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Episode 47: Life on Mars

by Brenda on April 20, 2007

Thanks to my guest this week, crochet and knitwear designer, Annette Petavy, for helping to free my Inner Crocheter. Read her excellent article on combining knitting and crochet, and see more of her work at Crochet Me.

Very special thanks to Sage Tyrtle for her brilliant contribution to a brand new feature – The Secret Lives of Stitches, and for sharing “Click” – a regular feature on Quirky Nomads podcast – with Cast On listeners.

Yes, I know. I did promise pictures of the Sunrise Pullover Sweater, by Nora Gaughan. I can’t do it. It’s a great sweater. It deserves a full blog entry. Watch this space.

Check out the wonderfully fast to knit Smoke Signals Hat Pattern. Knit one, or several, for Dulaan.

Moebius Madness! Knit one on two circs – and please, do leave your moebius tips and tricks!

It’s that time again… WorldWide Knit In Public Day!

Discover (or rediscover, in my case) the Online Guild of Weavers Spinners and Dyers and check out their workshops.

Help these knitters raise money! Support Tricia Crockett’s Walk for Hunger in Boston. Support Kat McCaffrey in the Lincolnshire Race for Life.

Want a world-class instrument? Buy one from my Uncle Rob.

Lastly, mega apologies to Maria, whose new knitting podcast, called Knitting Time Together, I forgot to mention in this episode. Go listen.


Additional Tracks:
The lullaby, “Dilelol – Sleep My Child”, was performed by Iraqi artist Amel Kytherand Halla Bassam, from the CD Lullabies from the Axis of Evil.

1 Melinda April 20, 2007 at 6:51 pm

Brenda, I’m so glad to hear that you are on the mend. I was anxious for a time, concerned that you might have to give up podcasting. I find that you and Cast-On are like my first love. I do the circuit and enjoy listening to other podcasts but I find myself pining for your soothing voice. No one can take your place! Whoa, that sounds gushy, doesn’t it! But it’s true!

Keep up the excellent work and I’m praying for your quick return to the world of health and energetic activity.

2 j. April 20, 2007 at 7:28 pm

I almost hate to say this, but that picture of Polwarth? Looks like intestines.

I apologize if that puts anyone off. But that’s the first thing that popped into my head.

3 Mama Cat April 20, 2007 at 7:34 pm

Woo hoo! can’t wait to listen to the podcast. I’ve been feeling that crochet vibe lately too. In fact, the hook & yarn are sitting in my lap as I type this.

4 Angel Gallup April 20, 2007 at 8:25 pm

Fantastic cast, Brenda! I’m happy to hear you are on the mend. 🙂 I just learned how to crochet a few days ago and it really is easy. 🙂 I’m also a new listener and have been catching up on all your podcasts. YOU ROCK!!!

Love to you and Tonia, 🙂

5 lynn April 20, 2007 at 8:37 pm

hey there brenda… just wanted to let you know that it is an absolutely beautiful day here today in halifax, nova scotia, canada and i just finished writing my last ever exam of my university degree, only to come home and listen to your fantastic podcast of i finished off the last sleeve of a new summer top. thanks so much for the podcast. i do adore it so. you are in my thoughts and i hope that your health improves in time to get out in the garden.

6 Debbie April 20, 2007 at 10:04 pm

Can’t wait to listen to your podcast tonight after “the boy” gets to bed… I also have been getting my crochet mojo on, big time, for two baby blankets.

7 Tikabelle April 20, 2007 at 10:13 pm

Braaaaaaaaains! Braaaaaaains! I love that roving. I may need to get some, it looks scrumptious! Glad to hear you’re on the mend. I’ve been catching up on Cast On from the beginning (I just found you a few weeks ago) and I love it. Cheers!

8 Zabet April 20, 2007 at 11:16 pm

I’ve been asked to field all comments re: intestines.

Yes, they look like intestines. Now, you can let that put you off, or you can find the beauty in it. For example, if they WERE intestines, the pile is big enough that they would surely be from more than one person, so really it’s a social commentary about coming together and intimacy. Aw, isn’t that sweet?

‘Nuff said.

