10 Feb 2012

Episode 111: Ubiquitous

In this episode: Grownup heads and baby toesies. In other words, hats and booties. Bwitain, bwitain bwitain and its arts institutions. The Grand Tour, the grant and the great matter.

Not just “For Mother”, download the free Knitting Apron Pattern.

I completed something! rejoice with me. The Chevron Beanie, by Woolly Wormhead, hails from her book Twisted Woolly Toppers – 10 original hat designs featuring cable, bias and twist techniques. I used Rowan Felted Tweed Aran in the colourway “Soot” for the win.

ADORABLE is the only way to describe Saartje’s Booties. My version uses the garter stitch wristband buttonhole from Driving Miss Daisy.

The pattern for the “mitered box” I described has a name. It’s called The Pinwheel Purse, and it’s by Frankie Brown. A Pinwheel Purse by any name is as addictive. You have been warned.

W00t! I will be in the following cities during the The Big Cast On Road Trip 2012

New York City
Northampton, MA
Toronto, ON (that’s the one in Canadia)
Chardon, OH
Minneapolis Saint Paul, MN
Boise, ID
Salt Lake City
San Francisco

Dates, times, classes etc, to follow next week.

PS: I need a small girl to squeal with glee at this itinerary, as my middle-aged voice won’t go there.

This week’s Audible pick is bodice ripper, The Other Boleyn Girl, by Philippa Gregory, and it features lots of gowns and medieval sex. What’s not to like.

I do the Facebooks. Also the g+ and, of course, I’m still doing the twitter. Come find me!

Music by Uppity Blues Women, Don’t You Tell Me, from their cd Old, New, Borrowed & Blue.


  1. Pam wrote:

    Excuse me dearest sister, but you will be coming to Saint Paul and not Minneapolis. Unless of course you’ve lined up a teaching gig in Minneapolis. Or we go visit Maria and she makes us perogies. She lives in Minneapolis. Otherwise it’s Saint Paul. Got it???

    Posted on 2.10.12 ·
  2. Duly noted.

    Posted on 2.10.12 ·
  3. Pam wrote:

    Love You!

    Posted on 2.10.12 ·
  4. Lisa Writer wrote:

    I need a little squeal button too! You will actually be in my neighborhood! San Francisco. WOO HOO! Early awaiting dates and times!

    Posted on 2.11.12 ·
  5. Chris wrote:

    Well you got the squee from me, but not the way you would have liked. It was followed quickly with a NOOOOOooo! You are headed to Boise, ID, you see, a fairly easy drive from home, BUT Hubs (and I with him) is stationed in Germany, and that’s just a bit too far to drive. Fingers crossed you manage a visit to Germany while I’m still here.

    Posted on 2.11.12 ·
  6. MelD wrote:

    I made Saartje’s booties for my little granddaughter a few weeks ago – they turned out so well and were dead easy! I featured them on my blog…

    Posted on 2.11.12 ·
  7. Wyn Jones wrote:

    I thought you were coming to Cincinnati? Oh, well, I’ll just have to use vacation days and drive to Cleveland…

    Your projects and mine are echoing again – I have done the Pinwheel Purse, just for giggles. I made a pair of the “Classy Baby Shoes” that are very similar to the booties you made. And of course, now I am enamored of the Chevron Beanie.

    Posted on 2.11.12 ·
  8. Marcia wrote:

    NYC isn’t too far…can’t wait to find out WHEN!

    Posted on 2.11.12 ·
  9. Barb Thames wrote:

    Brenda, seeing your itinerary just broke my heart. Why do none of the famous knitters realize that there are knitters in the southern US? The only one who has come to the real South (farther down than Atlanta) is Steph Pearl-McPhee who made a book signing trip to Jacksonville, FL. A knitter friend and I were pleased to drive 150 miles to Jax to see her and get signatures. We really do feel like red-headed stepchildren down here.

