Like any top-tier graduate of a prestigious art school, I spent many years working in restaurants. In a greasy kitchen, behind a filthy bar, waist deep in menus at the host stand or slinging plates onto tables out on the floor … I covered the waterfront.
If you’ve worked in restaurants for any period of time, you know all about the secret language of restaurants—not exactly old-time diner talk (which will become the official language of the United States when I become president)—but you know what I mean: “86,” “fire it,” “camper,” “all day,” etc. So when I heard MDK was coming out with an “app,” I got very excited about the mixed platter of fried cheese and potato skins that was headed my way.
Well, that’s not what it was, and once I was finished with the post-discovery mourning period (and don’t you worry: I registered my outrage), I was delighted to discover that it’s a thingie for your phone. You know: a magical invisible somethingorother you download and then sometimes forget that you have. But it’s worth remembering, I promise!
I’ve had an uneasy relationship with apps from the start. I am—after all—the person who, when buying his first iPhone, looked the phone guy straight in the eye and said, “Great, thanks, now where is the nearest App Store?” But I have a lot of them now, and they do come in handy. I use one called Book Crawler to catalog and keep track of my book library (don’t you worry: I know exactly who has my copy of The God of Small Things; all Christmas cards are being held until its safe return).
I have four different backgammon apps, none of which have managed to make me a better backgammon player. And I still think Shazam is magic: just point my phone up in the air and it can tell me what song is playing too loudly in whatever restaurant I am sitting in enjoying—wait for it—a mixed platter of fried cheese and potato skins. I don’t know why I’m still frequently surprised by Shazam, though; it always, always turns out to be another awesome song by Bettie LaVette.
MDK’s app for Apple iOS and Android is called Skill Set: Beginning Knitting, and it’s got all the text and illustrations of our same-named book plus little short video tutorials narrated by Kay—who could give June Allyson, the girl with a million dollar laryngitis, a run for her money. Anyway, I’ve found the app incredibly handy.
One of the problems with having one billion and eleven unfinished projects is that there are a few knitting skills you never get around to using as often as some others. I mean, I can cast on all dangled day but I only actually bind off about once every two years—and a little video in my pocket that covers it clearly and succinctly never didn’t come in handy.
And there’s another upside for lazy me: when you order one for yourself or as a gift, it just shows up on the phone. I don’t have to put it in a box and ship it to you … so thanks for that! I’ll mark it off the list.
The prize? A Skill Set Tote. The beloved Baggu canvas tote in a snappy colorway that coordinates with Skill Set: Beginning Knitting. Plus: one free skill Set App, gifted to the iPhone owner of your choosing. (The Skill Set App is available for Android phones —yay!— but unfortunately the platform does not permit gifting—boo!)
How to enter?
Step 1: Sign up for our weekly newsletter, Snippets, right here. If you’re already subscribed, you’re set.
Step 2: What little technique video would you find most handy, you know, in case we’re thinking about developing more of them. (You never know!) Tell us in the comments!
Deadline for entries: Sunday, February 20, 11:59 PM Central time. We’ll draw a random winner from the entries. Winner will be notified by email.