9 thorn April 21, 2007 at 12:23 am

i agree with zabet. intestines are awesome.

brenda, i’m so glad of the new installment. the other knitcasters have *all* been taking a break, and i’m running out of ‘it’s a purl, man’ — will be caught up *uncomfortably* soon. (the knitcasts keep me afloat @work, when i can’t knit.)

“because i poke. even if i like you. sometimes *because* i like you.”

10 Ann-Marie MacKay April 21, 2007 at 1:50 am

hi brenda.
welcome back…we missed you.

thanks for the picture of the roving–i’m now drooling all over my keyboard.

(just a sidenote, the link for the gregory morris group takes you to the “enter the haggis” website)

11 Maria Theresa April 21, 2007 at 5:15 am

No need to apologize for not mentioning the podcast on the show. I greatly apricate you putting it in the show notes.
I hope you continue to get better.
Fridays feel normal when I can spend an hour knitting with you.


12 Liz April 21, 2007 at 6:46 am

Hi Brenda,

Perfect timing. I’m just off to London (to compete in the marathon) and really need something to calm away the butterflies.

Cheers Liz

13 Nancy April 21, 2007 at 6:52 am

When I heard Dilelol, after Sage’s Secret lives of Stitches, I put down my needles, hung my head down and cried… man, that really struck a cord.

Been listening to your podcast for a while now… you rock, Brenda. For reals.

14 Barbro Wilhelmsson April 21, 2007 at 9:08 am

On my website there is some tips for moebius. My site is mostly in swedish but there is some patterns in english too. Look to the right and scroll down to “Moebius in English”

15 Barbro Wilhelmsson April 21, 2007 at 9:11 am

I can see that my Website adress was not automatically published; here it is

16 Teresa April 21, 2007 at 10:50 am

Great podcast!
Hey, I crochet, I can mix-and-match. A crocheted button band is a great idea! I have just the UFO to try it on, too.
Annette’s examples of combining the two crafts are wonderful.

Take care!

17 Kate in Somerset April 21, 2007 at 3:20 pm

The other day I stumbled across this site with pics of moebius cast ons

Scroll down to February 23rd. There are some other amazing things on this site if you just keep scrolling down into 2006.

18 Jill Schaefer April 22, 2007 at 12:54 am

I love your podcast! But I have a request. Is it possible to break your podcasts down into chapters so to speak? I download to my mp3 player and take you on my walks, but I can’t walk for a whole podcast, at least not yet, and I can’t start and stop on my player where I left off.

19 Kirsty April 22, 2007 at 2:13 am

Great to have you back, I’ve missed hearing your voice.

20 kent April 22, 2007 at 2:56 am

I loved the life on mars remake! I had this song stuck in my head, after my friend Rue posted the video last week:

21 Sue in Arizona April 22, 2007 at 3:14 pm

Hello, I love your podcast, but am having problems finding the “non-Itunes” subscription address for Knitting Time Together. I do not want to download each individual episode onto my computer, but want to subscribe using my other podcast software. I don’t use an Ipod, I use a different MP3 player; I know your podcast has an alternate feed address, perhaps you could help find Knitting Time Together’s for me?? Help!! Thank you, from Sue, knitting away in a small Arizona mountain town.

22 Leslie April 22, 2007 at 4:52 pm

I stumbled across this blog and if you scroll all the way down to Feb. 24 you will find the cutest pair of Mrs. Beetons!!

I just started to listen to your blog… simply wonderful in everyway! I find myself listening and knitting and relaxing letting your warm voice waft over me releasing all the tension from the day. Thank you.

23 Mary April 22, 2007 at 5:06 pm

Glad to hear your voice again. Hope you continue to feel better.

Cat Bordhi demonstrated her Moebius Cowl and Bag on DIY net. Although she does use a 47″ circular needle, her description seems clear enough to adapt to two shorter needles.,2025,DIY_14142_4894528,00.html

24 Tonya Leach-Trickel April 22, 2007 at 11:22 pm

Hey Brenda, great to hear from you! If you get a chance to podcast before May 11th could you tell your listeners that Bellevue Nebraska is having it’s first annual fiber festival May 11-13. We have spinning knitting and felting classes. Interested parties can contact me by the e mail I left or by phone 402 319 6133.
Thank you for podcasting, I know it’s not always easy.