    I missed you when I had to return home from the UK because of my son’s serious accident and couldn’t continue the CraftLit trip and now I’ll miss you when you’re back in the US (sigh-h-h-h-h)

    Have fun.

    Posted on 2.11.12 ·
  10. Rebekah wrote:

    Just listened to the podcast… Thank you, thank you, thank you! Made my day!!!! 🙂

    Posted on 2.11.12 ·
  11. Heather wrote:

    So, so glad you are coming to San Francisco! I have a small girl to squee for me. Can’t wait to be there. And thank you for mentioning the bootees. I have to knit a baby gift and they will be perfect.

    Posted on 2.11.12 ·
  12. Madeline wrote:

    We Ohioans are squealing up a storm! Chardon Square is so cute and I love the knitting store there! Looking forward to the details…safe travels!

    Posted on 2.11.12 ·
  13. Hanna wrote:

    Recently in one forum where I happen to be staff we were asked to create a arts board because apparently this particular member assumed that craft board was *just* for knitting and stuff and not the place where to show her creations. -_- My heart shed few bloody tears. 🙁 (We had actually thought that to be place to show your creations whatever they are.)

    Also thanks for mentioning the pinwheel purse. I’ve been seen the pattern so many times but never actually clicked to see what it is but now I want to make one. 😀

    Posted on 2.12.12 ·
  14. Sharon wrote:

    Northhampton MA and WEBS…..I hope that is where you will be and that I can get out there to meet you. Its an easy 1.5 hour drive from eastern MA for me (as long as the weather is fine). You may have heard that we from Eastern MA think the state stops at Worcester, but as a knitter I know better.

    Posted on 2.13.12 ·
  15. Francine wrote:

    Sadness! I can’t believe with all the knitting shops and such we have in the Pacific Northwest we cannot find a single place for you to visit! Boise?

    I contacted my LYS at Yellow House Yarns in Puyallup but I haven’t heard back from them at all. This is odd because what you are planning is right up their alley.

    See this face? This is the face of a sad sad Cast-On listener. I’m really hoping you get a date in Portland as I have no problem training down there. Plus, I love the food cart culture and my step-son is at the Art Institute so I have many many reasons to pop down there. *crossing fingers and toes*

    Posted on 2.13.12 ·
  16. Jocele wrote:

    So excited that you’re coming to Boise!!

    Posted on 2.14.12 ·
  17. Cynthia wrote:

    Love that vintage ad and pattern!

    Posted on 2.14.12 ·
  18. Ooo yay! I’m not far from SF. I’ll have to keep on eye on your itinerary!

    Neat pattern for the apron! I can barely sew in a straight line, but I just purchased something like that recently from an etsy shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/KOALACaddie (not trying to pimp or promo, I don’t know this shop owner personally…I’m just offering the link for the other non-sewers out there! If that’s inappropriate, please delete my post!) I use my apron for both knitting and spinning. I can attest that the apron concept is a good one. It’s so handy!!

    Posted on 2.15.12 ·
  19. Jen wrote:

    Squeeee! Once you have the dates I’ll book my flight to Toronto!

    Posted on 2.15.12 ·
  20. Marisa wrote:

    Hi Brenda! Thank you oodles for the podcast and I’m so excited you’ll be in T.O. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for where you are teaching.

    Speaking of knitting aprons, PleAse google KoalaCaddies to see a modern knitting apron. I just bought one on etsy and I luff it!!!!! The creator is Maryshoo on Ravelry and she’s the nicest Etsy seller I’ve ever bought from.

    Posted on 2.15.12 ·
  21. Marisa wrote:

    How did I miss that someone already mentioned KoalaCaddie? Whoops…

    Posted on 2.15.12 ·
  22. Yes, well…you described the shop owner much better than I did!! I was about to add a similar line or two about how Mary is now my most favorite etsy seller ever (and that’s saying something because I shop there often), but I was afraid people might think I was getting a kickback from her or something! She did a custom apron for me where I chose the fabric from another etsy shop, and she ordered it and made the apron for me. I also ordered a second pre-made apron to give as a gift to a friend who sells yarn that she dyes at big conventions. Now she can stand, sit, talk to customers…all while knitting out of her apron…and her order pad and phone for running credit cards are right there with her. She loves it.

