08 Apr 2006

Episode 19: Knitting Memory

iSpin to Cast-On

Something for the spinsters, from Christa Giles, who designed last week’s fabulous iKnit button. Thanks, Christa! Grab one, and tell the world what you do when you listen to Cast-On! (Right click and save the image, then upload to your own server, please.)

This week it’s all about memory, and we make it nearly through the entire ‘cast without a MoRH ™, so that’s progress – Fr Roderick Rocks – A slash dot for crafters? You betcha!Old craft books R Us features two public domain knitting books. Can you find more? – She knits dead people – Spring ‘zines (and yes, I do know that it’s April) Magknits and Spindlicity and For the Love of Yarn.



  1. Lauren wrote:

    That was a beautiful essay, and it hit very close to home. I wholly share the feelings behind the two dominant threads of this episode, storing memories into our knitting, and the pre-knitting (B.K…Before Knitting!) longing to create. Really, I love all of your episodes, but this one in particular struck a chord. Thank you!

    Posted on 4.8.06 ·
  2. Jeanie wrote:

    Hi Brenda — Great show as usual. I remember hearing you say something in last week’s episode about the fiber-arts podcast network but I don’t think I left you a comment about it (the last two weeks have all big one big horrible blur to me, sorry). So I just want to tell you now that I love the idea and would like to help out in any way I can.

    Posted on 4.8.06 ·
  3. Lydia wrote:

    I have enjoyed each and everyone of your podcasts, but this (as already said by one comment) struck a very deep chord in me…after decades of non-knitting I am beginning to see why it once again has become so important and this added to my own thoughts of the windows it has opened within me. Thanks also for everything else you share, the new links, music, and not to forget that your stories makes one want to save up for a flight ticket to Wales asap:) Good luck with your new household member and I would not mind if he let´s me hear his bark on your next podcast.

    Posted on 4.8.06 ·
  4. Kri wrote:

    Great great resources, thank you very much 🙂 I must say that even though I’ve only been knitting for months at the most, I already have incidences of knitting memory. Admittedly, it’s on the small scale. While picking up one of my current projects… “Hey, this reminds me of listening to Frankenstein..”

    Posted on 4.9.06 ·
  5. Sandra wrote:

    I have always felt this way about knitting as memory…but thought it was only me. I have often listened to books from audio.com as I knitted, and so when I pick up a certain knitted shawl and think of MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA, it all makes perfect sense to me!
    BUT…. my biggest knitting memory right now is a tiny knitted set in sea green….a little shirt with matching shorts with suspenders, and matching bootees. A baby set, naturally. I knit it for my to-be-born-son…30 years ago. And last week I gave it to his girlfriend, who will any-day-now give birth to their daughter. I look at my picture of the outfit…and then my picture of my son wearing it….and then think of my to-be-granddaughter wearing it. … … And I KNOW the meaning of KNITTING AND MEMORY!

    Posted on 4.9.06 ·
  6. Another great show. You have become part of my Weekend Routine, knitting while listening to the latest episode.
    As for knitting (or other stitching) memories, there are so many. The memories are not just of what was happening when I knitted a particular item myself, but I also think of now departed grandmothers, aunts, etc., and their crafting pursuits. It’s a time when I feel so connected to so much.

    Posted on 4.9.06 ·
  7. Paula wrote:

    I love…love Memory Lane by Elliot Smith. I have that album and I was so excited to hear it on your podcast. As soon as I heard the first note, I knew what it was. How appropriate. You have such good taste, and not just in music either. It makes me a little sad to know that I will never get to meet you in person. Through your pod casts I feel sort of like you are a good friend…I know that sounds weird and I certainly don’t mean that in any sort of stalkerish kind of way;)
    Thanks for all you do for us knitters!

    Posted on 4.9.06 ·
  8. Kate in Somerset wrote:

    There’s an amazing archive of textile stuff here:


    It’s added to regularly. I haven’t looked for knitting yet: I ‘heard’ about it on a bobbinlace list.

    Posted on 4.9.06 ·
  9. Anna wrote:

    I just wanted to let you know that I sold some yarn on ebay so I could buy a used ipod & a cool little device that lets me listen to it in the car and have been listening to you (& your stand-ins) for the last week…trying to catch up. I’m absolutely entranced!! It actually makes me drive slower because I want to keep listening! I am up to the episode that Sage did and I’m kind of bummed that I have almost caught up because there will no longer be the seemingly endless supply! Thank you so much! That little green ipod has fast become my favorite little device because of your podcast. 🙂

    Posted on 4.9.06 ·
  10. Candace wrote:

    Brenda, I can’t find apprpriate words to describe the impact of this week’s essay. Listening to it, I felt like I was being transported on a slow-moving escalator, and so many memories, dreams, and people were there beside me, reminding me of their importance.
    Thank you.

