28 Apr 2008

Episode 63: Moving Mountains

Say howdy to NEW! Cast On Sponsor, Simply Socks Yarn Company! Go there. Then come back.

It’s a jam-packed Death March of Fun this week, with special thanks to contributing writer, Becky Miller (also a frequent Librivox contributor) and my guest, Marti Moreno, of Taos Sunflower Yarns and Fibers.

Keep an eye on Syne Mitchell’s Weavezine, where you’ll find free knitting patterns as part of Syne’s mission to make the world weave. (Careful, she recruits.) Next month’s Today’s Sweater will appear in the summer issue.

Koigu projects rock! Why has it taken me so long to break this yarn out of my stash? You can knit Latifa, or fingerless mitts, OR you can knit the Flared Lace Smoke Ring, by Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer. This fabulous pattern is available at Heart Strings Fiber Arts.

Do take some time to check out a couple of new podcasts – The Knitmore Girls Podcast, the first ever (I think) mother/daughter knitting podcast, hosted by Jasmin and Gigi; and The Fairy Knitting Podcast, hosted by Erin.

Spinning knitters will find the WPI Calculator invaluable. (Thanks to Rebekkah for sending this in.) If you spin to knit, or for the sake of spinning alone, do write and tell me what you love about it. And if you’re still resolutely NOT spinning, we’ll make a spinner of you yet. Oh yes. Yes, we will.

Check out the article by Ann Hood about stalking George Clooney (my boyfriend) at Harry’s Bar. My hotel window in Cernobbio was practically on top of Harry’s bar! I was close. So close.

IK Readers Choice

Don’t forget, The Best of Interweave Knits Readers Choice Collection is available as an e-book at KnittingDaily.com. Get it now, or lose it forever on May 14, 2008 at 5 p.m. MT.

You can also learn more about the winning designers through their blog tour:

Sandi Wiseheart on Smoking Hot Needles

Norah Gaughan on Lolly Knitting Around

Kate Gilbert on Moth Heaven

Stefanie Japel on Chez Aristote

Evelyn Clark on The Panopticon

KniTunes this week were provided by and used with the permission of:


  1. Barbro wrote:

    Yes! Another episode just in time for the next Sock Knitting Pentathlon. I need podcasts to keep me in good mood for knitting.

    Posted on 4.28.08 ·
  2. Sarahbee wrote:

    Loved the interview with Martie Moreno! Coincidentally, I’m going on a road trip from Denver to Albuquerque this summer, and will do my best to convince my partner that Sunflower should be a destination point on our map. Thanks again for the wonderful podcasts.

    Posted on 4.28.08 ·
  3. Angela wrote:

    Whoohoo! New podcast! Enjoy your time off and your cruise out here in the NorthWest! Hope you can make it make down here to your hometown one of these days to knit with us at like Powells or Purl or even knitpicks? hmmmm, things to think about… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Posted on 4.28.08 ·
  4. JenMuse wrote:

    I was completely distracted during the climax of “There Will Be Blood” because Daniel Day Lewis was wearing that absolutely gorgeous cardigan. I totally checked out of the dialogue and action as I was fascinated by the cardigan! I gotta find that pattern and knit one for my dad.

    Now to listen to the rest of the podcast.

    Posted on 4.28.08 ·
  5. Yarnthulhu wrote:

    I’m not a big commenter on blogs, but I wanted to respond to your “Why do you/don’t you spin?” question. I do not spin, nor do I have any desire to. I enjoy fiber, and love petting it, working with it, and watching others spin, but I feel that I would do spinning an injustice. I have always tried to perfect (if there is such a thing) my knitting, and I feel like I wouldn’t be able to do that if I took up spinning. I know how consuming knitting is for me, and that spinning would do the same. One of the two crafts would have to suffer, and I love knitting too much to take away from it. I know I would probably love spinning just as much, but I think as long as I don’t start spinning I should be fine. ๐Ÿ™‚ I suspect my opinion may be in the minority, but there it is. I do love working with handspun yarns, though, and I go out of my way to buy it whenever possible. That’s my .02, and thanks for another great podcast!

    Posted on 4.28.08 ·
  6. Braizyn wrote:

    Yet another outstanding podcast. The segment with Martie is particularly timely and thoughtful. For Christmas last year a friend gave me two balls of Bee Sweet yarn, for a scarf. She said that aside from the colors being my colors and she knew that I liked to knit, she figured that I’d appreciate the product for what it represented….and she was right.