25 Sue Sitko April 23, 2007 at 8:17 pm

OK…this is Sue again, I found the Knitting Time Together podcast feed that I wanted. I SWEAR it wasn’t listed on that very same website yesterday!!! Got it now, and looking forward to both Brenda’s new cast and KTT. Thanks!

26 Janice April 24, 2007 at 12:03 am

Nice to hear your voice again! And about the “c-word”… the episode is timely for me because I have started swatching a c-sweater. I was attracted to it at Stitches West because it looked like knitting–but not. I was surprised when I discovered it was crochet and bought the pattern when it became available. The only drawback so far is it requires 2,750yds for the smallest size. Yes, crochet uses more yarn than knitting and when you add to that a dimensional pattern, well it’s almost insane how much is needed. Anyway, here’s the story and photos of the swatches so far.

27 Kala April 25, 2007 at 12:03 am

I love your podcast, you are so great at what you do! Yours was the first podcast I ever listened to and is still one of the few I listen to religiously.

28 Nancy April 25, 2007 at 5:06 am

Hello Brenda,

Today, I saw vegetable dyed yarn in my LYS and had to think of you.

Am planning to buy it and write about it 🙂

Take care, and as stated before: You rock. For reals.

29 angie April 25, 2007 at 5:19 am

A great podcast! The Secret Life of a Stitch was heart rendering and great tracks to listen to.
I feel completely guilty that I can knit but not crochet (I can a bit, but have no idea what I”m doing really!) I have every intention to teach myself this year.
Thanks for the WWKIP day reminder, I’m planning on organising a gathering in Pembroke Dock, if you would like to help, get involved, feel free to get in touch, no pressure though.
Glad to hear your getting better, take it easy.


30 Teresa April 25, 2007 at 10:10 am

Where is the Sunrise Pullover Sweater posted?
I can’t quite make out what is said on the podcast.

31 Stephanie April 25, 2007 at 2:09 pm

Hello! I started listening to Cast-on last episode, and I am hooked! (or needled, which would be more appropriate as I am a knitter) I loved the music, and thought I would share a band with you that I love, called Shamrock. They are an Irish folk/rock band, and Enter the Haggis made me think of them. Now I’m going to download this episode and will continue to keep listening!

32 phoenix April 27, 2007 at 12:22 am

Not to be too geeky, but great editing on this episode.

I’m commenting because I’ve been blogging about my adventures with double-knitting a moebius and I think I’ve seen at least half the mobius (mobii?) on the internet at this point. Someone already posted Cat Bordhi’s pattern from her Knitty Gritty episode, but both The Girl from Auntie and Planet Shoup have good alternate techniques for moebius loops. I used Planet Shoup’s original recipe ( and it yielded a shoulder wrap-size mobius.

Stay healthy and happy knitting.

33 Tricia April 28, 2007 at 1:20 am

Thank you for mentioning the Walk for Hunger. As you said, hunger in the US is a surprisingly big problem. Donations can be made through the website.

On a different note, considering your love of subversive and genre-bending knitting, I have to ask if you’ve seen the parasol on Beautiful! Though I wonder if it’s heavy.

34 gina. B. April 28, 2007 at 11:50 pm

Hi Brenda, I listen to your podcast as I walk to work everyday. My route is through the Va. Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va, the site of the massacre last week. My LYS is doing a project of knitting squares to put together blankets for the victim’s families and the injured. Would you be interested in getting the word out to everyone about this project called “Hokie Healing” and/or knit some squares for us? It would mean so much to all involved…
Thank you so much,

35 Trish in MD April 30, 2007 at 3:57 pm

Dear Brenda,

I’m new to this whole podcast thingy so I went back to the beginning on yours and started listening from there so I would know who you are and what you’re about and stuff. I’m loving it!

From the very beginning I’ve enjoyed your descriptions of scenery and situations and well, sometimes it feels like I’ve got a new knitting buddy to share a coffee and good knit time with, and other times, it feels strangely voyeuristic. Still, I’m loving it!

