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Dear Ann,

As you know, I subsist on a steady TV diet of police procedurals. I watch so many of them, and re-watch my favorites until I can recite big swatches of dialogue (but still never remember who done it). I actually run out of fictional crime to watch while knitting. So imagine my delight to stumble upon two series that were brand-new to me.

One little wrinkle: they’re both in French, with English subtitles. Therefore: strictly for plain knitting. I can deal with that. I’ve knit to both of these while working on my ABC-Blanket, which doesn’t look like plain knitting, but 3 out of every 4 rows actually are on auto-pilot. I just pause the video while working that 1 out of 4 rows where I have to pay attention to the chart. Like a lady TV detective, I’m resourceful.

If you would enjoy seeing crimes solved by quirky people in Paris, I’ve got two treats for you. They’re both on PBS, where my Channel Thirteen membership gets me in.


Astrid Nielsen’s official job is pushing file carts around the basement archives at police headquarters, but unofficially?—she’s on the detective squad. Astrid is not the first autistic character who solves crimes—far from it, but it’s the first television I’ve seen that has several autistic characters and includes their struggles and successes in the storytelling.

Astrid is solidly in the tradition of Sherlock Holmes, in that she figures things out by noticing and remembering things that others miss. Her neurotypical boss/partner, Raphaëlle, is open-minded, loyal, and impulsive; they make an interesting pair. The crimes they investigate are violent, but melodramatic enough to not be too disturbing, at least for me.

I wondered how the autism community reacted to the portrayal of autism in Astrid, and a brief google seems to indicate that the response has been positive. There are some stereotypes, mostly related to special abilities and interests that Astrid has, and a lot about her noise sensitivity and discomfort with frivolous social interactions, which sometimes become plot points. On behalf of autistic people who make eye contact and can interpret others’ emotions, I wish the character were a little more nuanced, but she’s a long way from Rain Man (which gets more than a passing reference).


Gabrielle “Munch” Munchovski is a Parisian criminal defense lawyer with an oversupply of sass. Her heart is pure, but her methods: not so much. She’s brash and mouthy, super smart and extremely funny. I’m nearing the end of the first season, and hating for it to end. Munch gets bonus points for showing a woman of a certain age at the top of her game, and looking great on the back of a motorbike, which apparently is how Munch commutes. Much of the fun of the show is in office banter and the mysterious pasts of everyone on the team, which get revealed in tantalizing ways. I still don’t know what’s going on with that picture of Munch’s son on her desk; I’m bracing for a bombshell. Highly recommended!

Re: knittability, don’t say I didn’t warn you about the subtitles. But we can handle it. These shows are worth the trouble. And if, like me, you think you speak French, you’re going to learn that: you don’t. They talk so fast! The argot is so au courant!



A Giveaway

The prize? A MYSTERY Bag o’ Yarn! We get to see and feel so many great yarns when we make choices about which ones to bring into the MDK Shop. Let us surprise you.

How to enter?

Two steps:

Step 1: Sign up for MDK emails, right here. External Link. Opens in new window.. If you’re already signed up, you’re all set. We have a new option for texting, so when you sign up for those, you’ll get a coupon code good for 10% off your next MDK order.

Step 2:  Speaking of “women of a certain age” … who is a strong, seasoned female character—real or fictional—who has inspired you lately? Let us know in the comments.

Deadline for entries: Sunday, May 21, 11:59 PM Central time. We’ll draw a random winner from the entries. Winner will be notified by email.

And meanwhile in the Sale aisle . . .

Just added to the Sale page! Field Guide No. 23: Glow yarn and bundles!

Knit to (All) This

Magpie Murders

Annika Stranded

The Looming Tower


  • Vera is a competent detective and leader.

    • Even before I started reading the comments, I thought of Vera Stanhope. It took a couple of episodes to draw me in but I was hooked after that. I love that she tells it like it is. BritBox’s best DCI!

      • Dana Scully of X-Files! I ran across an episode recently and this week’s question made me immediately think of her.

      • Corrie TenBoom is someone l both admire and try to emulate. After suffering in a German prison camp during the Holocaust, she met one of her captors years later and was able to forgive him. Makes my issues seem petty!

        • For some weird reason I thought Grace & Frankie was lame-o when it first came out. I am a HUGE Lily T fan & thought the premise of the show was great. But did I watch it? Not until last year, when I came very late to the TV binge party/self-soothing/it’s-still-a-pandemic point. SO GOOD! What was I thinking?!?! Fonda & Tomlin & Sheen & Sol?! Love

    • Nicola Walker

      • I LOVE her!

    • Joyce Vance, Attorney at Law; MSNBC commentator; knitter; raises backyard chickens; and, author of Civil Discourse!

      • Love Joyce! Vera’s a shoe in. Inspiration from Real Woman of a certain age of late: Judy Blume! She didn’t set out to live a big, courageous life, yet here she is AGAIN, au currante, as one of the most relevant and insightful voices to say books save lives, questions, concerns, feelings are universal and timeless. Censorship belongs on the dung heap of history.

      • Joyce Vance gets a vote from me.

      • Agree fully about Joyce!

    • Vera was the first fictional character that came to mind for me too. She’s tough and compassionate at the same time, and so smart!

      • My Tai Chi instructor, Arlene, who was diagnosed with MS over 20 years ago and is still moving and going strong. A gentle and determined soul living each day to the fullest.

        • Ive been loving some of marvels new female characters- Layla from Moon Knight is one!

      • I still like Brenda from the Closer

    • I’m reading 1925 Pulitzer winner So Big by Edna Ferber. The heroine, Selina Peake De Jong, is a bad ass farmer and mother who sees a beauty in a field of cabbages.

      • Thank you always sharing interesting and delightful shows to knit to. I’m looking forward to trying these. As a parent of someone with autism and an advocate in that community, may I recommend not referring to neurodiversity as autistic, but rather “a person with autism”. I appreciate your consideration.

      • Margaret Atwood. For over 3 decades, she remains my favorite.

        • Mrs (Mollie) Weasley—she has good knitting intentions

    • The Ghost whisperer protagonist. Beautiful clever clairvoyant. Since there are women in our family that have had prophetic dreams some that have had profound effects on their lives this character resonates with me.

      • In real life, Hillary Clinton is someone who inspires me. Not so much when she was First Lady but rather, everything afterward. Truly being a force to be reckoned with in every way, her deep understanding of how the world works and with humor and pathos. I’d love to go for a walk with her or have a beer together. Would be an interesting discussion!

      • Angela Lansbury, Murder She Wrote

      • Margaret Atwood is the only fiction writer I really ever enjoyed.

  • Annika – in both the BBC podcast and the PBS series.

    • Yes!!!

  • Inspirational women? Comparing to TV? Just meeting real ones day to day who keep going, day to day, stitch to stitch, is motivating.

  • Annika. Love the PBS series.

  • Agatha Raisin is one of my favorites on Acorn TV

    • Annika or Agatha? I can’t decide, so different but I enjoy both.

      • I’ve read many books with strong, brave, and intelligent women characters but the women who have had a lasting impact on me have been real women such as my mother, RBG, Eleanor Roosevelt, Ruby. Bridges, Hilary Clinton, and Michelle Obama.

      • Michelle Obama. A fairly recent convert to knitting

        • Real life: my grandmother who went to college before the depression. Was a social worker during the Depression and beyond to age 65. She worked for the county, brought people home for a day or a month when not many shelters were available, and founded halfway houses for women exiting prison. Raised 4 children too! Irish, determined and a loving soul. I miss her.

      • Julia Child!

    • Love Agatha and the gorgeous colorful show

  • Temple Grandin

  • Love Vera

  • At my work, we, a female team, conduct internal investigations. We are inspired by each other’s insights.

    • The lead character on Happy Valley is fantastic! Also, anyone portrayed by Kathy Bates.

  • No one has inspired me more than my mother. After raising a houseful of kids she went back to school and spent the next almost 20 years in a job she enjoyed.

