KNITSONIK 06 – Legwarmers for Soundwalking

Hello and welcome to another episode of the KNITSONIK podcast!


(If you prefer not to use the player, you can download this episode of KNITSONIK directly from here). You can also now subscribe directly to KNITSONIK via iTunes.

This week in the KNITSONIK podcast:

My first ever field recording, created in Ireland, in The Glen of the Downs, Ireland, where I briefly lived on a road protest in 1997. I went back there in 2003 to make recordings, especially of the stream.

Glen-of-the-Downs

This photo of the Glen road protest camp was found here.

I then rant a bit about how important the specific relationship between SOUNDS and PLACE are… and I discuss “From the Sea to the Land Beyond” by Penny Woolcock featuring the music of British Sea Power and released by the BFI. To make my point against gratuitous uses of music in documentaries, I use royalty free eJay clips. The film from the “extras” section which I discuss is “Beside the Seaside” by Marion Grierson, and you can see and hear it here.

What do YOU think about music, historic footage, and documentary styles?

After this foray into sounds, we enter the realms of knitting, and I discuss Riina Tomberg – an Estonian knitwear designer – and her brilliant legwarmers, which I purchased in 2012 and which I love to wear.

Riina_Tomberg

These legwarmers are just one of Riina Tomberg’s amazing designs.

I then share words from two of my favourite books – Designs and Pattern from Muhu Island (published by Saara Publishing in Estonia) and Wanderlust by Rebecca Solnit. These are the two quotes that I use;

In knitting the calf one had to use increases and decreases. First of all, decreases were needed to give the stocking the right shape. When a maiden happened to be born without juniper-pulling calves, i.e. heavy legs, she had to wrap her calves in fleece, hay or strips of cloth or wear several layers of stocking in order to make her legs look stronger and thus follow the standard of fashion and beauty.

Kadagaväoseartega naene (a woman with juniper-pulling calves) – a woman with strong legs who could pull out a juniper by the roots

– Kabur Anu, Anu Pink, Mai Meriste, Designs and Patterns from Muhu Island, 2011, Saara Publishers

Earlier all the women wrapped their legs thick, at the end of the 19th century this custom was still in force in the eastern parishes of Mulgimaa only, where the stocking were knitted especially wide.

– Melanie Kaarma, Aino Voolmaa, Estonian folk costumes, 1981, Eesti Raamat

There are three prerequisites to taking a walk – that is, to going out into the world to walk for pleasure. One must have free time, a place to go, and a body unhindered by illness or social restraints. Free time has many variables, but most public places at most times have not been as welcoming and as safe for women. Legal measures, social mores subscribed to by both men and women, the threat implicit in sexual harassment, and rape itself have all limited women’s ability to walk where and when they wished. (Women’s clothes and bodily confinements – high heels, tight or fragile shoes, corsets and girdles, very full or narrow skirts, easily damaged fabrics, veils that obscure vision – are part of the social mores that have handicapped women as effectively as laws and fears.)

– Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust, 2001, Verso

Wanderlust_Rebecca_Solnit

Then I discuss my first pair of “Legwarmers for Soundwalking”, originally blogged here and knitted in 329752740 shades of Jamieson’s of Shetland yarn.

legwarmers-for-soundwalking

The second pair is knit in 2 shades of sock yarn; a semi solid turquoise (I think by Knitwitches) and a beautiful shade of bright green, by Skeinqueen.

new_legwarmers_for_soundwal

legwarmers-for-soundwalking

I finish up the section on legwarmers with a teeny-tiny segment of Olivia Newton John’s song “Let’s Get Physical” which features a lot of fantastic legwarmers.

To give context on the idea of “The Soundwalk” I quote from R Murray Schafer’s book – “The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and The Tuning of The World“;

The soundwalk is an exploration of the soundscape of a given area using a score as a guide. The score consists of a map, drawing the listener’s attention to unusual sounds and ambiances to be heard along the way. A soundwalk might also contain ear training exercises. For instance, the pitches of different cash registers or the duration of different telephones could be compared… When the soundwalker is instructed to listen to the soundscape, he is audience; when he is asked to participate with it, he becomes composer-performer. In one soundwalk a student asks participants to enter a store and to tap the tops of all tinned goods, thus turning the grocery store into a Caribbean steel band. In another, participants were asked to compare the pitches of drainpipes on a city street; in another, to sing tunes around the different harmonics of neon lights.

R. Murray Schafer, The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World, 1977, Knopf

I then go on to describe “Around the A4074” which is a radio show which I originally produced for BBC Oxford and which you can listen to here.

Around_the_A4074

I end this episode of the KNITSONIK podcast with reflections on my night-time soundwalks around the A4074, documented in this post.

nightwalk_FelicityFord

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2 Responses to KNITSONIK 06 – Legwarmers for Soundwalking

  1. Cecilia says:

    I love this for too many reasons to mention here! Thank you for such an inspiring episode!

    I must confess to spending most of 1981 knitting legwarmers in my spare time. Sadly not with beautiful Shetland wool, but with the choice provided by the local wool shop. There was burgundy and there was grey. I have a friend, however, who more recently treated herself to a ball in each colour of the Jamieson’s shade card in order to knit fairisle lagging (which is much the same thing as a legwarmer) for the water pipes in her house. So you are perhaps not alone!

  2. Jen says:

    I so enjoyed this podcast, and well, all of your podcasts. It may seem odd that all this time has gone by and I’m very late in discovering your podcasts, but everything in it’s time, and in it’s place. I am knitting two full-sized cardigans for my nieces’ Autumn Equinox Sweaters and enjoying immensely throwing endless stitches while listening …. just listening , and when I can, I do a little visual read-along with your posts. I must say, in contrast to the massive number of video podcasts, where I become so distracted by the visual I clearly don’t knit as fast, your audio podcasts are moving things along quite swiftely. In metaphor to the walking, I am gaining lots of ground. Thanks Felix.

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