Saturday, November 24, 2007

And Speaking of Monty Python...

OK, I know we weren't; not really. But a remembered little snippet of dialog made me look up an old favorite movie, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail. " I happened to light upon a Wikipedia entry that, among other things, gave some details about how the movie was made. And oddly enough, there was a knitting connection. It seems that to outfit the movie's knights-in-armor on a shoestring budget, the film-makers faked the chain mail by using wool, painted silver!

There is also some talk of complaints about the wool being clammy, absorbing water in the cold wet weather. But no, obviously they must be wrong, as all my knitting books tell me. Wool keeps us warm and dry because it absorbs all that moisture. At least that's what we like to think. :) Maybe there's a threshold beyond which it throws up its hands and says, "Och, a wee hank of wool cannae do anything mair!" Stereotype tells me that this dampness threshold might be regularly exceeded in the U.K., though the weather when I've visited there hasn't necessarily borne this out.

Anyway, another link led me to a YouTube clip of the scene where the knights are being repelled from invading a castle by the hurled insults of a defending Frenchman. The Frenchman is the always-loopy John Cleese. You might find it either hilarious or puerile, depending on whether you have a liking for anarchic silliness and can tolerate a modicum of childish rudeness. I laughed myself senseless. Regardless, you can get a good look at the "chain mail." (It's perfectly ordinary garter stitch, as far as I can tell, but it's still kind of interesting to see the knightly garments.) If you're up for it, it's here. Or rent the movie for an extended dose.

I also have fond memories of skits from the TV show. One that comes to mind is the Ministry of Silly Walks. Maybe we should establish a Ministry of Silly Knitting Mistakes. We could admit to the most ridiculous accidents that had happened in our knitting, safe in the knowledge that others have made mistakes just as silly. As I said, I've made a sock without turning the heel, and I've probably made two lefts of something instead of a left and a right. I've made the whole front of a sweater accidentally using an unmatched pair of two needles in different sizes.

Surely I'm not the only one!

1 comment:

Mary said...

"Your father is a hamster, and your mother smells of elderberries!"

I love that movie -- was introduced to it in high school and so many of the lines are still stuck in my head. A nice bit of trivia about the knitted chain mail.

Oh, and speaking of it feeling clammy -- I heard recently that wool can hold 30% of its weight in water and still feel warm and not wet. So I'm guessing after a certain amount of time shooting the moving in rainy old England, it was saturated and had surpassed the 30% mark, and from looking at the overcast skies in that movie, it wouldn't surprise me....