Knitting Daily TV and the Siena Mittens

In the department of BIG NEWS, I had the super fun privilege of being a guest on the now available Knitting Daily TV series 1400. This was my third season of working on the show behind the scenes, but the first time I got to be in front of the camera. TV is completely different from my day-to-day job, and I've looked forward to each taping. You meet really interesting and intelligent people, the crew on the set, the guests who appear on the show, the people you're next to on airplanes. It's a big adventure, really.

I appeared in two episodes, but the one I want to focus on here is 1406: Accessorize It! It is the time of year for knit accessories, especially hats, scarves, and mittens. Annie Watts had beautiful mittens in the winter issue of Knitscene, and she awesomely agreed to let me demonstrate them. The Siena Mittens feature a marling technique; you hold two strands of different colors of yarn together, and switch the colors out one at a time for different colors. This creates a beautiful variegated look that is simple in its execution. Annie used The Knitting Boutique's Monocacy Fingering weight, a 100% merino yarn available in so many fantastic colors. These mittens also have a subtle bias stitch pattern, created through the placement of M1s (Right and Left) and SSKs as well as K2Togs.

Vickie and me on the set Annie Watts' Siena Mittens

I was nervous to say the least before taping. This was the big time, national television (!), and I'm just little old me. I wanted to do justice to Annie's beautiful work, and express just how great a project these mittens are. I worked with my boss, Knitscene editor Amy Palmer, to come up with some basic talking points. I then knit step outs to demonstrate the key points of the pattern (I especially like the after-thought thumb). Tanis Gray was at the taping and she and I walked through the segment…several times! She timed me, gave me pointers, and on one walk-through pretended to be Vickie, asking questions and pointing out interesting parts of the pattern.

My tray of mitten-y goodness Tanis Gray!

I had gotten to know some of the crew members over the past seasons of the show, getting restaurant and site seeing recommendations along with discussing our competing sports teams (as well as the magic that is Die Hard). The guys behind the cameras all promised to be extra nice to me while I was filming, and they were true to their word! They were encouraging and smiled a lot, which helped calm my jitters. And Vickie was truly awesome. She is engaging and vivacious and so much fun. She knows how to put people at ease, how to ask questions directly and with enthusiasm, and how to make the whole experience beautifully cohesive.

Wrap dinner: Keith, Vickie, Brett, Me, and Mike

If taping happened in Colorado and not in Ohio, I would have baked something for the crew (maybe I should bring something with me next time…plan ahead, Louisa!). As I mentioned in a previous post about pie, if I bake for you, I like you a whole lot, and I can think of no better way to thank people for hard work than homemade baked goods. Thinking about mittens, and cold weather knitwear makes me want to make some Elevator Lady Spice Cookies. This recipe came to my family by way of my godmother, who got the recipe from a Washington, D.C. office building elevator operator. These cookies are a fall/winter tradition in my family, and baking a batch makes me feel like I'm a kid again, baking cookies with my parents on a snowy Saturday afternoon. 

Elevator Lady Spice Cookies

Cream together:

– 3⁄4 cup butter

– 1 cup sugar

Add and beat together well:

– 1 beaten egg

– 1⁄4 cup molasses

Sift and mix:

– 2 cups all-purpose flour

– 2 teaspoons baking soda

– 1⁄4 teaspoon salt

– 1 teaspoon cinnamon

– 3⁄4 teaspoon cloves

– 3⁄4 teaspoon ginger

Gradually add wets to dry mixture. Form into walnut-sized balls. Put them 2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 9-10 minutes, until crinkly on top. Makes approximately 60 cookies.

I've shared the recipe because it's fantastic. And because baking is about bringing people together, and sharing something good. This is the same motivation behind Knitting Daily TV. People coming together and sharing their ideas and knowledge and having a whole lot of fun. The new season starts airing on PBS January 15th, but you can pre-order the entire season on DVD today! Individual episodes will be available to download soon! There are so many ways to enjoy this show, I hope you get some people together, bake some cookies, and watch!

Knit happy and happy knitting,

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