15 Feb 2011

Episode 98: The Phantom Menace

In this episode I celebrate a new member of the tribe, weep for tools and projects that were never intended as dog snacks, catch up on a monthโ€™s worth of knitting, air the stash, and dive into knitting bags.

Heather Ordoverโ€™s new book, What Would Madame de Farge knit? is now available for preorder. The book is full of projects and stories inspired by great literature, and includes a sweater pattern by yours truly. Order your digital copy from the WWMdFK? page on Ravelry, or your hard copy at The Cooperative Press.

Driving Miss Daisy is now available on Ravelry!

Laura learned to knit via the Calorimetry. It’s a great beginner project.

This is Trekking XXL color I found so disappointing. It’s not the entire “heathered” line that disappointed, mind, just this one colourway. (I bought the black as well. It’s okay. Not heathered, but okay.) The pattern is Maeva, by Stephanie Bold. The pattern is wonderful, as was the finished sock. Until the unthinkable happened.

Witness the carnage:

Yes. It was a hard day.

I’ve aired my stash, and now I’m flashing it, as well as many, many projects, both new and old.

It might have been Paris, Barcelona, or Prague. Instead, we said it with white goods.

Gaiman Fest! Listen to Stardust, by Neil Gaiman this week’s audible pick. Sign up here.

To help women of Afghanistan obtain sewing machines, or find out more about the project, visit Spirit of America. You can also start your own fund raiser here.

If you’d like to help support the good works of Cosgrove Care, join a knitting night, or knit a scarf to help with their fund raiser.

Putting on a sweater is always a good idea. Do it on National Sweater Day, February 17th 2011, and help spread the word about lowering your thermostat to reduce your environmental impact.

Projects! Projects! Projects!

The Summer Solstice, by Heidi Kirrmeirer
I don’t felt. Unless it’s by accident. Until Duffers, the Amazing 19 Row Felted Slipper pattern.
The Boscage Cowl, by Ritsuka Nashi
Since the Dollheid, it seems I can’t knit enough of the Tams.
Sullivan Street Bolero, from Purl Bee (It used to be the Cider House Rules Vest.)
Also in the queue, Red Kite, a Fair Isle hat project to be part of my upcoming book, Enfys – Welsh for Rainbow.

Did I mention? Driving Miss Daisy is now available on Ravelry!

KniTunes were provided by and used with the permission of:

  1. Ty Hall and the EZ3 – A Lot on My Mind
  2. Wil Maring – The Calling
  3. Bessie Smith – Kitchen Man, via the Internet Archive


  1. Malin S wrote:

    โ€ฆ is iTunes so slow to refresh? I don’t want to wait when I could be walking home from work in your company. And it’s snowing. Again.

    Posted on 2.15.11 ·
  2. Just checked. It’s in iTunes. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Posted on 2.15.11 ·
  3. Malin S wrote:

    Goodie, I’ll just have to wait until it swims over the Nordic Sea then. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m so looking forward to the new episode that I keep refreshing the iTunes app on my phone. And the computerโ€ฆ Maybe it’s too cold for the wifi, and it’s frozen somewhere close in mid-air. I’ll go look. How do you knit a cozy for the wifi?

    Posted on 2.15.11 ·
  4. BioBetty wrote:

    Love hearing your voice again! Happy V Day to you both, I’m blessed with a great love myself and enjoy hearing the “voice” of Tonia that shines thru your words. Keep putting out great things, we appreciate you out here in the ether.

    Posted on 2.15.11 ·
  5. Camille wrote:

    Love Calorimetry! (I didn’t see what the fuss was about until I knit one for my sister. What a great pattern.)

    Love Gaiman! (Neverwhere is my favorite, The Graveyard Book a close second.)

    LOVE BRENDA! This podcast made me laugh so many times. A treat, as always. Happy Anniversary! <3

    Posted on 2.15.11 ·
  6. Hi Brenda,
    Thank you again for your note regarding the yarn that finally arrived. I have mentioned you and your podcast on my blog today. I hope you don’t mind.

    Posted on 2.15.11 ·
  7. Kathleen wrote:

    WONDERFUL to hear the podcast again. You have been sorely missed.