    • There are so many, that I have a whole Pinterest board called My Heroes!
      I don’t have any current fictional favorites, so I’ll say Hillary Clinton. Whether you voted for her or not, she’s gone through a lot, including a deranged political opponent, but always kept her cool & stood tall

    • I’m amazed and encouraged daily by historian Heather Cox Richardson, who uses history to make sense out of the news. She’s brilliant!

      • Thanks for having me find her again. Knew of her before her grad school & marriage.

      • I agree.

      • With you on this one. Her knowledge and twining the now and then together are amazing.

  • My mother, even though she has been gone for many years, she still continues to inspire me.

    • My sister Carmi, a real life beautiful person. She was a nurse practitioner, a Mom, wife and loving good person who passed away too young of Ovarian Ca.

    • In real life – RBG, in all of her ages, will always inspire me. In closer to home real life, I’m in 3 knitting groups (overkill, I think not)(and I’m an introvert!) and I’ve heard so many stories – the woman with 2 grandchildren who have CF, the woman who was molested throughout her childhood, the woman whose husband died of brain cancer when their special needs son was 6, and many others with tough lives not so dramatic, who knit and share stories and laugh and care for each other, none of us seeing ourselves as old; and the women in my third group, younger, many in STEM professions, part of that chain of women leading the way for each other

  • It’s been a year and a half since my sister died of breast cancer, but her legacy continues to inspire. My mom and nieces raised over $8,000 for a local breast cancer charity in the annual Mother’s Day walk yesterday, and thinking of how she lived so fiercely through all the challenges of her illness continue to inspire me to work face my own struggles with grace and courage.

  • Annika

    • “Women of a certain age” is such a flexible designation. I think women become “a certain age” sooner than men, so I love reading all these comments with a range of ages. I nominate Miss Silver; a fictional detective of a past age. Plus, she knits, too!

      • Miss Silver, my hero!

  • I just finished reading S.J, Bennett’s “All the Queen’s Men” and enjoyed thinking about this off kilter interpretation of the late Queen Elizabeth as an unofficial detective, using all her many years of experience to solve crimes, but then having to lead the real detectives in the right direction without making them feel foolish. It was fun, and an interesting way to think about the person behind the persona.

    • In real life, Michelle Obama, for her integrity. She reminds us to always to take the high road. An added plus, she is now a knitter.

      In mystery fiction, Jane Marple, for her keen observation skills and wit. AND…she knits!

      • Agree!

  • My mom, who is 101, has always been sassy and fun, still loves to dance, and will swear she can still do the hundred yard dash (not!) Her sense of humor and kindness draw people to her and she makes friends with everyone. Definitely my role model and inspiration!

    • My mother died last year at 103. She was a stellar woman. I’m 77 so it’s rare that I had a mother as long as I did. I wish I could be there for my daughter that long.

      • I never reply to other people’s comments, but yours made my heart skip. The love for both your mom and daughter shines in your simple comment. I hope you are with your daughter for that long too. ♥️

    • Vera.

  • Staying with sassy, French, female detectives, I love Candice Renoir! She does it all as a single mom of 4 kids and a police detective! And she is so stylish! (Available on Acorn).

  • My friend Sandy P. She is just a few years older than me (3) strong in love, faith, and my only knitting friend in real life!

  • Real human Dr. Dana Williams Johnson, knitter extrordinaire.

    • Yes!

  • In preparation for a trip to Amsterdam, I’ve been re-reading The Diary of Anne Frank. I’m so amazed at how insightful she was at that age that I can’t help thinking of what she would have been like as an adult and what she could have accomplished. It’s very sad to think that she and the rest of the world were deprived of that.

  • Check out The Diplomat (the one in Barcelona) to see Sophie Rundle…a woman to admire for sure.

    • My daughter, Burdine, is a nurse in a residential nursing home. She has the patience of Job, the gift of patience. She is an inspiration to all. My neighbor, Gloria, who cares for several family members and his the church secretary. My friend Millie, my mentor thru the years. To me these wonderful women are representative of the women of yesterday and tomorrow are who made us who we are today.

    • Miss Scarlet and the Duke is great on PBS

  • Julia Louis Dreyfus. Not only has she been fiercely funny throughout her career, but her new podcast, Wiser Than Me is inspirational, very knittable, and is 100% focused on “women of a certain age.” Every episode features another awesome woman….Carol Burnett, Diane Von Furstenberg, Amy Tan, Jane Fonda. Great interviews!

  • Jane Goodall, irl, and Queen Latifa’s character on The Equalizer

  • Jane Goodall.

  • Angela Landsbury on Murder she Wrote

  • My 97 year old Mother

  • Saskia Reeves as Catherine Standish in Slow Horses. Initially comes across as meek and so dominated by Jackson Lamb (Gary Oldman). Catherine keeps the office and staff organized and at the ready, but one wonders what secrets she harbors in her former life.

  • Miss Scarlet and the Duke is our new favorite on PBS. She is a smart and sassy young woman who is wise beyond her years.

  • Vera most definitely.

  • Any woman who gets herself, with or without help, out of a domestic violence situation.

  • Vera!

  • My friend Mary, who is a mentor for so many women, and is always looking and finding ways to better the lives of others.

  • real life women are inspiring every day. What a great giveaway!! FUN!

    • My friend Judy in caring for her husband with Alzheimer’s

      • My niece Alix and her wife Kelly. They are in the midst of trying to get pregnant. So proud of these 2 women. They will be great moms and I can do lots of child knitting to do. Win win

  • I agree, its got to be Vera

    I watch a lot of programs these days that are dubbed, but not necessarily very well. Closed captioning is my friend andI save the part of my knitting that don’t need 100% of my attention to the screen for those programs that require me to look at the screen and read. This sometimes means i Have several parts of a sweater actively on the needles at once: the section that needs all of my attention, the section that can be knit without ever looking, the one that only needs occasiona attention, etc. Fortunately i own a lot of knitting needles!

  • Since I’m rewatching Murder, She Wrote, I’m going to say J.B. Fletcher!
    Fun question.

  • I watched Missing:Dead or Alive on Netflix. I was inspired by the 2 female police officers/detectives they featured. They were compassionate and dedicated to their difficult job.

  • I agree that there are inspirational women around us every day, we just need to listen to their stories.

  • I love Jane Marple with her great instincts, and watching her knit her way thru cases. Also, Olivia Coleman’s character in the Broadchurch series is amazing!

  • Jo March. Always Jo.

  • Allyson Felix. She made history for her running and as an athlete. But now she is speaking up for maternal rights against big brands and maternal health in a country where too many women, especially women of color, die of complications after childbirth.

  • Katie Couric…..never stops asking the hard questions. Love her spirit !!!

  • Scrolling through here, thinking about it, I thought Michelle Obama is always impressive. Both of Minnesota’s US senators are women and impressive enough that when one spoke at a conference republicans from a few…problematic…states said they’d like to take her home and turn her loose on some of their more unreasonable politicians!

  • Thanks for the recommendation! I was aware of Astrid and loved it. But I think I’ll try Munch. And do some simple knitting.

  • My inspiration, and oh how I wish I’d known her better, was a fiercely independent woman who was a single mother & loving grandmother. She was not afraid to spend her summers in the north country wilderness with her kids and grandkids where, well into her 80s, she continued to go out daily in her small aluminum outboard boat to collect granite boulders from the nearby lake bottom to adde to the dges of her own property! She singledhandedly turned her small piece of land into a much larger piece to leave to her family! Rules be damned! MAdeline was gonna DO what Madeline was gonna DO!! LOL!

  • Heeey MDK… Are you aware that, since your web site redesign, your “Comments” page “Enter comment here” window displays only about 1/2 of a line? Or is that just happening to me???

  • Just started watching Candace Renoir (French with subtitles), and it looks promising. Single mom with pre-teen and teen kids, re-entering workforce as leader to detective team.

  • Fictional character Kinsey Milhone

    Real life Diane Keaton or Candice Bergen

  • My dear friend Jann. She has encountered loss and cancer and yet she is the strongest woman with a glow about her and a great love of life.

  • Between family and friends I seem to have surrounded myself with strong wonderful women. I am blessed!!! To name a few, my Aunt Millie, Isabelle, and my friend Helen who is an artist of a different genre.