    I know there are many new knitters who might be put off by the cost and yardage of artisinal yarn, and yet, that is where I find myself drawn these days. If I’m going to spend my time and money making gifts or things for myself, then the product should be worthy of my resources. Also, to those folks who question the cost or the philosophy behind fair trade products I’d like to suggest they view a documentary … “Wal-Mart: The high cost of low prices”. Martie’s comments about the ubiquitousness of how advertisers are throwing the term “green” around need only see WM’s ads on how “green” they believe they are.

    I would also imagine that it will be difficult for the artisanal yarn story to get out, particularly in the advertising-driven media. But maybe a yarnie-writer could write the fiber equivalent of Michael Pollan’s “Omnivore’s Dilemma”

    Posted on 4.28.08 ·
  7. Monica wrote:

    Thanks for another new podcast!! (I also like the extended show notes like this).

    To answer your “Why I don’t Spin” question: Not enough time in the day! I would love to learn, and dying yarn is eventually on my list too… however, I barely have enough time to knit at the moment. I don’t think I need a new hobby just yet.

    Enjoy your trip!

    Posted on 4.29.08 ·
  8. Sarah wrote:

    Hooray, a new episode!

    I’m a longtime knitter (~20 yrs.) who just recently became a spinner. I think all the talk about it on blogs and podcasts got me interested. I started with a drop spindle, but I soon moved on to a wheel after taking a learn to spin class at my local fiber festival. Now I’m hooked — I think I’m spinning more than I’m knitting now!

    Posted on 4.29.08 ·
  9. Sarah wrote:

    P.S. Thanks for the snippet of Rusted Root!

    Posted on 4.29.08 ·
  10. Amber wrote:

    That podcast was great I’m so glad I found this. This is actually the first comment I’ve left you. I think your podcast are excellent (if I haven’t already said that.) I really like your song choice, who chooses the songs for you or are they favourites that you’ve heard during the week? Thank you again for an amazing hour of knitting action lol.

    Posted on 4.29.08 ·
  11. Abigail wrote:

    You asked for stories about why we don’t spin, so I thought I’d share mine. Story might be a strong way of saying it, actually, I just have a couple of reasons. Three actually: wool allergy and two boys, one 2 and one 5 and a half years old.

    I tried to overcome the first obstacle by getting a silk hankie and some corn and soysilk fiber and a drop spindle. I found it very frustrating to try to learn on that combination. A friend of mine who is quite a spinner suggested that it would be easier to learn on a wheel and then switch to the spindle. That bumps up against problems number 2 and 3. I’m not sure I could have a wheel in the house with the boys and expect that I could have a spot for it and that they would leave it alone. Perhaps when they are older I will carve out a space for a wheel, but for now, I’m sticking with knitting.

    Thanks for all the wonderful podcasts. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Posted on 4.29.08 ·
  12. Melisa wrote:

    It’s so nice to hear from you again, I was going through Cast-On withdrawel! About spinning: I need to learn to knit socks before I take on spinning. I’ve knit lace, sweaters, hats, scarves, and felted things but socks scare me! My goal for 2008 is to knit atleast two pairs. Spinning in 2009? We’ll just have to wait and see. =)

    Posted on 4.29.08 ·
  13. Katariina wrote:

    Gosh I love your podcast! I had my first baby on Valentine’s day, and don’t have much time for knitting at the moment, so at least I get to listen to someone talk about knitting:) We go for two-three hour walks every day, so it’s nice to have something interesting to listen to while he naps. The baby is also the reason why I don’t spin – I’d love to learn, but at this point of my life there’s just no time for it. Maybe later…

    Posted on 4.30.08 ·
  14. Liz wrote:

    I love handspun yarn but will I find the time to spin it? I’ve heard it’s very time-consuming and I’ve already got enough projects on the needles to keep me busy for months to come! Then you’ve got to ply it. I’m almost ready to be convinced after reading Lisa Lloyd’s new book “A Fine Fleece” – just need a little extra push ….

    Posted on 4.30.08 ·
  15. Erin wrote:

    Thanks for the plug, Brenda! Ah, the coy glance of fame….And it was lovely to listen to a shiny new Cast On.

    Posted on 4.30.08 ·
  16. Nancy R. wrote:

    Thank you, Brenda, for yet another wonderful production! I listened to it 3 times already.

    What an endearing and beautifully written story by Becky Miller, and then the music by Samantha Farrel right behind it. Good choice, so well done.

    How exciting you will be traveling to Pdx. If you have the time, come on over to Alberta Street in NE pdx; it’s a cool street nowadays with lots of funky boutiques, a yarnstore, a fabric store and a craft store.

