25 May 2007

Episode 49: Woolly Wonders

This week Chicago writer, Franklin Habit, shares a Secret Life – Advice from a Poncho.

If you haven’t done so, you really must read Cold Comfort Farm. It’s for your own good. There may be a pop quiz, and I wouldn’t want you to be embarrassed.

Catch the Jitterbug! I’m knitting Elfine’s Socks in Velvet Moss. Of course Bother Amos’ socks should only be knit in Fire .

Check out the new knitting podcast, Stitch Stud and his Bride.

Join at the Sunday Spin Along at Needles on the Move.

Soay sheep are cute, and you gotta love a sheep who gives you free fiber.

Wonderwool Wales was fab! Join me next year. You can find out more about Wonderwool Wales, and the Bowmont Project at Glasu. Bowmont yarn will be available soon, through the website. It’s not there yet, but I fondled this stuff, and it’s wonderful. Keep checking.

Sincere thanks to the many musicians who allowed me to record their music at the festival.



  1. sally wrote:

    Yeah! More Franklin! I just love him and his blog. Thanks for introducing him Brenda. He in turn introduced me to Elizabeth Zimmerman and a whole new world of knitting has suddenly opened up. Greatly looking forward to downloading this one. Saving it, like you would do with a big bar of chocolate for a lovely solitary hour.

    Posted on 5.25.07 ·
  2. Elizabeth wrote:

    Cold Comfort Farm is my absolute favorite book. I still have the Penguin version (paperback) with the orange cover that my father bought when it was first released.

    Posted on 5.25.07 ·
  3. Ruth wrote:

    Hooray! A Cast On podcast just in time for the Memorial Day weekend. Thank you!! It will be one my few pleasures this weekend as I’m in the midst of a May Term college class – a semester’s worth of class in two weeks! Yuck.
    Oh, one more thing … where’s Ruby? I’ve come to expect a dog in the picture with the knitting! She always looks like she feels entitled to be in the photo 🙂
    Thanks for all you do! Ruth

    Posted on 5.25.07 ·
  4. Sherry W wrote:


    Do you ever wonder if the free patterns online drive down the value of the for-fee patterns? While I know that the designers of online knitting mags get compensated somewhat, the end user knitters don’t see that side. So does giving away patterns for free undervalue the work of designers?

    Posted on 5.25.07 ·
  5. turvid wrote:

    Another great show. Thank You so much! 🙂

    Posted on 5.25.07 ·
  6. hi there
    yeah! another podcast.

    question for you: i remember you talking about dyeing wool/yarn with avocado pits and peels to get a really good red.
    whatever became of that?
    i have recently joined our local spinning guild and we have to come up with knitted/felted items dyed with natural dyes for an event in the fall.
    i have cut up some pits/peels and have been soaking a bit of wool in the jar w/ water for a couple of weeks but it doesn’t seem to be turning colour at all.

    Posted on 5.25.07 ·
  7. Jordan wrote:

    I love Cold Comfort Farm. I read it not too long ago, and now that my partner has read it too we talk non-stop about liddle mops and cletterin’ the dishes with a thorn twig….

    Posted on 5.26.07 ·
  8. Riin wrote:

    Your response to Chris’ comment was thought-provoking. Is it only work if we don’t enjoy it? Should artists not be allowed to make a living? Should we all have a 40 hour/week day job on the side and do art in our off hours with whatever energy we have left over? (That’s what I’ve been doing, which is why I don’t have much energy. 70 hours a week is a long work week, even if you enjoy the work.)

    Our culture doesn’t seem to value art — I think that’s the problem at its root. What’s the first thing to get axed when schools have budget problems? And so people don’t value artists, and artists don’t value themselves. I see the same thing you’re talking about on Etsy. I’m trying to sell my yarn and roving, and I look at what other people are charging for similar items, and they’re giving them away. I can’t compete with that. I’m trying to do this as a business. I’m trying to save money for a down payment to buy a condominium so I can have a basement for a dye studio. Nothing luxurious. But I don’t want to live in a one bedroom apartment for the rest of my life with my dining room set up as my dye studio.

    It’s such a balancing act trying to figure out what to charge. Too much and no one’s going to buy the stuff. Too little and I’m giving it away. As it is now, I think I’m making minimum wage.

    Thanks for keeping me company while I wind yarn. I value your work, so I’ll click that donation button.

    Posted on 5.26.07 ·
  9. RuTemple wrote:

    I have some good-news feedback for Sherry W’s question about whether free $Things (knitting patterns, here) drive down the value of $Things-for-Cost. My answer is that No, absolutely not, and furthermore, they bring up the value of the entire community. Here’s my logic, and then an example from the book publishing industry.

    When I begin a new art, such as sock knitting (eek! I’m a *weaver* darn it!) or book binding, or what have you, I’m willing to take good strong steps and practice until I’m any good at a thing, to know whether it’ll be a lifelong delight, or an “okay, I’ve tried that and I love doing Other things better and life is short” sort of thing. I tend to go to the library and check out a book for free (where free means I pay taxes and vote for library bonds and donate things and some time periodically to keep it existing), to start, and then delve deeper into materials and further how-to instructions.

    I submit that the internet as a community behaves, when someone who posts a free pattern of her own design as a Thank You for the support she feels that she’s gotten, in the case of the Elfine Socks (“Because you’re so good to me” is the title of her gift post), as both a large-scale Potlatch, and in the case of various archives of ideas, illustrations, patterns and studies from individual to university archives:
    — thus for me, the Internet also behaves like a great big library. The fact that I’ve been going to find all manner of pattern and inspiration books at my local library doesn’t devalue any of the works I find there. It does mean that I know which books I’ve found inspirational once, or have made a 2-page photocopy here or taken my own notes about there, (for info on Fair Use within US copyright law, see http://loc.gov/ and for an excellent discussion of copyright and research (and asking permission for using / quoting at length from a copyright holder, see this fabulous article and sample permissions letter – aimed at graduate researchers and useful for anybody: http://www.umi.com/products_umi/dissertations/copyright/ — yes I mess with this stuff for a day job.

    So – if I can taste, I generally delve further, plunking down money in a little more educated way, to individual designers or businesses that delight in many ways, either in buying their goods, or hitting their donation jars.

    Here’s the publishing industry example, or rather three of them. You can google them up pretty easily (or, Brenda, shall I include linkfesties?)
    The Baen Books Free Library. Go read Larry Flint’s thoughts about it all when they set it up, and affirmation in the years since then, how giving away electronic books serves to sell more paper books (and brand new books in electronic form rather than paper, for good money, as well).

    Cory Doctorow gives away all his books in all the different electronic forms he can think of, and download-to-print-and-hand-around copies in countries that don’t get good distribution of print works, and his works are selling and selling and selling. His point appears to be that obscurity and not so-called pirating is his worst foe as a writer who wants to make a living at it. The goodwill generated is huge. There’s also a solidly (monetarily) documented increase in awareness and sales across a whole community of authors who are using this kind of marketing model.