  • My Mother.Always!

  • Awe come on, it’s Mother’s Day here in the US and my 90 year old mother is my rock! She is my biggest cheerleader. I can only hope that I have her positive attitude and stamina when I am her age.

  • Vera, Anne Cleeves’ intrepid detective, is my favorite woman of a certain age.

  • Annika these days.

  • One of my lady clients, Bea I visit. She is dealing 24/7 with a partner suffering from progressing dementia. The way she cares for him and her grown up daughters. Standing next to her when she discovers how good it is to ask for help in all of her sircumstances. The courage she finds to do that… Still working in a responsible job,while already being at an age of retirement. Not complaining but finding joy in everything she does.


  • Thursday Murder Club. Strong women and men in their seventies. Wonderful characters, and funny.

  • Someone else said it first—Dana Williams Johnson, PhD!

    • Helen Mirren. Incredible spirit and talent.

  • Miss Marple on Britbox.

  • I live with a picture of my great grandmother, for whom I am named, in my living room. According to the family lore she went to Kansas in a wagon, married to a frontiersman and apparently had 5 children and many many quotes or aphorisms used whenever we needed correction or inspiration. I know her only in legend. She died the year my mother was born, so she has survived and inspired several generations as a legend. But I admire and wonder about her daily. I hope I live up to her/ our name.

  • E. Jean Carroll

    • Me too.

  • Vera all the way!

    • I forget her name but the main character of a book called Kitchens of the Great Midwest.

    • Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Michelle Obama are the first to come to mind.

  • So many but Vera was the first to come to mind. IRL, my mom. Widowed at 35, she raised 5 loving, respectful, college graduates. When she left at 91, there was much to celebrate.

  • Judy Dench, Jamie Lee Curtis, Katharine Hepburn, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Rita Moreno, Michelle Obama; let me think for a minute and I will come up with more!

  • Vera. Love the scenery.

  • Why, let’s get real here. Nancy Pelosi inspires me now especially that the new speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives is such a contrast to her strong and tireless leadership.

  • Lesley Manville in Magpie Murders…..absolutely divine! In this and everything else she’s in…

  • Ruth Bader Ginsberg is my inspirational woman these days—Dissent!!

  • Definitely Annika

  • My mother!

  • Jane Fonda

  • Woman of a certain age – Iona Iverson! Loved the book Iona Iverson’s Rules for Commuting by Claire Pooley – the audio book was lovely as was Iona.

  • Watch ‘No Second Chance’ – it aired on either 13 or 21 (they are all under the mother ship) and was in French and gripping! Must be on Passport as well.
    Had to knit stockinette or garter – my (spoken) French isn’t good at all.

    Think I’ll try ‘Vera’ – so many mysteries on BritBox you’d think every English village has a murderer or two.
    Waiting for new ‘Grantchester.’

    Strong female character? This week, Joyce Vance or Duchess Goldblatt.

    • Oh, I second Duchess Goldblatt.

  • Vera, for fictional detective s. Julia Louis Dreyfus has an excelled podcast, Wiser Than Me, featuring interviews with older women. And you didn’t ask for it, but on the subject of autistic characters, The Extraordinary Attorney Woo on Netflix.

    • Maggie Smith, in real life and all her varied roles.

  • Madame Secretary and The Diplomat are high on my list. They might be a little young for “women of a certain age” but they are not 20 something’s either. Both are competent women in a man’s world.

  • I recently read the historical fiction novel, “Lady Clementine,” by Marie Benedict. Clementine Churchhill was quite the lady!

  • Diana Rigg in anything.

  • I loved Judy Dench.

  • My Mom is and always will be my guide in my journey through this life. Even though she has passed away her sweet spirit lives on in the lives of all of her children.

  • My goddaughter

  • Annika on PBS. Love te complexity of her character.

  • I have learned about Bertha Palmer lately and find inspiration in her creativity and entrepreneurial spirit in a time when it was difficult for women to do all that she did.

  • Annika Stranded is by far my favorite.

  • Annika. I can’t wait for the next season. And I also prefer to knit to police procedurals.

  • These are all wonderful recommendations. Love Vera and Astrid’s colleague, Raphaelle. There are some fun and quick witted women such as Cathrin Blake, Imma Tataranni, and Alice Nevers (I unexpectedly had a lot of time on my hands at one point & indulged my love of procedurals), all on MHz, a subscription on Prime. However, Eleanor Roosevelt will always stand out as a role model.

  • Miss Silver in the Patricia Wentworth books.

  • E Jean Carroll

  • Ooh, I love a good mystery (bag o yarn). And thank you, Kay for identifying those of us Auties who have developed masking abilities that allow us to hold eye contact and interpret emotional cues! I feel that Temperance Brennan (Bones) is probably close. In terms of inspirational women… Elizabeth Warren is a pretty great option for my respect.

  • I’m joining the cluster of respondents on “Team Vera.” She is a gutsy, crusty, astute and human character.

  • Vera is my favorite

  • I’m naming two: Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin and their characters, Grace and Frankie.

  • Thank you for this column, hope to find some of these programs to begin enjoying. At 81 myself I look to my friends who are older than me and note their strength and their ability to deal with whatever circumstances life throws at them and hope to emulate them myself if those things come my way. I lost a dear 91 year old friend last year and visited her regularly. She, husband and baby escaped from Hungary, made it to the US with nothing, and were able to establish a life for themselves despite language barriers at the beginning. Such strength and courage, leaving all behind to find a new life.

  • I love your review of Astrid and have been a fan since discovering it recently. I do love that there is a community of autistic people, many of whom overcame a great deal to be where they are today.
    As for inspirational women in film, I’ve been so inspired by Michelle Yeoh and Jamie Lee Curtis, both of a certain age, and so thrilled Michelle Yeoh has finally been recognized for her work.

  • Connie Chung. I just read an article on how she inspired a generation of Asian women so much that they named their daughters after her.

  • Michele Obama is a dynamic yet humble human not afraid to be real and take on the world!

  • Sarah Lancashire as Cath in Happy Valley keeps going no matter what. She may break down or lose her cool but then she just goes back to doing what needs to be done.

  • My younger sister is inspiring me to be a better version of myself!

  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg—wish she was still with us doing her job supremely.

  • I want to hear justice Elena Kagan’s take on the behaviors of supreme court justices.

  • The women in my stitchers’ circle. All extraordinary in their own unique ways, all so very talented, and all so kind.

  • Having just watched Everything Everywhere All at Once, I am going to say Evelyn Wang.

  • I am continually impressed by all the characters that Dame Judy Dench plays.

  • I love Vera! She is smart, down-to-earth and embraces common sense in solving crimes. She inspires me to be braver.

  • I always enjoyed Shirley Schmit on Boston Legal, played by Candice Bergen.

    • I loved Candace Bergen as Murphy Brown.

  • It has to be my mother. No one on TV or any other place inspires me more than my mom. Happy Mother’s Day!

  • Vera – my absolute fave

  • Author Annie Ernaux, model Inez de la Fressange, and my medical school mentor, Liz who was a trauma surgeon and student of classical Greek.

  • My grandmother

  • Catherine Cawood from Happy Valley

  • I have always loved to see Helen Mirren in anything!

    • Completely agree!!!

  • My knitting circle friends. They always support and lift each other up. It’s what I’ve always dreamed friendship could be❤️

  • Have you watched “Extraordinary Attorney Woo” on Netflix?

    Atty Woo has autism and uses her attention to detail and memorization skills to solve defend her clients. And it doesn’t stop her from having a love life.

    A few of her cases involve clients or defendants who have autism, low intellectual capacity, or are children, and revolve on what kind of rights they have or how people perceive them.

    In Korean with English subtitles.

    • Extraordinary Attorney Woo was my first foray into k-dramas and now I’m addicted! Love the character and the show.

    • I was going to recommend that too! And also say, keep going with the subtitles, you’ll get better. I can now knit most anything while reading subtitles, even lace.

  • My daughter Ann is a wonderful mother. Quelle joie!

  • Judy Dench!

