Monday, April 21, 2008

Gosh! It's Josh with Knitting Needles

This is a picture of Jan and Josh. Doesn't Josh look happy?

I've been putting pressure on our young, handsome Yarnmarket guy. Lots of pressure. "Learn to knit or I'll tell your mother-in-law!" Well, Josh and I both know his mother-in-law and if I tell her that Josh needs to learn to knit, she'll make darned sure that he does. (Casey can get anything done. Right now she's working in Dubai and whatever it is she's doing, I'll bet she gets it done on time, on strategy, and on budget.)

Anyway, Jan and Josh drove up to Cleveland to attend the Knitting Daily TV shoot, and by the time Josh got out of the car 2 1/2 hours later, he was impassioned; he needed to learn to knit. I don't know what it was Jan said to him, but I'm pretty sure it went something like, "Learn to knit or I'll tell your mother-in-law!"

Jan teaches classes here at Yarnmarket, and she's really good at it. So it didn't take her long to have Josh proudly clicking away to create a suprise scarf for his unsuspecting wife, Shelly. He's using nice big knitting needles and a big Rowan yarn which is perfect for beginners.

Josh clicked away at the shoot, and when I saw him the next day back at the office, he was proudly displaying the fruits of his labors to the very surprised ladies. They were really impressed with his skill...and all swore an oath to not tell any of his friends if ever they should happen to meet them.

I'm very proud that Josh can knit. Next, we're going to teach him tatting...and if he doesn't learn, I'm going to tell his mother-in-law.

Yarnmarket's BIG TV DEBUT!!!

You know how your husband asks you to do things that you don't want to do and you have to come up with a good excuse to get out of it? Something like, "I have a headache," or "I'm too busy right now," or "The neighbors threatened to call the police if I ever did that again"?

Well, my husband came up with one heck of an idea that I couldn't get out of no matter how hard I tried. He decided that I should go on the new Knitting Daily TV show to tell people all about yarn.

Now, just to put it into perspective: I hate being photographed so much that I didn't even hire a photographer for my wedding. So you can imagine how I felt about being asked to appear in front of a gazillion people (okay...I exaggerate...half a gazillion people) to show them some of the wonderful yarns we have here at Yarnmarket.

To prepare, I read all sorts of great books like, The Knitter's Book of Yarn and No Sheep for You. I fondled all the yarns I'd be speaking about. I wrote scripts. I re-wrote them. I re-wrote them again. I studied and studied and studied...and mostly I studied things that nobody would ever want to know. Like that the vicuna is a sweet little animal that emits a high-pitched whistle when it's scared. (Sort of the like the primal scream I let out when I'm forced to appear on a TV set.)

Anyway, we worked with the very nice folks at Knitting Daily TV and last week a few of us YarnMartians headed up to Cleveland for the shoot. Alex and I had to rent an enormous SUV because we had boxes and boxes of yarn, each neatly marked with the episode the yarn was to appear on, plus lots of interesting props, and some very expensive samples that people were kind enough to lend to us for the shoot. These included a gorgeous Cherry Tree Hill Orenberg lace shawl, a Twinkle sweater, some scrumptious silk Artyarns tops, a beautiful felted Crystal Palace bag, a Vicuna sweater and shawl that were worth more than the car, and a lovely Qiviut scarf. (More about the word "lovely" later.)

Because I was so nervous about having the samples with us, I'd clearly marked the box they were in with, "DANGER! BIO-HAZARD! INFECTIOUS MATERIALS." I'd forgotten about that box, but Alex told me the warnings were effective. The young men at the studio who were helping him unload the car saw that box, and stepped back, looking alarmed.

Jaime, the producer of the show, greeted me first. She was a little surprised she said when she saw me because I wasn't as overweight as she thought I would be. That was the beginning of a lifelong friendship. I'd told her repeatedly throughout the time leading up to the shoot that I was trying to lose 15 pounds because TV cameras put that much weight on you. But after a few weeks, I decided it would be easier to just grow another 3 inches taller. I packed some Spanx in my suitcase to help contain the results of binge eating chocolate cookies and Steak 'n Shake Sippable Sundaes with hot fudge sauce, and I hoped the make-up artist could do something to create contours on my face. (She couldn't.)

I also packed up a lot of dark colored pants. I've learned throughout the years that dark colored pants and high heels are the best camouflage you can buy. Well, not as good as real camouflage pants, of course, but the best when you've got to be someplace nice and you don't want to look like a Soldier of Fortune. But it turned out that the studio was providing the best camouflage of all: a table. I got to sit behind a table so all you could see was my top half. That was a double blessing because it also meant I didn't have to change my pants for each episode. I'd had to bring a variety of outfits because we were shooting 11 episodes over two days and I was supposed to look different in each one.

The first episode I shot was with Liz Gipson. She's a terrific lady who made me feel comfortable despite my terror of being on the set. Next I got to work with Shay Pendray. I felt so honored to meet her! She's such a wonderful woman and was so supportive, assuring me she wouldn't let me say anything too goofy. Eunny Jang hosted a few segments, which was really great because I'd been to her breakfasts at TNNA shows but never actually had the chance to meet her. And Kim Werker, who's a real hoot and is almost as Canadian as I am...except she was born in the States and moved there, while I was born there and moved here.

Everyone at the shoot was really nice and they all did their best to make me feel comfortable while I sputtered maniacally because I was so nervous. Our friends from Webs were there and I got to see Kathy do a great job presenting her segments. (She's got some valuable info on the show about how to wash your woolens, so be sure to watch that part because it will save you money.)

Becca from Bagsmith was there to demonstrate her Extreme needles which are absolutely enormous and lots of fun to work with. (I'm going to buy some steel cable and knit myself a suspension bridge.)

The entire shoot took a week, but I was there for only a couple of days doing my segments. I'd like to say it was fun...but it was scary. And I was nervous. And I was worried that my false eyelashes would fall off while I was on camera and everyone would think I had a caterpiller stuck to my cheek. (My Mom told me I had to wear false eyelashes because all the newscasters wear them -- well, the women newscasters do and maybe Shepard Smith on FoxNews -- and she said that you can always tell when they don't wear their false eyelashes because they don't look right.)

By the end of the two days, I was exhausted, Alex was elated and the people at the studio were probably happy to see me go.

Be sure to watch for the Knitting Daily TV show when it airs in your area. It'll be on PBS. I'm on the first segment, "Getting Started" on almost all of the shows.

And, please remember...I studied and studied and studied the yarns. And I'm really sorry if I goofed up on something, but I swear that if they'd asked me something obscure and technical, like how big a micron is, I could have told them the answer!

Oh, yeah. I almost forgot. Alex said I said the word "lovely" too often. Maybe I'll have a "Count the Lovely's" contest when the shows begin to air. I figure that if this is the biggest criticism Alex had about my performance, I might not have done too badly.

Whew! I'm glad it's over!

What do to with those odds and ends

I've been thinking a lot about the yarn I have left over from all my projects. I couldn't figure out what to do with 10 yards of this or 5 yards of that and I hate to see it go to waste. So I've made a decision. I'm going to put it to good use while I perform a much-needed public service.

I'm going to knit underpants for all those Hollywood fashionistas who spend so much money on their Fendi bags and Gucci dresses that they can't afford to buy underpants.

Sure, they might be a little bit thick and warm...but I figure bulky weight, 100% merino underpants are better than no underpants at all.

Most of these over-exposed young ladies are anorexic anyway, so the bulk might at least give them some illusion of hips.