Tuesday, February 2, 2016

British costume dramas - the knitter's friend

There is nothing I love the way I do a good movie or mini-series - the way you can sit down watch one and truly escape into a completely different world, then come back to your own more relaxed, and thoughtful, and looking down at huge knitting progress.

I've been thinking a lot about escapism (hello, I'm renovating my house, of course I'm desperate for escapism).  It's true of books too, or any form of storytelling.  A good story takes you out of your life and lets you experience somebody else's.

We've been telling each other stories since we developed speech - it's how we passed on what we learned before we had ways to write things down and read them, and it's how we passed an evening around the fire, and it's still how a lot of us amuse ourselves after a long day at work.

Isn't it interesting to think that humans maybe don't just enjoy, but actually need storytelling?  I've been wondering about this, whether it's the story itself we want, or the awakening of our imaginations as we put ourselves in the characters' position, or the break from our own existence, or the opportunity to learn from others' experiences in a very compressed amount of time.

Well, whatever it is, I am really glad to have this huge new stash of costume dramas to keep me company through this winter.  It's the costume element that sets these apart - the amazing textiles and knitted accessories and, my favourite, the fact that you can understand the economic position of a character simply by how frequently certain clothes are reworn in scene after scene.

I am particularly enthralled by the undyed warmer worn by Little Dorrit - garter stitch stretched as far as it will go to provide maximum coverage.  It's incredibly evocative of her life in the early stages of the story.

I wouldn't want to have lived in those hard days, but I do love imagining the knits I'd make and how essential they'd be.  I guess that's another aspect of the escapism, isn't it? Because knits aren't nearly so desperate in a world of central heat. 

I hope you stay nice and warm today, whether or not you get a story break, and I'll see you tomorrow!


Mimi said...

What an interesting blog post. Yes, we humans are story tellers. I sometimes try to imagine life before TV, before CDs or Pandora for music, before movies, etc. Swapping stories definitely would be on the list of things to do for entertainment, along with making your own music. Wonder if back then, knitting would be "entertainment" or "work?"

Mary Keenan said...

I wonder so much about that Mimi - is knitting fun if you *have* to do it?? (I vote yes, but whether that would be true if I were actually overworked and freezing and knitting for a sailor son who might at any time be swept off the deck, hmmmm.)