  • Annika.

  • Violet Crawley on Downton Abbey. Her snark cannot be beat, and is a level of snark to which I aspire.

  • Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Michelle Obama. These women have made our country better.

  • I’m going to suggest Antonia from the book by Willa Cather.

  • I’m always inspired by Michele Obama. She’s amazing.

  • Annika, the PBS series.

  • Della Street on the new version of Perry Mason is not quite “of a certain age,” but she’s certainly a fascinating character. She’s played by Juliet Rylance

  • The strong women I choose is my sister Heidi. Heidi is strong yet gentle, loving and giving. She always looks for the best in people. She is generous and kind. I can not imagine a life without her in it.

  • Keri Russell’s character, Kate Wyler, in The Diplomat (Netflix) is a no-nonsense politician whose intelligence & savy perception leaves her peers in the dust. I love, love that she is real, unpolished, and honest.

    • Ruth Zardo, the fictional poet in the Three Pines series, by Louise Penny.

  • Jean Smart in Hacks. No one puts baby in the corner.

  • We are watching Vera right now and I enjoy her no nonsense approach to her job. Just wish she could have a better personal life. There are so many inspirational women it’s hard to choose one. As a group, I think my teachers over the years inspired me a tremendous amount to be curious and do my best. They are saints!

  • Real: my sister, who really understands what living means and what’s important, and my daughter, who understands that, too

  • I love Helen Mirren’s character in Red and Red 2.

  • The first person I thought of was Marmee in “Little Women,” the most competent woman I know, compassionate and wonderful though hardly what you’re asking for here, I think.

  • My daughters! Both are dealing with medical conditions that make life beyond difficult, but they perservere and live with joy and purpose and tenacity. They are my heroes and examples for leading a good life.

  • Nancy Pelosi!

  • Actually just recently the author Peggy Orenstein has inspired me. I saw she had a book out and then you had an interview with her and I had to read the book. I loved it! Peggy is very relatable..well except during covid I didn’t shear a sheep in fact I hardly picked up my needles… not sure but I may have needed a break because we recently moved to a new state and being a person of a certain age.. hahah oh just say it I’m turning 60 in 6 months. Peggy has inspired me to remember the younger me of… did you say I can’t do that? Cause I’m not old enough (that has actually happened a few times) and I proved them wrong. Now I am old enough! Look out! love reading your posts keep up the good work you do.

  • Jane Tennison from Prime Suspect!

  • My Mom has been my strong influential character in my life for a long time. She is 95 and like the Ever Ready bunny and just keeps going and going. She has a big heart, has raised 11 children and has strongly survived the death of my father and one of my brothers. She is also an excellent seamstress and taught myself and my 6 sisters to sew and cook.

  • As I have become a woman of a certain age I find that I have more and more admiration for the women who quietly do what needs to be done without fanfare or recognition. The women who keep the world running but never get the recognition for all the hard work. To all those women I say “Thank you”.

  • Helen Mirren

  • How about a shout out to some of the famous women comedians like Carol Burnett, Lucy Ball and Betty White. These women made us laugh and forged a way for women in TV and screens all while raising children and being humanitarians.

  • Like many others here I’m an Annika fan.

  • My mom! I miss her every day.

  • Thanks for the giveaway! I’m loving Nicola Walker these days but there’s always Helen Mirren and Judy Dench to inspire us.

  • I’m sure you’ve watched it, but I love Vera. I’ve read the stories but think Brenda Blethyn brings a lot to the character.

  • Ahab’s Wife — what a woman.

  • RBG … may her legacy continue to inspire.

  • The mom in Durrells of Corfu (PBS). Cheeky, brave, beautiful and funny.

  • Rep. Gloria Johnson, legislator from my hometown of Knoxville, TN

  • Vera!

  • Michelle Obama

  • Mariska Hargitay on Law and Order SVU

  • I am crazy about Frances McDormand. I feel that she selects roles that are challenging and will never typecast her. Her performances are always compelling.

  • Well it is an embarrassingly obvious choice but it is Rebecca Welton from Ted Lasso. How can you not be inspired by such a loving, fierce, brave, woman who is growing and learning everyday? Just being willing to say you were horribly wrong and apologize is a strength not portrayed enough in any characters.

  • Favorite woman role model? My great aunt Mona. She went to France in WWI and WWII as a red cross nurse to care/transport wounded soldiers.

  • If you like detective shows in French with subtitles, I strongly recommend “L’Art du Crime”, which we watch on Prime. It’s about a police detective who solves crimes with an empathetic art historian who engages in conversations with French artists of the past. We’ll look for your two shows!
    My favorite older detective lady is of course Miss Marple. 🙂

  • Annika!!

  • Judy Dench.

  • A life long heroine would have to be Carmen Maura as Pepa Marcos in “Women in the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” from 1980s. I stumbled on this foreign film in a small theater in Santa Monica in the spring of 1989. It is a marvelous uncovering of men’s attempts to define women in terms of hysteria. I hear it may soon be the premise of a series on Apple+.

  • My oldest daughter has recently inspired me with her understanding, thoughtfulness and empathy. My husband and I are both undergoing treatment for cancer and she has been researching all the ways she can help us have the best outcomes, and following thru on many of them.

  • Erin Brockovich

  • Elisabeth Moss in absolutely everything.

  • Jane Fonda. Recently listened to her on Wiser Than Me podcast. I love her attitude toward her “third act,” as I’m in my third act also.

  • Dame Judy in 007 movies!

  • At the risk of sounding like I’m pandering, I’d say Ann Shayne and Kay Gardner who have built a lovely, strong, vibrant community one stitch at a time! Thank you, both!!

  • EJean Carroll #1 Brave , tough woman

  • My 89-year-old stepmother, who works the phones at a Honey-Baked Ham store, and makes sure the young men are polite and pull their pants up. If they don’t, she pulls their pants down!

  • E Jean Carroll and Christine Blasey Ford. And a young woman, Cassidy Hutchinson.

    • They are wonderful examples of brave and inspiring women. Thank you.

  • Thanks for the info on those French procedurals, love those kind of shows to knit to as well! My 86 year old mom is still an inspiration – we went ax throwing for her birthday this year and she beat all four of her adult kids! That skill apparently skips a generation

  • This is truly a tough choice to make; but I must agree that both Annka and Vera are grand!

  • I am reading Mistress of the Vatican, and though the lead character has many bad qualities, she is a strong, older woman bucking the Patriarchy.

  • I love Nicola Walker in anything.

  • We’ve caught up on all the current police procedurals we watch, and have started over with Season 1, episode 1 of Vera. I love that character! She is so smart, so tough, and so funny.

    • I have to say my mom, who has been a widow now for 3 years. A woman of true character who loves the Lord and loves her family and has been through a lot of challenging times.

      Ditto to the Netflix show on Attorney Woo. My son, who is on the spectrum as the saying goes, found the show and we watched it together. It’s funny and real, and seemed to have way more depth than a lot of American shoes. Loved her character, and the show had multiple characters who were very likeable.

  • My mom. She was an older mother for her time, and when I was nine, she got her GED and went to college. She became a career woman when most women weren’t. She was the one with the steady income, while my dad did seasonal work. She always, always supported my artistic talent and called me a renaissance woman. Oh, how I miss her!

  • Sacagawea, Ida B. Wells, Florence Nightingale, Bessie Coleman, Marie Curie

  • I love Vera!

  • I aspire to be as observant of people and their motivation as Miss Marple. I understand she is an accomplished knitter. What a woman!

  • Queen Charlotte, the fictionalized character of the woman who married mad King George, and had more than a dozen children. The show is on NetFlix, a shoot off from the Bridgertons universe. With only 6 episodes, I was sad to see it end.

  • Vera

  • I’ve been blessed with many strong women in my family. They’ve survived so much heartache and still kept their families together and fed and loved all the while doing for others in the community that they knew were also struggling. Strength and leadership doesn’t get any better.

  • My mother was one of the first women to produce the evening news in New York City. Her lifelong commitment to women’s equality, and her determination to succeed in a male-dominated workplace are a source of inspiration to me. Happy Mother’s Day Mom!

