Friday, August 03, 2007

The Yarngina Monologue

I guess I should tell the full tale of the yarngina since many people have been bemused, shocked and simply intrigued by my last project which took up ALL of what little precious knitting time I had after working 11 hour days and neglecting poor, long-suffering Gruff. It's the Yarngina for my dear friend Janice's one woman show for this year's Edinburgh fringe festival. Janice was one of the first friends I made when I came to London to do my Masters more than 10 years ago. We studied here and together with some others friends on the course, have been through thick and thin together in the intervening decade.

Janice has been going up to Edinburgh for the last 10 years in shows of various descriptions, comedy double-acts, 10-minute stand-up slots, children's shows and one of her earliest sketch shows 'Sparkling' was directed by yours truely @ the Gilded Balloon where we got 4 stars in the The Scotsman for our efforts. Anyway, Janice has been working hard on the comedy circuit for the last 3 years and was runner-up in the Funny Women competition in 2004 and a finalist in the Hackney New Comedy Act competition in 2005. In all these years, I have always thought that I could write some material for her to use which was a safe way for me to come up with looney ideas without having to actually test them out myself.

For her first solo show, Janice decided to ask all her friends back in January to write a little character specially for her… except that almost everyone misinterpreted her request. Someone wrote a poem about Janice, another wrote a fictional monologue of a character she thought Janice could play and someone else wrote a little monologue all about herself (and not Janice)… anyway, I think the whole intention was to give Janice some ideas to work off.

But you see, Janice has enough looney ideas of her own and her stand-up set through the years has quickly became centred around her dysfunctional sex life and embarassing moments of discovering tissue stuck in intimate areas during the throes of passion… you get the idea I hope. So when faced with this request, I thought I would find a way for Janice to use her own ideas and material if she could tell her life story through her genital's perspective - an exercise for student pyschiatrists examining sexuality I am told. This would thereby negate the need for me to come up with ideas for her and therefore cunningly deflect her whole request. I should also mention that it is extremely hard to write comedy material that is any good as I have discovered through years of trying. When I told a friend about my cunning idea, he casually and slightly mockingly suggested that I could knit Janice a costume thereby combining helping a friend with something I loved. Said friend has also been somewhat exasperated that I have less time for hanging out and partying since I have become such a compulsive and obsessed knitter devoid of a social life. I thought this was a brilliant idea although I knew it would be frought with potential hiccups (what yarn would I use? Where would I find a pattern for a knitted yarngina? How would I create something that an audience would recognise in a instant without the need for dry explanations? What about all the million other projects I had lined up?) Needless to say, it was a bit of a challenge but one that I thought would provide some laughs along the way.

Once I'd made that promise to a delighted Janice, it was hard to extricate myself from my pledge - she also decided that it would be a great way for her to close the show, so no pressure there! One Wednesday evening at Ks & Ps, I blurted it out when I no longer cared if the group would think I was odd, deranged and perhaps frankly a little perverse. Thankfully, everyone thought it was hilarious as I kind of suspected they would, seeing as they are all unflappably cool ladies - P our unelected ringleader & Loba our technical genius offered up various suggestions for construction, Lucy very kindly offered to donate some fun brown eyelash yarn for the cause and Helen just could not stop giggling.

As the deadline drew close, the risk of failure was increasing - what if it didn't turn out 'right', what if I had to make numerous attempts, frog and re-frog and re-knit the project, what if, what if, what if - my thoughts became a tangled up mess. I became convinced that it would all be alright as long as I thought it through properly before execution - so I would draw little doodles at work, at the back of receipts trying to imagine how it should look and randomly start a thoughtful discussion with an amused Gruff about various possibilities. Time was running out and deadlines went whizzing by, in a desperate attempt to buy myself more time, I tried to persuade Janice to postpone her show to next year, but she had paid up at the venue and the flyers had been printed so there was no going back - the only other option (which I briefly entertained) was me leaving the country for a while. There was no doubt in anyone's minds that a yarngina could somehow be made but I was working towards such a tight deadline that at one point, Gail could see all of us working on it at Wednesday's Ks & Ps. There was even talk of me bringing the 'Lovebox' to the Lovebox festival at Victoria Park for some emergency group knitting but as it had rained the previous day, I did not want to run the risk of lugging a wet, soggy and heavy yarngina around in cramped music tents.

With a lot of frantic and speed knitting in the final week, the yarngina was finally completed last Wednesday with some added assistance from another good friend Martina - tasked with stuffing an old pair of tights whilst pouring out her woes about her disasterous romantic weekend in Paris. When the yarngina was unveiled however, we all fell about laughing with tears streaming down our faces - Janice is also the only person I know who can even remotely carry off wearing a knitted yarngina. It was a priceless moment and Janice was completely amazed, touched and grateful - I was just relieved that it came out as expected. Another friend who saw it a few days later was laughing so hard she had to leave the room and has sworn that she will never ever tease me about my knitting again.