    On beyond Cory makes-peoples’-heads-asplode Doctorow, a volunteer board member of a professional genre writers organization recently went on record claiming that folks who gave away professional quality work devalued every writer’s work, and went so far as to call such writers “web scabs” and “pixel-stained techno-peasant wretches” — the response from several hundred writers and editors being that the union supporters and activitsts jumped down his throat to explain gently just exactly what being a scab actually means, and doesn’t, and the declaration of “pixel-stained techno-peasant wretch” day on Aprils 23, and a quick google on that phrase will find you all manner of professional quality writing to read (including the original I won’t honor it by calling it Luddite commentary and other responses).

    The point is: giving away a free gift is definitely going to intrigue me to see what else a person has designed, and support them in as many ways as . As a businesswoman and a member of this suddenly seriously global community, I find giving freely to still be a sacred thing, and one that has very strong returns, in all manner and kind.

    The folks who sell their sacred time and work and love of design for cheap change, who don’t know the difference between a retail loss-leader and dumbing prices down to the point where they wind up paying people to take the work, that’s what I find to be painfully devaluing of all our work, and the worth of our labor in the greater market.

    There is also a lot to be said for a gift economy — and potlatch can really work as an economic model — when everyone gives back.

    Brenda, please keep that donation “tip jar” in place. I can’t toss into it every month, but whether it’s dropping in my two cents, or being able to say, hey look at this online archive / source of copyright-free music, or just emailing a wow, that Breakable music was so on the spot, and tender with how we all really do have to move at a human pace, whatever our pace is able to be in a given moment, and thank you, or saying well, I’ve listened to all your podcasts since just this March, and I hear the exhaustion of this past winter creeping in a little, but I don’t hear any lessening of your deep delight and passion for this audio magazine, and all its parts, and your deepening connection out to and with your listeners. Thank you for opening my ears, and for celebrating all the other fiber arts podcasters as they come along (I can just hear you saying, well of course!) — yet you set it as a precedent in this little part of the community, having come to the podcasting scene early, and even just that little tidbit echoes and reverberates and adds something sacred to the pool of it all.

    Yes, please, I want to hear about the commercial yarneries and festivals and patterns/idea/inspirations folks are sharing for free, and to keep figuring out all together how to create an art-valuing world so that artists can afford to live in the world.

    um, Riin? I’m really not comfortable shopping at Etsy these days, primarily because of the one-downsmanship I see going on there. Do you sell from a personal website, or (even with its own set of things that make one go Hmm, on eBay?) I’ll come there and look…

    hugs all around, fiber-sibs.
    -Ru Temple
    a weaver & fiber artist back home in Redwood City, CA, learning to knit.

    Posted on 5.26.07 ·
  10. glittrgirl wrote:

    Hi Brenda! I am so pleased you decided to try Jitterbug – I got a skein recently and cannot stop fondling it. Mine is in the lapis colourway, which is a really vibrant blue. It hasn’t told me what it wants to be yet, but I am sure as soon as it does, I will be as addicted as my friend who was knitting Jitterbug was when I was in Brighton recently.

    Thanks for the glimpse into Wonderwool Wales – I couldn’t get there, but am looking forward to Woolfest this year.

    I have a question – why aren’t there more British voices in your podcast? I would love to hear some essays read in UK accents! Loving the podcast, it’s my treat to sit with a cup of tea and my knitting as soon as I can after you release each one. Thank you!

    Posted on 5.26.07 ·
  11. Pauline wrote:

    Brenda — Thank you so much for such a WONDERFUL work of love in each and every podcast! I have only recently discovered your podcast and I find it very inspiring, not just for knitting but life in general. Hearing you invite me to cast-on is a calming break from the hectic everyday world. The poncho essay was fabulous — It brought back so many memories of my mother and grandmother, both of whom knitted, and the hidden life of so many projects.
    THANK YOU – THANK YOU – THANK YOU!!!! I can’t wait for Series 4!

    Posted on 5.26.07 ·
  12. valeria wrote:

    hello brenda,
    thank you so much for your podcast. I loved it. I love billy holiday and also the story told by franklin habit. Just loved that and i was thinking about my own grandmother. She never knitted me anything although she could do magic with her needles and she knitted socks and vests. I remember her telling me about how she had to knit as a child ten rows on a sock before she was allowed to play outside.
    She was about 7 or 8 years old then. I think she didn’t knit for the joy. When i started knitting and crochet she warned me…her shoulder was with athroses (hope i wrote that well) and she said “don’t work so hard, you see what it did to me” i thought no way….i’ll go on. I guess i better knit untill i can’t knit anymore then keep reserve and not doing the thing i love.

    My mother never knitted much but made me also a poncho. That she croched and i’m sorry i don’t have it anymore. My mother died of cancer when she was 54 and i was pregnant with my son and now that’s 8 1/2 years ago i still wish she would see my knitting and crochet. I think she would love it. I have the knitting needles from my grandmother, í’ve the craft items from my mother and i just love those stories told in your podcasts. Really i do and i remember my grandmother, my mother and i want to thank you again for everything you do.


    Posted on 5.26.07 ·
  13. Juju wrote:

    We know you love this. It wouldn’t be this good if you didn’t. (Fussy, fussy artist!) Yay to a new addiction: Jitterbug! Jitterbug is crack. I am making a cherry-leaf shawl (Victorian Lace Today, another drug) in colorway Castanga. Wish it would never end, watching the weird and subtle color shifts coming through my fingers. Wow. Springy, smooth, sheen. Yes. Never thought I’d love anything quite so much as Koigu, but I gotta tell you… no I can’t say it…. yes, okay. I might love this as much if not a teensy bit… more? Yipes! Can’t wait to go to camp with you guys. Will we make sit-upons? (Girl Scout thing…)

    Posted on 5.26.07 ·
  14. Juju wrote:

    Oh me again, after reading above (why don’t I do that first?).

    Re: Sherry and (amazing) RuTemple’s posts. My head is so full of this these days, and I can’t articulate exactly what I think about it, because I’m not sure what to think, but I’ll try to get down some rambling here, where Brenda is patient with long comment posts.

    Had tea with a researcher from a local manufacturing company that makes beautiful furniture, regularly knocked off in the U.S. and other countries. They are constantly struggling with the trend toward open source development , even open source design, in the U.S. and worldwide, and the very different point of view about design and ownership in Asian countries in particular, but around the world generally. More important every minute as especially China’s market doubles and triples. Of course this company has historically worked hard and paid deep legal fees to protect their intellectual property rights in the design and trade of these furniture designs. They launch marketing campaigns about buying the real thing. Try to educate designers in design schools about the work to protect ideas. I swear this has something to do with knitting…

    But the Milennial generation in particular and other countries are squeezing at this idea of intellectual property. Their idea, much too simply stated, is that ideas shared raise the entire human condition. Once an idea has been released into the world, how can it be owned? How can we, as humans, not seek to build upon that idea? And as humans, shouldn’t we do that? Isn’t that, in fact, a more humane and morally correct response to ideas…. to borrow, spread, and further them? To constantly better the human condition, if not the craft?