    Posted on 2.15.12 ·
  23. Alex wrote:

    When I was at primary school in Scotland in the 60s we were taught knitting. One afternoon a week the boys went off somewhere to do something mysterious with bits of wood and nails for an hour or so. The girls did sewing and knitting.

    But before we started knitting we each made a ‘lap bag’. It was an apron with a big turned up pocket. We decorated it with a motif in running stitch with a contrast colour laced through it in stranded cotton. The motif was drawn on the fabric from one of a number of stiff card templates the teacher had. Mine was a rabbit.

    The lap bag was for holding our knitting. It stopped balls of wool rolling round the floor. When we finished the lesson we rolled it up with the knitting inside.

    My first school project was a pan holder in garter stitch made from two squares sewn together with blanket stitch. Mine was red on one side and green on the other. When I gave it to my mother she said ‘Red and green, should not be seen, except upon an Irish queen’. I was crushed.

    We also made socks in class on four needles. I remember the teacher standing at the front and reading the instructions for turning the heel, which we did in unison one row at a time. We must have done something between these two projects but I don’t remember them.

    Posted on 2.15.12 ·
  24. Brenda, You are a remarkable essayist. I am still thinking about “Ubiquitous” and the way you wove the strands of the story/essay together. Well done! I am enjoying Knitter’s Manifesto and looking forward to more details of your new project.

    Prairie Poet

    Posted on 2.17.12 ·
  25. Barbara wrote:


    Although you do not know me, I have been an avid listener of the podcast. I am excited to hear that you are coming to Northampton, MA. I live just 30 min from there. I am eager to hear when you are coming!

    Posted on 2.17.12 ·
  26. Caroline wrote:

    Hi Brenda. firstly I am sorry that I do not comment more on your wonderful podcast. You were the first knitting podcast that I started listening to after dipping my toe into knitting from the quilty side of life. Health problems have caused me difficulty in doing very much sewing and so my love affair with knitting began – and you my friend were a key part of that. I just love your podcast and as well as listening to all the new ones I am steadily going through all your episodes.
    Secondly – on the matter of knitting and art – I think art is something that moves you in some way, usually emotionally. Knitting SO fits into that catergory and the people at the grant office don’t know what they are talking about and also what they are missing. I wait in anticipation to hear more of your wonderful knitting plan. Have a fantastic time on your trip and happy knitting. C

    Posted on 2.17.12 ·
  27. Felix wrote:

    Great podcast. I especially enjoyed the reprise of “Exactly” by Amy Steinberg and am glad my mixtape revived it for you.

    I loved hearing about all the plans for your US trip, and about your new art project. And how you themed everything so seamlessly together under the “ubiquitous” heading for the ‘cast.

    I also love that you still have that lettuce malabrigo!

    Re: making a living as an artist and exploring the relationship between institutions and artists, you may enjoy this:


    …this organisation has been set up to “campaign on the working conditions of artists in the UK”, and I think that perhaps in drafting a letter to the organisation which you were dealing with, you might take some inspiration from their site. I LOVED reading their letter last month in an (artist newsletter) magazine…

    Posted on 2.18.12 ·
  28. ConnieGail wrote:

    I am an artist, I don’t care if all I am doing is a 4 st I-cord I AM AN ARTIST. It doesn’t even bother me if I have to be dead before I am paid rightfully for my work. I AM AN ARTIST. I paint with fiber, I sculpt with fiber, I construct with fiber, I AM AN ARTIST. Thank you Brenda for making my heart race. LOL ConnieGail

    Posted on 2.18.12 ·
  29. Ann wrote:

    Hi Brenda,
    I am SO glad you are planning a trip to St. Paul! If you haven’t already been booked in the St. Paul area, I’m going to contact a couple of my favorite LYS’s to see if they would host you. I’ll be in touch with you as soon as I hear anything. I’m so excited to meet you in person, I’ve been a Cast-On fan for many years. I’ve listened to other knitting podcasts and yours is the best one out there. And, whenever I’m cold (I live in Wisconsin, it’s always cold!) I put on the sweater, that’s what they’re for.