I like to think that I might have shown that knitting is not a fuddy-duddy pursuit confined to elderly ladies and that the possibilities are endless with the use of just some sticks and string. Best of all, I think that Janice is going to have an exceptional show which she richly and truly deserves. If you're up in Edinburgh at all this year - please do go and see it here.


purl pirate said...

You're just amazing xx

Flibbertygibbet said...

Well of course we do think you're deranged and odd and perverse, but we love you for it sweetie. You knitting goddess, you. xx

Sarah said...


Helen said...

giggling WTIH you of course :) I still can't get over how cool this is. i was chuckling to myself on Wednesday as I saw one of those doodles on the back of Gail's pattern.

Cassie said...

I've been waiting to see this for a while now... at it hasn't disappointed. I want to know all the details - what yarn did you use, how did you make it, how long did it take?

Ginger Lucy said...

You are just incredible to have designed and made this! And you have provided us all with hours of entertainment on a Wednesday night watching you!

Even the shop assistant in Liberty had heard about this...

KnittingJenny said...

Ting, you are amazing.

Jo said...

This is one of the best things I've ever seen. made of awesome and then some

Bhavini said...

wow - what more can be said...It's made my night, i can't stop laughing inbetween admiring your creative effort...maybe you start a whole new knitted sex wear fetish/art fad.

Jox said...

that is the best thing ever, I think you might have to post the pattern!!!!
i have just joined the london knitters netring and randomly found you, so glad i did, what a laugh!
i am playing a game of tag with my blogging crafting chums and thought I would 'tag you' if you want to play have a look at my blog for details. Jox

Esoteric Knitter said...

It's fantastic! What a great gift for your friend and all that knitting too. :)

Alice said...

wow (just came accross this while surfing blogrings)



I Knit London said...


Sharon Rose said...

Sheer, bloody brillance!

KnittyBitch said...

I am utterly dumbstruck with awe. Fabulous....bloody fabulousity at it's finest.

puggerhugger said...

Wow....just, Wow

Anonymous said...

anime cosplay follows Comic-Figures or and also your ideas and desires for cheap cosplay.Our cosplay costumes are not made in the same measurement, but are made with our cosplay special attention to your request.naruto cosplay or cosplay naruto is hot sale now. Furthermore, we will still send you the product Japanese School Uniform after our detailed further check.Yyou'll be surprised at the plentiful varieties such as Kingdom Hearts Cosplay, Bleach Cosplay, Final Fantasy Cosplayand you are sure to find the special anime cosplay costumes you've been looking for wholesale costume in our store.

Adi said...

Oes Tsetnoc one of the ways in which we can learn seo besides Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa. By participating in the Oes Tsetnoc or Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa we can improve our seo skills. To find more information about Oest Tsetnoc please visit my Oes Tsetnoc pages. And to find more information about Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa please visit my Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa pages. Thank you So much.

Contraception Education said...

Wow! Fantastic work! This would be fabulous for sex education in schools - if you would like me to post it for you in my on-line shop please let me know via

mewmewmew said...

So I think I might crawl home early to get some much needed beauty sleep. Feel and look like a total hag today.... it's hardly a great way to usher in 2008 frankly and at my age I SHOULD know better!

Leg Exercises
Hospital Beds Florida

Chang bui thi said...

Hello, just wanted to say, I loved this article. It was practical.
Keep on posting!
i like play games friv online and play games2girls Download baixar facebook

Jenny Daring said...

Tank trouble| happy wheels| Strike Force Heroes
This is an evolutionary strategy game that pits you against alien invaders. You begin the game in the Stone Age, with just a base and some money. Select your base to view the available building options and spend your money wisely. Buy buildings that will spawn offensive units and gatherers, as well as turrets to bolster your defenses. You can upgrade your buildings so that they produce more effective units and spawn them at a faster rate.
We are really grateful for your blog post. You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. Great work.
happy wheels|
strike force heroes | tank trouble 2

Fireboy and Watergirl arrived again to the temple in the forest. 2 players together can help them to find their way out.
fireboy and watergirl| fireboyandwatergirl| fireboy and watergirl 2
goodgame empire

yoob games said...

Hello, just wanted to say, I loved this article. It was practical.
Keep on posting!
العاب بنات
العاب طبخ
al3ab banat

yoob games said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alice Denny said...

The blog or and best that is extremely useful to keep I can share the ideas. Age Of War 2
Big Farm | Slitherio | Tank Trouble
Of the future as this is really what I was looking for, I am very comfortable and pleased to come here. Thank you very much.
Happy Wheels | Goodgeme Empire |

Johnson Tonya E. said...

You go to our Web page you can play online games for free.
Our Web page selection is the biggest collection so you can play entirely for free
gun mayhem | age of war
learn to fly | happy wheels game
tank trouble

Unknown said...

This is the perfect blog for anyone who wants to know about this topic. You know so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really would want...HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a subject thats been written about for years. Great stuff, just great!
Obat Penyembuh Kutil Kelamin Tradisional 
bagaimana mengobati gatal karena eksim
Ciri-Ciri Penyakit Kencing Nanah Dan Cara Mengobatinya