Stitch’n’Ditch

Myself and the talented filmmaker behind Thursday Films – Martin Ellerbeck – have been working on something. After seeing the Journey of a blanket documentary that Martin worked on in partnership with Karen Draisey of CIAO! I became inspired about how we could create a related but different documentary focussing on connecting UK sheep breeds to contemporary handknitting. Documentaries like Hugh’s Chicken Run and Jamie Saves your Bacon have recently tried to explore the difficult questions surrounding what we eat and where it comes from and have contributed to an ongoing discussion concerning the provenance of our food. But the raw materials from which clothes come from – silk and wool and cotton and cashmere – are somehow remote from this debate – even though they – like our food – are the product of agriculture.

When Kate wrote her insightful piece about The F Word she picked up on the strange descrepancy in how we view food and clothes production at an agricultural level. While it is obviously now tres chic to keep a few chickens, goats and calves out the back a la Gordon Ramsay et al, we are not yet there with understanding and appreciating where – and how – our garments are ‘grown.’

I am hoping that with our documentary we can address this a little here in the UK, and we have put together a very short teaser plus a synopsis of our idea to attract funding to make our film. I am very excited as for me it will involve making many recordings and working with raw sound from the landscape; also it will involve more contact with the incredible people who inspired me to think about this in the first place; and finally, it will involve – I hope – a lot of knitting with UK Yarns.

Feedback on the teaser + synopsis would be greatly appreciated and if you have any ideas about who we can approach about our film, please leave a comment!

Stitch’n’Ditch
Uploaded by stitchnditch. – Arts and animation videos.

Stitch’n’Ditch is a documentary linking rare breed UK sheep and their handlers with the exciting world of contemporary urban knitting. Exploring rare breeds as part of our shared cultural history, the documentary will show how knitters can help to support communities and keep historic breeds alive by choosing British Wool. Offering rich insights into the inspiring history of the commodity that was – for many centuries – the mainstay of our economy, Stitch’n’Ditch aims to celebrate the people and animals which make knitting possible, and to inspire the burgeoning numbers of fashionable knitters to Stitch’n’Bitch with locally produced yarns.

Text © Felicity Ford and Martin Ellerbeck

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