    Posted on 4.9.06 ·
  11. Don wrote:

    I think what I love most about your writing, Brenda, is how you seem to say more beautifully and completely some of the thoughts that are half formed in my head. Or, as someone else once put it:

    True wit is nature to advantage dressed,
    What oft was thought, but ne’er so well expressed,
    Something, whose truth convinced at sight we find,
    That gives us back the notion of the mind.
    (Alexander Pope, “An Essay On Criticism” [1711] part 2, lines 297-300)

    Rapidly becoming your biggest fan….

    Posted on 4.9.06 ·
  12. Patti wrote:

    Thanks for mentioning Project Gutenburg. In case you weren’t aware, http://www.pgdp.net, encourages those who have spare time to proofread for them. They can do so online and I have done so in the past and find it an eyeopening link to history. My favorite subjects, of course, are the homearts and I like the childrens books as well.

    Posted on 4.10.06 ·
  13. Rosemary wrote:


    Thank you, thank you for playing our promo. I was not expecting to hear it and began clapping like an idiot as I took my evening walk through my apartment complex’s courtyard. Of course now I feel like a dunce for emailing you about our show before hearing this episode…

    Back to Cast-On. Wow. I am very much into what you are saying so far with your Muse series. As someone said above, there isn’t a way to describe the impact it makes, but its there. And its comforting, among other things. Thank you.


    Posted on 4.10.06 ·
  14. nod wrote:

    For an idea on how to do a consolidated fiber podcast list, you might take a look at: . I subscribe to this ‘cast and get all the LOST I can handle, and would love to get my fiber in the same way!

    Posted on 4.10.06 ·
  15. nod wrote:

    geez how about this, lostcasts dot blogspot dot com, since it removed the url in the last comment.

    Posted on 4.10.06 ·
  16. Megan wrote:

    AH HA!!!! Finally! It’s not just me who lays down the knitting and then picks it up and remembers exactly what I was doing, watching or listening to the last time I worked on it! THANK YOU BRENDA! I tell my fellow knitsters this and they think I’m crazy!
    You rock! As always! Thanks for making my work day fly by! Keep it up and I’ll keep listening!

    Posted on 4.10.06 ·
  17. Tiffany wrote:

    As brand new knitter and listener, I am very impressed with your show. At first, I was a little weary about how you voice your opinions, but then I realized, “Hey that’s me!” I really enjoy it, and am anxious to hear the PodCast as soon as it comes out.
    After 13 years in the Army, looking at 20, I found myself married and pregnant, all unplanned. Though my Mother-in-Law tried to teach me to knit last year, with my husband away and a full time career and baby, I was too overwhelmed. After I decided to be a ‘Stay at Home’, I found myself very depressed. After about two months, I put my “big girl panties” on and decided to pick up knitting. Now I am in a fabulous group and I am hooked. I’ve done everything from working in the Emergency Room, to flying Helicopters, but I find that knitting brings me the sense of peace and accomplishment I crave. I thank my Mother in law for that. I now am trying to knit her an iPod cover as a surprise (second project, in the round with two circular..yikes)! Fullfillment comes in the smallest accomplshments. Now my two year old daughter loves to watch me knit.
    Long, I know, but thank you again.

    Posted on 4.10.06 ·
  18. Diane wrote:


    Posted on 4.10.06 ·
  19. Lisa wrote:

    I really connected with your description of the two kinds of memory that go into knitting. The first kind is more obvious, and I think that many of us relate to how memories become knitted into the fabric we are creating. But I think the second kind of memory is just as important–imagining the essence of what we are in the process of bringing into the world. This is one of the main reasons I love to knit gifts, and why I can’t knit “generically” without some recipient in mind. As I knit, I am enjoying the memories of the person for whom I am knitting, as well as imagining how they will use/enjoy the item I am creating. I think that these “memory strands” are just as important as the strands of yarn in creating a sucessful project. Thanks for a great podcast!