I’ve only made it up to Episode 9 so far, so I have a ways to go before I know what you’re up to right now. I listen some at work, and I have to mess with the volume a lot to not miss a word you’re saying. So wow, I was amused when you played the “Enormous Penis” song and um, the volume was a bit loud and I’m at work… Oh well… I am a huge DaVinci’s Notebook fan as the guys are native here to DC and I have been following them for years. No, they’re not still together… guess two of them finally did grow up and go back to their real jobs. Have you heard their other CDs? The first one, “Bendy’s Law” is more “family friendly,” if you will… not that I don’t enjoy the other stuff, I do. But I have little kids and Bendy’s Law is about th only one that I can share with them as I enjoy their music. It contains their versions of some really cool classic rock songs. Talk about talent! Ever heard their version of “Stuck in the Middle With You?” It’s amazing.

It takes guts to open up yourself this way week after week, and I admire what you’re doing. I hope you’re still having fun and will be at it for a while longer. Wish I had discovered you before now.

Best wishes,
Trish in MD

36 megan May 1, 2007 at 2:52 am

Thank you for taking the time to produce a show Brenda. My baby girl (3) was in the ICU for four days, and a few more in the hospital with an infection. I knit and crochet as much as I could to get my mind off the stress. On a trip home to get a change of clothes I updated my iPod and found your latest podcast. What a treat it was.

It was really nice to hear your voice. Thank you!


37 Gina from Boston May 1, 2007 at 3:11 am

I am a new lister to your podcast and really enjoy your show. I just want to thank you for including crochet in this weeks episode. It was refreshing as I do not knit, but crochet. Thanks for creating such a great podcast!

38 Kat May 1, 2007 at 12:59 pm

Thank you Brenda so much for letting evryone know about my Race For Life appeal, it is tryely appreciated. Glad to see that you are podcasting and hope that you feel better! Fantastic episode! Kat

39 Laura May 1, 2007 at 6:27 pm

Whew, it’s always a love fest here in the Cast-On comments, huh?? hehe I love you as always Brenda, and just finished up listening to #47 (tiny little ipod issue to deal with). It was wonderful as always. Thoughtful and thought provoking. I don’t think there’s been an episode of Cast-On EVER that didn’t make me both laugh and cry. I know you’re very very busy but I wanted to ask a question. I believe at the start of episode #46 you mentioned changing your tea consumption? I’ve been searching the internet for information about tea and thyroid problems – finding some references to fluoride. I’m about to be tested for thyroid issues and had already suspected a problem with tea drinking making me feel very very badly. Do you have any links? I hate to give up tea completely without knowing a little more.

40 Cathy May 1, 2007 at 9:06 pm

Great episode (as always) and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the new look of the site!

41 Trish May 2, 2007 at 2:30 am

If anyone else was inspired after this episode to learn to crochet (or move beyond single crochet), you might want to check out this website It’s full of free video tutorials.

42 Ruth May 2, 2007 at 11:00 pm

Hi Brenda – Just a question as I have been slowly listening to your podcasts from the beginning. Did you finish reading for the Edith Wharton book? I have searched for this but have been unable to locate. I love you podcasts! Thank you.

43 Ruth May 2, 2007 at 11:52 pm

Hi Brenda: I kept poking around and found it (Age of Innocence). Please ignore my question. Thank you.

44 kellie May 3, 2007 at 1:06 am

wow, was it really a month ago this episode went up? I am such a procrastinator. I just wanted to say THANK-YOU for talking about crochet. I don’t know what it is about knitters treating crochet like it is the “knit-wanta-be” craft. I learned to knit about 10 years ago and soon after learned to crochet simply because I saw patterns for crocheted things and wanted make them. Although the two crafts use yarn they have different merits, properties, accomplish different goals.

Take care of yourself, Brenda. always looking forward to the next episode.

45 kellie May 3, 2007 at 1:08 am

i guess i’m not a procrastinator, i’m an idiot. it has only been a week and a half since the last episode, not a month, sorry.

46 Susanna May 3, 2007 at 6:42 am

Hi Brenda,

I’m a fairly new listener — I discovered the podcast in January — and I’ve been slowly catching up with the first ones. I’m really LOVING the new site design! 🙂 The colors are yummy. The only thing I’d change is the banner. Why not do a banner design contest? I’m sure there’d be lots of volunteers. But that’s besides the point.