    Have a safe trip and good luck on speaking to an audience during your cruise.

    Posted on 4.30.08 ·
  17. Trudi Feathermoon wrote:

    Thanks for another great podcast, Brenda! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Why do I spin? I have too! I spin mostly silk, bamboo and alpaca because I’m allergic to lanolin. I have 3 spinning wheels and am getting a 4th this summer. The rhythm of the wheel is very relaxing, even when I spin during my chronic migraines.

    Right now I’m spinning alpaca to knit the wonderful Monmouth Cap you featured in an earlier episode. It’s going to be a gift for my favorite Uncle John. He lives in Wales. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Have a great and safe cruise!


    Posted on 5.1.08 ·
  18. My knitting is more cerebral. I generally design on the fly and love making monsters and other odd 3D thingamabobbies.

    Spinning is my meditation. I am not technical about it at all… I have a vague understanding of ratios and such, but I just sit down and play. My planning boils down to “two ply or Navajo?” and is usually based on how I want the colors to play out.

    I wind up knitting more than spinning, because it’s slower for me and I always have a huge backlog of projects I should have finished last week, but I actually prefer spinning. Shhh… don’t tell!

    See you at SeaSocks!

    Posted on 5.1.08 ·
  19. Zainab G wrote:

    Spinning, my kids ask and I too want to learn but how and where can you direct me and my eager kids to start, so yes please get us started. A wonderful way to began a homeschooling summer project with them. About three years ago we had went to a local horse farm here in South Florida, the beautiful faces of my kids sheep shearing and wow to be given a grocery bags stuff with the fur they had just sheared, but thus it has been sitting on the shelf of my laundry closet so now we are asking for directions with kids in mind. Thanks Brenda and thank you for keeping the podcast going!

    Zainab Ghani

    Posted on 5.1.08 ·
  20. Lieke wrote:

    Thank you Brenda, for another great podcast!

    Why I don’t spin? Well, that’s rather easy. I’m totally allergic to wool and I live in the Netherlands. Not a good combination. Most fiber here is wool, not only yarn, but also roving. I just can’t find any non-wool fiber to spin with. Luckily I can find woolfree yarn (mostly cotton) so I can knit, but spinning, no way I can do that.

    Posted on 5.2.08 ·
  21. mara stolz wrote:

    dear brenda,

    thank you for another great podcast! i actually found you only a couple of weeks ago and am now one by one listening to all your podcasts from the start! i love them and love your voice.
    the interview with martie moreno was great and so inspireing.
    i am definitely going to knit the flared lace smoke ring, thank you for poininting out this beautiful pattern.
    i would love love love to learn to spin but i dont know how………going to move back home to germany in 3 weeks and there is no classes or anythig available to teach you.
    my partner would kill me (well not really but u know what i mean) if i would buy a wheel, just to try to learn another hobby……….so i dont know what to do about it but i really want to learn to spin.
    have a nice evening, greetings from ireland, mara

    Posted on 5.2.08 ·
  22. Lori wrote:

    Dear Brenda,

    ooohhh, the sound of “Knit…Knit like the wind….”. How lovely.

    Why I don’t spin: husband, 3 (yes, 3) teenagers, 2 dogs, 3 cats, 11 fish (altho one may be ready to pop very soon), career, commute, home-nearly-but-not-quite-majorly-remodeled.

    Why I want to spin: spinning wheels have always called to me, and podcasts (YOU, Guido, David) made it sound so soothing/meditative, and worth trying.

    Why I bought a drop spindle: Stitches West. I gathered the courage to try something new IN PUBLIC (this takes a LOT of courage for me, as I must always be completely competent in all that I do…), said “I want to try”, and took a seat at the wheel. After a 15 minute mini-lesson by a very patient woman in a very busy/crowded booth, I wanted to keep learning. She recommended that I start with a drop spindle: an inexpensive way to continue my exploration.

    Why I am learning to spin with my drop spindle: Article Pract, one of my favorite lys, is offering a class at a time that I can go, at a price I can afford. The class will satisfy my need for a safe place to be gently guided, and provide time when I will not be distracted (see reason why I don’t spin). Several attempts to spin on my own have been less than satisfying, and time is so precious. The class will (hopefully) help me decide if spinning is something I want to keep doing, or if I want to use my non-existant spare time to knit-knit-knit that which has been beautifully spun by others.

