Ahoy, my virtual knitting family! Another week has flown by, hasn’t it? I had a particularly busy weekend, helping to chaperone at a church youth retreat. My wife and I brought Blueberry along, which was lots of fun and added to the complexities of the weekend. Youth group + toddler in a new environment = not much sleep for the Knitting Daddy. This week, I want to talk about all of the knitting podcasts I listen to, not just the ones I listened to in the past week. But before I get to that, let’s look at what has been going on in my knitting world over the past week, starting with the podcasts I listened to.
This Week In Podcasts
I still have a lot of un-listened-to podcasts in my queue, but I’m starting to catch back up. This week, I listened to episodes from Knitcircus, Knitting Pipeline, Fiber Hooligan, The Lost Geek, and CraftLit.
In Knitcircus #41, Amy and Jaala talk about sweaters and scarves and cute little goats. They also review one of the eBooks currently on my wish list: Mary, Millie, & Morgan by Susan B. Anderson. These dolls are really adorable, and I’m sure Blueberry will love them. But I’m holding myself back because I’ve already got a wealth of patterns to knit from, and I want to work through some of those first before adding more.
In Knitting Pipeline Episode 163: Two Different Paths To A Sweater, Paula talks about some baby sweaters, and it really made me want to pick up my needles on Blueberry’s Adaline again. Not enough to actually pull the project out of the bag, mind you, but enough to think about it. It was also fun to hear Paula talking about preparations for the Knitting Pipeline Retreat (which has already passed now). I hope I’ll be able to go to a KP retreat next year. We’ll see.
In Fiber Hooligan: Brooke Nico, Benjamin interviews Brooke Nico. I found this interview interesting because Brooke is a lace knitter. That’s something that I’d love to get more into, but have always been somewhat intimidated by. In addition to being a well-known lace knitter, Brooke runs a local yarn shop, and it was interesting to hear some of the behind-the-scenes things that go on around that. There was a lot of “inside baseball” about it, but it was completely accessible and interesting to those of us who aren’t behind the curtain. Benjamin also talked quite a bit about Halos of Hope and the podcaster throwdown that he’s been promoting as drive to get hats for Halos of Hope. I loved hearing how it all turned out, especially since I knitted a hat last week that is going to Halos of Hope as part of the monthly IBK charity. More on that later.
In The Lost Geek: Parallel Worlds, Arlin talks about sock knitting. This was particularly exciting for me since Dad’s socks recently came off my needles (and are currently in the mail en route to his house). Arlin also does a bit of Ravellenic wrap-up, which was fun to hear about.
Finally, as always, CraftLit keeps me company on my commute. I’m still loving North and South, and look forward to a new episode each week.
This Week In Ravelry
My main Ravelry haunt continues to be the IBK board, where we continue to talk about everything. Most recently, I’ve been involved in a discussion there about introversion vs. extroversion, and it’s fun to learn about which of my Ravelry friends are introverts (like me), and which are extroverts. It was also in the IBK board that the question of which knitting podcasts to listen to came up, and that inspired me to write this post, where I will talk about all the knitting podcasts I listen to and why I like them. A bunny-related mini-swap is gearing up, and I signed up for it. I’ve knit a few bunnies now, and enjoy it. Plus, the swaps are addictive! And, it will help me with one of my 2014 knitting goals.
In addition to hanging out in the IBK board, I’ve been hanging out a little in the Knitting Pipeline board as well. They are very welcoming over there, too. I’m looking forward to continuing to make more friends there.
This Week On My Needles
After finishing Dad’s socks last week, I went on a bit of a binge on smaller projects. First, I used the leftover sock yarn from Dad’s sock to knit a mini-stocking Christmas ornament. I did the same thing when I finished the first sock, so now Dad will have a matching set of ornaments for his socks. Because who doesn’t need matching socks and Christmas ornaments?
This is the Mini-Stocking ornament from Susan B. Anderson. It is a very easy and fun knit, and a great way to learn/practice sock knitting techniques. I won’t be surprised if I knit a bunch of these between now and Christmas for some great little gifts. Doing a bunch at once, during the Christmas rush, would be tedious. But doing one every few weeks should be fine.
Continuing on with using the leftover sock yarn, I knitted the Mini-Bunny Loves pattern (also by Susan B. Anderson, I swear I’m not a stalker!). Because of the way my yarn self-patterned, it was probably not the best first choice for this pattern. Something lighter, and less busy, would have been better, but I do like the way mine turned out.
This is the little brother to Susan’s Bunny Love pattern. I really enjoy how Susan’s been designing toys lately — she has a nice “full size” version of the pattern, then also comes out with a “mini” version. The mini version knits up quickly, and serves as a good practice and confidence-builder for the full size version. So far, I’ve done a few mini versions of her toys and I’m looking forward to moving up to a full size version of a toy soon.
