Tag Archives: TV

Prime-Time Knitting

If you’ve learned anything about me, you know this:

  1. I love knitting.
  2. I love TV.
  3. I love knitting while watching TV (or watching TV while knitting).

What can I say? I’m a woman of simple tastes.

Of course, while I’m knitting, I like to match my projects with the show I’m watching.

I like re-watching old favorites.  Law and Order is always in the rotation- it’s the comforting chicken soup of TV shows (and reruns are almost always playing on some channel).  It’s so formulaic (in the best possible way), you can jump in whenever, or only pay half-attention.9d6ba87cfb1a492fc92923a892f30e661When I’m watching something like Law and Order, I can save most of my brainpower for knitting complex patterns, like these cabled socks.

Fife by Kate Gilbertfife_z_500_medium21A new favorite is Orphan Black.  It’s absolutely crazy, complicated, tense show about clones, conspiracies and peril.  I’ve spent the last week binge-watching the first three seasons, and I’m absolutely riveted.  orphanblacklsjdff1When I’m watching something as crazy as this show, I have to keep my attention on the TV, so I want something simple to knit, like this lovely blanket.

Moderne Log Cabin Blanket by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne511421163_d23641bcae_z1One of my most favorite shows, The Great British Bake Off is right in-between Law and Order and Orphan Black, in terms of how much attention it requires.  It’s tense enough that I get glued to my TV, but also, it’s just baking. (Really impressive baking.)great-british-bake-off1When I’m watching GBBO, I like to work on something comforting, yet slightly complicated.  Something interesting, fun, and satisfying.   Something like this tea cozy (I think Mary would approve):

Chocolate Cake Tea Cosy by fourchette2089133310_4ecb12fd99_z1What’s your favorite TV show/knitting combination?

Inspiration: The Crown

I’ve been hard at work on Christmas gifts, so I’ve been watching more TV than usual.  (I’ve got one gift left to finish- and it feels like it’s taking forever!)

Lucky for me, I just got to spend 10 hours with the excellent new Netflix show, The Crown.  I love a good costume drama, and this is a good costume drama.  It follows Queen Elizabeth from just before her ascension through to the late 50s (I believe, I’m not great with dates).  It’s a very interesting view into the life of the young queen, her advisors, and her political opponents.  It’s a family drama, a political thriller, and kind of a coming-of-age story, all in one.  And, of course the costumes are gorgeous- the dresses, the jewels, the ridiculous military garb Prince Philip wears.  It’s all amazing.

Of course Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip don’t wear knitted jumpers to attend to matters of state, but when she’s at home, dealing with the day-to-day of “Queening,” you’d better believe Elizabeth rocks a cardigan (I bet they’re all cashmere, too).

She’s got somber ones for supervising work around the house.

crown-2And collared ones for meeting with her advisors.crown-1But they all look quite lovely with a big silk skirt with lots of petticoats.crown-3Want to let your inner Queen Elizabeth shine?  Try one of these royally cute cardi’s:

I love the touch of cables on this one, though the Queen would not approve of the short shorts.

Chimera Cardigan by Amy Herzogchimera-2_medium21I love the texture on this cardigan, but I think the Queen would think the big flower was a little “common.”  I bet she’d decorate the sweater with a gold-and-diamond brooch from her personal jewelry collection.

Christina by Kim Hargreavesp1020535-1_medium21I love the little fake peplum at the bottom of this sweater. It might be a little “much” for the queen, though.  She’s got very refined tastes.

Myra by Kim Hargreavesmyra_-_alpca_dk_medium21Have you watched The Crown?  It’s so good, right?

Inspiration:Terrace House

OK, I’ve got a confession to make.

You all know I like TV, and as someone who knits professionally (HA! That sounds funny), I probably watch more than I should.  And, most of the time, I try to limit my TV to stuff that’s a little bit wholesome- something with some cultural or educational value.  You know: BBC dramas, documentaries, cooking shows (and, yes, some Law and Order).

But I have a soft spot for some reality TV.  RuPaul’s Drag Race is my favorite, and I just began watching Project Runway again.  I’ve started watching the Bachelor/Bachelorette family of products.  They’re just such perfect ridiculous, escapist nonsense (especially these days when I need some escapism).