    Posted on 5.3.08 ·
  23. Beverly wrote:

    Hmmm…. Spinning. Why don’t I spin? Up until the last year or so, I had no desire. Knitting has been my passion for the last 5 years, and spinning just didn’t interest me. Over the last year, the idea of spinning is more appealing to me. I see what others have created (especially Rebekkah’s yarn – she is amazing!) and have this longing to make something myself that is just as beautiful. Here’s what has stopped me: The permanence of spun yarn. See, I am an obsessive perfectionist. With knitting, when I make a mistake, I can tink back or rip and fix the mistake. With spinning, you cannot go back and unspin it to fix it. I’m not a huge fan of “thick and thin” yarn. Perfectly, evenly spun yarn is my preference, and I have this fear that I would never be able to achieve that level of perfection in my own spinning. So instead of completely frustrating myself by trying and failing, I just don’t try. Pathetic, huh?

    Posted on 5.4.08 ·
  24. Dear Brenda,

    Thank You for playing my song, “I Want To Be Wonder Woman” on your podshow!
    I appreciate that so much.
    My best to you and your fellow knit artists in your craft.


    P.S. btw… I think you have a wonderful podcast voice, and your choice of music, of course, is excellent. ha!
    I’m not a knitter and I enjoyed your show! I found it entertaining and informative. So keep it up!

    Posted on 5.5.08 ·
  25. Tracy Hoover wrote:

    Why don’t I spin? Because there are only so many hours in the day, and with a husband and two kids and being a musician as well, I don’t get to knit enough as it is. I don’t get to practice enough either, but that’s a different issue. I like to be reasonably good at what I do, so I find it’s best to limit myself to the essentials. Family, music, and knitting is all I have time for.

    A friend of mine pointed me at your podcast, so I listened to them all, from the beginning. Great shows! Thank you for all the time and effort you put into them. I thought I was never going to catch up, but then when I did and had to move on to other podcasts, I had a hard time finding a good substitute. i always look forward to the next one!

    Posted on 5.6.08 ·
  26. Kathleen wrote:

    Hi, Brenda–

    Wonderful, wonderful podcast! Loved the music, the stories, the interview, the patterns, and the $64,000 question: why do you spin or not. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Every once in a while I come across a mysterious white carboard box in my stash closet and wonder what it is. Oh, yeah, I say when I open it, the learn to spin kit from Hello Yarn. That white cardboard box has the name “Pandora” written all over! Frankly, I am afraid to learn how to spin. I am afraid that I would like it and thus go down another road to (stashy) perdition. I have an absolutely unconscionable amount of yarn, needles, and books for knitting as well as crochet hooks, crochet books, special yarns for crocheting, not to mention the sewing fabrics and notions. I fear my complete lack of impulse control when confronted with the colors, the textures, the choices. I am afraid my brain would melt right down into a puddle of goo if I started with the cormo and the blue faced leicester and the silk and all those indie dyers —well, you get the picture.

    I love handspun–both the wild arty kind and the fine smooth kind. I have a ton of it in my stash. But I am trying to live within my stash for the moment. Of course, adding to it by handspinning would take more time than by clicking “add to cart.” Hm-mm–mm. As always, plenty of food for thought in your podcast.


    Posted on 5.6.08 ·
  27. Danica wrote:

    Why don’t I spin?
    Well first of all I live in Seattle and I make under $50K a year. That means that any space that I can afford to live in is pretty small.
    If I added a spinning wheel into my already crowded by books, art supplies, computer, yarn stash, dvds, etc living room it would make it look even more like one of those houses where people accumulate stuff over years and years.
    I can’t say that I’m not tempted but my drawing and painting time is already cut into quite a bit my knitting (and I love to knit sweaters. don’t get me started on walking around the blocking area for a few days while my sweaters parts block….). Spinning would really cut into both the knitting and the drawing/ painting time.
    Oh and the expense. I know that I would have to get a damn awesome wheel and we all know how much those cost!

    Posted on 5.6.08 ·
  28. Kimberly wrote:

    Hi Brenda, from one expat to another! I’m an American living in Germany and love listening to you chat about knitting and all good things fibery. Anyway, I just had to comment about your podcast this month. The lace smoke ring was the one project that my mother wanted me to knit for her about 2 or 3 years ago because she had seen it and loved it (she knits but this was just too delicate for her to tackle). She sent me the pattern and yarn for hers along with enough for myself and a friend, and just like you, once I finished hers I had to knit the second one. I loved it! That was my very first introduction to lace and while looking for some others who had knit it online, I found my first knitting blog. That was the time before blogging. Life is different now and I’m a lace and blog addict, although these days Ravelry is calling so much of my attention.

