Done, home and I couldn’t be happier. Holy crap.
The people running Knitty Gritty couldn’t be nicer (All of them. Even the director refrained from sudden moves and loud noises that could spook the queasy knitter.) and all of the other knitters were fabulous. (Huge thanks to Wendy, who went way, way above and beyond the call of duty) but the whole thing is pretty high pressure. They need you to be the networks version of yourself and for me, my version of myself is pretty hard to let go of. It’s a funny shift, and one that freaks me out. I’ve spent all of these years working hard at being exactly who I am – and then suddenly there are a team of 20 people making a TV show who all want editing rights on your looks, your skills and your personality. This led to a couple of retakes because I said “Crap” (though it would appear that they let “arse” slide. We shall see. I bet the next phalanx of editors get it )- and also led to me wanting to spend the whole day yelling “You’re not the boss of me…” which, of course – in this context….they are.
Day one was for rehearsal. I packed up my baggies of socks and half knit socks and walked to the studio (shocked gasps all around) found my producer Sonya
and we rehearsed. It hadn’t occurred to me before I rehearsed knitting…but since you knit on all the step outs to practice what you are doing, then when the rehearsal is over, you need to unknit everything you did and reset them to be ready to go again. If you’re going to show how to pick up stitches, then you pick them up, then tink them back. Knit — tink back. Knit–tink back.
Authors of Men who Knit and the dogs who love them.
Author of Knitting with balls (I love this book. I’ll show you sometime. It does much to address the lack of masculine how-to-knit books, it’s not like most guys who were interested would pick up Stitch n’ bitch.)
Yes. That Cookie.
I met Lisa Shobhana Mason.
Author of Yarnplay. (I haven’t read this yet. It looks beautiful.) It was like a parade of talented knitting people going by.
There’s a table called “Craft services” (I don’t know why they call it that. No one could tell me.) where you get all the free coffee and cookies and stuff that you could ever want. (Unlimited coffee. Nervous knitters. You do the math.) and you sit around, getting more nervous until the day is over. Then I went back to the hotel room and paced around it practicing what to say and the way you have to hold your knitting over this “target square” for the camera.
The next morning was filming day. I was going to do it without makeup, because I don’t wear makeup…but Wendy (she knits, blogs and does hair and makeup in LA) sent me such a desperate and eloquent note telling me that this was a mistake of such a serious nature that I gratefully accepted her offer of a bit of a do over the day of. Here’s Wendy.
She comes with a big case of makeup that she puts on all parts of your face. When she was done with me I went “On Set” (See that? I learned some of the lingo.)
I stood at the table. I sweated. I felt nauseous. They clipped a big box for the microphone to the back of my pants. (This made me very worried that on top of the whole thing my pants would fall down.) and taped the microphone to the inside of my shirt on the front. They put a big camera right over my head to film my hands.
It looked like this to me.
(I am convinced that they can see down your top. They say no…but really. Look where it is.)
I got Knitsters!
I met Vicki Howell
and I got through somehow. I’d say “it’s not that bad” or “it turns out it’s easy” but it’s not. It’s really hard to remember to say everything about socks that you meant to, it’s hard to face the right way all the time and not have a spontaneous moment. It’s hard to knit v e r y s l o w l y so they can film it. It’s hard to remember that not everybody knows what an ssk is, and that you have to be specific. When you are not specific, you have to not use unladylike language or they will make you do it over. (Ask me how I know.) You have to not lean over your knitting as you hold it over the “target” or you block that camera that’s looking down your top and the whole time it’s really important that you don’t wast time, because time is money.
I will say that other than the first 2 minutes of the thing, in which I was stunned to discover that I had forgotten anything I had ever known about socks, I think it went well. Vicki whispers helpful stuff if you forget what you’re doing and she really puts you at ease…and it totally feels like everyone wants you to do well. It’s intense and wild for two hours…then…. Your stuff goes back into a ziplock….and that’s it. That’s the whole thing. All the anxiety, all the knitting, all the carrying on and flying and the hotel room and the hair and makeup and all of it comes down to two hours of an out of body experience and then you leave.
If you’re lucky, then you leave with Cookie and Wonder-Wendy and go into LA from Burbank and go to a really cool restaurant and have hempseed crusted tofu and then drive back through these twisty crazy hills past Bob Barkers house….
and you help Cookie wind yarn in Wendy’s car.
Doesn’t it look like Wendy’s driving with her eyes closed?
The knitting? The real knitting was all on planes and in airports.
Leaving Toronto –
Arriving in Denver-
Waiting in Denver-
Flying to Burbank-
Waiting in San Francisco (I did a little shopping.) –
Flying home, knitting and watching “Firefly” –
Home. Two pairs of socks.
Let’s not talk about the green ones until later.