Written by Sarah on June 13th, 2013 Posted in Uncategorized

Pour yourself a drink. This is a long one. Apologies in advance.

Most Saturday afternoons when Jon and I are visiting his parents, his dad will settle in front of the TV with a cold beer and flip the channels. Almost always he lands on the fishing channel and that’s what we watch all afternoon while Jon fixes something with someone’s iPhone and I click away with my needles. Jon’s dad loves to fish. He wakes up early on Sunday mornings and returns home with something to grill for lunch.

Most Saturday mornings when Jon and I are visiting my parents, my dad will settle in front of the TV with a coffee and flip the channels. Almost always he lands on the History Channel and that’s what we watch all afternoon while Jon fixes their printer and I click away with my needles. My dad loves history. He takes time off of work to drive to historic sites in other states and has room full of books he’s read about the Founding Fathers.

I love knitting. And when I curl up on the couch with my work, I like to watch TV. That’s no secret. I’ve gone through seasons of Mad Men, Big Love, Doctor Who (to mention a few) in the name of my knitting.

So when a friend sent me a picture of this ad in the subway, I was delighted.

knitting wars pbs


Until I realized that it was just a joke. Thirteen has a series of ads that poke fun of contemporary television. “The fact you thought this was a real show says a lot about the state of TV. Support quality programming.” I see where they’re coming from. I’m kinda snobby. I don’t know how many iterations of Duck Dynasty or Long Island Medium the world needs. Those aren’t things I’m into. I wasn’t offended that PBS was making fun of knitting (though it’s such an over-used stereotype that old ladies knit, it’s not even that funny), I was mad that there wasn’t a show for me to watch.

There’s a channel for my dad full of shows about the American Revolution (spoiler alert: we won). There is a whole network dedicated to fishing which (no offense, fisherpeople) is kind of notoriously boring (or is that a stereotype just like the old ladies knitting? If so, sorry again.). Guys (and pretty ladies) fish in the ocean, in the Great Lakes, in the carribean. They talk about fish and boats and gear. But really, it’s a lot of fishing which is great if you’re into fish porn. I could see how a guy like Jon’s dad could get into that channel. I said aloud, after hour four of Saltwater Adventures, “I wish I could watch a knitting channel all day.”

So I want my Knit TV!

Where’s my channel? The DIY Network is entirely made of home improvement shows since Knitty Gritty’s end in 2007. The same can be said for HGTV. Martha Stewart’s show was cancelled last year and she’s not just a little lady with needles. Even if I were to be less specific craft-centric, the Food Network has been bastardized by reality and competition shows. Good Eats and Boy Meets Grill and Julia fucking Child have been relegated to the Cooking Channel where actual cooking instruction happens.

So, yeah, PBS, I can see what you mean. And I see what you’re trying to do with Create TV (a channel that a lot of us probably don’t get with whatever cable we have). But I’m not asking for something that’s dry and awkward, Bob Ross style. Why can’t we have an exciting network with cool shows? The fact that Project Runway has gotten 10+ seasons goes to show that people like things being made and it can be done in a glossy, sell-able way.

What about a yarn and fabric-centric travel show? Anthony Bourdain has made a career out of eating around the globe. Why not knitting around the globe? How about competition shows like Craft Wars? (As an aside, I can’t complete this post without saying that I LOVE CRAFT WARS! Please tell me they’re bringing it back for a second season!) There’s a cupcake competition show on Food Network that’s had multiple seasons, I’m sure we can do better. There are home improvement shows about upcycling a la This Old House, why not something fashion-oriented or just plain design-savvy? And if we want to take the reality show route, instead of Cake Boss, how about a LYS show? Ravelry has 2 million members, there’s an audience for this stuff. I’ve got plenty of ideas, DIY Network, so feel free to hit me up. (In this 2009 blog post by Vickie Howell blames the absence of craft television on sponsorship. Home improvement shows are buoyed by the giant home improvement stores. I’m sure she knows more about the subject than I do but I can’t believe there aren’t stores and products – outside of yarn companies – that couldn’t advertise to such a great market.)