    About spinning, yes that has called my attention as well. It all started with the clapotis. I saw how expensive it would be to knit it with the original yarn, which I could get sent to Germany but I don’t have a husband who would understand why we can’t feed the family this month because I bought yarn for a scarf. I knit a clapotis because I was so curious but just out of wool I managed to find on sale in a local yarn store. I loved it but was determined to knit it with a silk/merino mix.

    Then a real-life blog friend gave me a drop spindle and it was all over. I was hooked. I loved it and all I could think about was spinning up my own clapotis. I think about 2 years later I finally finished my red silk/merino clapotis and I loved knitting her and I adore wearing her. I feel spinning has just expanded my knitting process one step further. I usually like to spin with a project in mind because to me yarn is meant to be knit.

    I really enjoy spinning yarn now and take my wheel to school with me to show my 3rd graders how it works before I teach them how to knit. I’m a Spanish, English, sport and swimming teacher and I believe life is all about diversity and balance. Unfortunately, things such as knitting and crocheting aren’t taught in my school, so I’ve taken it on myself just a few students at a time. They are always in awe at how cool it is to make yarn from wool. So am I.

    Your friend in Germany,

    Posted on 5.9.08 ·
  29. Cindy wrote:

    Hi Brenda,

    Great episode. I do spin or used to, it’s what led me to knit.

    I saw a co-worker with a drop spindle and some wool who was learning to spin. I practically ran from the room, knowing that it would start me on a dangerously expensive path. Which it absolutely did ;). I started making a lot of yarn and after a few months had absolutely no idea of what I would use it for since I didn’t knit or weave. Weaving – another issue, I bought a loom (got a great deal) and don’t know how to use it, yet :).

    Then I took a knitting class and it was all over. I finally found a way to express my creative urge with a result I really liked. It’s been 5 years since I’ve touched my wheel but I leave it where I can see it and know that it is not out of my life forever. I think the perfectionist voice that I wrestle makes me believe that I can’t knit from my handspun because it’s not as good as others. That damn voice. But it’s been gently calling me along with the Chasing Rainbows merino/silk fiber. Hhmmm, maybe this weekend :).

    Thank you again for keeping the podcast going. Also, thanks to all the knitsibs out there. No one around me understands my fiber passion the way you all do.


    Posted on 5.10.08 ·
  30. Cindy wrote:

    One more comment. The sweater Cameron Diaz is wearing in “The Holiday”, it is creamy and cabley and so yummy. I watch that movie every time it is on just to see that sweater. Must have that sweater, or pattern for that sweater. It’s amazing.

    Posted on 5.10.08 ·
  31. Dani wrote:

    I decided that I wanted to spin after knitting with a skein of Noro. The difference in texture intrigued me. After a year I now spin lace weight, which doesn’t have all those qualities I admired in the Noro, but I love the whole process from spinning to finishing the object.

    Posted on 5.12.08 ·
  32. Cathy wrote:

    Sorry for not commenting sooner, but I’ve been saving episode 63 so I could savor it. Great show, Brenda!

    I am a longtime knitter who does not spin. Of course, after reading Clara Parke’s book of yarn, listening to several of my favorite podcasters talk about their spinning adventures, lurking in some spinning groups on ravelry, and discovering that my LYS has drop spindle classes, I can say I’ve been severely tempted. I almost didn’t go to Maryland Sheep & Wool this year, because I was afraid I would come home with a spinning wheel and then have to learn how to use it.

    But, finally, I do not spin for the same reason I acquired a swift and ball winder: I want to spend as much time knitting as possible. The swift and ball winder mean I spend less time winding hanks into balls. I enjoyed winding yarn, but I enjoy knitting more. I bet I would enjoy spinning, too, but while I still have over 30 miles of yarn stashed, I don’t want to be making more yarn–I want to be knitting it. So, for now, I will just listen to spinning stories while I knit someone else’s handspun; maybe I’ll join you next year.

    Posted on 5.14.08 ·
  33. terri wrote:

    Keep up the great job, I love hearing you talk about your knitting.

    Why I don’t spin? Because I also quilt, and I have to work outside the home, as well as attempt to keep the house clean and have food on hand close to daily. So, if I could get on the 30 hour day progam, maybe…
    I have dyed yarn and find it very fun and I’m happy with the results. I guess I’m more willing to support other spinners right now. And I haven’t grown tired of the commerical yarn, because I’m just now hitting my knitting stride. I know many quilters who have moved on to dyeing their own fabric because they want unique fabric, or they can’t find what they want commerically. I think that may apply to knitter too, if you can’t find what you want, you have to make it yourself.

