I’m back! I didn’t mean to take a break. Life just really got in the way. I guess the Blood Moon is really throwing me for a loop because April has been crazy! Thanks for hanging around.
If you use that calculator, the one that adds how much time you’ve spent watching your favorite TV shows, you’ll know that if you’ve watched every episode of Seasons 1-14 of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (as I have), you’ve watched TV for 13 days, 8 hours, and 8 minutes. If you add in all of the re-runs, the episodes caught after school or the daytime ones I’d play when I worked at the student lounge, the countless weekend marathons, I wouldn’t be surprised if I ended up watching every episode twice (three times at least for the episode where Martin Short plays a psychic, the story arc where Olivia goes undercover with eco terrorists, and when Alexandra Cabot gets shot). While I will gladly admit that the show is full of cheap thrills, melodrama, and, unfortunately, as of late, a little tasteless, I’ll still always have a big place in my heart for this show. The “dun dun” will always be a pavlovian bell to me.
To make a long story short (too late), SVU has always been my go-to TV knitting show. When I was in school, we had a lot of classes dedicated to just watching films (and discussing them, obviously). I did a lot of knitting in dark, cramped movie theaters. For education. It didn’t stop there, though. I’m still a binge-watcher but I feel less guilt about spending the day on the couch since I can make a sock during a marathon. I’ve never met a knitter that didn’t feel productive during a three season sprint.
I started watching SVU from the beginning in college when it was streaming on Netflix. I would sit cross-legged at my desk in a big chair with a big bag of yarn beside me and knit and knit and knit. Sometimes, when things got stressful, I’d skip class and sit with the window open and a mug of coffee, having my own personal Law and Order: SVU marathon. I’d crank out hats and scarves and so many fingerless gloves. Sometimes I’d sell things to my friends, other times I would offer a certain piece to someone and end up keeping it for myself. I made a lot of movies when I was in school, I travelled quite a bit. I stayed up late and worked long hours and I ate more sterno-tray baked ziti than I’d care to admit. But some of my fondest memories are sitting in the comfy chair in my pink bedroom in my first apartment, knitting with Detectives Benson and Stabler.
Now it seems like it might be over. It doesn’t look like the show will be renewed. Perhaps it’s for the best. I didn’t finish this last season because it didn’t feel like the SVU I loved that was empowering and thoughtful. It’s certainly grown clumsier and even outlandish to me over the past few seasons. I could give you all of my complicated feelings about the recent years of the show but I’m not really trying to review here. There have definitely shows that went downhill that were worse off for staying on as long as they did (did you guys watch that last episode of Dexter? Christ.) but this feels different. Maybe it’s a sentimental thing but there’s always been a kind of comforting feeling knowing that there would always be SVU. It always seemed like I could work on my needles and click “Next Episode” for all eternity.
What is your favorite show to watch while you knit? Do you mix things up or do you have an old stand by?
When I wrote about the lack of good craft shows on television, I mentioned The Fiber Factor briefly. It’s a really fun web series that I’ve been enjoying. Skacel and Addi have come together to make a show that’s (sorry, I hate comparisons like these but!) kind of a Project Runway for knitwear design. Twelve contestants are given challenges with a range of yarns to work with and their pieces are judged by a panel of industry experts. It’s obviously done on a small budget, there’s a lot of great design going on and it’s so inspiring!
While I certainly haven’t had time to be swatching along, I am inspired by the challenges and themes. Nothing like a good theme to get me thinking. Throughout the first three competitions, I’ve really been routing for Meghan Navoy. I’ve admired her work before the competition but I’m loving her submissions to TFF. I love her style and simplicity.
I recently caught up with Meghan to find out more about her fiber follies.
Tell me a little about your background in knitting.
I started knitting in high school (so 5 years now) and I was really bad for the first like 2 years I learned. My first project was similar to many other beginner knitters of a garter stitch acrylic that was probably 6 inches at one end at 20 inches by the time I finished it! I would probably still be knitting very basic scarves and things if it wasn’t for my internship at Wool and the Gang freshman year of college. I learned a ton there (normal stuff like slip the first stitch of stockinette, etc) and got a glimpse into the design process.
Why did you decide to compete on The Fiber Factor?
