Many knitters enjoy listening to books on tape as they knit. I've done a bit of this, but for various reasons, books on tape don't work so well for me. For one thing, I am sensitive about the human voice, and quite a few recordings get quickly rejected on the grounds of finding the reader's voice unbearable. I remember attempting to listen to "Memoirs of a Geisha" and wanting to hurl the cd player through a window every time the reader said "Pumpkin" (the name of a primary character). That reader managed to turn "pumpkin" into one of the most noxious word's I've ever heard, and I never made it through the Memoirs.
In general, I find books on tape too distracting; they take me out of my work. There have been a few I have loved--Dracula, Wuthering Heights (although I have read the book many times, I went completly still, just listening, for the final pages), Babbit, and Bridget Jones' Diary stand out as my favorites. The Bridget Jones reader was so good that I gave the book a second listen--she made the story come to life far more than the movie ever could. And I don't even like "chick lit"!
However, those are the exceptions, and overall I find that books on tape are just not an option for me. I love to read, and when it comes down to it, I would much rather save books until the end of my work day, sitting down with a cup of tea and enjoying them the old-fashioned way.
But a gal needs something to keep her going when she's knitting for hours on end, and while I do watch movies, that gets tiresome too. So I listen to a lot of music. I listen to all kinds of music, but these days, when I am knitting and especially when I am sketching, swatching, and designing, I find myself going back to my early 1980's roots, and the place where my interest in clothing and design originated: New Wave, New Romantic, and ska.
Recently I made myself an 80's playlist for my ipod, featuring just those genres. The playlist is made up of folks like this:
That face...he gets a second picture...
Adam Ant, in his early Adam and the Ants days, long before he went more mainstream and had his success in America. The album from this era, "Dirk Wears White Sox" is still one of my favorites, and is very different than his later recordings. The original 1979 version is the one to listen to, not the sanitized re-release from 1983.
Also in the playlist:
The cover image from Visage's 1983 album "Fade to Grey". Midge Ur had the most incredible voice (although his work with Ultravox showed it off more), and Steve Strange just looked fantastic.
No surprise here. Who didn't listen to The Cure back then? Back in the "Batcave" days? Although I never went for the whole ratted our black hair look, I did wear cornstarch on my face to white it out, along with metallic pewter-black lipstick and a lot of rhinestones and crosses and black skirts. It actually made getting ready to go out really easy: white face, black lips, black clothes (everything matched!), a little bling, and you're done!
Straight leg trousers and and fitted jackets, brogues, porkpie or bowler hats. It was a great look then and it's a great look now.
Until I started listening to alternative types of music in the early 80's, I never really thought much about clothes. I wanted to wear what my friends wore, I wanted to look "in", but that was it. All that changed the summer between 7th and 8th grade, when we moved from Yakima, Wa, to Tacoma, and I chanced upon KYYX, a fantastic alternative radio station. The world opened up for me on that day.
Nostalgia of Mud came out in 1982-83, and it changed everything about how I thought about clothes.
Malcolm Mclaren was an impresario, performer, artist, promoter, and the man behind the Sex Pistols, Bow Wow Wow, and many London fashion trends of the 1970's and 1980's. Vivienne Westwood was his business partner and life partner at that same time. Together they created many of the seminal looks of the punk and new wave movements.
The videos for "Stand and Deliver" (Adam and the Ants) and "Buffalo Gals" made me realize that clothes could be interesting, expressive, provocative, and artistic. It also meant my mom would find cut apart then hastily re-configured and re-sewn and otherwise destroyed articles of clothing in the back of my closet, victims of my first attempts at design. I never managed to create a successful garment, and I quickly became frustrated by my failures. I abandoned my design efforts and returned to what was easy for me, academics.
It took me many years, with many diversions, to come back to design. In my late 20's I realized that I wasn't going to by happy doing anything else, so off to design school I went, and after that, I started working in hand knitting.
Now I find myself coming full-circle, finally developing my own line of knitting patterns, and listening to the music that originally piqued my interest in design while doing it.