I was especially drawn to this pattern after reading how the designer described it:
In creating this hat for Halos of Hope, I was inspired on how my husband’s aunt called herself a “Cancer Warrior” instead of a survivor. She is an angel always full of fire and and spirit, hence I decided to put “points” on her halo by way of a hat. Stitch markers and mathematics become your friend when you knit up this “only looks complicated” beanie full of twisted stitches. Use a soft washable yarn because this hat will be a much-worn favorite.
This was a quick knit, which I appreciated. I also liked that it had an interesting pattern on the top, and the description is correct — it “only looks complicated.” I got to play with my cable needle again, which was nice until the very last few rows where it started to get fiddly. It’s kinda funny to hear a toy knitter like me “complaining” about something knitted up on size 8 needles being “fiddly,” but there you have it. I’ll probably knit up at least one more of these hats for the IBK charity this month.
I still remember when I realized that there were podcasts about knitting. I had been knitting for several months, and the thought to look for knitting-related podcasts (or blogs, even) had simply never occurred to me. And then it did. I fired up iTunes, searched for “knitting” and found a wealth of options waiting for me to download. I picked a few that seemed particularly interesting at first, and download the latest episodes. I liked them so much that I went back and downloaded all of the prior episodes. As time went on, I picked up another podcast here and there (I don’t think I’ve ever dropped any). Sometimes, a podcaster or blogger will recommend a particular podcast, sometimes I just stumble on a new one. It’s great stuff. I love listening to them as I drive to and from work (I have about a 30-minute commute each way). Because I primarily listen to podcasts while I drive, I pretty much only listen to audio podcasts. I’ve seen a few episodes of a few video podcasts, but I just don’t have the time to look at them on a regular basis, so my habits are very definitely biased towards audio podcasts.
So let me present to you the list of knitting-related podcasts to which I currently subscribe. Please, please, please don’t take this to be an authoritative list. There are so many good podcasts out there. You’re going to need to discover some of them on your own. Our tastes aren’t going to match completely. But maybe this is a good starting point.
CraftLit is an interesting podcast in that the majority of it is not about knitting, but is intended to be listened to while knitting (or crocheting or generally being crafty). Heather, the host of CraftLit, describes the podcast as “audiobooks with benefits.” It’s a great, succinct way to put it. Every week, a new episode from an audiobook comes out. The audiobooks are books that are in the public domain, so they tend towards the “classics.” Each episode includes talk about crafty-related things, what’s going on in Heather’s life, and interesting background information that informs the portion of the audiobook that is included in the episode. Each episode is about an hour-long, which means I can listen to it over the course of two commutes, which works out great. It’s also the perfect kind of thing to listen to when you’re actually knitting.
I love Ewe University because I feel like I’m hanging out with Dr. Kelly, the podcast’s host. Ewe University comes out every two weeks (or so) and usually runs between 30 and 60 minutes. Again, it’s a great podcast for listening to while I drive. Dr. Kelly breaks the episode up into several segments, and I group them in two main categories. The “In the Classroom” segment at the end of the episode, and “everything else.” The “everything else” category is hanging out with Dr. Kelly. She talks about projects that she’s currently working on, shares when projects graduate from her needles, and just engages in general crafty discussion. The “In the Classroom” segment is a little more formal, and always interesting. In this segment, Dr. Kelly explores interesting information about science (especially psychology) and the fiber arts. For example, in one episode, she talked about how some mathematical concepts were impossible to visualize until someone figured out how to crochet them. In another episode, she talks about how knitting is a great therapy for dealing with trauma. This podcast is a definite favorite of mine, a must-listen.
I found out about Fiber Hooligan when Susan B. Anderson was a guest one episode (really, I’m not a stalker!). This podcast is a classic interview-style show, where Benjamin interviews a notable professional in the fiber arts industry. He talks with designers, yarn shop owners, dyers, authors, etc. It’s billed as an hour (or so) podcast, but often runs much longer than that, sometimes as long as two hours. I usually listen to it over the course of several days because of the length. Of all the podcasts I listen to, this one is unique in that you have the ability to listen live when Benjamin records it. New episodes are taped almost every Monday at 11:00 AM Central Time. You can listen to it on an internet stream, and there’s a live chat room to hang out in while the episode is being recorded. The guests often bring prizes to the show, and you can call in to win a prize. I’ve learned a lot by listening to all of the exciting guests Benjamin brings on. Each episode also concludes with a wrap-up from Tammy about what’s been happening in the knitting world (especially on the Internet) over the past week.
