Posts Tagged ‘the fiber factor’
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?
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.
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!(?)
Tags: ad, cable, craft wars, DIY Network, fishing channel, food network, knitting wars, long read, martha stewart, nora meets the maker, pbs, rant, reality tv, the fiber factor, thirteen, TV, vickie howell, video podcast