Posts Tagged ‘television’
This post contains some mild spoilers, of course, so continue at your own risk! Also, I haven’t read the books!
I resisted at first but it wasn’t long before I became one of the many knitters that was devouring Starz’s new series Outlander. I love historical fiction especially of this period but I’m not into historical romance so I didn’t want to jump on the bandwagon. But the early reviews all outlined how cool the protagonist, Claire, is and how the show is not your ordinary premium cable television show. I have to say, those reviews were on point (except, Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ, that voice over is maddening!) and the show has stuck with me between viewings.
In case you missed the buzz, Claire, a British army nurse, is reconnecting with her husband on a genealogy-themed vacation when she is transported from post-WWII Scotland to the 18th century. Kilts! Brogue! That theme song!
While there’s tons of really adorable knitwear (that I would actually wear in my 21st century life), I’m going to save all of that for another post. I really want to talk about the fifth episode because it really tickled me! While Claire is on the road with Dougal and co, she stumbles on a group of women that are waulking wool.
Waulking (or fulling) is a process of cleaning and thickening new wool cloth. Sure, there was the gross-out, thank-god-I-don’t-live-in-the-olden-days fact that they are using boiled urine (yum!) to clean the oils out of the fabric and then beating it with their hands. (The smell of wet wool alone is bad enough, I can’t even!) But, considering wool is just about everywhere in the daily life of a highlander (tartan short gowns and berets and just the most beautiful blankets), this was an important common chore of the time.
Besides the whole pee blanket thing, it does seem like a pretty fun job and I’m kind of enamored by the community aspect of it. There are some great female characters in Outlander but they don’t really get to bro-out like the dudes do (telling dirty jokes, hunting, playing oldey timey sports, etc). I loved hearing these women sing and enjoy their work together.
Waulking songs are much like folk songs. Different lyrics are set to the same tunes and there is a call and response or a leader sings a verse while everyone else joins in for the chorus. The waulking songs are set to a beat suitable for pounding on the wool. I love old drinking songs and this feels like an especially female version since women were generally the waulkers.
I’m having a lot of fun finding waulking songs and exploring this tradition! Are you watching Outlander?
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?
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!
We are deep into Season 3 of Showtime’s Shameless (not to be confused with the long-running BBC original) and I couldn’t be more pleased. So much drama going on there now! It’s getting pretty gritty. When January rolled around and Shamless was back on the air, I was a happy kid! Nothing like getting cozy with a beer and enjoying some new TV. This show might be my favorite thing on television. It’s hilariously outrageous but really hits you with a serious case of the feels. I’m surprised people aren’t talking about it more.
The cast is fantastic. Emmy Rossum is definitely in my top three celebrity’s I’d like to be friends with (right after Jennifer Lawrence and Amanda Seyfried, as I’ve outlined before). I love each character more than the last. (This is a total secret but sometimes, when I’m having a rough day, I ask myself ‘What would Fiona do?’ and then go kick ass.) I’m definitely on Team Gallagher.
But let’s talk about the man we all love to hate: Frank Gallagher.
Of course, me being me, when I saw that slouchy, dirty hat that is Frank’s signature accessory, I immediately wanted to make one. It’s so funny. Such a perfect piece for the character. I love the way he wears it.
I was so surprised by how amazingly well William H Macy could toe the line between hilarious and despicable. He’s great. Like I said, the show’s really got it!
Are you watching Shameless? Are you excited about this season? Do you want a Frank hat?