Knit 1 Geek 2
I’m not sure how I found Knit 1 Geek 2, but I’m glad that I did. There is a good amount of knitting-related talk on this podcast, but I keep coming back for the geeky talk. Most of the geeky talk focuses around movies and television, but there is also a good deal of book geekiness as well. Maggie and Karen, the hosts, are obviously great friends. Listening to them talk with each other is just incredibly natural. They love the comic book movies. They love the sci-fi and fantasy movies. They love Sherlock. These are the things they talk about on their podcast. From time to time, some adult language makes an appearance, so be prepared for that, and consider not playing it while the kids are around.
The knit.fm podcast is like a college course in knitting. Hosts Pam and Hannah put out a new episode on an “every now and then” schedule. I don’t mind the schedule unpredictability, which is something that would normally drive me crazy, on this podcast at all. The content is so incredibly top-notch good, I simply feel thrilled every time a new episode is available. Pam and Hannah have used the podcast to discuss sweater construction, the importance of swatching, and detailed information about how yarn is constructed. Every new episode is a treat to listen to, and it’s so jam-packed with information that it is the only knitting-related podcast that I don’t allow the episodes to auto-delete. I know I will want to go back and listen to these episodes over and over again. This is a definite must-listen.
Knitcircus is another podcast that I don’t remember how I stumbled upon. I suspect I heard about it through Susan B. Anderson (really, I *swear* I’m not a stalker), when her latest book was being promoted. Amy and Jaala, the hosts, often talk about new designs by Susan. They also talk about dying yarn, which I find absolutely fascinating.
Knitting Pipeline holds a special place in my heart because it was the first knitting-related podcast I found. I was immediately attracted to it because it also featured bagpipes. Over time, the focus has definitely shifted more to the knitting and less to the pipes, and the podcast gets better and better each week. Paula, the host, puts out a new episode almost every week. She is often joined by some of her knitting friends. She talks about knitting projects that she is currently working on, patterns she had designed, nature, and just plain general stuff. Earlier in the podcast, she had a series where she focused on Elizabeth Zimmerman patterns, philosophy, and correspondence. It was absolutely fascinating, and part of what encouraged me to knit my Baby Surprise Jacket. In recent years, Paula has started a Knitting Pipeline retreat, and I love hearing about it on the podcast. I hope to attend some day.
The Lost Geek Podcast
I recently added The Lost Geek Podcast to my listening list. Arlin, the host, podcasts out of Indonesia and recently donated the proceeds from one of her pattern designs to relief efforts for the several natural disasters that have hit Indonesia. This effort was promoted on several other podcasts I listen to, and I took a listen and got hooked. One of he things I love most about Arlin’s podcast is that she encourages her listeners to shop for patterns in their own library — so many of us already have patterns we haven’t knitted yet. It’s important to give those patterns some love, maybe even at the expense of buying the latest shiny new pattern. The podcast comes out every week.
Never Not Knitting
Never Not Knitting was probably the second knitting podcast I discovered. Listening to the entire run of this podcast is fascinating, because you get to hear Alana progress in her career as an enthusiastic knitter to a talented and well-respected designer. Most of her designs are not (currently) my cup of tea, but I suspect that as Blueberry grows older and I drift away from toy knitting, Alana’s designs are going to get a second look. Her designs are beautiful, inspired by nature, and sophisticated. The podcast comes out every month — which I think is a great schedule, as it helps keep me from getting too far behind. Alana talks about her designs, her adventures at fiber shows, and her books. One of my favorite features of Never Not Knitting is the listener-submitted stories. These are short stories, usually told by the storyteller, about adventures (often misadventures) in knitting. When I was a very beginning knitter, it was comforting to hear about the mistakes other knitters made while learning how to knit.
TwinSet Designs is (I think) the newest addition to my podcast playlist. What a fun podcast this is! Two twin sisters get together each week and record about knitting, raising alpacas, and just life in general. You can tell that Jan and Ellen absolutely love each other and love talking with each other. The podcast is full of laughter and joy. I found out about this podcast because they contacted me to ask about sharing the story of the Fishcloth Dishcloth. Of course I told them they could share it, and it was pretty surreal to hear them talk about it on their podcast. I’ve been hooked ever since and always enjoy the new episodes.
So there you have it. Those are all of the knitting podcasts that I’m currently listening to. And that only scratches the surface with what’s available. I wish I had more time that I could use to watch video podcasts. I hope you find some good podcasts in this list that you start listening to. Do you have some favorite knitting podcasts that I didn’t talk about? Join the conversation and leave a comment telling us about it. I always love discovering something new.
Until next week, keep on knitting for the ones you love!