  • Wow, that’s a tough one. Today I’d say it is the group of women that started and lead a giving circle in my community. The Midland 100 Club was formed in 2009 by 10 women with the goal of pooling their giving to have a greater impact. Hoping to have 100 members, the group has grown to over 600 local women. They meet three times / year and award funds to 2 groups / meeting. The group has awarded over $1.5 million to local 501-3c charitable organizations since since 2009. The women that had the vision for this, as well as the women who come on behalf the organizations in need, are making a lasting impact on the lives of those in the community.

  • Candice Renoir is my heroine! she’s a mom, a detective, gorgeous, funny, smart, oooh, and French!

  • My mom! She was strong and seasoned, and continues to inspire me.

  • j’aime beaucoup Astrid! As a former teacher I am right on with those who think the actor nails a character on the spectrum. afterthe first season, my high school french popped up a lot inmy conversations. And yes, subtitles makes knitting un peu difficile, c’est.a vie. Cannot wait to view Munch. Merci!

  • Fiction or non fiction, the most inspirational woman in my life was my mother. (she died in December) Authentically, stubbornly, completely true to herself to the very end of her 96 years, whether or not it was beneficial to her. She taught me to knit and sew, to appreciate small and simple things, and always look for the good. Mission accomplished. Thanks Mom! Happy Mother’s Day! <3.

  • Off the top of my head, Rosa Parks, Joni Mitchell, Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt, Barbara Tuchman, Dame Judy Dench; Professor McGonagall and Molly Weasley. Our household is addicted to Au Service de la France, a very tongue-in-cheek French series.

  • Annika and Vera.

  • I know several educators who give their all every day of every year. And if you think it is easy to face a class of students, some eager, some not, day after day, it is not. And summers off is a myth. I could go on, but I won’t. Teachers…none stronger.

    • Ruth Bader Ginsburg, E. Jean Carroll, Michelle Obama, Nancy Pelosi

  • Right now, Kerry Russell in The Diplomat is impressing me.

  • Anyone who can do brioche! My hero ‍♂️

  • I know this is probably not what folks around here think of, but about half of my knit-to-this background noise is anime (yes, often subtitled, not dubbed). I live with a wonderful husband raised on lots of anime and JRPGs. It’s definitely a bit of a trope, but I love the many, many characters of an age that I would interpret as generally grandmotherly who are wise, tough, sassy, and have exactly zero time for anyone’s nonsense (of which there is plenty to go around). Great examples include Chiyo and Tsunade from the Naruto series, Pinako Rockbell from the Fullmetal Alchemist series.

  • Vera of course and my aunt Flavia the most wonderful, kind and loving person I have ever known.

  • Washington senator Patty Murray, with a long record of bipartisan work getting things done.

  • Ditto as to Vera series, but all time favorite is Helen Mirren in Prime Suspect

  • In my knitting life, I came to know of Elizabeth Zimmerman through her books, and she totally inspired me to try new things and become a better knitter. Her life story is inspirational as well. Thank you, EZ, for the Knitters Almanac (my favorite!) and so much more, and thanks to her family for carrying on her legacy today.

  • In my knitting life, I came to know Elizabeth Zimmerman through her books, which inspired me to learn new techniques and become a better knitter. Thank you, EZ, for your Knitters Almanac (and more!), and thanks to her family for carrying on her legacy today.

    • Oops, sorry for the double posting!

      • No apologies necessary. She was the best, a real inspiration to so many of us.

  • Will Trent on Hulu. Professor T, the original Belgian version (it’s addictive!)

  • The women in my Knitting Circle whom have been together as a group for less than a year. But what a great bunch!

  • I always wanted to grow to be Diana Rigg in The Avengers!

  • I admire Helen Mirren beyond measure.

  • I’m inspired by all the knitting designers. Love that there are now so many, so easily accessible, and maybe some day they’ll also write a mystery.

  • My daughters and granddaughters inspire me. And I hope that I inspire them.

  • Dame Maggie Smith–I just love her spunk in Downton Abbey.

  • Thanks for the viewing tips. Ever since first watching Bordertown on Netflix I’ve become addicted to watching crime shows in foreign languages—and never with the English overdubs. While my favorites are the Scandinavian and German languages, I’ve really enjoyed some French, Italian and Spanish shows, too. It’s a bit of a vacation from the comfort of my daybed knitting spot, dog curled against my leg. Yes, one does get used to the subtitles while knitting! I think of it as a fun, added dimension for my brain, which at my age is a good thing.

    • And i promptly forgot to mention a woman who inspires me… so many! From my boss who built an amazing company and leads it with grace and compassion to knitting industry folks such as Ann, Kay, Clara Parkes, the Yarn Harlot and many more. The fiber world is chock full of inspiring women!! What a treat.

  • My sister – for the past year she has been coping with multiple losses with courage and grace.

  • I love Vera played by Brenda Blethyn. She’s a tough older broad who doesn’t take much off anyone.

  • Michelle Obama.

  • Evelyn Wang of Everything Everywhere All at Once

  • My mom

  • My zoom friends inspire me every day

  • Nancy Pelosi and Ruth Bader Ginsburg………both fantastic women.

  • Murder she wrote- Angelia Lansbury. She’s so smart and inquisitive!

  • Princess Anne is an inspiration to me. She takes her service to the Commonwealth very seriously and truly makes it her life’s work. I feel she is very much like Queen Elizabeth in this way.

  • Just started watching Vera – she is my kind of detective. Lover her wardrobe, too.

  • Malala Yousafzai – young, yet mature beyond her years. A fierce advocate for education.

  • My husband and I are also fans of procédurale. We’ve enjoyed many series from abroad, including some set in Iceland. But for a favorite woman (her recent film appearance as a god is just more proof of her power), I have to say Helen Mirren is a perennial favorite.

  • Judi Densch

  • Love, love, love Helen Mirren. She really knows how to play a strong female character.

  • Just started watching another French crime show on PBS: The Paris Murders. The main character is a young female forensic psychologist on the police force. She solves crimes wearing short colorful dresses while carrying a large yellow purse. My only complaint about this show: every character is beautiful. 🙂

  • I agree with all those who named Margaret Atwood! I had the pleasure of seeing her in person last year, and despite all the craziness in the world, she remains remarkably optimistic. She is a phenomenal talent, and also a fabulous human.

  • My older sister. She makes the world a better place!

  • My friend Joy continues to inspire me. Widowed in 2008 in her early 40’s she raised two wonderful girls, continued sailing, gardening, traveling the world and working hard!

  • I’m loving the REAL models of knitting garments – women of a certain age, body type, etc. It is so gratifying to see garments on real shapes of all configurations instead of just the industry standards! These “strong, seasoned, female characters” inspire me to knit clothes just for me! Kudos to the designers that use all shapes, sizes and ages!

  • Brenda from The Closer

  • Mary in Sanditon, especially in Season 3.

  • Martha Stewart. She doesn’t let life get in her way.

  • Stacey Abrams (and she writes romance!). Also my knit-hero DWJ (of Yards of Happiness).

  • I have a number of friends who are far more brave about their infirmities than I am about my soon to happen hip replacement.

  • I’m not sure if Grace from Grace and Frankie inspires me, but she’s does remind of my mom and my mom inspires me so I think it counts.

  • Hannah Waddingham on Ted Lasso is amazing! I love everything about her and her fierce female attitude.

  • While it’s not a police procedural, I loved Call My Agent (also French with English subtitles available on Netflix). I love Liliane Rovere who plays Arlette. I believe she was 82 when this series was filmed. She’s savvy, practical, and I wish the show would have gotten even more into her character’s history/relationships with famous people.

  • The first person who came into my mind was my childhood heroine, Amelia Earhart.

  • My beacon, for all of my life, was my Mother. She barely knew how to boil water when she married at 19 and went on to have and raise 9 children who are all successful and happy people with families of their own. Amazing, both my Mother and my Dad. The patience! The creativity to keep us all engaged! Thought I would lose my mind raising just two!

  • Dame Daphne Sheldrick, founder of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya.