    I shared with my research friend, who is not a knitter, the experience of attending my first Stitches Camp, where I felt, I felt like an “other.” (Lost reference) Though I work to embrace what I am growing to see– as a new knitter and a person who lives comfortably online — as two major camps of knitters, I seemed to have landed in a sort of anti-online camp. Labeling is awfully helpful, I realize, but Luddite doesn’t work, as RuTemple pointed out. I want to be kind, because I recognize the anguish and fear felt by the not-online knitters. But at the risk of being overly simplistic (not really a risk, because I’m always overly simplistic) the camps seem to be forming with the not-online, intellectual property-protective people on one side, and the open-source, online folks on the other.

    Having lived and knitted among the not-online knitters at camp for several days, I understand that their fear is based on a concern for the craft they love being diminished in some way, their sources of income being devalued or commoditized in some way. At the same time, I recognize how online knitters are preserving the craft, pushing the craft, increasing the size of the market, creating sub-markets, making markets findable, making inexpensive online marketing possible for a market that has had not marketed much at all in the past. That is, for those comfortable with online tools, for those who can explore and manage online life. Those who fear the most are those with the least online experience.

    Tribalism is a powerful force in the world and in humankind. We can hardly help forming tribes. But though the yarn craft world is enormous, it probably doesn’t need more division. We learn early that we can spread understanding by exploring the points of view of the other, and allaying fear by offering help to the have-nots. We can help local yarn stores build their sites and register them in the search engines. We can link to them from our knitting blogs whenever we talk about the yarns we bought there. We can bring Brenda’s and others’ podcasts to knitalongs in the stores. We can talk about online patterns at our local guilds. We can ignore the lines, and share more, and show people what the online knitting community does to float all of the knitting boats.

    Back to charging fair prices for work, for goods, for design… ach. The market is a difficult mistress for all artists and every industry. The question of percieved and real value, and how to protect yours for your product? Age old. If your work is a work where there is risk of perceived commoditization (yarn spinning), then you need to communicate to your market why your yarn has greater value than others. How yours is in a different category (hand-spun?, the source fiber?, the dye process? the limited runs? The silky sheen from the spit of the nearly extinct yak species? What?)And prepare to change your game and change your story when the online market is flush with hand-spun, spit-sheened, hand-dyed yak yarn.

    Will the world ever value hand-crafts, especially those perceived widely as women’s work? Dang. I live in a country where we still can’t elect a woman for president, so don’t ask me…

    Posted on 5.26.07 ·
  15. Hi Brenda,

    Great episode! I’ll be there with you guys around the camp fire the next season!

    Posted on 5.26.07 ·
  16. Elizabeth wrote:

    I really enjoyed this episode – particularly the Cold Comfort Farm references (bring on the Brother Amos socks!) and the essay about the poncho. I’m curious whether you’ve seen the film version of CCF, and if so, what you thought of it. Also, I wanted to say you’ve been an inspiration to me in doing recordings for LibriVox – I just finished a recording of E. M. Forster’s Howards End, which is available here – http://librivox.org/howards-end-by-e-m-forster. If you get the chance to listen to it (perhaps while knitting!) I’d love to hear your thoughts. Any plans to record another novel? 🙂

    Posted on 5.26.07 ·
  17. Katia wrote:

    Hi Brenda

    I am SO looking forward to series 5! The scout movement plays an important role in my knitting career. At the age of 16, I’ve made my first intarsia sweater – (with the scout emblem, the lilly, on it) for my little brother. For his first summer camp.

    And at the age of 17, I’ve even made intarsia kneesocks (also with the scout emblem on them) for my first boyfriend. And the very moment I listend to you announcing series 5, my own boys were on their way to a sout camp – in handknit socks in their group’s colour!

    Greetings from Switzerland, Katia

    Posted on 5.26.07 ·
  18. BalletMommy wrote:

    Hi Brenda. Another great podcast. But when I heard “WoHeLo” I went into an immediate time warp! A delightful one! The song that goes with that, which we sang as we entered for a campfire “flyup” or other ceremony is now going through my head non-stop. I recently ran across my mother’s Leader’s book (she led our troop from Bluebirds through Camp Fire Girls). Did you have the wooden beads that you sewed on your (felt) vest? And I have such fond memories of getting my first Blue Bird socks to go with my uniform! Hmmmm, perhaps I’ll have to design some to knit!

    I’m really looking forward to the next series. I’ll be sitting round the campfire, making s’mores, knitting, and holding my flashlight with the tissue paper flame. (See? You did stir some memories!)

    Posted on 5.27.07 ·
  19. Kristin wrote:

    Great podcast Brenda… Just wanted to let you know of another podcast I recently started: http://www.kristypage.net/knitviews – Knit Views… basic reviews of various knitting things 🙂

    Posted on 5.27.07 ·
  20. RuTemple wrote:

    “hand-spun, spit-sheened, hand-dyed yak yarn” — Wow. I’d buy that!

    I think my brain skipped ahead faster than I could type, and I left out a phrase about library books, and figuring out which I then go GET and have at my fingertips as a constant resource (is the Weaver’s Companion still in print? wist!) and which are the read-once, take a few notes, and be so glad they’re in the library in case I want to see it again in a year. There, now it makes more sense to me to read.

    The writer Connie Willis’ good advice about going to your library and checking out your favorite books at least once a year so they stay on the shelves (books that don’t get read get de-accessioned sooner) is also worth remembering here: DO go to your library and check out fiber related books, as well as occasionally giving or asking them for more…

    JuJu, your comments and what you notice are Important, because there does seem to be this have/share/expand knowledge sort of community that is nourished and often found among online community, and contrasts sharply with a not-so-much-or-at-all online set of fearful. clingy, left-behind in some ways, community of folks. My most heart-wrenching example is one when asked at a reading, the writer John Varley won’t, can’t imagine publishing his backlist of books as etexts because he’s really afraid they might be “pirated” – so I can’t share my favorites of his long out of print works with my sweetheart at all! This is is the kind of left behind I’m thinking of here.

    As to original artisan work being ripped off and reproduced on the cheap, to the harm of the original artists, yes it is a problem and a pain, and perhaps accelerated by the doors thrown open by online access to inspiration (or other things we might call it). It’s not a new question, though, Billy the Yeats thought about it around 100 years ago:

    I MADE my song a coat
    Covered with embroideries
    Out of old mythologies
    From heel to throat;
    But the fools caught it,
    Wore it in the world’s eyes
    As though they’d wrought it.
    Song, let them take it
    For there’s more enterprise
    In walking naked.