But we’re between seasons of the Bachelor, so what’s a girl to do?

One of my favorite podcasts of all time, Rose Buddies (a Bachelor fan podcast, and the reason I’ve started watching the show), suggested that I start watching Terrace House on Netflix.

And it’s magical.

It’s the Great British Bake Off of dumb reality TV.

Six men and women are given a fancy house in Tokyo and a big SUV, and they… just do stuff.  But, where in an American show all the contestants would get super drunk and cause all sorts of trouble right off the bat, the contestants on this show are so freaking polite and nice.  It’s a delight (if you’re into that sort of thing, and if you don’t mind reading subtitles).

But the best part is that they have a panel of six hosts (judges?) that pipes up from time to time during the show, offering play-by-play commentary.  I’m sure they’re all famous Japanese people (except for the 14-year-old boy whose presence is never explained), but I don’t recognize them.  And, the last episode I watched (Episode 11), two of the hosts were sporting some pretty great knitwear.bothSerious sweaters.

They’re even better close-up:graybrownThey’re not hand-knit; you can see where they were cut and seamed back together in the factory.  But, I love a good, classic Icelandic sweater (even when they’re on a Japanese TV show).

Want your own Serious Sweater?  Try one of these:

Asymptote (Men’s Pullover) by Lars RainsAudKnits snowflake scraves

Veturlidi by Liennea Ornstein9722624247_5b117d7d1f_z1Fosslaug by Linnea Ornsteinimg_2554_medium21What’s your guilty pleasure TV?  Have you watched Terrace House?

Getting Cozy

Yesterday was a cool, rainy day.  And, I spent it with my husband and my dog, sitting on the couch and watching Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell on Netflix.  It’s very interesting, and is just oozing creativity.  I read the book years ago, in college and only have a vague memory of what it was about, so it’s been fun to get to watch it as someone “new” to the story.

It’s based in the early 1800s, in England, and there’s all sorts of magic, fairies and prophecies flying around.  It’s all very Gothic.

And they drink a lot of tea.

So, yesterday, instead of making myself a dozen individual cups of tea to get me through the marathon, I brought out my tea pot.  And it occurred to me how embarrassing it is that I have never made a tea cozy for myself!  (I know!  A knitter with a naked tea pot- how uncivilized!)

IMG_3121Anyway, this was just a long way of saying, I’m going to design and make a tea cozy.  I’ve been thinking about walking you through my design process, from idea to finished pattern, but I haven’t found the right project.  I didn’t want something as big as a sweater (because that would be boring for you guys- all that math, and all that waiting for me to knit), but something little, like socks or mittens are too easy- to make those, you just plug a design into a formula- no math at all.

So, a tea cozy it is!  It’s big enough that we can do something fun with it, but small enough that it won’t take months and months to finish.  I’m excited.

I’ve got some yarn left over from a “colorwork phase”, that I think might work well.

These dark greens (and fuchsia) are really pretty DK-weight, in a nice squishy, soft wool.IMG_3133And these are a slightly finer Sport-weight wool (a little itchier but sturdy, with great stitch definition.  And anyway, teapots don’t care about itchiness, right?).  I like these colors, too.  They’re very cheerful.IMG_3126

I think I’m leaning to the bright colors of the sport-weight.  Maybe I can do something cool with slipped stitches, or fair isle…

Right now, I’m just trying to get a feel for what I might knit up.  My next step will be to get out my sketch book and make some doodles.

Do you have any thoughts, opinions or ideas?

Inspiration: Grace and Frankie

I may be only 30, but I am a knitter, quilter, and gardener, and when the weather changes, my knee hurts.  So, I think that makes me an honorary old lady.   And this honorary old lady likes Netflix’s show Grace and Frankie.

Have you watched it?  It’s delightful!  Grace-and-Frankie-sæson-2-Netflix-420x414[1]Sure, it’s a fairly standard “odd couple” type of show, but it is actually really fun and fresh-feeling.  First of all, it stars two *gasp* women (in their *double gasp* 70s!) and they are totally amazing.  Lily Tomlin steals the show as hippy-dippy Frankie.  And Jane Fonda steals it right back as uptight ex-business maven Grace.  The two unlikely friends end up living together (because of complicated reasons involving their husbands leaving them to get married to each other), and figuring out what life is like living on their own.

