep, Adele, you're right (about that at least.)

  3. Hi Adele,

    Both knitting and crochet are beyond me. I just whip out a book and pretend to read while I listen.


  4. I never thought of that! You're right of course. The only thing I can say is that during the time period that the books take place no one would think twice about an older woman sitting and knitting. It would look natural. Crochet wasn't maybe as popular then, although I do know tatting was, so she would stand out more and people would remember her. My grandmother knit constantly when I was a kid. She made socks cause it was cheaper to make them than to buy them. They were argyll too, I have no idea how she could knit those without looking at them.

  5. Adele - you are SO right. I'm embarrassed to admit I can't crochet but it never occurred to me how irritating Miss Marple's knitting must be to someone, such as yourself. I am going to throw my knitting needles aside and learn to crochet ... you've convinced me.

  6. Adele, my sister was a master crochet artist. She made beautiful afghans. I don't think she ever appreciated how good she was at the art.

  7. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I knew anyone with any sense would see my point.

    Elizabeth, you sound like someone with good sense.

    Janet, your lucky your needle didn't fly out the window and puncture your tire.

    Skye, I'm sure pretending your reading is a good cover. But if you were crocheting, you'd have something nice to show for your time.

    Hannah, once you try the hook, there's no turning back.

    Shirleymac, so you're a tatter. Well, it's better than being a knitter.

    Avery, lucky you to have such a talented sister!

    Annette, finally someone understands.


  8. Adele is so right. I love crochet. I have tried the knitting, but it doesn't work for me. You go, Adele.

  9. Or, you know, tatting would have worked too! A little spool or shuttle or needle and a little ball of thread....good to go to make some dainty lace.

  10. Luanne, thanks for being on my side.

    Vickie, I've never tried tatting, but I'll take your word for it that it would have worked for Miss Marple.

  11. Adele, thank you for shedding light on those mysterious tire punctures. Obviously, knitting is extremely dangerous, and everyone should give it up - at once!