Until then, I’m happy to say that we crafters are taking the internet by storm. If there’s one place that we can have whatever we want, it’s online. With the rise of craft YouTube channels (shameless self promotion here), our audience is getting what they want. Shows like Nora Meets the Maker sheds light on different makers and projects while being fun and trendy and The Fiber Factor is giving that competition excitement to budding designers. And I must mention that there are a myriad of video (and traditional) podcasters sharing tons of content. We might be doing them on shoestring (read: zero dollars) budgets but they’re out there!

In conclusion, maybe cable is over. Maybe, if I can’t get the shows that I’d really love to watch, my subscription will end. Of course, there’s plenty of non-craft shows that I love but online accessibility (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc) is making television obsolete. So maybe we should just wait for these big networks to die out and then we can take over for craft video world domination. A girl can dream. Until then, it’s important to support those shows that we love so much by clicking the like button, sharing with our friends, commenting, and subscribing. (Please don’t take this as a plea for subscriptions for my own channel which has been coming back to life after a long winter! I mean every kind of content that you like from any maker!) It’s important that people know they’re being appreciated so they keep putting in their hard work. And, you never know, online popularity leads to shows on those networks I just sentenced to death. I’d love for any of these crafters to break out into the mainstream!

What craft shows do you like? What would you love to see on tv? What are you watching online? Say it with me: I WANT MY KNIT TV!

ps. Happy Father’s Day to Jon’s dad and my own!(?)

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Comments (10)

  • Heather
    June 13, 2013 at 10:21 am |

    What a great idea! I’d so watch it (and I don’t watch any reality tv). The possibilities are endless! Trips to yarn factories, trips to yarns stores, tutorials – love it! 🙂

  • June 13, 2013 at 11:44 am |

    I think what Clara Parkes is doing with The Great White Bale is fascinating, and I wish I had had enough money to be a part of it. But a show like that, touring around seeing how everything is done, from sheep to shelf, that would be fascinating, a little bit like How It’s Made.
    But also the historical side of things, a show about how history has shaped knitting and vice versa?
    There are so many things I’d love to watch!

  • June 13, 2013 at 12:12 pm |

    I’ve been thinking this same thing. I saw that ad in a subway station in Brooklyn and got super excited and then felt kind of insulted that a knitting show would mean TV quality had gone to poop. Jersey Shore is bad TV, knitting wars could be epic. Thank you for posting this as now I don’t have to write the same thing.

    Cruel cruel sign 🙂

    • June 13, 2013 at 12:32 pm |

      So glad you agree!

  • June 16, 2013 at 12:12 pm |

    There must be someone, somewhere who is willing to do a kicking youtube show about knitting. There are also public access shows that will let you film for free after you pay a small fee to take a class on how to produce shows. It sounds wicked old-school, but at least the show would be on the air, and wouldn’t have to wait for the internet to take notice. I would watch the crap out of those shows!

  • June 17, 2013 at 4:34 pm |

    I would LOVE a knitting-related show. I used to watch Knitty Gritty any time I had access to my parent’s satellite subscription. I think a travel-related yarn store show would be amazing. It could include large festivals too, for those of us that aren’t able to make it to the various Stitches festivals, or TNNA, or iKnit. We could at least live vicariously.

  • Brittany
    June 20, 2013 at 11:52 am |

    A channel here in Chicago airs this old (possibly Canadian?) show called She’s Crafty. The projects are sometimes a little cheesy, but I still like watching it because I’m craft tv starved. (in one of them she learns to knit!) http://www.ionlife.com/videos/shes-crafty

    • June 20, 2013 at 6:46 pm |

      That sounds like my kind of show!

  • June 21, 2013 at 8:11 am |

    Amen! This would be comfort TV at it’s finest. I think having Clara Parkes’ project on TV is an amazing idea. And I would never miss an episode of an Anthony Bourdain-style crafting show. What about an Iron Chef for knitters? You would get a black box with a crazy combo of crafting supplies and have a week to make into to something(s). Actually, I don’t think there’s any reason that almost all of the old school Food Network shows could be reproduced with yarn instead food… And they could show old episodes of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s show.

  • Linda Lilly
    July 26, 2015 at 8:33 am |

    I would so love to see more knitting shows I could watch it day in and day out I want my knit TV –

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