It’s a funny show, but it’s also sweet and heartfelt (and has even made stoic old me cry a couple times).

But, the costumes.

26FRANKIE3-blog427[1]Oh the costumes.90[1]Grace hasn’t met a starched collar she didn’t like, and I think Frankie must shop in the ‘woodland sprite’ section of Macy’s.  They both always look amazing, and in totally different ways.

Grace rocks a selection of jackets and pantsuits that leave even me (who thinks wearing my “nice flannel shirt” is dressing up) with an itch to go shopping.grace-and-frankie-jane-fonda[1]If she were to ask for a knit garment, you’d be sure it’d be a structured cardigan like this one, complete with shoulder pads and princess seaming.

Nearly Chanel by von Hinterm Steinchanel-pattern_medium2[1]On the other hand, Frankie loves to play with flowy fabrics and interesting silhouettes.  Nothing makes it into her wardrobe without a beautiful print or a gorgeous color.GF_EP110_MM_103014_1071.CR2She’d love to try something a little out-of-the-box, like this really cool tunic, complete with an interesting hemline and pockets.  I think she’d wear it with a really huge crystal statement necklace and some sort of billowy, peasant skirt.

Still Light Tunic by Veera ValimakiDSC_8469_medium2[1]Have you watched Grace and Frankie?  What did you think of it?

The Clangers!

I did the thing the other day (and don’t act like you haven’t done it) where I was buying some yarn  from KnitPicks, and I was this close to $50, so I had to buy myself a little present to get the free shipping (even though the shipping probably cost less than the present… But it’s the principle).

Well, I was browsing the books, and would you believe it?  There was a Clangers knitting book!!!  And it was only 7 bucks!31918[1]What’s that?  You don’t know about the clangers?

Well, clearly you never were a kid in British public school.   We lived in Essex for a few years when I was in elementary school, and they showed old VHS tapes of The Clangers when they didn’t feel like teachign.

The Clangers was a kids’ BBC show from the late-60s/early-70s (which explains everything) about a family of knitted, pink, mouse-like creatures that live on a tiny, papier-mache moon and eat soup (cooked by the Soup Dragon-obviously) and blue string pudding.  They don’t talk, instead they communicate by whistling.  Also there’s the robotic Iron Chicken and tiny Froglets, who live in the center of the moon in a pool of pink soup.31918101[1]It all makes sense.

Ish.

Maybe watching an episode will make it clear:

Clearer?

OK.  I’ll be honest.  I thought this was a really great show when I was 7.  Now, I think it’s…well…  Yeah.

But, still, there’ll always be a spot in my heart for The Clangers, and a spot on my bookshelf for this knitting book.

Have you ever revisited something from your childhood that you thought was great, but turned out to be… well… not?

Adventure Time Again!

I told you that Adventure Time had a lot of knitting in it.  Although, I think that this episode (Everything’s Jake, which aired on November 24th), is the first one to actually show a character knitting.

It’s not an important plot point, and unless you were a weird-o knitter, like me, you probably wouldn’t even have noticed it.

But, the episode begins with Jake sitting on the couch, listening to his Victrola and knitting away at… something.

UntitledHe then puts down his knitting, and you get to see the rest of his WIP, where it sits on the coffee table:

Untitled1Then, if you’re a big nerd like me, you squeal in delight, because you realize that Jake is making an entire outfit for his buddy BMO, the sentient robot/gaming system.

thCASP0UENSure, he’s a robot, and probably doesn’t get cold, but, he would be so cute in his new little outfit!  (I’m pretty they show this in the episode, but, for the life of me I can’t find it, so maybe it was all a beautiful, adorable dream.  Who knows.)  And he’s such a sweetie, you know that he’ll wear the sweater just to make Jake happy.