    Posted on 2.16.11 ·
  8. Wyn Jones wrote:

    Great episode! Of course I had to go check out your Ravelry page.

    Wow – we share a birthday! And a love of George Clooney! (And he is here in Cincinnati filming a movie this month. I have signed up to be an extra,)


    Posted on 2.16.11 ·
  9. Felix wrote:

    Lovely to listen to this and hear you talking about ENFYS and HIRAETH.

    I also loved our walk around Reading. I went back with my friend Joceline and there is A GALLERY OF BISCUIT TINS in the Museum which I somehow failed to register when we went.


    I am very much looking forward to further works on HIRAETH and to making many sound recordings all around Wales… it’s going to be wonderful.

    Your podcast is so great and I really enjoyed going through your project bags with you and of course the wonderful domestic sound of your dishwasher running its cycle. Funny, I led a listening group at Brookes on Monday evening and we ended up talking about the sounds of dishwashers.

    You have made me want to quit the work I have been doing since 6am this morning in order to go photograph/air my stash and put everything in project bags. But my work at AUDIOGRAFT won’t make itself! So it’s back to tracing and editing.

    Posted on 2.16.11 ·
  10. RuthC wrote:

    Wow, not sure which blog I’m on! Felix pops her head up in Kate Davies’ Needled blog too, some kind of circularity there. Hi Felix.

    Only a recent listener to Cast On, and I LOVE IT! Your voice is so lovely and relaxing. Always a relief to hear other people are as obsessed about knitting as I am. Will now go and check out your page and the patterns you mentioned on Ravelry. Thanks

    Posted on 2.16.11 ·
  11. linda wrote:

    Oh Brenda Brenda Brenda!!!!! It was such a nice surprise to have a new podcast. Your voice is so soothing to me. I listen to your podcasts when I climb into bed. I almost always make it to the end before drifting off into slumber. I was glad to see a new podcast because I have the last one memorized (nearly) word for word. Thank you so much for doing this for all of us. Glad the sock was able to be fixed. I met a dog at a carpet store yesterday. He is 12 and wonderful and reminds me of our last dog. He and I had a conversation and he agreed to come home with me. His owner said no because she inherited him from her grandmother. He was all that she wanted. Well, you take care and please keep podcasting. I won’t be able to sleep otherwise! Linda

    Posted on 2.16.11 ·
  12. Hello brenda,

    I am glad that you enjoyed Reading. I used to work there for a couple of years (knitted on the way to work). Jacksons is an interesting place. It is a good place to buy wool. They recued one of my gloves by having a ball of discontinued wool with the same dyelot as the rest of the project!

    Have a great week and weekend.

    Posted on 2.16.11 ·
  13. Gina wrote:

    what another wonderful podcast! that stinks about your eaten things ๐Ÿ™ when we first got our puppy I used his chewing on things as a way to get my kids to pick up their toys around the house ๐Ÿ™‚ A few things were still lost (knit toys! knit slippers! puzzles…) but he’s gotten better about it…unless he’s annoyed that you won’t play with him ๐Ÿ˜€

    We love Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett at our house. My husband got me started and I just love them! I finished up American Gods a few months ago. But this new book I’m reading is also amazing in that magicky kind of way: “The Name of the Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss. Apparently it will be part of a trilogy and the second book is due out next month.

    And I love the feeling when you see that someone hearts your project on Ravelry or is sweet enough to leave a comment! It makes me feel giddy and that I must know what I’m doing! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Posted on 2.16.11 ·
  14. Brenda, it’s wonderful you hear from you again! I was super excited to see a new episode was downloading. Sorry to hear about ur puppy woes though….I have a new puppy too so I know what ur getting into. I’ve also seen a few pairs of pairs of socks and balls of yarn go towards the light. So sad. ๐Ÿ™ But puppy eyes make it so you can NEVER be angry @ them, right? Or is that just what I’ve been telling myself….

    Posted on 2.16.11 ·
  15. Wendy wrote:

    Love Gaiman! Love you! Be sure to read American Gods…looking forward to listening to this one…


    Posted on 2.17.11 ·
  16. ansleybleu wrote:

    Ooh, congrats on the Ravelry updates! Thanks for the heads up on the Duffers too. Super cute!