  • A woman who has inspired me is Louise Penny, who writes the Three Pines/Inspector Gamache novels. Her descriptive prose transport me into the settings, the characters are magnificently developed and continue to evolve in story arcs that have me waiting for the next new release (number19 in the series?). Louise Penny’s works make me ponder on big issues like justice, love, community, social systems, forgiveness, hope, loyalty, resentment, pain and many more.

  • Don’t forget SPIRALS a/k/a “Engrenages” — excellent series.

  • Cara Dutton!

  • Heather Cox Richardson almost daily writings, Letters from America, about current events are written with a deep understanding of American history. You may not agree with her political slant but her writing is clear and her knowledge of history is very insightful in this chaotic times. I find that there is a good deal of important American history that I was never told and it just is not about Presidents and wars. Our collective ignorance of our own history and how and whys of the workings of government is a serious problem that Heather is trying to address. She does this as a side gig to a real job teaching college history. I don’t know how she does it but I appreciate getting a much broader view of our history. Her Mother Day letter was a wonderful story about another strong women in her life and is worth reading.

    • My friend Sarah. She was a single parent, a widow, for many years. She has had health issues at a relatively young age. Nonetheless, she is always ready to help a friend. She is always learning new things either taking classes or studying on her own. I also thought of Michelle Obama and Nancy Pelosi.

  • Woman inspiring me is (what, just ONE?) . . . Michelle Obama. And she’s of a certain age, right?

  • Jessica fletcher, of course!

  • My aunt Mina. Though frail she is still a force of nature!

  • Jane Fonda! Julia Louis-Dreyfuss has launched a podcast, Wiser Than Me, to glean the wisdom of older women, and she started with Jane.

  • Vera

  • Nancy Pelosi in her orange coat and sunglasses! Badass beauty who gets sh*t done.

  • Vera Stanhope. Just started reading this series.

  • Nothing like a good, strong, if flawed female detective. Sara Linden from the Killing was one of my favorites.

  • My mom inspires me daily. In her mid-80s she still grows most of her own vegetables, makes gorgeous quilts, and is fully engaged in life. She is a quarter century older than me and makes me look like I am standing still. She has aches and pains and doesn’t keep that to herself – which is fine. It is a myth that we can do it all with no consequences, and keeping up that illusion harms the rest of us. Doing what she does comes at a cost at times, but she is willing to pay it. She is feisty as hell and shares her opinions freely – mostly how much she despises the right wing so that is cool. 🙂 She is truly my hero. Oh and … keeping up the theme here … she is also a big fan of Vera, Jessica Fletcher, and Miss Marple.

  • Michelle Obama— and she’s a knitter!

  • Chicago disc jockey, Terri Hemmert

  • Nicola Walker—she portrays strong, independent , yet very human women in all her roles.

  • Love Nicola Walker as Cassie in Unforgotten.

  • Miss Scarlett, also on PBS, is a female private investigator in 1800’s London and an inspiring character.

  • I admire Dolly Parton. She is such a generous loving person!

  • Let’s all cheer for Helen Miren. Role model forever. I want to age like she is!

  • Julia Child—pursued her passion for food and cooking and taught the world, despite many obstacles, how to have fun and eat better.

  • I love Vera. My only side effect to my first Covid vaccine was That I fell asleep during one episode and missed the murderer reveal.

  • Tannie Maria in recipes for love and murder – she’s strong but nurturing!

  • Maybe a cliche, but my mother has always been an inspiration to me. She was disabled and there physically weak, but remained strong enough to raise two children and maintain a happy marriage until her death from cancer (which she also weathered through a long hospice care period).
    Strength isn’t always about conquering, sometimes it is about being able to maintain balance and not within daily life no matter the adversity.

  • Josette and how she loves her family so boldly

  • Queen Elizabeth. Performed her duties graciously her entire life.

  • I also love murder mysteries. Vera is my favorite.

  • Just researched Murder on the Nile and was reminded of Agatha Christie’s genius and prolific career.

  • I have enjoyed reading the vintage Mrs. ‘Arris books by Paul Gallico, which are having a bit of a renaissance after the movie, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, came out last year.

  • My new next door older neighbor who is newly widowed and pushing to build a new life for herself while keeping her wonderful sense of humor and showing kindness to all around her.

  • My knitting buddies Sherri, Ronnie, and Jannine are my real life favorites. We have no local yarn shop within fifty miles, but when a Starbucks opened in our town ten plus years ago we commandeered a corner and meet almost every Saturday morning. We’ve knitted while talking each other through all of life’s ups and downs. We are each other’s knitting therapists.

  • RBG. Even though she has moved on from this life, her.presence and importance still remain.

  • Admiral Grace Hopper.

  • One fictional group: Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn.
    One real life: Michelle Obama

  • Eleanor Roosevelt. Always.

  • A tie between Vera and Catherine Cawood main character on Happy Valley. They’re both strong, women but you get glimpses of their compassion. Though a bit more hidden with Vera depending on who she’s questioning.

  • Rachel Carson has been my hero since I first read Silent Spring in the late 1980s, 20+ years after she took on the pesticide companies and triggered the US environmental protection movement.
    The passion for community- driven science and environmental activism she epitomized still drives me today.

  • Kate Wyler, the fictional ambassador to England, on The Diplomat. She’s anything but diplomatic. Feisty and likable.

  • Debbie is my friend “of a certain age” but younger than me and she is so very inspiring. After a terrible diagnosis last year she kept her grace and faith.

  • I liked Frankie recently (Lady Frances!) in the Agatha Christie remake directed by Hugh Laurie, ‘Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?’. It’s a 3 part mini-series, and she is a great heroine, plucky and funny (and in love with the hero from the lower class)!

  • I love anything Helen Mirren does

  • Angela Davis. Radical, feminist, humanist, so smart. Great hair and good colors in her clothing.

  • Audrey Hepburn, who no matter what life handed her, and it handed her some doozies during WW2, brought loveliness, kindness and courage to the world. She was also a knitter.

  • Margaret Renkl, author of Late Migrations and Graceland at Last. Beautiful, insightful writer.

    • As many others have mentioned, Vera. No-nonsense but compassionate.

  • There are so many amazing ladies out there, but for fictional, Rebecca on this season of Ted Lasso is really kicking some sport bro culture bootie!

  • Ms. Marple knits and solves mysteries, so always Sn inspiration.

  • maybe not inspiring, but fierce: Mrs Maisel’s manager Susie had quite a roast last week!

  • I’ve always admired Angela Merkel. I wish we had more successful politicians in the US with (multiple!) advanced degrees.

  • Miss Marple is the first to come to mind but there are so many that the list is long!

  • For tv, Team Vera here, and also Cath on Happy Valley and, for those who like the sound of spoken Welsh, Cadi on Hidden and Mared on Hinterland (characters speak in both English and Welsh, subtitles abound).

  • My favorite fictional “woman of a certain age” would be Maude Chardin from the cult classic movie, Harold and Maude. She’s feisty, fierce, and finds beauty in the everyday ordinary objects.
    Maude : You know, at one time, I used to break into pet shops to liberate the canaries. But I decided that was an idea way before its time. Zoos are full, prisons are overflowing… oh my, how the world still *dearly* loves a *cage.*
    Maude : I should like to change into a sunflower most of all. They’re so tall and simple. What flower would you like to be?
    Harold : I don’t know. One of these, maybe.
    Maude : Why do you say that?
    Harold : Because they’re all alike.
    Maude : Oooh, but they’re *not*. Look. See, some are smaller, some are fatter, some grow to the left, some to the right, some even have lost some petals. All *kinds* of observable differences. You see, Harold, I feel that much of the world’s sorrow comes from people who are *this*,
    [she points to a daisy]
    Maude : yet allow themselves be treated as *that*.
    [she gestures to a field of daisies]
    Maude : [cut to a shot of a field of gravestones in a military cemetery]
    Maude : Harold, *everyone* has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can’t let the world judge you too much.

  • My mother and my grandmothers. They shaped my life!

  • My friend Tess. She retired seven years ago and she is living her best life: hiking, biking, kayaking, traveling…she is a huge inspiration!