    Well, that’s a simpler response to the issue than trying to follow up on international copyright adherence, which just seems to cost more anguish and money than can be recouped. If I design or make a Fabulous Thing, and someone can get it for so much cheaper from a kid who doesn’t know to charge for her time on Etsy, or as an import of the handwork of some political prisoner in China working for no money at all (how did you think those Yulie craft items came so cheap? that’s the widespread practice), or as encountered the other day at what used to be a fine juried art show where the Sweet Young Thing claimed her Bali imports with lotus and lion figures were her designs being made for her in Bali (uh, yeah, sure kid. What’s your cultural connection with lotus flowers, and have you ever seen one live? I didn’t think so.) and was selling them for a Whole Lot Less than the artist across the way selling her own delicious combination of serti technique and arashi shibori silk painting designs, made with her own hands… it has gotten to a point where it’s hardly worth the fees to show at even a juried art show (I paint silk and do hand-bookbinding, myself, and have worked art shows, and have loads more observations and opinions about the scene but I’ll shaddap now). Where to sell? I don’t know. I will keep on with the day job, so I can afford to spend money on artists like Riin (your stuff is gorgeous!) and other independent artists — because we matter.

    Brenda, thank you for opening up forums/comments on your blog here – I hope the moderation of same never becomes onerous, even as I think and hope that you might become the fiber arts world’s version of an online salon like Making Light. Don’t hesitate to disemvowel us if we get outta hand.

    Also – as a worthy money making venture, Brenda, would you please consider selling your podcast series on sets of CDs? Okay, under the terms of the Creative Commons license, I could take and rip my downloaded files to a CD, but I would in fact go out of my way to purchase, for money, a set with liner notes and your label on ’em, to give to my dearling knitter-and-weaver mother, who doesn’t go online, for her enjoyment beyond the snippets I’ve quoted to her with glee. Think of how Cory Doctorow’s freely given-away etexts sell out (fast!) their fancy collector’s hardcover editions, as well as paperback editions, and please publish as a gift that we can all buy and give to that not on-line community, to have access to your show. It’s a step — those knitters at the knitting camps will love your work, too, you know.

    I remember what all the four Hs stand for, but while I had pals who were Campfire Girls and had heard WoHeLo before, what does it mean? I’ll bet we all know a bunch of camp songs in common, though.

    Posted on 5.27.07 ·
  21. RuTemple wrote:

    Oo! Oo! Oo! My dearling Lise just handed me a book she got on interlibrary loan for a workshop she’s planning to attend on academic copyright, saying there’s a connection between the commerce of ideas and the commerce of images/artwork, and these thoughts are so germane to this conversation: Copyright and other Fairy Tales: Hans Christian Andersen and the community of creativity, edited by Helle Porsdam, professor of American Studies at the University of Southern Denmark. Published by Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK, Northampton, MA, USA 2006.
    Here’s the tantalizing list of essays:
    (Re)creativity: how creativity lives, by Lawrence Lessig
    On real nightingales and mechanical reproductions, by Stina Teilmann
    Bleak House or Great Expectations? The literary author as a stakeholder in nineteenth-century international copyright politics, Uma Suthersanen
    Adaptations with integrity, Leslie Kim Treiger-Bar-Am
    What might Hans Christian Andersen say about copyright today? Fiona Macmillan
    Hans Christian Andersen and the protection of traditional cultural expressions, Michael Blakeney
    Should the logic of open source be applied to digital cultural goods? An exploratory essay, Lee Davis
    Imagining a world without copyright: the market and temporary protection, a better alternative for artists and the public domain, Marieka van Schijndel and Joost Smiers

    Somehow it’s reassuring to me that there are folks talking and thinking about these things and publishing books! about them. It gives me, for whatever reason, some Great Expectations. Not that it’ll ever turn into a simple set of questions; we’ll keep having to change our stories when the world’s markets grow full with “hand-spun, spit-sheened, hand-dyed yak yarn.”

    and — I dunno. I’ll likely vote for Hillary.

    Posted on 5.27.07 ·
  22. Susan wrote:

    Loved the latest podcast, as usual. The audio trip to WonderWool was great fun.

    I’ve thought a lot about Chris’ comment about Brenda’s needing to ask for financial support for the podcast. I worked for over 17 years in U.S. public TV, at the station in Sacramento, CA. That meant I spent literally hundreds of hours on-air trying to persuade viewers who could watch the station at no cost to pay for the service. In the U.S., commercial TV airs programming to make money. Public TV raises money to produce and air programming. They are two different forms of television, and the content speaks for itself.

    The broadcast finance model is different in other countries, which often comes as a surprise to U.S. residents. Instead of “paying” for TV programs with their time and attention, as U.S. viewers do with commercial TV, Brits pay an annual tax on their TVs to fund the BBC programming. There are also now commercial broadcasters in GB, so viewers sometimes get commercials, but many other countries use a public-funding model for their broadcasting, too. With such a model, quality of the program content, both in production values and in, well, honesty and completeness, depends on the government’s commitment to those principles, as well as their budget.

    I came across Brenda’s podcast in late fall of 2006, and enjoyed the archive podcasts greatly, usually while knitting. In fact, I had to ration myself and used them as rewards for other, less enjoyable household chores. I’m all caught up now, drat, and can only wait with eager ears for the next one.

    In my professional judgment, I can say Brenda’s production values are very high. She uses good equipment and clearly takes time to plan and produce entertaining and well-made programs. I’ve listened to many other podcasts, a few of which are as good, many of which aren’t, and have found none better. There are few podcasts I have set for auto-record; hers is one.

    Producing a program, whether TV, radio, or podcast, takes time, energy, money (for the equipment), and – most important – good production judgment. I want Brenda to have the freedom to spend her time doing something she loves, beside knitting and spinning and other fiber activities, creating podcasts for me to enjoy. I don’t expect to get my magazines or newspapers at no cost. I pay for subscriptions and don’t grudge the cost to pay writers and editors and printers to inform and entertain me. It would be wonderful if Brenda were independently wealthy and could produce her podcasts without needing to make a living; she can’t. It’s IMPORTANT she let us know she needs support, if she’s to continue. That’s where we listeners must respond. I’d be pretty upset to hear she’d stopped podcasting because she couldn’t continue to podcast for free and yet couldn’t bring herself to ask for our support.

    Her current sponsors are good ones. I’ve tried the yarn from Briar Rose and the candles from Dame; both are fine products. However, no doubt due to my experience in U.S. public TV, I really like to think Cast-on will be supported by knitters (or spinners, etc.) like me, willing to pay for our entertainment and education.

    She who pays the piper calls the tune. I love to think of my needles dancing to the tune called by thousands of others like me who listen with smiles on our faces and lovely fiber in our hands. My own way to support her is to send via PayPal an annual subscription of $15, roughly 50 cents per show. As I used to say in my earlier life, contribute whatever works for your budget.

    Alta, CA – in the Sierra, sort of near Lake Tahoe

    Posted on 5.27.07 ·
  23. Hi!