    Thanks for providing a great podcast.

    Posted on 5.16.08 ·
  34. Christine wrote:

    I have a friend who spins; I sit with her on Wednesday nights and knit– “my” chair is directly across from one of her spinning wheels. She has started saying things to me like, “When you start to spin….” When I told her about your question, she echoed it: “Well, why don’t you?”

    There is the time: I feel like I don’t have time to knit as much as I would like, nor to pay attention to my husband and children as much as I would like, or to pay attention to housekeeping as I should.

    There is the space: I have a small stash that keeps threatening to break out of the corner I have designated for it. It leaks onto the floor and starts spilling into the room. I don’t know where I would keep unspun fiber.

    Finally, there is money: The reason my small stash is small. I can’t afford to add the care and feeding of a spinning wheel to my budget.

    Still, I think of my future with children grown and out of the house– meaning more time, more space, and more disposable income for me, and I think, “When I start to spin….”

    Posted on 5.17.08 ·
  35. I finally caught up on all episodes of Cast -on, which was quite an undertaking. Brenda, thank you for such an awesome podcast!

    Oh, and I just saw Ironman in the theater on Thursday night. I took knitting with me, of course, but I kept getting distracted by the knits in the movie. I was thinking about making a sweater with the motif that the main character has in his shirts. AND the terrorists had some pretty neat fingerless gloves going on. The worst part was talking to my friends after the movie and they all wanted to talk about the effects. No one else was looking at the knits!

    Posted on 5.17.08 ·
  36. Sara in WI wrote:

    Not only do you still need to talk about your knitting, we still need to hear you talk about your knitting! I loved Becky’s essay and your interview with Marti Moreno. Both put different “spins” on the craft. And as usual, great podcast safe music! I especially loved the ending song, “The Boxer!’

    Why do I spin? Good question. It followed about 30 years of knitting for me. A friend was a spinner and it just fascinated me. I tried it and really couldn’t quit if I wanted to. Spinning for a particular project isn’t my thing. I spin just to spin and then the yarn tells me, sooner or later, what it wants to be and I oblige. Sometimes. Some of it is still calling. But with all of the competition from the other yarns shouting to me from my stash, it is hard to keep up.

    It is the wee hours of the morning and I still knit and listen to podcasts tonight. Something isn’t right here and I just can’t settle my brain…so I knit. And I’m thankful that I can. Thank you for another enjoyable hour, Brenda.

    Posted on 5.19.08 ·
  37. Celeritas wrote:

    Hello Brenda,
    I’m up to date, hurrah! I really enjoyed listening to all your podcasts and got through them in about a month, do I love the sound of your voice, yes I do.

    You know it is probably you who really got me from the point of going to a knitting class to actually knitting all the time. I knitted for a few months when I was a kid, making a very very ugly and lop sided scarf and a very very thin scarf which I made into a sleeping bag for my toys. With the encouragement of my husband to make something useful (rather than just the decorative cross stich I also do) I went to a knitting class for 2 hours. The class was just long enough, to just get it but I needed encouragement. I did buy some wool and needles but didn’t really do anythign with them aside from casting on, knitting, purling and casting off. I then listened to your podcast after thinking “people who craft must podcast too” I bought a kit for a knitted monkey and was off, listening to your podcast. I am know starting a sweater, of the square 80s variety and I haven’t made a mistake yet!

    Posted on 5.20.08 ·
  38. Becka wrote:

    I did spin, once. I spent weeks with a drop spindle and a batt of lovely blue wool, spinning then plying it into a usable ball of yarn (featured in the graphic for my blog). Afterwards I looked at the little blue ball and said, “Screw this, I could have been knitting this whole time.” So I traded my little spindle and have never looked back.

    Posted on 5.22.08 ·
  39. Mandi wrote:

    Thanks so much for the link to the WPI calculator. I’m sure that will come in handy!

    RE: Spinning…
    I’m a very new spinner. I think what first caught my attention with spinning were all the beautiful hand painted rovings available from indie shops on the Internet. I’m a huge fan of hand-painted sock yarns and it seems a lot of Etsy shops and such who do sock yarns are branching out in to roving. When Sheri at TheLoopyEwe.com started spinning and began selling roving, I think I was sold. Not to mention, lots of knitters whose blogs I read began posting the beautiful yarns they were spinning… wow! So I started saving up at the beginning of this year and purchased my wheel (an Ashford Kiwi) shortly after Easter. I had never touched a spinning wheel and had no idea what I was doing — no mentors locally to teach me. So I’m muddling through it with the help of the Ashford spinners group online as well as the fantastic book “Start Spinning”.