    Posted on 2.18.11 ·
  17. Veronica wrote:

    Wonderful podcast as always! I am a fellow Bosch dishwasher devotee, I had asked for one for my birthday and I haven’t looked back since, I call her “the maid”. Funny, when you spoke about your new Bosch, I had to pause the podcast to start “the maid”.

    I feel your pain. Our retired racer, Homer had just tore his way through my STR Sheep to socks roving, apparently all good things come in zip locked baggies… luckily not the spun stuff, I don’t think he ate too much of the roving. At 3.5 years, he’s still got a lot of puppy in him. Luckily, he so eager to please, I just have to glare at him and his tail is in between his legs, gotta love those greyhounds!

    Posted on 2.18.11 ·
  18. MelD wrote:

    So this is the first “live” podcast of yours that I’ve listened to: the other 97 were my winter marathon and I finished listening to them up in the mountains at the end of January! Great to feel up-to-date and another great listen – thanks. My dogs didn’t eat any of my wool or knitting, nor did my kittens ever try to drive me crazy by tangling any yarn BUT my daughter’s Great Dane puppy tried to eat my house. We have open stairs, wooden, with the support strut ends covered by flat wooden knobs. Now one is pretty chewed up in the hallway. She was tied there so she didn’t destroy the rest of our interior. Sigh. Fortunately my spaniel (English Cocker) is far too much of a lady to have ever ruined anything ;)) so she gets to stay LOL (actually she steals food and chocolate using wondrous acrobatics…).
    Keep up the good work – now I know where you live (creepy, eh?!!) I keep saying I am going to come and see you when I’m next in Britain for some wool fun. (dream on, I don’t get back very often!) But I have good memories of Gower, you see… whatever. Look forward to your continuing podcasts!

    Posted on 2.19.11 ·
  19. Siobhan wrote:

    I actually gasped when I saw what Truman did to your sock! Hope you manage to save them.

    Posted on 2.19.11 ·
  20. Devon wrote:

    Lovely podcast as usual. So sorry to hear about your losses. Puppies can be such a handful! I’ve never had a dog myself, but I have taken care of plenty as a dog walker and pet sitter. One time I was taking care of two german shepherd husky mix six month olds and they got into a silica gel packet. I was so worried as I didn’t know if it would very bad for them. Luckily they were alright, but they gave me quite the scare!

    About a year ago I got out all of my stash, photographed everything, and uploaded to rav. It is such a treat to be able to look through my stash virtually and not need to actually get everything out. It also helps to keep knitting through the stash as it’s easier to find things.

    You sound so excited and happy about your projects, and I think that is wonderful. I look forward to the book as well as the audio cd.

    Posted on 2.21.11 ·
  21. Mara wrote:

    Really loved the track by Ty Hall ๐Ÿ™‚

    Truman is in good company as my little spaniel recently killed two duvets and my favourite lamp!

    Posted on 2.22.11 ·
  22. Susan wrote:

    Last night I was enjoying your blog while I did my evening stretches. Today I was doing dishes to the Manic Purl blog and she mentioned a sock that sounded interesting in the new Knitty. I went online and liked it. So, I went into Ravelry to see what yarns I was liking and there I saw your poor sock. I hadn’t made the connection until then. It is such a lovely pattern that even with the “not heathered” color flecks I still really like it. Glad to hear you are able to salvage them.

    Posted on 2.24.11 ·
  23. I weep with you for the loss of your knitty noddy, and I’m sorry you have to redo the sock. At least you were able to salvage the heel. I too, have bee having issues with my new-to-me dog interacting in unproductive ways with my knitting. In my case I’ve lost 2 circular sock needles to her sharp little teeth and powerful dachshund jaws. After I lost the first wooden one I replaced it with a metal one, but she still bit through the cable. I guess I, too, am a slow learner about leaving my knitting on the ottoman that she considers her territory.