    I found your podcast about two months ago (I know I’m late to the party) and I’ve now listened to all of the episodes. I absolutely love your show, and there is nothing quite so heart warming as the thought of knitting needles and a fresh new podcast waiting at home to cheer up my work day. I just wanted to thank you for all the work you put into the show and all the creativity you lavish on your listeners. Thank you!

    Espoo, Finland

    Posted on 5.28.07 ·
  24. Sharon wrote:

    Brenda, to help your Bee issues, Google your local Apiary, We have one on our land and when we have Bees where they shouldn’t be (pardon the pun) they come and move them with little fussy in a very BEE friendly way.

    All else fails ask the bees nicely to move on, maybe next hot day they will swarm and leave you and your bedroom alone.
    (Great tradition of talking to the bees in these islands)

    Posted on 5.28.07 ·
  25. Kristen wrote:

    Hi Brenda,

    I love your suggestion about knitting for literary characters. Wouldn’t that make a great knitting book?! With things like a lacy wedding dress for Great Expectations’ Miss Havisham. Or an intricate shawl in honor of Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web. Or a plain garter stitch pullover like the ones the unnamed narrator in Rebecca wears. Ahhh – the possibilities are endless.

    Thanks for the podcast. I always look forward to hearing from you.

    Orange County, California

    Posted on 5.28.07 ·
  26. Anne wrote:


    I just discovered your podcast a couple of weeks ago and I have now listened to every episode of Cast On from 0-49 and I love it. I have only been knitting for about half a year and it is so great to hear that all the weird feelings I’m experiencing are normal for knitters, like how the yarn begs to come home with me and the things i see flashing when holding somehting i have knitted.

    I’m spoiled with episodes now, listening to several every day, and I can’t wait for season 5. Sounds like lots of fun!

    Anne in Norway.

    Posted on 5.28.07 ·
  27. Annette wrote:

    Lots of well put comments here – I just wanted to add that I found Franklin’s essay absolutely f-a-b-o-u-l-o-u-s!

    Posted on 5.28.07 ·
  28. kim wrote:

    Every time my son heres the opening to Cast-On, he does a little dance when the lightsaber sound comes on….

    Posted on 5.28.07 ·
  29. Sally wrote:

    Hi Brenda – I love your podcast and I completely support your honest discussion about the value of your time and talent. I have spent many enjoyable hours in your company and I am so happy to periodically send in a donation. One of my favorite things is learning more about Wales. You are a great “international ambassador” and I think you deserve funding from the tourism board of Wales. I have friends who live in Pembrokeshire who have invited me to visit for years. But it was your podcast on Wonderwool that has really pushed me over the top. I am hoping to travel to Wales next year to visit my friends, go to Wonderwool, visit Hay-on-Wye, and enjoy the countryside. Through the podcasts, you have created an itinerary for a knitting/spinning/fiber trip to Wales. Please keep on telling us about Wales and I’ll keep taking notes. Best wishes and thank you so much for your wonderful podcast.

    Juneau, Alaska

    Posted on 5.28.07 ·
  30. Kirsty wrote:

    Thanks for another great podcast, Brenda. As a fine artist struggling with the eternal art vs money question, I can certainly sympathise. However, I think you should keep the donation button on the blog: I, for one, like to give when I can, even though it isn’t much or often. So don’t feel guilty about letting listeners contribute if they want to. I don’t know about anyone else but I certainly never feel pressured into giving.

    Frankly, I think that everyone who’s putting creative stuff out there outside the mainstream media should have a donation button. I think it can be a really radical act to cut out the middlemen and have money go directly to the people who are actually making the art. Personally if I could I’d much rather buy a second-hand CD or a download and then donate directly to an artist on their website rather than putting money in the pockets of the record companies: the musician would almost certainly get more of my money and I wouldn’t be supporting companies whom I think are often pretty dodgy. Another example; I’m perfectly happy to pay a small monthly subscription to Graphic Smash (http://www.graphicsmash.com/) just to get Ursula Vernon’s superb webcomic, Digger. Even though it’s the only one I read on the site, it’s worth it to me. I also make a point of donating small amounts to podcasters and web comic artists whose work I enjoy. Even if I can’t afford to give much, I like being able to give something in return for the pleasure their work has given me. I also like the human touch – when I make a donation I can include a thank you to the artist and tell them directly how much their work has meant to me, something I wouldn’t really be able to do if I was reading a book or watching TV.

    I’m tired of artists of all stripes being at the bottom of the creative food chain while the industries surrounding art are filled with people who take home a much bigger, more reliable monthly wage than we do. Don’t get me wrong, I know that people in jobs like arts admin, PR, advertising and promotion work for their money, but it’s bloody rare for them to be asked to work without a fee – something that happens to me all the time as a visual artist. Every month I see ads for creative projects where the artist is expected to work for a pittance or nothing at all while everyone else who is ‘making the project happen’ gets paid. There seems to be very little recognition that without the artist the project wouldn’t happen at all.

    One Black Bird wrote a good article recently about the difficulty of charging a fair price for her ceramic work that you might find relevant: http://oneblackbird.blogspot.com/2007/05/money-talk.html

    On a sort of related note, further up the thread Sherry W asked:
    “Do you ever wonder if the free patterns online drive down the value of the for-fee patterns? While I know that the designers of online knitting mags get compensated somewhat, the end user knitters don’t see that side. So does giving away patterns for free undervalue the work of designers?”

    Although I’m not a knitting designer, I honestly don’t feel this – personally I judge patterns on how interesting they are, not whether I have to pay for them or not. If a pattern is good enough then I’ll happily pay for it and I won’t knit something I think is crap just because it’s free. My knitting time and yarn are precious to me, I won’t waste my time with something that’s badly designed no matter whether I’ve paid for the pattern or not.

    And despite sometimes knitting free patterns, I still buy plenty of knitting books and magazines. I like the ‘added value’ of knitting books like Victorian Lace Today with its insights into knitting history, for example. Moreover, if I’ve enjoyed knitting a designer’s free pattern from a site like Knitty or Magknits, then I’ll often visit their website or blog to see what else they’ve done and I might bookmark some of their ‘for sale’ patterns and eventually buy them (I knit slowly so it takes me a while to get round to everything I want to knit).

    In addition, for me, the availability of free patterns online seems to build a higher awareness of individual designers in a way that magazines and books doesn’t seem to, probably because I can click through to their sites more easily. Podcasters and bloggers raving about a designer or a particular pattern makes me go and look at free stuff that I might not otherwise have seen but I’m equally likely to put a knitting book on my wishlist if it’s got good reviews around the web.

    Anyway, keep up the good work and please don’t feel guilty for daring to value the wonderful and important work you do.

    Posted on 5.28.07 ·
  31. Lee-Fay wrote:

    Dear Brenda,

    Listening to you is like chatting with an old friend, except that you don’t get to see my nods, smiles, tears, and verbal ahs and oooohs as well. I love the well-balanced mix of intellectual thoughtfulness on knitting and the world, and emotional reflections as well. I just wanted to say a big Thanks!, not just for brightening up my days, but broadening my horizons to Wales and far far beyond. The next series is awaited with great enthusiasm – my kneckerchief is waiting to be tied on.