The Fiber Factor sounded like a great opportunity to me when I first read about it because I had been wanting to design my own patterns more and this was the perfect push to get me to really do it. I have always struggled to find something on ravelry that I actually wanted to make because not many patterns are really my style or geared towards ‘younger knitters’. Now I have more ideas for knitwear than ever. I love having someone give me parameters of what to make. The hardest part of design for me is not even knowing where to start!
What’s the most challenging part of The Fiber Factor?
The most challenging part of the Fiber Factor is having to quickly decide which yarn you’d like to use for the project. Luckily they give us generous amounts so if you decide to go another direction you have some leeway. Generally we are given about 24 hours or less to hear the prompt and then not only decide what we are going to make but calculate how much yarn is needed for the project as well.
They definitely picked a variety of different knit designers for this competition, which I think has been interesting. I know I haven’t been doing great in terms of judging but I’m still really glad I did it and have learned a lot from being a contestant!
What are your post-Fiber Factor plans?
After Fiber Factor, I would really like to continue designing my own patterns. I’m hoping to start publishing some of my own patterns. I would also like to be able to devote more time to my Etsy shop A Wool Story which has kind of been put on hold while I work on the Fiber Factor.
Thanks for giving us a little insight into your competition process, Meghan! And good luck in the upcoming challenges! The fourth challenge will be announced on The Fiber Factor site tomorrow!
Have you been watching The Fiber Factor? Have you swatched at all?
I wasn’t expecting much when I heard about Jenji Kohan’s new show for Netflix Orange is the New Black. I loved Weeds (up until season 4, at least) but the premise of Orange seemed a little too similar (white ladies + drugs = surprise!). The posters also seemed a little too sit com-y and the trailer made me scared that it might be uncomfortably racist. But Jon loved Weeds, and we have a really hard time agreeing on what to watch. So we decided to give the first episode a try to see if we liked it.
We watched the whole first season in 24 hours. And in the same weekend, Jon had finished the first three chapters of Kerman’s memoir.
Since then, I can’t stop thinking about the show. I’m so excited to have a good excuse to write about it here.
Inspired by Piper Kerman’s memoir of the same name, OITNB would have you believe it is about artisenal-soap-making Park Slope blonde Piper Chapman. She is sent to prison for smuggling drug money during an ‘adventurous, post-college, lesbian’ phase. But the story is much more than the fish-out-of-water it’s billed to be. It takes a lot of time to really explore all of the characters with incredible empathy.
While I can’t speak to how accurate the show is, it is certainly moving. And it has to be commended for a diverse range of characters and fantastically off-beat female actors. I’ve never seen an ensemble drama spend so much time developing characters that were all so complex and real. It’s refreshing to see so many talented female actors carrying a series and I certainly hope it’s the first of many like it. Long story short, Jenji is my new hero.
I don’t want to get into any spoilers here so I’ll stick to the topic at hand: crafts. Having limited resources, these women are very creative. DIY isn’t just for recreation but is often a necessity of prison life. According to Kerman’s book (which I look forward to reading in full), crochet became the craft of choice for many of her fellow inmates. The show has done a great job portraying this from bedspreads, pillows, scarves, and hats, to rec rooms full of women hooking away while others play cards and Scrabble.
Badass prison chef/mother hen Red even wears her glasses on i-cord croakies. Ahem!
I did a little bit of Google-ing about prison knitting. (Apparently crochet hooks are considered less dangerous so it’s more common amongst inmates.) I came across a program in Maryland that has gotten a lot of press called Knitting Behind Bars. They teach knitting to male inmates as a form of recreational therapy. I think it’s amazing that these crafts can bring some catharsis and rehabilitation to them! (Does anyone have information on more programs like these?)
Have you been watching Orange is the New Black? Are you already looking forward to the next season? Does anybody want to talk about the show with me? I can probably go on for hours!
ps. Tomorrow is the drawing for the Metropolitan Knits giveaway! It’s not too late to enter!
If you were raised on British television as a certain blogger was, then you were surely familiar with the antics of Wallace and Gromit before Nick Park’s feature film Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Maybe you didn’t have HBO but you wanted HBO because you wanted to watch Clueless because you LOVE Clueless even though you’ve never seen it before. So instead you tuned in to channel thriteen to catch broadcasts of BBC shows like Keeping up Appearances.
