Sunday, January 31, 2016

While Miz Kittling Knits: The Brokenwood Mysteries


With the sound of rain outside my window, I thought now would be a good time to tell you about more of my knitting and watching crime programs on television. It's a much better thing to do than wish we had an electronic gate on our driveway so Denis won't drown when he comes home. (Or get blown away. It's windy out there, too!)

Taking up knitting again after a few decades has complicated something for me. Now I have to plan which books and which knitting project(s) come along with me when Denis and I go on vacation.

Since our recent road trip down to Bisbee meant that we weren't traveling by air, I could take my entire knitting basket along, and it looked right at home by my chair. (We won't discuss the thirty new skeins of yarn that came home with us....)

I've surprised myself. I'm the type of person who's never liked too much folderol. No yards of ruffles and lace for me! Then why have I become fascinated with knitting lace? It doesn't make sense, but I'm doing it and it's all because I found some yarn that I fell in love with. It's Michaels' Loops and Threads Payette yarn in a color called "Mirror." It's a fine weight black yarn with multi-colored metallic threads and sequins. To me, it looks as though a fisherman cast his net across the night sky and brought in a gorgeous catch of stars. It's also difficult to photograph in such a way that you can see what I mean!

It's probably best if you click on the photo so you can see it full size. Even though it doesn't do the yarn justice you'll still be able to see more detail.

The pattern that I'm using is free, and it's called "Little Leaves Lace Wrap." I've learned a lesson or two about these free patterns you can find online: it's not unusual for them to contain mistakes. When you're not yet adept at knitting, you can't always figure out how to correct the mistakes you find. In this instance, I had to rip the thing down four or five times before I finally found the proper needle size to use. Since I'm not known for my patience, this says a lot about how much I love this yarn!

This wrap is quite stretchy and can be used either as a shawl or as a scarf. The only way I could even try to show you the pattern is by putting part of it on my blocking boards to stretch it out to its proper size. By doing this, I learned another lesson: I'm going to have to be very careful when I'm actually blocking the whole thing. It's going to be tricky, but I'm certainly enjoying working on it-- even though I don't have a clue as to whom I will be giving it to!

And what have I been watching while knitting my lace?  It's another program on Acorn TV which advertises itself as showing "the best in British television." You can sign up for a free month if you're interested in this gold mine. (I'm just a very happy customer and not affiliated with the company in any way.) 

I happened across The Brokenwood Mysteries, and when I found out that the series is filmed in New Zealand, I had to take a look. 

In the photo to the right, the man in the suit and tie standing by the white board is Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Shepherd, who's been assigned to small-town Brokenwood. He's divorced and takes a lot of good-natured ribbing from his second-in-command Kristin Sims (the blonde in the photo above) about his love for his ancient (er...make that "classic") car and his passion for country music. Constable Breen (the young man sitting at the desk) and a young Maori named Jared round out the cast of regular characters.

What grabbed me from the start (besides the character of Shepherd) are the stories. There's some very good writing here. Normally I can easily figure out whodunit within a matter of minutes, but not with this series, and you know I have to love that. Watching the way Shepherd solves crimes is a treat, too.

There's some humor, some sadness, and I'm gradually becoming used to hearing Kiwi accents, which were a bit jarring after all the English, Scottish, and Irish ones I've listened to for years.  I will admit to being a bit disappointed with the lack of actually being able to see New Zealand in the first series, but the second rectified that in short order. 

So far, there are two seasons of The Brokenwood Mysteries available on Acorn TV, and I hope there are more. If you get a chance to watch this series, I hope you will. I think you'll like it.

Are there any of you out there who've seen this series? What did you think of it? Inquiring minds would love to know! 


 

22 comments:

  1. You had me at New Zealand, Cathy! I must try those mysteries out! Thanks for sharing. Oh, and your knitting looks wonderful. I admire the way you're doing different patterns.

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    1. Knitting the same patterns over and over is like reading the same book over and over-- boring! :-)

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  2. I hope to check this series out very soon. Your description of the characters and the filming in New Zealand have me hooked already! Your knitting is beautiful, with such an intricate pattern, and the yarn is definitely one you wont forget. Thanks for the heads up on the series!

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    1. You're welcome, Sharon! I hope you enjoy Brokenwood.

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  3. Even if you don't wear lace yourself, it's fascinating to make. I've tatted a number of things, including a fairly good-sized lace tablecloth. Definitely a nice pattern you're working there.

    You have to wonder why it seems all other English-speaking countries have a much better grasp of/appreciation for mystery series than the US does. Every time a really good show gets made here, it seems to be by accident and it gets cancelled well before it can really get its legs under it.

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    1. You tat??? Be still, my heart. I LOVE tatting but have absolutely no talent for it. I've collected a few pieces of tatting over the years.

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    2. It's been a little while, but yes. The tablecloth was, unfortunately, one of my first projects. Ambition outweighed skill. By the time I was better practiced at it, I was working on the outside edges of the tablecloth, which were nice and tight, while the inside parts were looser. One had to iron the cloth, set it on the table, and hope no one noticed the lack of evenness in tension from the center to the outer edges,lol!

      But yes, I really enjoy tatting. I've also gone through spells of knitting and crocheting, as well.

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    3. I've found that if your "audience" is a bunch of non-needle-artists, they're much less apt to notice things like that; whereas, folks like you and I tend to see those little details.

      I once did a tablecloth with Russian punch needle embroidery. It's been part of my Christmas stash for a couple of decades now.

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  4. OK I will switch back to Acorn from Netflix. I have to do this every few months because I love Acorn mysteries. Thanks!

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    1. Acorn's lineup of mysteries is wonderful, isn't it?

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  5. Brokenwood Mysteries has been granted another NZ$4million for its third series this year by NZ On Air funding body.

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    1. That's wonderful news-- thanks so much for letting us know!

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  6. I'm not a knitter etc but my mom was very talented when it came to stuff like that. Her favorites were sewing and crocheting.

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    1. The women in my family have been "needle artists" for generations. My grandmother could see a photo of a dress in the newspaper, use the newspaper to draw out the pattern, and within no time, I'd have a new dress. My great aunt was the one in the family who crocheted. She had a penchant for eye-wateringly bright colors, bless 'er!

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  7. We rented "Brokenwood" from Netflix and loved it! I wish Acorn was available for an Android tablet. So glad to hear it is coming back for a 3rd season!

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  8. That is lovely yarn and knitting. It must be so relaxing to do that and watch TV.

    Which brings me to say that I have only seen The Brokenwood Mysteries listed at Acorn's website. I knew nothing about this series. Now that I know it's set in New Zealand and is recommended, I'll have to find it at the library and reserve. I just discovered that my library system carries Acorn's programs.

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  9. My mother was a seamstress and crocheted, but I didn't catch the bug. The yarn and pattern is intriguing. The TV series also sounds intriguing. They go together.

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    1. I never thought of it that way before, but I guess they do!

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  10. I tried to knit during college, but I just couldn't get the hang of it. I admire those who can do it well.

    I'm enamored now of beautiful quilts. An article in the New York Times of Feb. 3 about quilters in Oakland, Calif. Incredible work - and it is art.

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    1. I have a friend who makes beautiful quilts. I admire anyone who does any sort of needleart well.

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