    Posted on 2.19.12 ·
  30. Shannon wrote:

    Hi Brenda,

    I love, love, love Phillipa Gregory, and have read the entire Tudor Series. I just wanted to let you know that the Boleyn Inheritance is one of the best Audio books that I have ever listened to. It has four readers and is more like an audio play. If you get a chance download it, you won’t be disappointed.

    Also in 2007, I remember walking around a track surrounded by woods in Macon, GA. It was so rural there were even bunnies roaming about. My old dog Beanie was trying to keep up with me. We had made the move to Georgia and financially it wasn’t paying off. You played “Exactly” and I started to cry.

    Last Saturday, I was walking along the water with my new adopted dog “Gismo” in Brooklyn, NY. This last year, I have gone through treatment for breast cancer, and I have had to put down both of my dogs. It’s been a tough year, and there have been days where I haven’t wanted to leave the house. I was listening to your podcast, grateful for the sunny day, grateful for my new friend, and grateful that I had you to listen to. You played “Exactly” and I started crying.

    Big Hug!

    Posted on 2.21.12 ·
  31. Sarah wrote:

    Oh Thanks to heaven you’ll be in St. Paul. Woo to the hoo about that. And a rousing squeeee too. I can get there from here (in St Charles MN). Please have a big class in a large space so I can see you in person (then close my eyes and pretend I am listening to a podcast!) Can’t wait.

    Posted on 2.23.12 ·
  32. Jen The StichyWitch wrote:

    YEAH! I happy that you are coming to Boise! Everyone goes to Portland & Seattle but never comes here! (I love Both Cities…however Boise ROCKS too) I Love the Podcast BTW. The bahhhhh in the intro always makes me smile. See ya soon!

    Posted on 2.25.12 ·
  33. Deb in Kamas wrote:

    So glad to see you’ll be coming to Salt Lake City! I don’t get to the LYSs very often, so await your announcement on where/when you will appear.

    One thing to keep in mind: Salt Lake City will be the highest elevation you will encounter on the tour. It sits at 4200′, is loaded with lots of knitters, and for many people coming from sea level, “there is no air in our air” (see Yarn Harlot post of Sept 14, 2006 http://www.yarnharlot.ca/blog/archives/2006_09.html, as well as her May 7, 2008 post. ). Breathe deeply, walk slowly, enjoy.

    Posted on 3.2.12 ·
  34. Erin wrote:

    I think you should apply for the grant anyway, and cheerfully pocket the money that you know they’ll give you for the art. Just use “arty words” – paradigm, dialectic, blah blah blah… if they can’t understand you, they’ll know you’re serious. Plus, you’re not knitting – you’re subverting the consumerist paradigm and using an art form that uses familiar materials to build a bridge between the viewer and your concept.

    Posted on 3.4.12 ·
  35. Judith in Ottawa wrote:

    Heh, “Canadia”. Nearly. 🙂

    Posted on 3.6.12 ·
  36. Robyn wrote:

    No Washington DC? I was hoping for a Heather and Brenda reunion class. Sigh

    Posted on 3.7.12 ·
  37. sandra wrote:


    Just wondered where in wales you live.

    I am near Lampeter.

    Regards Sandra

    Posted on 12.7.13 ·
  38. Sandra, I live near Amroth. Which means we’re practically neighbours!

    Posted on 12.10.13 ·

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