After hanging out with my Aunt Sherry last weekend and then watching 2008’s A Matter of Loaf and Death last night (as grown ups do, right?), I was reminded of the many times I visited her and asked to watch The Wrong Trousers with me after making me a blueberry soda. But while the toy train chase scene will always be one of the top ten moments in film history (don’t even, it won an Oscar!), the real best when it comes to W&G is A Close Shave.
Oh, Gromit! Oh, lawn gnome! Oh, PBS fundraiser marathons!
Now, if you are a knitter (or just a regular human being) and you have not seen this short film, you need to correct this situation and do so immediately. Gather up your children or your neighbors children or just a pet (it really makes no difference to me) and watch it.
Here are a few reasons that A Close Shave is amazing: It stars a sheep named Shaun who is adorable. In fact, it stars many sheep. It stars a dog that knits. He knits, guys! It’s a thrilling mystery that revolves almost entirely around yarn! And it’s stop motion animation. If you don’t love stop motion animation, you might as well hate Christmas or ice cream or blowing bubbles and listening to toddlers giggle. Stop motion animation is magical and require patience beyond any reasonable imagination and that is why you should love it.
I demand that you watch this movie! While you’re at it, you ought to be brushing up on Creature Comforts, too. What are you waiting for?
ps. Enjoy your 4th of July! I’m taking the rest of the week off to make friendship bracelets and eat guacamole but I’ll be back next week!
It’s almost the end of the year and I’m still discovering things that I made in 2011 that were never photographed. This one was a quick knit but I feel like I should have them all up here. That’s the point right? Better late than never, eh?
Last winter, Jon was begging me for a hat that would cover his ears. Mainly because he didn’t think that his boss and coworkers at his grown up job would appreciate the irony of wearing a Communist hat to work at one of the largest privately owned companies in the country. So we looked for something that would suit him and I ended up making this cashmere longshoreman hat.
I guess the idea orginially came out of Steve Zissou as Jon’s a die hard Bill Murray fan.
But it may have something to do with his other hero in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.
It really came to fruition after seeing what might be my favorite episode of Bored to Death (RIP) “Two Large Pearls and a Bar of Gold” in which my mom’s favorite actor and long-time crush Rene Auberjonois asks “Why are you dressed like longshoremen?”
So I made him a guard outfit hat. The New York hat (and scarf) pattern worked up great in Jade Sapphire cashmere 4-ply. Any chance I get to knit with cashmere, I take, obviously. You’d be crazy not to.
After wearing it for a season and a half, it’s grown a little bit which is frustrating but it still fits well and keeps him toasty. He loves it but I think he just wants to be Ted Danson.
Do you find that cashmere grows a lot? How yummy are cashmere hats? Why are you dressed like longshoremen?
I wasn’t going to write about Sherlock because I feel like I came late to the party. I finally got around to watching Sherlock over my hurrication but I’m a little bit hooked and I’m currently re-watching both seasons to keep myself distracted from the fact that the next series is not coming out anytime soon. I feel like I’ve tweeted about the show plenty and I’ve been teased by Jon every day since I saw “A Study in Pink” (he calls Moriarty “Mariachi”) so that I think maybe I should take it down a notch with the nerdiness.
But, it’s Christmas. And Christmas means sweaters. And John Watson knows about Christmas sweaters. So this is happening.
And, besides, The Hobbit is about to come out so Mr. Freeman is absolutely relevant right now.
While looking for screen caps of the ridiculously awesome Christmas sweater that Martin Freeman rocks in “A Scandal in Belgravia” I discovered that there is an entire John Watson sweater fandom. Which includes this recipe for a John Watson Earl Grey sweater cupcake. Why not?
It seems the Watson sweater is more beloved than the Sherlock popped-collar jacket. Perhaps I’m not the only one that instinctively thinks “The Richenbach Fall” is pronounced the “Rhinebeck” fall (which is when you jump off a building into a pile of wool, duh). (It probably has nothing to do with that.)
I think Watson’s go-to fisherman sweater is my favorite of his jumpers. You can never go wrong with an oatmeal cabled sweater. Never.