    Posted on 5.29.07 ·
  32. Andrea wrote:

    Another great podcast, but special gratitude to Franklin. I always have this mysterious (and arguably fictional) feeling of connection to women who’ve gone before me when I do some household tasks -knitting, sewing, making bread… It’s usually the tasks that are necessary on some level, but also a place where women chose to put some artistry that wasn’t strictly speaking necessary, that make me feel this way. (This warm cozy feeling never overcomes me when it’s time to dust, more’s the pity.) For that reason, my husband’s grandmother’s 1970’s afghan is currently on my couch. It’s red, white, and blue acrylic. It’s, shall we say, not to modern tastes 😉 Okay, it’s ugly. But it’s the afghan that she made for him to take away to college. Now it’s my turn to make afghans for children heading off to college – and I’m sure that 30 years hence, these creations of mine will receive the same superior smirks that Babci’s afghan earns now. Those afghans will still have merit if they remind people of my love for them -however misguided the knitterly-results then seem to be. Thanks, Franklin, for reminding us of that important truth.

    Posted on 5.29.07 ·
  33. Terrie wrote:

    Great episode! I loved Franklin’s essay and it was fun hearing clips from Wonderwool Wales…how cool that you got free fiber!

    Posted on 5.29.07 ·
  34. Melinda wrote:

    Brenda, Your comments on the value of our finished products really struck a chord with me. I, too, have undervalued my craft, yet when I consider my “day job” I always consider myself extremely underpaid. Why is that? I put more of myself into my craft than I do my day job, yet I make my living doing something I really don’t enjoy… Hmm. Thank you so much for all of your hard work. I look forward to each and every episode of your podcast and you never disappoint.


    Posted on 5.29.07 ·
  35. Emily wrote:

    Thank you, Brenda. I can’t wait to go to camp with you!

    Posted on 5.29.07 ·
  36. Hi Brenda! This is my first time commenting, but I think of your podcast as one of the first real knitting podcasts that ever came about (not sure if this is true, but Stash and Burn made it sound like it was so, so…).

    Anyway, this comment is about crafts at camp, and I know you’ve probably already got next week’s ‘cast all planned out, but I just wanted to let you know that I head up the Texture Crafts program at Camp Gwynn Valley in Brevard, NC, and I’m also getting ready to start working on my Masters in Education, with an emphasis on Craft Education. I’ve been putting a lot of thought into knitting with children, with help from my boyfriend who was raising in the Waldorf schools where kids learn to knit before they even learn to read. They even have a song. In any case, I just wanted to introduce myself, because hey, you never know. Maybe the camp ‘cast will be so successful, you want to have a Part 2 later in the summer. I’d love to help out in any way I can. Interviews with the kids, maybe? Some cute soundbites on how much they like to knit?

    Anyway, ‘cast on.

    Posted on 5.29.07 ·
  37. Cath wrote:

    Thanks again for another excellent podcast as well as for a very eloquent discussion on time, talent and renumeration. I find the word talent to be tricky. It seems that it is generally recognised that those who are talented in, let’s say, law (or medicine or business, or sport) work extremely hard both in their training and in their working lives. Hence, they are “worth the money”.

    But mystery seems to shoud those who are talented in the arts. It’s as if artists simply pluck their creative works from the ether, with no time or effort required. Some may say that artists themselves are partly to blame….dancers smile as they glide efffortlessly on blistered and bloodied toes and painters may hide their woeful experiements. It may appear that artists are divinely driven or inspired. I prepose that the artisit’s creativity is no more divinely inspired than the surgeon’s, whose stitches repair a wound. Which is to say, they may both be divinely inspired. The surgeon seals a life force in a body that may one day let it out in paint or thread.

    It is, therefore, so refeshing to hear someone talk about effort and value in relationship to an artistic endeavour. Society may put the doctor on a pedestal and afford her a pretty decent salary. But perhaps we may prepose that artists are raised to an even higher platform. One where money does not matter. Where talent is a divine gift and, to quote an effective marketing campaign, “priceless”. How sweet to hear a new refrain come whistling through my ipod, “An artist I may be, but human I certainly am “, or perhaps, “Artists – we are among you”.

    I come from a sport obsessed country where all levels of sport are valued; from the local under 7’s soccer team to the elite sportsmen. It is easy to see that opportunities for the development of sport and of the individual sportsment arise from such community acceptance in conjunction with financial backing. The development of sport has virtually become an australian “value’. It’s intrinsically linked to our national character. We are a sporty nation. We are a down-to earth- nation. Sport = salt of the earth, not a gift from the heavens.

    Now, I would not take anything away from those who have found their passion in sport. But I would suggest that artists work equally hard, and shed equal amounts of sweat in their studios as a footballer does on the field. We are an earthy lot too. If art-making is relegated to an after hours existence because we cannot appreciate the time and efffort it takes to produce it, then we will never know how art or the artists themselves could have developed, and all society will miss out.

    It may well be up to artists themselves to raise the alarm. The arts will die if the artist cannot survive. And, I for one, would not want that.

    So I thank you for your honesty in describing what it takes to make your podcast – This particular piece of art.

    Posted on 5.30.07 ·
  38. Roo wrote:

    Hi Brenda,
    I was introduced to your podcast a couple of months ago. I started at episode 1 and have been listening to your wonderful voice on my commute to work. I am finally up-to-date and wondering what on earth I am going to do for the next two weeks:0) I think it is time to explore the other knitting podcasts out there. Thank you for providing me with such great entertainment. I have laughed out loud to some of the songs (the boob fairy) and Chub Creek ditties; and have received some very funny looks from my fellow commuters. I am looking forward to next series as I have such fond memories of guide camp. It’s a bit chilly in the office today, but that is ok, because I think you have inspired me to knit my own very first sweater.

    Posted on 5.30.07 ·
  39. Knit Nurse wrote:

    Hi Brenda

    thanks for another great show – I’ve only been with you for this series, but I’m an avid listener now. Your story of the lurid poncho brought tears to my eyes as I thought of my own grandmothers and their knitting habits (one still knitting squares, at the ripe age of 92!). Great to be moved by your words, even if it was in the middle of a busy London Bridge rail station!

    Posted on 5.30.07 ·
  40. Valutree wrote:

    Hi Brenda. I was so rediculously happy when I heard about season 5. I even started singing “Flicker” right along with you (to my co-workers horror)! But I just knew I had to write you and tell you the quick version of my camp/knitting/crafting story.

    Ok here it is…

    Many years ago in high school I was a girl scout. I went to camp every year and for many of those years I had a friend who’s camp name was Coleman (it would be a long time before I knew her real name) she to was a scout and we had numerous summers together both as campers and as councelers. well after graduating college and getting married and moving back home I was at a concert and when I looked behind me low and behold there she was my old camp feiend just standing there! Well after getting caught up on life it turned out that we both worked at the same place and both had science degrees. In fact we both lived 3 blocks from one another.