  • Both my mother and my husband”‘s grandmother, who were left widowed and had to raise children alone. My husband’s grandmother once told me that you: “You did what you needed to do”. It’s simple but not always easy advice.

  • Anneliese Keating was my recent discovery and binge. I also just finished Finding Me by Viola Davis. So, the real life person is also inspiring me lately.

  • I saw Jonell Mosser at Third and Lindsley, Nashville, on Tuesday. She BELTS them out!

  • Madeline Albright

    • My heroic mom, Gramma, Nana, Aunt Eleanor… how lucky I am to have had brave, strong women teach me how to live life head on with a twinkle in their eyes!

  • Audrey Hepburn – actress and humanitarian

  • My mama! She has babysit all of her grandkids and now babysits her great grand baby. She taught me to sew as a kid and helps me keep my plants alive. 🙂

  • Louise Penny – incredible author of mystery novels who I think started writing in her 50s or 60s. Love it!

  • I deeply admire Lisa LaFlamme, former Chief Anchor of CTV National News, whose position was unceremoniously terminated in 2022 after 35 years. The award-winning anchor was brilliant at her job; it was rumoured that she was terminated at least partially due to the fact that she chose to stop dyeing her hair, embracing her grey hair, during the height of the COVID pandemic. Her genuine compassion and interest in people shone in every newscast. Also, I find Nicola Walker’s work in Annika, Unforgotten and River, to name a few, very compelling.

  • I am inspired by Elenor Roosevelt, (whose mother said, “A woman can be beautiful or she can be interesting. I would advise you to be interesting.” ) Elenor became a force to be reckoned with. She was kind, noble and brave, and she didn’t need to be beautiful.

  • Right now? My neighbor who is a public school teacher.

  • My class dean from my days at Wellesley, Pamela Daniels, continues to inspire me. She recently met with some of us for brunch and she is still going strong, thinking deeply about what matters in life, the world, and at our beloved College.

  • Someone else mentioned. Happy Valley. Sergeant Catherine Cawood. She’s delightfully real juggling life and work.

  • Ursula K leGuin, whose great science fiction and writing too about writing and motherhood always inspires.

  • SVU’s Marishka Hargitay

  • I’m so grateful for MDK!!! Your Snippets anchor my week, giving me a pleasant break on Saturday mornings. Thank you for creating this perfect knitting community!

  • Kate from Line of Duty is pretty amazing. As far as police procedurals go, it’s the most intense/compelling one I’ve watched in a long time (check out BritBox). I like that the main characters are all flawed, but the good outweighs the bad.

  • My mother and my mother-in-law!

  • Pamela Adlon in Better Things. I think it’s on Hulu. Soooo good!

  • Recently I really like Nicola Walkers character in Annika, smart, savvy, funny and real.

  • Lately, my fictional favorite is Candice Renoir ( available on Acorn) , a French detective w 4 kids trying to re-establish her career. My real-world heroines — young and “of a certain age” – are the nurses who work at the hospitals, skilled nursing homes and now at the assisted living home where my husband currently lives, after a year and a half of health struggles left him with more issues than could be managed at home. They come to work every day, underpaid and overworked, and still bring the love to their patients.

  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was an impressive woman with an inspiring career!

  • Vera

  • Lucy Worsley

  • Judi Dench as M – competent, calm, takes no crap

  • Heather Cox Richardson — newly banned by Putin!

  • Vera

  • Vera, always Vera!

  • Queen Elizabeth I.

  • IRL – Queen Elizabeth.

  • Mary McDonnell in Major Crimes. Not a new show but so good!

  • Prime Suspect is wonderful. It is a bit aged, but Helen Mirren (one of my favourite actors, is tremendous in the roll).

  • Sergeant Catherine Cawood from Happy Valley.

  • Always Hannah of the Bible. She was a strong, faithful woman. She kept her vows no matter hard.

  • Vera, of course. She’s troubled and keeps the world at arms length but her compassion still comes through.

  • Alice Munro is my favorite writer of all time.

  • Michelle Obama or Brene Brown right now for empathy and compassion

  • Fictional-Annika
    Reality- former SOS Madeleine Albright

  • IRL the amazing knitting friends I have because of MDK. They are steadfast, supportive and inspiring.

  • Susan Ryeland in Magpie Murders (played brilliantly by Lesley Manville). So pleased to see a woman of a certain age at the centre of the action and not conforming to stereotypes.

  • A woman named Virgi who has a salty temper and a huge heart. Still going strong and taking care of her neighbors.

  • India Steel (Glass & Steel novels)

  • There are too many women, real and fictional to mention just one. However,I will say, that in spite of so many female insecurities…reaching my 7th decade on this planet, I now really admire the women who have moved beyond those insecurities and are free to express themselves.

  • She has a ways to go before she even reaches a certain age, but Stacey Abrams has had a great influence on me.

  • Annika is my choice. She is imperfect, as a human being. I like that.

  • Maisie Dobbs——of the book series. I think I can say she is getting to a “certain age” in the latest books.

  • At this moment, Annika.

  • Rebecca Welton, the “Boss Lady” on Ted Lasso. She gets stronger as the seasons progress and has the best sassy speeches when she gets pissed off at men.

  • michelle obama

  • Wonderwoman. Always. I’m using Knitted Wits Wonder Woman color way to knit up some arm warmers right now.

  • Fictional – Katharine Hepburn in On Golden Pond. In real life, Michelle Obama for one, but there are many throughout multiple generations.

  • Helen Mirren

  • Vera

  • Helen Mirren has been inspirational in all her roles.

  • Elizabeth — from the book series The Thursday Murder Club!

  • Zorrie

  • Barbara Kingsolver and Margaret Atwood

  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Hiliary Clinton-they both had the courage to stand up for what they believed.

  • Candice Owens inspires me to have a unique voice even when others disagree.

  • I’ve only seen the promo twice, but I am more than a little excited for the new Matlock starring the consistently wonderful Kathy Bates. She also played my favorite woman of a certain age in Fried Green Tomatoes.

  • Definitely my 93 year-old mother. She’s slowed down, but still picks up her knitting with arthritic hands and sight in one eye. Everyone that knows her loves her. I’m relearning from her to enjoy the simple things in life.

  • In real life, Anita Anand, Mèlanie Jolie, Jann Arden
    Books, Evelyn Smith’s Miss Melville Regrets

  • Vera. Whilst you don’t see her knitting, as a product of the UK school system, she knows how to. With her best bag lady persona, I’m sure there’s yarn tucked away somewhere………

  • Lady Rose from Downton Abbey, she always wore such beautiful sweaters. I took photos of them hoping someday to make my own version of them.

  • In Ruth Ozeki’s “Tale for the Time Being” Jiko, the 115 yr old zen buddist nun who emails enigmatic responses to her great grandaughter Naoko’s philosophical questions. Wonderful audio book narrated EXTREMELY well by the author.

  • RGB for me!

  • Madame Blanc, played by Sally Lindsay. An easy-watching series, filmed in
    Malta, set in the south of France, reminiscent of Murder She Wrote. Bring on the wine and sunshine!

  • Beatrice Stubbs, by JJ Marsh. She’s smart and flawed, but she’s working on it!

  • I’m still a fan of Jane Fonda. She has stuck to her convictions all these years and inspired others to do the same. Plus she’s still a good actress that I enjoy watching.

  • Julia Child continues to be a very frequent source of inspiration!

  • No one is as strong as my mom. She raised 3 of us on her own, working 2 jobs. At 81 she still gets up early every morning to feed, water, and muck out stalls for horses, sheep, and her alpaca. I wish I could be half the woman she is.

  • I like Annika on TV, Mary Russell in the mystery series by Laurie R. King, and Elizabeth Warren in real life.

  • Helen Mirren as DCI Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect

  • Cass Lynch-Marsali Taylor’s Shetland Sailing Mysteries are brilliant

  • Just started High Desert on Apple. Patricia Arquette is all that. Really fun.

  • Love everything Nicola Walker does!

  • Keri Russell in The Diplomat

  • I’m loving Charlotte from the new Bridgerton-related series!