    Posted on 4.11.06 ·
  20. Brenda, this isn’t really knitting related, but memory related. On 9/11 I had decided thatI was going to spend the whole day sewing up my advent calender that had been sitting unloved and unlooked at since I bought the fabric. I wanted to get a start on my Christmas gifts and thought that this would be early enough. It was going to be a gift for the daughter of one of my internet knitting friends in New York, so the earlier it was done the better. Also I was going to be there at the start of October for a wedding and I could hand it over in person. I was at the table minding my own business with the tv on low when the news came on. Immediately I got online and went to my knitting groups web site. I spent the rest of the day there checking in and waiting to see who had made it home, or who was still MIA. Two of my friends were within a couple of blocks, but they were ok albeit scared and in shock. I never did send that advent calendar, it had too many sad memories for me and for them. I do put it up at Christmas and it helps me to remember the lost and the lonely and be thankful for my family and friends.

    P.S Did you know that Colinette have published a new book called Muse.

    Posted on 4.11.06 ·
  21. lynsey wrote:

    the knitting memory is something i’ve been talking about with my knitting friend. i listened to pride and prejudice from libriox while knitting a lace cardigan. then when i was finishing it up, i watched the new version of the book on film. it was a fantastic “austen” memory and i think of that lovely story when i put on the sweater.

    great job as usual!


    Posted on 4.11.06 ·
  22. Susan wrote:


    Thanks for the link to the Mrs Beetons!

    Several members of my knitting guild are knitting them, and at the last meeting, a member brought a copy of the needlework book that she found at a local used book store — the lace is amazing to look at.


    Posted on 4.12.06 ·
  23. Sherry W wrote:

    Does anyone know how to access the first 5 podcasts? I can’t seem to access them via the website.

    Posted on 4.13.06 ·
  24. Sherry, It would be helpful if you could tell me exactly what you’re having trouble with. Can’t find the podcasts? Can’t download them? If I knew more I might be able to help.

    Posted on 4.13.06 ·
  25. Sherry W wrote:

    Brenda I am so sorry, I’m in tech support and know better not to give full details. The good news is that the problem has resolved itself.

    Just so you know what happened: This AM I would click on the ‘listen to episode x’ links from this website to try to access the episodes with my media player (quicktime). I would get a webpage with an error from libsyn the more or less indicated that ‘the file was no longer available’. This was only for episodes 1-5, the others I tested on this page in the same manner worked fine. I tried to refresh my browser (firefox) cache as well but it did not help.

    Posted on 4.13.06 ·
  26. Right. Thanks, Sherry, for the full description. Very helpful. Here’s what the folks at libsyn had to say about it:

    “Early this morning the system was timing out and delivering 404s on some requests. A bug was discovered later in the day where some file redirects were delivering the files of other libsyn users. We have since restored things to normal and will work to make sure these problems are prevented in the future.”

    Mystery solved. Glad to hear you’re now able to access those files.

    Posted on 4.14.06 ·
  27. Sherry W wrote:

    Thank you Brenda! I’m a new listener and I have been catching up with your shows. I love your podcasts and really enjoy hearing the other podcasters you recommend like Chubb Creek and Fibercast. Thanks for all of your time!

    Posted on 4.14.06 ·
  28. Hi Brenda,

    absolutely great show as usual! Didn’t know you listen to Fr. Roderick’s Podcast. 😉


    Posted on 4.14.06 ·
  29. Thank you so much for this really lovely episode. Keep up the amazing work.

    I’d love to hear you talk about the link between feminism and knitting. I’ve been doing a lot of random pondering about it, but would love to hear what others think. It might make a great essay!

    Posted on 4.14.06 ·
  30. minnie wrote:

    ok, dear, you brought me to tears. your sweater of the week piece did me in. the last line was “what memory have you knitted?”. well, i have a memory that’s crocheted. i had a love for knitting/crocheting for others at an early age. i also had sense of humor that verged on extreme sarcasm (that hasn’t changed). when i was 10, i crocheted a little toilet pad to place on the tank lid, for each of my grandmothers. it said “le throne room.” in acrylic. single crochet. my paternal grandmother passed away 14 years ago, and the one i made for her went to the 4 winds. my maternal grandmother passed away 5 years ago (on may 2, part of the reason for the tears). she was the one who taught me to knit. when my family and i went to clean her house out that following july, i found that toilet pad still on her toilet lid. she kept it for 25 years. i brought it home, and it resides in the same place in my bathroom.

    Posted on 4.15.06 ·
  31. Ariel wrote:

    I’ve never commented before, but I really enjoy your podcasts.

    And the last song was very good. Not as rockin’ as your scary intro made it sound, but I liked it a lot. 🙂

    Posted on 4.16.06 ·
  32. Bells wrote:

    Brenda – I LOVE cast on. Can’t get enough of it. Even my husband has liked what he’s heard. And the memory stuff just blew me away. Thank you so much. Keep up the good work!