Inspiration: Mr. Roger’s Mom

Everyone (at least in the US), knows Mr. Rogers, and his beautiful kids’ TV show, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Each episode begins with Mr. Rogers entering his house, changing his shoes and zipping up (or buttoning up) a cardigan sweater while singing “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”  (I still know all the words more than 20 years after I last saw the show.)Copyright © 1995 - 2008 Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). All Rights ReservedBut, did you know that all (or at least, nearly all) his sweaters were knit by hand by his mother, Nancy Rogers?  How wonderful is that?   It totally makes sense.  Of course Mr. Rogers wore sweaters knit by his mother!25988[1]One of her sweaters has even ended up in the Smithsonian.   You can visit it in D. C. next time you’re there to pay respects to Mrs. Rogers.

mr-rogers-sweater-smithsonian-640x480[1]

And, one of the most famous Mr. Rogers quotes (at least it pops up on my Facebook feed most frequently) is about his mother:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” — Mister Rogers

Mr. Rogers’ mother must have been a pretty amazing lady.  So let’s raise our knitting needles to Nancy Rogers (and all the other amazing mothers) this Sunday while we celebrate Mothers’ Day!

 

(And Happy Mothers’ day to all you mothers out there on the internet!  Especially Mom, Grandma, and Kris (my Mother-in-Law)!)

Inspiration: The League

I just started watching The League recently.  And it’s kind of hilarious.

league[1]

It’s not so surprising that it’s taken me so long to start watching the League, since it’s a TV show about a bunch of guys playing fantasy football.  I know nothing about fantasy football.  And almost nothing about football.  (That’s the one with the pointy ball, right? Just kidding.  I totally knew that.)  But you totally don’t have to know anything about football to enjoy this show.

At it’s core, it’s a comedy in the vein of Seinfeld or It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  It’s a group of friends that hang out a lot and are generally terrible people and do terrible things to one another.  It’s a little bro-y, with lots of guy jokes, but it’s still entertaining if you don’t mind that sort of thing.

Anyhoo, I finally made it to season 4, where this happened:

The-League-Season-4-Episode-10-11-Our-Dinner-with-Andre-12.12-6-550x366[1]The gag is that one of the characters (in a long-running joke) has the worst taste in clothes of anyone ever in the history of the world.  The rest of the gang is trying to get on his good side, so they let him take them shopping.  And, well, that leads to these fantastic outfits.

Then, in one of my favorite lines in the show, one of the characters asks Kevin (in the blue shirt) “Where’s the rest of your turtleneck?” when he sees his new scarf.  Which I think is hilarious.

Now, I don’t recommend wearing a cowl scarf like Kevin’s with that outfit.  But I kind of want to make one for myself.  If you want to make a sweater-less turtleneck of your own, try one of these cozy patterns.

GAP-Tastic Cowl by Jen Geigley

IMG_6696_medium2[1]My Kind of Town Cowl by Trish Woodson

IMG_2070_medium2[1]Climb and Swirl Cowl by Craig Rosenfeld

Hannah_Cowl_medium[1]

Inspiration: Princess Bubblegum

Have you ever seen the cartoon “Adventure Time?”  No?  Well, if you’re not a 12 year old, that kind of doesn’t surprise me.

Adventure-time-logoIt’s a sometimes funny, sometimes touching, always surreal show about a boy (Finn the Human) and his magical, shape-shifting, talking dog/brother (Jake the Dog).  They go adventuring around the post-apocalyptic “World of Ooo” righting wrongs and getting into trouble.

One of my favorite characters on the show is Princess Bubblegum.  She’s the monarch of the Candy Kingdom (and literally made of bubblegum).  She’s sometimes a benevolent overlord to her subjects, and sometimes a semi-terrifying mad scientist.  But, she’s always an independent lady and quite a bit of a badass.

4820133598_c7f1752059_zLast week’s episode had PB going on a quest through a darkly mysterious wood, into a magic pond, and into a dark witch’s house.  And, being the practical gal she is, Ms. Bubblegum dressed appropriately:

PB1

PB2

PB3

The next time I go on an adventure, I know what I want to wear!  A sassy, long cozy pullover, comfy pink tights, and practical purple combat boots.  And, of course, my tiara.

Cozee, by Voolenvine

IMG_0241_medium2

Berwick, by Kristen Rengren

berwick_z_500