I wanted to bring all knitters’ and crafters’ attention to this sad picture:
During the recents riots in Tallinn, Estonia, they burnt down a yarn shop. 🙁 (The caption, to those who don’t read Finnish, reads: “Thousands of rioters demolished and raided shops in the Tallinn centre during the night.”)

47 angie May 3, 2007 at 6:29 pm

Trish – thanks for the link – it’s fab!

48 Sandra Eileen May 6, 2007 at 4:06 am

I love he smoke signals hat pattern. I also wanted to bring all knitters and crocheters attention to the Hokie Healing Blanket Project sponsored by my lys Mosaic Yarn Shop, I have posted instructions on my blog for those of you interested in knitting or crocheting 8 inch squares to be used to construct blankets for the families of the 33 killed at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007. Thanks

49 Terrie May 6, 2007 at 8:34 pm

Wonderful episode! Love the new look of your site. I hope you start having lots of great days, Brenda! 🙂

50 Dana May 6, 2007 at 11:42 pm

Hello Brenda, I’ve been a listener for a while now (maybe a year?) and I think this was a spectacular episode. I loved your conversation with Annette. You always have good rapport with your guests, but this was a phenomenal interview. Regarding the music, I was delighted to hear Seu Jorge. I would love to hear more music like this on your show! Also, Sage Turtle’s piece was very moving. Anyway, just wanted to let you know this was a terrific episode. I really enjoy your show! Thanks, Dana

51 Andrea Madden May 7, 2007 at 8:09 pm


Love your podcast. I can’t find the picture of the sunrise pull over. Where is it?



52 wiscjennyann May 7, 2007 at 9:09 pm

Love (love! love!!) the new look!

53 Gigi May 8, 2007 at 12:10 am

I cannot find an e-mail for you on the site. I have a comment that I prefer to make directly rather than on the list. If you would please provide a contact e-mail it would be appreciated. Thank you.

54 raquel May 8, 2007 at 2:28 pm

Hi Brenda!
talking about crochet (i”m a knitter and occasional an amigurumi crocheter): if you go to Brasil, Portugal and in general South America you can see more crochet than knitting. In Venezuela (my country) the women in general hate to knit because it is too hot and the usually crochet home decor items. My mom taught me how to knit a little (because she is a crocheter), but my grandma was my crochet teacher. She made beautiful bedcovers and useful things, like bagas and things like that.
So this is my theory: the hotter the country, more crochet!!!
By the way, if you want to see a very good crochet teacher go to youtube and search tripiani crochet (it’s in portuguese, but the videos are very good).

55 Pat. May 10, 2007 at 3:22 pm

Having become a true and dedicated DAYNE-IAC I may never clean my house again. So much to do just from this one site!

I found your podcast through itunes and downloaded all 45 existing podcasts and have been working my way through them while keeping up with the new ones. Am being sidetracked by Secret Knitting ( from the 3rd or 4th episode) — there goes the gardening.

I have put all your podcasts onto cds and sent them to my daughter, an archeologist in Mexico. She has only a small community there and I don’t think anyone near her knits (not in english anyway) but knitting is her main recreation. I hope she’ll enjoy the ‘casts as much as I do.

Best wishes and many thanks, Brenda.

56 boodely May 10, 2007 at 7:22 pm

Thank you so much for linking to my blog, what an honor. (Or honour, depending on which the side of the pond.)

How is it possible that I hadn’t found your podcast before now? It’s such a treat – simultaneously exciting and relaxing. I’m a huge fan of radio so this is heaven. I’m off to click GET GET GET… in iTunes.