    So we started hanging out again and when she found out I knit she asked me to teach her. I did and we have been crazy knitting partners ever sence. Now we not only both knit but both sell handpainted yarns together on etsy and attend craft shows where we sell our handmade yarns, stirchmarkers, and kntting bags.

    Anyway I just wanted to tell you my little story and let you know how excited I am for season 5. Keep up the great work!

    Posted on 5.31.07 ·
  41. MiniGirl wrote:

    Brenda I made it!! I started with episode 1 a couple of months ago and I allowed myself a Cast-On 1 a day, every morning on my commute in. I get to the el, rush for a seat, set up my iPod, grab my needles, listen and knit. 5 days a week (give or take when I can get a seat). I had to listen in order and I’m so glad I did.

    I would sit there and intently listen, or I’d wipe a tear, or I’d burst out laughing, or sit there with a shit eatin grin. Today I caught up with the masses. I’m a little sad about it because now I have to wait along with everyone else for the next segment. On the other hand, at least the websites and events I hear about are now going to be current. It was weird listening to “new” podcasts announcements from a year ago only to find them gone or no longer updating.

    Also thanks for responding to an email I sent awhile back letting me know about the title song. Well Let me get another paycheck under my belt and I will gladly donate a bit to your podcast cause… it really was a fantastic ride getting to this point. Thanks for all you do.

    Posted on 5.31.07 ·
  42. Tilly wrote:

    Hi Brenda

    I am so shame-faced about making you wait for your tea at Wonderwool! Also embarrassed that you were told off for wanting to stroke Buckthorn (the Alpaca) when I was leading him to the ring. I am sure that we could arrange a proper visit if you would like to meet them properly & see their fibre.

    It was wonderful to meet you – I love your podcasts even though I have only just started listening. I cried all the way through Franklin’s broadcast, which stirred up so many recent memories. I am so pleased that I inherited my mother’s habit of knitting under stress even though my laceknitting has gone totally haywire this week as I am a nervous wreck about taking on a new job!

    Posted on 5.31.07 ·
  43. Auntly H wrote:

    Brenda, I saved this episode so that it could keep me company while I wound almost 1600m of lace yarn by hand. (I’m many thousands of miles from my swift and ball winder). Thank you so much for being here and putting such lovely sounds in my years. I have to admit, Franklin’s essay brought tears to my eyes. Maybe I’m just extra sappy lately. Or maybe it’s that you’ve found something extra special in the Secret Life of Stitches series (within a series). I have loved them all and hope they continue. They’re magic!

    Can’t wait to head to camp! I’m off to pack my sleeping bag….

    Posted on 5.31.07 ·
  44. Kris wrote:

    Just wanted to say thanks for the great podcast! I’m a big fan of Franklin – what a hoot! oh, and gotta love the yak yarn;)

    Posted on 5.31.07 ·
  45. Debi B wrote:

    Hey Brenda,

    I’ve been listening to your podcasts for about a month now and just finished the first series. I thought I should listen to the current episode and very much enjoyed this last podcast. The festival was great! I just wanted you to know that I had the exact same experience with two bags of fleece that you had just last fall at a festival in Hemlock, New York. I was trying to decide between a beautiful fleece dyed in a autumn colorway and another one in blues and purples. I was leaning toward the blue one, when a woman came up to the autumn one and reached her hand toward the bag and I almost shouted out “that’s MINE”!! I think I scared her away, LOL! Needless to say, I too went home with both fleeces! What we will do for our fiber! I also enjoyed Franklin’s essay about the grandmother’s poncho. It brought tears to my eyes! Thanks for all you do to keep us so informed and entertained!

    Posted on 6.1.07 ·
  46. Duffy wrote:

    Franklin asked that if we liked his essay to tell the boss we liked him and want him back. Yes! Yes!! Yes!!!

    Loved CCF both book and movie. Rufus Sewell makes a marvelous smoldering Seth I think. Can’t imagine what his socks would look like. I think they’d have to be made from some fireproof material. I wonder how asbestos knits.

    Posted on 6.1.07 ·
  47. Kate wrote:

    I’ve given this issue of your podcast and whether or not it’s something I want to ‘buy’ or not a lot of thought. At first I was kind of turned off by the idea that it was becoming a job to you and should be compensated. I, like another listener who commented was equating the word ‘job’ with ‘chore’ and the drudgery feel that implies was coming across stronger than the issue itself. Have you become a victim of your own success? I was a little cranky maybe and I thought “OH Poor Brenda!”

    Then I thought that if this particular subject weren’t a ‘craft’ offshoot, it would probably get more respect and maybe I was guilty of not giving it it’s due as well. It would be like any other new mousetrap, and people would either beat a path to your door or they wouldn’t. I think you are incredibly professional, and have been consistant where a lot of podcasters have not. I can download this fairly reliably and listen to it repeatedly to get all the juice out of it. Podcasting is interest directed radio in my opinion. Somewhere radio began as a ‘hobby’ and turned into a business. This medium is sure to follow a similar path and you are on the crest of that wave. The next J.P. Morgan of the Interest Directed Podcasting Network? Maybe……

    So finally I come down in 2 camps. I’d be willing to pay a subscription fee, but like radio, I don’t expect to pay for it in full. I expect it to be supported by people who have business to do based on this craft, and want their links up on a site that half a million people have hit on in the course of a few years. I think that’s where the ‘value added product is’. The full circle of the hobbyist and the supplies, news and issues for the craft – a website with a voice. And a little music thrown in.

    I think what you’re wrestling with frankly, is the downside of success. Expectations that have put you in a position of having to satisfy your fans and produce the product rain, shine and dark of night – for which you currently aren’t compensated. If you keep it free, you can say ‘well, I just bloody well didn’t feel like doing it, so sue me’ and toddle off to do something that has caught your attention, like blowing a whole afternoon swatching something new and fabulous and then taking a walk. If you turn it into a business, you have to gear up for all that entails. It will no longer be a one man operation, if you sell ads or link spaces and subscriptions – when Friday rolls up there had BETTER be a podcast – and it will be your baby, so like any new baby it will soon overtake the time and energy you ever thought would be required to keep it healthy and growing. But also like a baby, it could be the joy of your life. Whatever you do, you know you’ll have support.

    I loved Franklin’s essay. I have always been a collector of neglected craft pieces and often wonder at the mystery of why, how, and by whom they were created. I think he makes a valid point that rather than be embarassed by what we do and how INTO it we are, we should celebrate the craft and it’s longevity – something based on necessity which has lived long enough to evolve and become Art. When people tell me that they’d never be able to figure out how to knit a sock on 4 needles, I say ‘you can and your ancestors did or you wouldn’t be here. Your family would have frozen to death. If you couldn’t provide these kinds of necessities back in the day, you died.’ All we need is a power outage and it becomes quickly apparent how dependent we are on things that our forebears survived without, and how incredibly intrepid they must have been.