    Posted on 2.25.11 ·
  24. Vicki Suan wrote:

    I just started listening to your podcast (found it via Electric Sheep) and just want to tell you how soothing it is listening to you. I knit socks and sweaters and I listen. I’ve downloaded some of the episodes to my iPod, working my way back to the older ones. Even though you’ve mentioned that you might stop at 100, I hope you continue. There are not a lot of worth-listening-to podcasts out there. Yours, I enjoy immensely. It’s probably a lot of work, this podcasting thing, but I thank you for making it available. Vicki

    Posted on 2.25.11 ·
  25. Birgit wrote:

    Hi Brenda! I am a first time commenter and have only a few months ago discovered your podcast. It has helped my trough troubled times, I can’t thank you enough. I have not listened to all the episodes in their order but rather downloiaded 10 episodes, then when I listend to those I downloaded older ones going “back in time” with each download step ๐Ÿ˜‰ Strangely enough I have managed to alsways pick episodes in which you talked about things that were current in my life when I listened to them. How wiered is that?
    I have been wanting to comment a while ago about your eco-friendly dishwasher scrubby thingies: If you are concerned about them benig unhygienic I have a quick and eco-freindly solution: If you have a steam pot, you can sterilze them at home in about half an hour! Your regular cooking steam pot will heat up to 120ยฐC while maintaining a pressure of 1 bar over atmospheric pressure. You can put the scrubbies inside, start a timer once the steam comes out and after 20 min turn off the oven. Then the scrubbies are sterile. This procedure kills even some of the hard to get to spores of fungus! I know this is done on labcoats made of cotton and they survive really well, but I am not so sure how well other materials hold up. I think this is great and you need no detergent or bleach!
    Another thing: I can not download any episode other than the most recent one at the moment. Neither through itunes, nor thrugh my iphone nor with the direct link on your homepage! Am I doing something wrong or are the currently not available? Maybe you could post an answer or write me an email? Thank you for your help!!!!!
    Greetings from Austria!

    Posted on 2.27.11 ·
  26. I was just thinking recently that I wished I’d burned episodes onto CDs as I’d listened to them, since to redownload now so I can hear them again would take a lot of patience. So I did a bit of a happy dance right in the Boston Public Library (where I happened to be listening) when you said you’d be releasing your essays on CD. Wonderful idea. I’m ready to pre-order today. I’m sure the book will be fabulous too.

    Posted on 2.27.11 ·
  27. Jenni wrote:

    A general lurker, coming out to say huzzah for the Neil Gaimon love. Oie, his books are captivating. I love Neverwhere, Stardust, Anansi Boys, oh, goodness – all of them! Good Omens is a great book to get people hooked on Gaiman. Especially recovering Catholics. You might also enjoy (if you haven’t already) Susannah Clarke (Jonathan Strange & Mr Norell takes it’s influence from Gaiman, with permission and everything).

    I also had to comment because I, too, will be getting a dishwasher in celebration of an upcoming anniversary. However, I am quite lucky that the dishwasher comes wrapped in a complete kitchen remodel (because a 1920s kitchen is, well, a 1920s kitchen and not a bit like Helen Mirren, who aged with grace!).

    Posted on 2.28.11 ·
  28. Lori on Little Traverse Bay wrote:

    Oh, if you like Neil Gaiman, I highly recommend my favorite, The Graveyard Book. I listened to it on a road trip (after a ho-hum response to Coraline) and I was hooked! I’m sure we added mileage to our trip just so we could keep listening!

    Posted on 3.2.11 ·
  29. Jane wrote:

    I have recently discovered your lovely podcast and indeed do knit while you talk . I have been rationing the archive editions but today find I can’t access them on the website or on itunes . Am I doing something wrong or is this permanent Best Wishes Jane

    Posted on 3.2.11 ·
  30. Connie wrote:

    Love a new podcast! We are still getting lots of winter here in the northwest of the US so I’m working on a fairisle skirt with Shibui merino kid.

    Posted on 3.3.11 ·
  31. ellen wrote:

    Oh yeah – The Spite Eater. I’ve got one myself. Mine prefers alpaca, but will deign to eat anything blocking.

    Posted on 3.3.11 ·
  32. Isabelle wrote:

    Hello Brenda!
    I am a new knitter and discovered your podcast only the other day… I have listened to a few episodes now and have loved them. I am looking forward to many happy hours of listening to your previous episodes while knitting ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thank you so much for sharing your love of knitting, great music, and providing us with wonderful material to knit by. ๐Ÿ™‚ You have a great voice and I love your tone, and the general atmosphere of your podcasts.

