Monday, February 24, 2014

TV while sewing

Back in the olden days before video recorders, before streaming online live action or multiple channels, the Olympics was a special event.  I would move into the TV room, prepared to watch nonstop for two weeks, but also prepared to sew or crochet or do a 2000-piece jigsaw puzzle.  There were so many commercials, so many up-close-and-personal sob features, so much pontificating by the commentators, that you had plenty of time to work on your side project in between the action.

But technology has changed everything. I have been taping the broadcasts and zipping through all the commercials and pontificating.  Rather than the old norm of three minutes of fluff for every one minute of actual sports, now it's one minute of fast-forwarding for every ten or fifteen minutes of sports.

You would think this would be viewers' paradise!  I'm having trouble, though, because my attention keeps straying from the action on the screen to the embroidery in my hand.  

I'll tell myself to watch closely, and fix my eyes on the skater or skier... and then I've taken a couple of stitches and hear the announcers say "OH that was terrible" and then I have to rewind to see the crash or fall that I missed.  You wouldn't think it would be stretching my attention span that much to keep watching four minutes worth of figure skating or a minute and a half of slalom without being distracted.  But such is the lure of the needle in the cloth.

My usual TV diet while working in my studio is any show that requires listening but not much actual watching.  Shows that are long on talking are excellent; Law & Order is my favorite, because there's surprisingly little action.  I know the voices of all the regular characters, and I can quickly learn which new voice belongs to the victim's wife, which belongs to the evil brother-in-law, which belongs to the bystander/witness.  On the rare occasion when we get to watch a cop chase or the courtroom denouement, the music will signal me to look up in time.

So I've trained myself to be much more aware of what's said than what's shown, and while I'm missing a lot of the Olympic scenery I do keep a sharp ear out for the commentary:  "Look at her head, locked in between her shoulders...."   or "I'm sure he's used to skiing in snowy conditions...."

So I'm failing as a spectator, but succeeding as a stitcher.  I'm still working on my "words of advice" series, loving the opportunity to make crude letters, without having to be fussy about whether they're all the same height or width or letterspacing.  I am aiming for an entry deadline later this week, and still have to get the pieces mounted and ready for photography.  Guess the Olympics will have to wait till I'm finished.


  1. The key is finding movies/shows/sports that can be followed without watching, but also have interesting moments where you stop working to watch.

    The stop-and-watch moments are important to help gather your thoughts about what you're doing and gauge where you're at in the project.

    Action movies are great work-watching, as are comedies that you've seen a hundred times.
    There is nothing better for working/watching than baseball.

  2. Never try to work on anything while watching a silent movie--ask me how I know.
    Linda Laird