Leisure Squared

Anyone remember what we wrote about the blurry line between leisure and work, as evidenced by the enthusiastic modern embrace of gardening, cooking, knitting, etc.? (Here’s a related link, and another and another.)

Well, these folks have the art of leisure down to a science: the Stitch ‘N Pitch program encourages people to pack their knitting and crocheting when they go to a baseball game, thereby combining a pair of leisure pursuits that yield at least two positive outcomes: a scarf and the lack of a hangover.


what ever happen to keeping score?


Just the thing to bring into a crowd of drunken sports fans: long needles.


Really tiring of having to open a browser to read your content. This two paragraph item could easily have been fed in its entirety into the RSS feed. Bring back the full feeds, please!


I agree with Fred-half the point of RSS is to be able to read all your articles in one place (i.e., the RSS reader).

Caleb Powers

The only time I really thought I got the full use of my subscription to the New Yorker was when I had a child in a baseball league. I had time to read every word of every issue during the seemingly interminable games. So, hats off to baseball.


I combine leisure activities all the time.
Beer + reading
Beer + internet surfing
Beer + dining out
Beer + yardwork... wait that's work...
Beer + Space Shuttle Piloting

no problem

Filipe Cadete

I'm sure you'll probably end up with a scarf that would suit the Fourth Doctor!

P.S.: I have to agree with Fred and Matt, isn't there a way to bring back the RSS feed? Perhaps its lack is due to The New York Times wanting people to see its logo when they log in to your blog...

Filipe Cadete

I've just realized that you posted earlier concerning the RSS feed, so there was no need for me to complain about it. Of course, I could use this as an example of how it doesn't work as well as it should now, but that would be a cop out, so kindly ignore what I said in my previous P.S..


I still can't figure out the complaints about RSS. I mean, how is it that people really believe it is their right to get whatever content they want, however they want it, for absolutely free? And on top of that they turn into crybabies when they can't have those things.

//threadjack over

Filipe Cadete

Speaking only for myself, I don't believe it is my right "to get whatever content I want, however I want it, for absolutely free". I completely understand if Levitt and Dubner say that due to the change to The New York Times it is no longer possible to provide the complete RSS feed and I will keep reading the blog in this website.

This said, we already receive all the content of the blog completely free and for a long time we did have the option of receiving it through a RSS feed. I'm not demanding anything, I'm just asking if it is possible to restore a previously available option.

Back to the topic of Dubner's post, how much do knitting and crocheting distract your attention from the game? I've never done any of those things (including watching a baseball game, it's not big over here in Portugal) so I don't know how much attention each of them requires. Thoughts?



Nothing goes together quite like baseball and knitting.


Well, i guess it is now the 7th inning stitch; at a football game it would be 4th and bob and weave; and tennis--zipper point...just having fun and interfacing...nick


I get a lot of my leisure work (sadly I have such a backlog of magazines to read that getting through them *is* work) done at Devil Rays games. Baseball's languid pace allows for one to get a lot of reading in.

ils vont

I am a big soccer fan and in a weekend I will watch up to 4 or 5 games at 90mins a piece. And since soccer is not action every second there is a lot of room to fit in work. i like to cook and having the game on in the background while preparing is favorite hobby. its a great sport to work alongside especially if you have a DVR. The same goes for car racing.


Wacky Hermit

I crochet (and my sister knits) while watching all sorts of things-- kids, TV, movies (yes, I can crochet in the dark in the theater, if it's something plain like a dishcloth). Once you get good at it, you can do it by feel, with the occasional glance to make sure you haven't dropped a stitch somewhere. My only hesitation about bringing needlework to a baseball game would be the effect the sticky bleachers would have on my yarn, should the ball of yarn escape my bag.


Yes, correct, or as we say in Texas , "OKAY",
whe you are at work , you must always look over your shoulder and watch your back, and to be in
good graces with gaaaaawwwwdd , the nra, and the
rnc, you must take care to roll eight hundred
.408 cartridges for our troops in Aye-rack!
A-men brother!

LR Andrews

Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (formerly of the University of Chicago) has a lot to say about "the blurry line between leisure and work"; his concept of flow addresses precisely the paradox of which you speak. Gardening, cooking, and knitting would all be examples of activities that have "clear goals and rules of performance," and that provide feedback, while also encouraging concentration and allowing "a variable amount of control" on the part of the participant. As such, they generally induce a state of flow and a postive quality of experience (from his 1997 book, Finding Flow).

S. Jamahl Green

There is a concept curiously missing from the longer, linked discussion on "the blurry line between leisure and work", a concept which I will call "taste". Only a notably talentless or inexperienced journalist-chef could fail to produce a meal that was more than "comensurate" with even the best of takeout meals (or perhaps only an economist could find that meal commensurate with any conceivable takeout meal - what does "commensurate" mean here, anyway? Having the same number of calories, number of courses?). My knitting wife tells me that $40 worth of yarn and ten hours will net you an objectively nicer (softer, more resilient, brighter colors etc.) scarf than will $40 or even $140, nevermind the value of the design. I haven't had a tomato that fulfilled my desires in years; $150 seems a small price to pay for that possibility. Furthermore, each subsequent meal/scarf/crop is likely to be better. Many people who cook for fun can produce meals commensurate with those costing $50 or $100 per person. After a few scarves, those ten hours can be reduced to two or less by a talented knitter. Ten years of tomato crops will lower the cost of that hydroponic thingy. And what if the meal/scarf/tomato one desires is simply unavailable on the local market - since moving from San Francisco to San Diego I've been forced to take up baking, as the local loaves fail utterly to satisfy. I may have to learn to make a decent Hollandaise sauce as well. There are economists who can appreciate a good Hollandaise sauce, aren't there? Perhaps the journalist can attempt an explanation. Though if someone can explain why I wrote this post, that might be more on point.


Rita: Lovely Meter Maid

Keeping busy. It's the American way. It also gives me a headache. If I am so confused as to go to a ballgame in some attempt at pleasure, I want to simply do what the "natives" do: eat hot-dogs, popcorn and other crap, yell at people and (in my own way of appreciating the game), use my binoculars for an up-close assessment of those well-developed men in those lovely uniforms. Play ball!


I guess you could distinguish "passive" leisure (watching tv, listening to music or the radio, attending a sporting event) from "active" leisure, which generates a product (cooking, knitting) or a involves a personally invested performance (i.e. playing the piano). For those of us who might consider ourselves more DIY, the "active" leisure might provide more of a sense of reward.

It seems the pitch 'n stitch crew has capitalized nicely on a combination of the active and passive, as well as simultaneously using different attentional modalities: knitting is tactile but doesn't require any aural/visual resources (once you have it down), which is why it goes so well with tv, radio, and baseball games. Hook up a knitting baseball fan with with a feeding tube (or one of those beer-dispensing helmets) and you've got all five senses covered--and some kind of kind of twisted hyper-leisure.