Norway's 12-Hour Knitting Television Program

(Photo: Steve Johnson)

Norway has, by American standards, somewhat eccentric preferences for television programming. Several months ago, it showed a 12-hour program of a fire burning in a fireplace. It has also shown an 8-hour train ride and a 134-hour recording of an Arctic cruise ship voyage.

Last Friday, the network NRK planned to show half a day of knitting. But it’s actually faster-paced that you might think. A crew planned to set a new world record for shearing a live sheep, carding the wool, turning it into thread and then knitting a sweater. It’s called the “sheep to sweater” or “back to back” challenge. The current record of 4 hours and 51 minutes is held by Merriwa Jumbucks of Australia.

Rune Moklebust, the director of the program, calls the approach “Slow TV.” Rachel Martin of National Public Radio (USA) interviewed him about it:

MARTIN: The knitting program is about to happen. Can you give us preview of that? What can we expect to see?

MOKLEBUST: The first four and a half hours will be talking about knitting in every aspect, or almost everything, because we can't fit everything in. Around midnight, we will turn the pace down, if possible. Start with a record attempt - Guinness world record attempt - of the process from sheep to jumper.

-via Marginal Revolution

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Thanks, Daniel. It's a large sheep and the women are spinning from the top (the wool at the top is from the sheep's back; it's the cleanest and has the longest staple). They're spinning 'in the grease'. The woman sitting at the wheel farthest to the left on the double-treadle Schacht is plying the singles off their bobbins into a double ply to make it "yarn". The step of hand carding was skipped altogether. Sorry, John.
The big time eater will be the knitting... probably a pullover, knitted in the round; they'll save time by not having to seam any pieces.
I'd have enjoyed more of it, but it's gettin' late. Time to go count sheep.
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I would love a "slow tv" channel. i've already had the fire log on this fall...
Thanks Daniel Kim, I think I know what I'm doing for the next - 12 hours?
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Watching the stream, the sheep appears to be pretty clean, and the wool is being taken and spun directly by hand spinning wheels. Hand shears, too. No electricity at all. Pretty docile sheep.
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