    I spent the couple weeks hesitant. I felt like I had to set aside special quiet-time to work on spinning because it took a LOT of concentration for me to coordinate my hands and feet and get it all right. But now after little more than a month with my wheel, I have become utterly addicted. Spinning fascinates me. The “whir” of the wheel is soothing and the rhythmic motions that my feet and fingers make are meditative. But at the same time, the activity is stimulating and challenging. There’s always a new fiber to try or a new technique to master. I’m still at the very beginning of the spinning learning-curve but now I find myself spinning every chance I get (no longer do I have to set aside special time — spinning-time is ANY time!) and when life becomes too hectic to sit and spin, I find myself missing it immensely.

    I have yet to knit with any of my handspun (but I can’t wait to do so!). Right now I just have it all on display in my craft room — I love to look at it and pet it. It makes me feel proud.

    Posted on 5.22.08 ·
  40. Trish wrote:

    Why don’t I spin? I love the colors and textures of yarn, but whenever I’ve tried to learn about its formation and why it behaves the way it does I’ve lost all interest. I know that will sound like heresy to many. So I can’t imagine spinning being in my future.

    On the other hand though, your links to Weavezine have me thinking that weaving will likely be in my future, right after I figure out my latest curiosity – embroidery. I atribute the embroidery kick on Kristen Nicholas’ latest book “Kristen Knits”. It’s one of those books that inspires.

    Posted on 5.27.08 ·
  41. Kate wrote:

    I spent most of Pan’s Labrynth transfixed by the green lace shawl that Mercedes was wearing. Quite useful, actually, since it meant i noticed the use of colour, specifically green, and how it slowly crept into the film. I’m guessing it represents the connection of the Communists to the land, and the way the little girl gets sucked into their world. Anyway, it makes me feel smart at parties!

    Why don’t I spin? Technically, I learnt a couple weeks ago. I have not felt the urge to touch it since. Partly this is because I would like to do it well, and don’t have the time or headspace to concentrate on learning it properly, at the moment. But mostly it’s because I’m not ready. I’m still working on really being a Knitter. I have this really sure feeling about the journey I’m on. Yick, normally those are not words that would come ouot of my mouth. Uh…. fingers. But when it comes to knitting, I know that I *am* on a journey. I have dabbled in cables and lace, but not enough. I haven’t even attempted colourwork. I’ve not figured out shaping to my satisfaction. I have not designed anything, or even significantly modified it.

    But I know I will do all these things. And I will be a spinner. One day. But not until I am the Knitter that I want to be.

    Posted on 5.27.08 ·
  42. Janey wrote:

    Hi Brenda, I just discovered your podcast just browsing thru i-tunes and I’ve only listened to a couple of episodes but I love it, its such a good mix of info and music etc. As I listen and knit I sometimes want to join in the conversation!!!

    i was interested in your discussion about ‘green’ wool and fairtrade as I try and use fairtrade principles for lots of my shopping, don’t always manage that though!! It is interesting to me that sometimes to support some fairtrade products means they have to be shipped across the world and therefore not very green. Also, whilst avoiding very cheap products means I’m not supporting industries that work because they employ very low paid workers, however will that force the employers to pay better wages or will they just shut up shop and move on to another quick way make a buck!! In which case said workers then don’t have even low wages!!

    Sorry if that’s a bit political for a knitting podcast but I just wanted to share my wonderings with you!

    Keep up good work, I’m looking forward to listening to all the back issues

    Love Janey x

    Posted on 5.28.08 ·
  43. Allison wrote:

    Why don’t I spin? I just don’t have the time to take on another obsession right now. I tried it once, and didn’t do well, but could see how I might like it if I gave it some more practice. But I have a business to run and a 10 month old son to raise and not too much free time. So knitting (usually socks) is how I spend those few precious minutes at the end of the night!

    Posted on 5.30.08 ·
  44. Wen wrote:

    To Spin or Not To Spin?!?! Just this week I uncovered my spinning wheel in order to cross something off the list I made for myself — to finish plying some single I’ve been working on for 2 yrs. (ugh!) This list was made, thanks to your episode to — Start As You Mean To Go On. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’ve known how to spin for about 10 yrs. now. I enjoy spinning. I enjoy picking out fleeces & cleaning (well, I’m not so fond of washing fleece, but somebody has got to do it!), carding, dyeing, etc. But I don’t do it much. I’ve come up with my 2 best answers as to why.