  • Margaret Atwood, Mary Oliver, Louise Erdrich, Ann Patchett. All rock star female authors of our age!

  • Michelle Obama!!!

  • Michelle Obama

  • ENOLA HOLMES films [as Sherlock Holmes younger sister]

  • Vera wins it hands down. Love that she feels confident in her own skin and does not put up with any nonsense.

  • Grandma (Emma) Gatewood. After raising 11 kids and surviving an abusive marriage, she through-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 1957, wearing sneakers, tossing a gunny sack of supplies over her shoulder and using survival knowledge that people these days have completely lost. And that was just her first long-distance hike!

    • Edit: she hiked in 1955 and was 67.

  • Dame Judi Dench, love her versatility of acting roles.

  • My wonderful daughters are an inspiration to me and the perseverance I have seen in them to grow and become amazing women

  • Rebecca on Ted Lasso takes no guff, and gets things done in the old boys club! I’m a pretty big fan of Keely, too, and Dr. Sharon. They all might be a little young for “a certain age,” but they are wholly themselves in a way I admire.

  • Carol Burnett – she lives life to the fullest, gives a helping hand to many, is so talented yet can be goofy and funny. What a woman!

  • I like Margaret Atwood very much!

  • I am inspired by a dear friend in her late 70’s who, widowed 4 years ago, travels solo and fearlessly to distant places. Taking trains and buses in foreign lands she explores and experiences all there is to see and makes new friends as she goes.

  • My yoga instructor Sue.

  • Two things here. The Paris Murders is another French police show I love. I found it before I found Astrid.
    My recent admiration for a strong female character is Rebecca from Ted Lasso.

  • RBG still inspires me.

  • Gloria Steinem. I heard her speak January 21, 2017. It was a thrill.

  • Vera, of course!

  • Jeri in Succession. The smartest one of the show.
    And Jeri’s absolute opposite Rita of the Danish show called Rita on Netflix.

  • I’ve been binge watching old episodes of “The Good Wife” recently, so my initial response is (the character) Alicia Florrick. But I’d also noticed the mention of the show “Annika” at the end of the above article, and would also vote for ANY character portrayed by Nicola Walker as inspirational.

  • Olivia Benson (Law & Order SVU)

  • Watching Joan Baez on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert was a revelation. She fangirled over one of the Tennessee Three and sang with him for the benefit of the Internet. Then she went on to NY to promote her book of drawings that she does UPSIDE DOWN. There is nothing she can’t do. The woman is legend.

  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Or Amy Klobuchar. Or Elizabeth Warren. Hard to choose.

  • The newscaster Connie Chung who influenced so many Asian women in the 80’s. This was recently written about in an article “The Connie Generation” in the New York Times Magazine.

  • I just found out about Kate from Arne and Carlos. She lives in The Last Homely House and it is so wonderful. Kate does so many different crafts but what makes her so special to me is she reminds of my grandmothers and my Mother. I love to look at her hands as they are worn, probably arthritic and have done so many things in her life and for her family and herself. We can learn so much from these beautifully aged women.

  • I love the Frankie Drake Series. She is strong, smart, beautiful and get a load of the wardrobe! She has gal comrads who are just as fun assisting her. On PBS!

  • My second mom. She’s an amazing woman and I’m so glad I married her son!

  • Michelle Obama for sure

  • Vera rocks! I love it when she calls someone pet

  • In the land of PBS: Vera Stanhope…on the other hand: Astrid!
    In real time, Cathe Laurie, wife of evangelist Greg Laurie.

  • So many fabulous fiction figures rattling around in my brain. But I am going to piggyback off of someone else’s who noted Ruth Zardo from the Louise Penny novels — maybe because I, too, am FINE. Brilliant choice so thank you to PENNY L. SMITH-KERKER.

  • Currently feeling inspired by my mother. She is caregiver for my stepfather. He is in the end stages of Parkinson’s disease. It’s humbling to see her strength. ❤️

  • Martha Stewart and Jane Tennison.

  • 2 women, from my youth. I was barely a teen when Shirley Chisholm ran for President. I learned about Jane Goodall around the same time. The two of them have been solid path-makers, anytime I need a path to follow.

  • Always Vera

  • Congresswoman Katie Porter She represents the 47th Congressional District in Orange County, California. She’d make a great U.S. President!

  • I always have a soft spot for Miss Marple. Bring along your knitting and a sharp mind and you can solve any crime.

  • i agree with mary…joyce vance is a wealth of knowledge delivered in a down to earth way.

  • Right now it’s Mrs. Maiden !

  • My friend Lynn.

  • Jane Goodall

  • Nina Totenberg; read her book recently – amazing story.

  • Author Dianna Gabaldin, author of the Outlander book series and inspiration for the TV Outlander series. I love her books – I own and have read them all.

  • I like Abby of NCIS, a strong female STEM role model. Unfortunately she’s no longer on the show, but her character is still inspirational.

  • Always loved watching Julia Child

  • I just rewatched “The Fall” as binge. Probably not the best idea as I had some weird and disturbing dreams. However, Gillian Anderson’s Stella Gibson is so fabulous, and she’s why I rewatched it.

  • The lawyer character played by Nicola Walker in The Split was very inspiring, especially when she fought for her clients and “handled” their difficult spouses.

  • Ruth Bader Ginsberg

  • Maisie Dobbs is a favorite, strong woman especially in her day, written by Jacqueline Winspear:)

  • My dear friend who works full-time in cancer research, and spends her free time volunteering for a local shelter for homeless people in our community, and also in tax season, volunteers to prepare a staggering number of tax returns for seniors who would not qualify for benefits without having a tax return prepared. She goes about her work quietly, competently and with great compassion. In short, she is a wonder!

  • All the women on Call the Midwife in WW2 England

  • I agree with others. Vera Stanhope. I’m currently watching her series.

  • Helen Mirren… blue hair and all!

  • RBG

  • My mother is almost 93 and the strongest, kindest role model.

  • Julia Child.
    Also, Katherine Hepburn.

    Both icons. Both parts of my childhood (on screen, not in person sadly). I love seeing film & interview clips of both cropping up on social media! Reminds me what national treasures both were.

  • Woman of a certain age? Inspirational? that’s easy…mom!

  • Brandi Carlile ~ Extraordinary talent ~ Amazingly and enthusiastically generous with her support of other artists ~ Likes to make others shine.

  • Ani DiFranco! Just finished her book and admire her honesty, strength and never backing down on her beliefs!

  • Sylvia, the cartoon character by Nicole Hollander! I loved her in my 20s and 30s, and now have the chance to become more like her in my 50s! also–turbans!

  • RBG and Dame Maggie Smith

  • Elizabeth Zott, the main character in the fabulous book Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus.

  • I love Vera too. My favorite real person is my friend Irene who stepped up and became like a second a Mom to me after my own Mom passed .

  • Will watch Maggie Smith in anything.

  • Helen Mirren, Woman in Gold. Wonderful roles, really a lovely woman with principle as well as talent

  • Claire Fraser. A very smart lady from the Outlander series

  • Gotta go with Annika-she’s great!

  • Ruth Nader Ginsberg!!!

  • Recently I met a ninety-year-old woman and two of her daughters – all were real, engaging, encouraging and joyful – they were an inspiration to me and I hope I am able to spend more time with them.

  • I like Vera on PBS. She’s got a lot of grit to tromp into all the gruesome crime scenes she does on a regular basis and enough smarts to be able to solve the cases. I could never do what she does, which is why I find her inspiring.

  • Lately two women artist friends, Melva and Janet, in my community, both at least 25 years older than I, have been so inspirational and supportive to me-I deeply admire their grit, confidence, and ability to see past the BS to keep making the world better and through their art, a more meaningful and beautiful place.

  • Oh, I love yarn surprises!! I can always look at my list of “dream” projects and use a bag of yarn.

  • Charlie from Poker Face!

  • As much as I like Astrid, I have trouble knitting to anything with subtitles. I can’t read a movie and knit, either I don’t know what is going on in the show or I drop stitches and miss cable crosses.

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