    Bells (australia)

    Posted on 4.18.06 ·
  33. donab wrote:

    You commented at the beginning of this episode that you couldn’t think of any reason why we shouldn’t be using our pointy sticks. I have one reason – I listen to your wonderful podcast on my long commute to work. The other problem, beyond not yet mastering knitting and driving simultaneously, is that I’m so often inspired by something you said or something you refer to that I go scrambling for a reciept in the console to write myself a note. This was a two receipt episode. I’m really loving Cast-on, and am so grateful that you are creating it. Keep up the good work! (I promise, I’m a safe driver.)

    Posted on 4.20.06 ·
  34. Sarah wrote:

    I am gettting caught up here… I think it is hilarious that you termed the closing song as hard rocking… wonderful song, but not hard rocking to me. Hee hee.

    I love your podcast. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    Posted on 5.3.06 ·
  35. Sue McNamara wrote:

    I listen to Cast-on mostly every week although I’m behind a couple of weeks now, but I just wanted to write and say you are such an amazing writer. This episode touched such a deep chord in me when you described picking up a piece of knitting and being brought back to the memory of what you were doing the last time you worked on that piece. This happens to me all the time!! I have so many UFOs in my stash that I can even pick up a piece of knitting and remember something mundane like a bad tv show I was watching or something profound like sitting with my daughter when she was 10 (she’s now almost 24-how did that happen!)

    But the emotion I felt most from listening to you was the feeling that I’ve found someone who knows how I feel. I’ve only found this in one other place in my life and that was when I walked into my first AA meeting. There is something about finding people who are so much like you that you almost feel like you’ve come home to something you’ve never known before. The emotions I feel when I’m with these friends is like my heart gets cracked like an egg and everything I’ve been holding inside comes out with a rush of release. How can talking about knitting be such an important experience? I think because it’s a true art, and art and creativity are healing, safe ways to discover who you are. This is how I feel and it felt so great to know that at least you knew how I felt too, and I’m sure a lot more of us out here feel the same way. I also feel this way about music and my other group of friends, the Joniphiles (our name for Joni Mitchell fans)!! Life is connecting. If you have time check out my blog: http://www.cloudheights.blogspot.com.

    thanks, Sue

    Posted on 5.4.06 ·
  36. Suzanne wrote:

    This was my first time listening to one of your wonderful podcasts, and your beautiful essay really touched upon something inside of me that I have thought about often, but have never been able to put into words the way you did. For years, I felt an empty place inside me until I picked up crochet again in my mid-20’s after having learned how to do it from my Great Grandmother as a child. Soon after starting to crochet again, I learned to knit, and it has been my passion for 10 years now. Like you, it gives me such peace. The moments during my day when I am knitting are the the moments when I feel the most at home in my own skin, and when I feel the greatest sense of accomplishment. It seems like such a crazy thing to say since I am an English Professor and a mother of two young children, but I feel it deep in my bones. I loved the way you described the reason for that feeling so beautifully by describing it as a very rudimentary creative process that gives us a feeling of connection for which we long.

    The memory part of your essay was awesome, too, and a phenomenon that I have told my husband about for years. I remember vacations,television shows, kid’s activities, friendships, etc., all through my knitting. It is really an amazing phenomenon.

    Thanks again for this great essay.

    Posted on 5.20.06 ·
  37. Sharmane wrote:

    I am still getting the hang of html and haven’t quite figured out the whole button/html link thingy yet. I would like to post one of the iKnit buttons on my blog, would you be so kind as to give me a little direction? Thanks!

    Posted on 9.29.06 ·
  38. Barbara in Santa Barbara wrote:

    I know it’s a very long time since you recorded this podcast, but I’ve only just found it. I am a knitter and also a long time practitioner (and future teacher) of yoga.

    Would you mind if I used an excerpt from your essay as a reading during a yoga class? I find that all I have to do is substitute the word “practice” for the words “knit” or “knitting” and it broadens the message to include non-knitters too. The best part of the essay, for me, is this: “Every so often we are gifted with moments of real grace: moments when the heart opens and the hard places in our bodies soften. Our shoulders drop as tension is released and we let go of things we didn’t even know we were hanging onto. We pay attention to the great wave of softness that is our breath and we become full of compassion for the world around us and all the people in it, as well as ourselves. ” This is the pure essence of yoga!

    Thank you for your beautiful words to express what we all have inside us!

    Posted on 11.17.09 ·

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