Monday, April 21, 2008

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!

1 comment:

Karen said...

Filmed in Cleveland? How is that all the really exciting stuff happens after I move away?

Can't wait to see the results - it is going to be on PBS (so us folks without cable service can see it), isn't it?