    1) There just aren’t enough hours in the day. My first passion is KNITTING! If I use my spare time to spin, it takes away from my knitting time. Knitting is my therapy & I gotta have my daily dose.

    2) I’ve found it very frustrating to knit a specific pattern w/ my handspun, especially something to be worn like a sweater. Non-wearables I’m comfortable with knitting using my handspun. My yarn is so uneven & the garmet just ends up being a chore, which takes away from my enjoyment of knitting. In short, I just find my handspun too non-uniform to enjoy knitting with.

    Well, that’s me!

    Posted on 6.9.08 ·
  45. I became a spinner by accident. I have been a professional artist for years…like more than 40 years. I had some brown batts of unknown wool laying around for at least 20 years. Some had been felted for backgrounds for bas-relief sculptures. But still there were bags of wool. Once the wool was used as a stand-in for dirt in an installation called Erin’s Belly. After that it went back in the bag and moved to Minneapolis with me, to live in the basement.

    About a year after moving to Minneapolis, I took a drop spindle class on a lark with my friend Carla. I just didn’t “get it.” The teacher’s instructions did not instruct me…so my friend Carla, between week one and week two of the class, taught me in a way that made sense to me. During the second class, while I still could not DO IT, I had the sudden vision of what I needed to do with all that wool. A sculpture introduced itself, fully formed and urgent for existence. I needed to spin ALL of that wool, like the girl in Rumpletilskin (What was her name?), and wind it into a giant ball of yarn…like five feet across.

    Now it was clear to me that the drop spindle was not going to be the tool of choice. I needed to learn to spin on a wheel. So I started looking for a wheel. Wheels were so expensive! I needed to find a wheel at a price that would not hurt my heart if I never spun again. I got a PVC wheel from Babe’s Fiber Garden, and I taught myself to spin. It was much easier on the wheel for me. My hands understood the wheel in a way that they did not understand the drop spindle.

    Months later, maybe a year, I finished spinning the bags of wool into lumpy bumpy singles. By the end the singles were rather slender and fairly uniform. Learning had happened. It was now time to create the giant ball of yarn in time for the show Thread’s in Space in my gallery. I purchased a 48 ” sport ball and began winding on. Oh my gosh! It was awful! It took forever and I got nauseated doing it! I tried bouncing the ball and wrapping. I tried spinning the ball and wrapping. I tried rolling the ball. It all made me sick to my stomach. My friend Carla came over to help me. She spun the ball and I guided the yarn. But I couldn’t look! I was getting motion sickness from wrapping the ball!

    We did finish in time for the national invitational show Threads in Space that I presented in my gallery. The sculpture is entitled Tenderheaded. The ball sits with a little limited edition artists book atop it, with loosely felted covers.

    Do I still spin? Um…Yeah! I now spin mostly on a Roberta Electronic Spinner, understand and do drop spindling and have lately taken up the charka. I wash and prep fleeces. I comb, I card, I dye, oh my! I spin obsessively for another sculpture…an installation scheduled for 2010…entitled STASH!

    Oh, but do I knit? Not much;-) I much, much prefer spinning…Much!

    Posted on 7.14.08 ·
  46. Hi I’m catching up on my podcasts and so this is a bit late, but I still wanted to respond to the question about spinning. I have been knitting for about 4 years. I started reading some mystery books about knitting. In the books they kept talking about spinning and the more they mentioned it the I more I wanted to understand how a poof or wool could turn into a strand of yarn. so I found a shop that offered lessons and signed up. After the first class when I went home with a loaner spindle I was addicted. I bought my wheel, a gently used ashford Joy, shortly after. Since then my knitting skills have greatly improved as I began to understand the differences in the yarn and why some yarn works better for one project instead of another. I also have carpal tunnel and knitting for extended periods of time can hurt. For some reason spinning doesn’t bother me at much.

    To the lady who commented that she doesn’t spin because she has 2 boys, let me say I have a 4 year old boy and 3 dobermans in my house. my 4 year old loves that he can get the wheel going and “spin” too. And the dogs…well that is why I got a travel wheel. I can pack it up, put it out of harms way, until I’m ready to spin again.

    Posted on 9.15.08 ·
  47. Sarah wrote:

    I was wondering if anyone knows where the The Fairy Knitting Podcast went. I would love love love to listen but can’t seem to find it anywhere.

    Also, I learned drop-spinning a few years ago but gave it up for lack of a proper spindle. I want to learn more but cannot afford a proper spindle or wheel at the moment and don’t have much space for MORE craft supplies in my current living situation.

    Posted on 5.29.13 ·

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