Friday, March 14, 2014

Reality TV goes wild....

Last year, I came across a new trend in reality TV - slow TV. Norway was televising a knitathon, where several groups of competitors attempted to beat the (Australian-held!) world record for knitting a jumper, from shearing the sheep to a finished garment.

Given that the speedy Aussies managed to complete this feat in 4 hours and 51 minutes, Norwegian knitting aficionados were in for a long evening. Eventually, the jumper was triumphantly handed over, completed, in about five hours - presumably much to the relief of viewers, who must have been starting to run out of drinks and snacks.

Slow TV is an interesting example of the trend to step back from the constant rush of modern life and make a conscious decision to do things which require the investment of time and effort. Norway's other efforts in this area make the knitathon look positively manic - televised train and ship journeys, shown unedited in real time, go for days and a four hour program about firewood was followed up with eight hours of footage of a log fire.

While I don't think our TV stations are quite ready to embrace the concept of 14 day ship voyages shown in real time, Australians certainly haven't been slow to adopt the concept of slow clothing (i.e. handknitted, handcrocheted and hand-sewn).The only question is: how slow is too slow? Many crafters are time-poor, working long hours with long commutes and family responsibilities that take up much of their leisure time. While slow fashion is all very well and good as a philosophy, these people don't want to spend years knitting a 4-ply jumper on teeny, tiny needles - they want a quick project which they can pick up whenever they have a moment. Other knitters are prepared to make the time to knit intricate 2-ply lace patterns because they love their craft so much!

So which type of crafter are you?

Vest in Wendy's Supreme Chunky Cotton -
took approximately eight hours to complete

Time poor:

Try projects in chunky and superchunky yarns, such as Rowan's Big Wool, Naturally Yarns Naturelle Chunky, Wendy's Supreme Chunky Cotton or Misti Alpaca's Tonos Chunky. You can also do some amazing 'lace' knits using big needles/hooks (15mm and larger) and a fine yarn. Try the Kaalund range of patterns for some great examples!

You may want to learn to knit continental style for greater speed; crocheters may want to experiment with tricot/Tunisian crochet and/or broomstick lace for fast, easy projects.

Craft lover:

Foxy Sweater by Marie Wallin (c) Rowan
You will probably love our Rowan Kidsilk Haze! Rowan designer Marie Wallin has designed some absolutely incredible garments in this super-fine mohair yarn. Kaalund Classic Two will work for you as well - except you'll be crafting it on 2.5mm hooks (or needles) instead of broomsticks! Or you might want to do some summer knits in a fine bamboo or cotton yarn - we have the Cleckheaton 100% Bamboo, Atlante Bamboo and some Rowan 4ply Cotton and Cotton Glace to keep you busy!

As far as techniques go - try traditional lace knitting techniques, such as Orenburg lace!

Of course, we've also got 'in between' options for people who fall between the two extremes - but that's a subject for another blog post. Have a happy crafting winter!

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