If you’re looking for the ultimate fangirl knit, Trudi Brown has a basic free pattern for the iconic sweater on Ravelry which includes a kind of really adorable drawing of Watson knitting his own jumper and some cool details about knitting and the military.
How do you feel about Sherlock? Are you a Watson sweater fangirl? Will I ever shut up about this show? Do you see how I made it about knitting so I could write about it? Do you want to talk about The Hobbit or Star Trek instead? Would that be better? Is my nerd showing?
Tags: BBC, christmas, cupcake, famous knits, Fisherman Sweater, John Watson, knit, Martin Freeman, Moriarty, nerd, pattern, ravelry, recipe, Scandal in Belgravia, Sherlock, sweater, Watson sweater fandom
The Campaign for Wool came to New York to promote everything great about our favorite fiber, wool! And they brought sheep!
That’s right! I got to see sheepies on the way home from work! And to honor the woolly wonders, the fountain was filled with multi colored hanks of wool. Knitty City was there stitching away and there were tons of spinners explaining the process to curious New Yorkers. It was pretty magical, as if my brain had exploded onto Bryant Park!
The Campaign was passing out fliers highlighting the benefits of wool in everything from household goods to sweaters. Wool is natural and sustainable. It’s a great insulator but is also breathable. And, of course, choosing wool helps to support the small (sometimes local!) farmers rather than oil companies that make cheap synthetic fabrics.
Not that you needed any convincing. In fact, I’m quite sure I am single-handedly keeping the wool industry afloat! Anyway, I don’t need to tell you how great a cause it is. I wish I could get a big 80s t-shirt that says CHOOSE WOOL.
Also, not to start a tangent but, the whole thing reminded me of this show. Does anybody remember Sheep in the Big City!? So many puns!
Big thanks to my mom for telling me about the event! Keep fighting the good fight! Wool to the People!
Who didn’t love Mr. Rogers? Who didn’t love those sweater? I want to go tie my shoes just thinking about him.
Have you read this article from CNN? Apparently all of those lovely cardigans that were Mr. Rogers’ trademark were hand knit by his mom. If that hasn’t swollen your heart to the point of bursting, well, check your pulse.
Don’t worry, everyone. There won’t be any spoilers here. About the plot, at least. But if you were hoping to be surprised by the outrageously beautiful cardigan Don Draper wears in the season’s finale…well, spoiler alert.
I caught up on Mad Men before the start of this season. I’m completely hooked and I don’t know what I’ll do now that there’s no Mad Men to watch! And this season was a real roller coaster!
This last episode was filled with beautiful images. But I think this sweater might have been my favorite. My jaw dropped and Jon immediately asked me to find a pattern so I could make one for him. Sorry, no spoilers here. I wasn’t actually listening to anything Megan was saying…I was too busy drooling.
Has anyone else had a hard time finding a truly elegant mens’ shawl collar cardigan pattern? I find they are either too flimsy or too chunky. If you’ve got one that you like, send it my way! I’m itching to cast on for a Don Draper sweater!
Maybe Trudy has a pattern I could borrow. Wonder what she’s working on…
Can’t wait to find out more about this sweater! In the mean time, I will be reading Mad Men Unbuttoned like crazy.
Until next season (fingers crossed)…I love you, Mad Men.
Have you seen This New House on DIY Network? Instead of fixing up old houses, this show highlights modern homes with the latest greenest technology. Jon and I have been watching it and we’re so inspired. Jon loves all of the gadgets, I love the modern design. And you can watch it online!
We caught an episode over the weekend and our new dream home is a monolithic dome. They’re super energy efficient and can last 500 years!
They aren’t all curves on the inside. The interior floor plans are customizable and can be multiple floors with regular rooms. Some homes are even two or more domes built together!
Jon says he’d like a big cylindrical tropical fish tank (like the magical one at the Dream Hotel in midtown) going right down the middle.
I think I’d prefer a big cozy fireplace! How amazing is this one?
You have to see their amazing construction. The episode with the amazing Dome Houses is here!
Would you live in a dome house? Would yours be ultra modern or more traditional on the inside?
Tags: cement, DIY Network, dome house, dream home, Dream Hotel, fire place, fireplace, fish tank, green home, interior design, modern design, modern home, monolithic, monolithic dome, monolithic dome institute, This New House, TV