57 Laura May 11, 2007 at 5:04 am

Hi Brenda – Me Again! 🙂

I wanted to get over here before your next ‘cast to see if maybe you could mention the afghan project I have organized, “Rebuilding Greensburg – Block by Block”? I saw a few comments up that someone has already mentioned the Va Tech afghan project. Could ours get squeezed in there too? I know you’re always crazy busy but I know you’re awesome and regularly perform knitterly miracles. Thanks in advance if you’re able to give us a little shout-out! The link for afghan information and the address for sending squares is

58 Linnea May 11, 2007 at 10:15 am

Hi Brenda,

I just started listening to Cast On and am currently caught up to Episode Eight, which I guess really isn’t caught up at all. It’s been great entertainment while I worked on Knitty’s Halfdome hat – just finished, whee! – that I’ve been working on for a Virginia Tech KAL. A little group of knitters from Knitty got together and are working on various projects to donate to staff and students at VT – nothing like a warm, fuzzy handknit to let someone know that you care, right? If you’d like to check out the blog or even give us a little mention, it’s and was put together by the lovely and talented Erica.

May have to cheat and listen to your latest show – what’s this about marathoning? I’m training for the Athens Marathon in November and as I was running last night I was considering the possibility of uploading your podcasts to my (future) iPod to listen to during the race, which probably puts me in the “not quite sane knitting addict” category, but oh, well…

Thanks for a superb show.

59 Caroline Murphy May 11, 2007 at 1:30 pm

Just wanted to say how much I enjoy your podcast. I’m a new listener, so for the past few days, I’ve been catching up on your first few shows. I loved the interview with Annette and checked out her website. Her articles are great and made me take up crocheting again. I love Franklin and I’ve started reading his blog now. I love hearing about the sweaters you’ve knit and your family. Your podcast is now my official favourite!

60 Pen May 11, 2007 at 6:27 pm

Hi there,

I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your podcast, it’s definitely one of my favourites, and I especially like that you’re UK based, there really aren’t many of the knitting podcasts that are (comparatively, anyway), so you’re to be encouraged! I also wanted to say how very very much I appreciate how technically good they are — especially in terms of consistency of audio levels, this is definitely not the norm, and I love not having to fiddle with the volume constantly as I listen. Lastly, thank you for introducing me to Quirky Nomads, which is wonderful too! I’m really looking forward to your next episode!

61 Beth May 25, 2007 at 12:34 pm

Hi Brenda,
I’ve been an avid listener nearly from the beginning. I don’t comment much on the site though. What brought me out of the woodwork was the music from this episode. Keep Moving, Warm, and Bay Light Lullaby have been on constant repeat on my mp3 player. You’ve done such a great job of continuously coming up with great music that fits the mood at that particular moment. Before this episode I was obsessed with Jonathan Coulton’s Skullcrusher Mountain and Elizabeth and the Catapult’s Golden Ink from Episodes 44 and 46 respectively. I’ve actually managed to turn a bunch of my non-knitting friends into Coulton-converts. He’s got some great stuff out there.
Anyway, this is my somewhat rambling way to tell you that I very much appreciate the long hours you must put into picking just the right music. The above songs have pretty much defined my spring this year. The bonus is that they’re wrapped up in nice thoughts of knitting and your podcast. Thanks.
By the way, is the idea of an “earworm” common knowledge in Wales? I’ve only ever heard Germans refer to it.

62 aufildesjours April 6, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Hi Brenda,
Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy Cast On. I listened to a few episodes years ago, then decided last year to work my way through the shows from the beginning, and as I began to learn of other podcasts, I’ve added some of them to my listening, in date order. So I’m moving through a time capsule, in the delightful company of friends who don’t know my name: Brenda, Heather, David, Guido, Kathy & Steve, Pixie, and others. Even my kids know who you are, as I share the “good bits” with them, or say, “wait for me to pause, I’m listening to Brenda.”

I love that this episode is called Life on Mars, it certainly looks like a different world in so many ways, looked back upon from 5 years’ distance. For me, Ravelry, your discovery of which you announce in the next episode, was an enormous turning point in my connection to the world wide community of knitters, including discovering Cast On but so much else, and it’s hard to remember my knitting life without it.

Besides the thought provoking stories, I also very much enjoy your music selections, and would love to see a CD or iTunes compilation of them for purchase.

63 Tracy October 9, 2013 at 9:10 pm

I loved, loved, loved the Secret Lives of Stitches segment by Sage Tyrtle. I was working as I listened, but stopped what I was doing and sat, enthralled. It was so moving. I also was inspired to check out the Lullabies from the Axis of Evil cd. Thank you for making me aware of it!


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