    Sending greetings and smiles from Southern France, where Spring has definitely settled. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Posted on 3.7.11 ·
  33. Jina wrote:

    Thank you for a wonderful podcast and for letting us all into your life! I’m sorry to hear about your tragic losses. I can understand the heartsickness of it all — a newly finished project and an old, cherished find. But I suppose that is why puppies and children were put on this earth, to teach us that we can endure through even this.

    I checked out your Ravelry post and was delighted to see your projects — so lovely!

    Thank you again! (PS – hope this grabs my gravatar. I just signed up after listening to one of your older podcasts.)

    Posted on 3.10.11 ·
  34. Fran G wrote:

    I’ve just discovered you and listened to podcast Episode 98. Too funny! I’ll be back often. Thanks for the LOL

    Posted on 3.19.11 ·
  35. Tonya wrote:

    Inspired by your talk of little hearts on ravelry, I put up a couple of patterns myself. You are so right! They do brighten up my day. Thanks so much and keep podcasting!

    Posted on 3.22.11 ·
  36. Hey Brenda! Loved the podcast! Congrats on your 5 year anniversary! And the new dishwasher! Awesome! (loved the audio listening to it run!)

    I can’t wait to see and hear your new endevors! I’m proud of you for tackling them! Rock on!

    Question for you, you mentioned felting by hand? What’s your process for that? I’ve been thinking of tackling it (on my new spring purse!) and since I live on a sailboat in the Caribbean and don’t have a washer machine…looks like by hand it is. Any advice is welcome!!!

    Thanks! – Kristi

    Posted on 3.26.11 ·
  37. Mary wrote:

    I just thought to check back today and there are 7! new episodes since I last listened to you! I am feeling so blessed! However, I see the last one was posted in February…two months ago now. I hope everything is OK? Maybe I will find out more when I actually listen to the episodes on the way home. Keep it up Brenda, we should have a virtual party for episode 100! I’ll bring the cookies!

    Posted on 4.18.11 ·
  38. prairiepoet wrote:

    Hi Brenda, I discovered your podcast late last fall and am now up to date with listening to all episodes. Your voice and essays are wonderful and were great company during this Nebraska winter and rather cold gray Spring. While listening this winter, I worked on a cabled, hooded sweater. Although the pattern is named Cassidy, I have come to think of it as my “Cast On” sweater. Frustrated with sweater knitting, I hadn’t knit one for quite awhile. Cast On inspired me to try again. I am pleased to hear about your upcoming book and CD. Keep us posted on those projects.

    Posted on 4.25.11 ·
  39. Dear Brenda, please come back. I know you are extremely busy but … but…. If you stay away from the podcast world who will I listen to that doesn’t end every sentence with an a valley girl upward lilt? There are many smart creative enthusiastic podcasters out there however I have yet.to find one who speaks as you do. Or who speaks about so many different aspects of knitting, creating and just getting on with all the things in life we face when we don’t have needles in hand.

    I’m rambling. It’s after 4 am here on the east coast of the U. S. It’s completely out of character for me to write this. Be kind & think of me as desperate rather than half-cracked!

    Whatever you are doing, I hope you are well and happy and enjoying life. All the best.


    Posted on 6.2.11 ·
  40. Nancy Bazemore wrote:

    Last night on my way to bed after opening information about plug and play, did I not see a cowl designed by you with “lace” leaves knit in a strip for the bottom edging. Of course I cannot find it today and my daughter thought she’d love it. Me too. Is there a way to find it. And, I wish Wales were a little closer. Why not come to USA–Michigan.
    Thank you. Nancy

    Posted on 8.25.11 ·
  41. dana wrote:

    i am so sad. i went to get the slipper pattern and its down. apparently there was some bad knitterly pattern behavior involved. hopefully she will repost it.

    Posted on 10.11.11 ·
  42. Michelle wrote:

    Hi Brenda,
    I’m so happy that you updated your ravelry profile with your stash and projects! Thank you for sharing with us!
    Warm Regards,

    Posted on 1.5.12 ·

Comments are closed.