    And as a spinner of some experience, I’m not getting the Collinette Jitterbug thing. For one it’s ridiculously expensive for merino wool that has been spun and dyed into yarn. I say to you with great fondness “HELLO?!!!” It’s not a hard wearing breed, therefore not really a good ‘sock’ yarn, unless you have a divinely easy life and are carried about on a lounge chair. Caveat Emptor.

    Posted on 6.1.07 ·
  48. Nicole wrote:

    Great season Brenda! I really enjoyed all the podcasts. Just listened to this last one on the train home from New York City to Washington DC, knitting the whole way!

    Posted on 6.1.07 ·
  49. Elisa wrote:

    I love your podcast. I have finally cought up with all of the episodes (except 49) and they kept me sane while doing kennel duty (Vet tech) at school.
    I am trying to broaden my horizons podcast wise anyway, and was wondering what the RSS feed was for Lime and Violet? – and if you know any other the others you reccomend that would be oh sooo helpful!

    Posted on 6.1.07 ·
  50. 1) LOVE Franklin, want more! 🙂
    2) Added CCF to my wishlist on Amazon, and the DVD in my Metflix queue
    3) Will “do my bit” and contribute Monday when my check comes in.

    You utterly rock. I listened to all of your shows while packing and unpacking during a huge move. It made not knitting bearable. 🙂

    Posted on 6.1.07 ·
  51. Ramona wrote:

    More. Franklin. More!

    Posted on 6.2.07 ·
  52. I know this was a tough series for you, but you wrapped it up beautifully. Thanks for continuing to put out the show when you could, despite the health problems. I’m always willing to wait, because the quality never disappoints. I really loved the Secret Lives of Stitches series of stories. I never miss an episode of Quirky Nomads, so of course I enjoyed Sage’s piece, and Franklin’s essay was beautiful. Seriously, I have such a crush on Franklin’s blog. I love his writing style.

    Anyway, thanks for all you do, and see you in series 5! It’s going to be a long hot summer and I am going to be hugely pregnant for the whole damn thing, so any distraction will be welcome!

    Posted on 6.2.07 ·
  53. Angie wrote:

    Thanks for another wonderful podcast. It really must be a lot of work, but some of us have no idea what you really do. I think perhaps when you mentioned what a lot of work it really is, you were misunderstood. Your voice may have betrayed some of the exhaustion of your continuing recovery and it didn’t fit into the bliss and leisure in which we listen to you.
    Your listeners leave very intelligent comments and you have made the knitting world come alive to me. I am a bit isolated, but with the on-line community, I have found mentors and entertainers and people with whom to share my (our)passion for fibre.
    I definitely think you should be able to make a living out of such a professionl, enriching and empowering podcast because you make my life better. I will gladly subscribe soon.

    Posted on 6.2.07 ·
  54. Gill wrote:

    Really enjoyed the show whilst winding some wool.

    Thanks for introducing me to Franklin’s world via the Welsh team for the Knitting Olympics. I love his blog and amazingly his voice sounded just as I imagined. I’m going to have to go back and listen to his previous essays. I really think he should come over to Woolfest next year (with Dolores of course) as part of his 1,000 portraits of knitters projects.

    Jitterbug has totally converted my husband into a hand knitted sock fan: he now has several pairs including a pair in Lapis which are his favourites. I have a skein of Fire and it’s totally right for Brother Amos’ socks.

    Thanks so much for reminding me of Cold Comfort Farm – one of my favourite books and must dig it out of the pile. Think it was the BBC did an amazing adaption of it some years ago.

    Love the idea of a book of patterns based on fictional characters – there was an interesting thread on someone’s blog re: what would Jane Austen’s characters wear.

    Have made a contribution and would be more than happy to pay and annual subscription.

    You might be interested but the national residential centre for Girl Guides was Broneirion which is here in Mid Wales and although also used as a meetings/conference venue is still used by the Girl Guides.

    I’m on leave week after next so shall enjoy catching up on some of the past episodes I’ve missed.

    Posted on 6.3.07 ·
  55. Annie wrote:

    Hi Brenda,

    Love the podcasts! I’ve never commented before, so I’m sorry that this first comment will be a little on the negative side.

    Your thoughts on artists (especially fiber artists) being fairly paid for their work seem somewhat contradictory. Yes, it would be wonderful if we could sell our pieces, patterns, fibers for their real worth. But you yourself are only too eager to snatch up a bargain, as you did standing with your open sack collecting the plucking of the Soay sheep. Did not the raiser of the sheep have costs associated with producing that fiber? Did it not have value? True, it’s only a raw material, not a finished piece of art, but there is still some value to it, and without the person responsible for raising that sheep, providing it with food and shelter, a valuable link to our craft would be lost. Isn’t that worth supporting?

    Posted on 6.4.07 ·
  56. Liza NYC wrote:

    Brenda, thank you for continuing to podcast despite the challenges you’ve been facing this year. I really appreciate your efforts. I love seeing that little blue button in Itunes alerting me to a new podcast. Enjoy your break. See you at camp. Also, I forgot to tell you that my daughter and I made a special point of stopping by Briar Rose’s booth at Rhinebeck last year, mentioning your name and spending money. Liza NYC

    Posted on 6.4.07 ·
  57. Kate wrote:

    Brenda, hi.

    I’m a long time listner and a first time… commenter? I wanted to say, I love love love Cast on, and am extremely sad that I’ve finished the archives and now have to wait for a *new* one to come out. Too depressing. however, it is always, always worth the wait.

    I also wanted to ask, is there any chance of getting Franklin’s segments as seperate downloads? Not that anything can compete with your own dulcet tones, but I wanted to share a couple of them with some friends, and I lack the technical ability to zip them out of your show. Plus, I would feel kind of rude doing so.

    In conclusion, thankyou for reminding me that for all the personal, private joy that knitting brings me, there is twice as much to be had form our (worldwide) community and from introspection about our craft (art?) Thanks, and keep up the good work.


    Posted on 6.4.07 ·
  58. Bells wrote:

    I would love to design a pair of socks for Mr Rochester.

    I think I would make them very dark – probably charcoal verging on black with some red worked in there because he’s a man with a dark spirit but great passion. Probably Heathcliffe would borrow them – but I think Mr Rochester is a little more refined than Heathcliffe.

    Give us more Franklin. Love him to bits.

    Posted on 6.4.07 ·
  59. Bells wrote:

    Oops, meant to say CCF is a marvellous book and I love the movie too. A rare case of both being excellent. have you seen the movie Brenda?

    Posted on 6.4.07 ·
  60. Beverley wrote:

    Hi Brenda, just wanted to say I enjoyed the podcast. I have listened all the way since the very beginning and yours is the one I get most excited about when I see Itunes start up that download button for Cast-on. Looking forward to series 5.

    Posted on 6.4.07 ·
  61. Robin wrote:

    Brenda, I always save your podcast for a time when I can sit and knit or spin without interruption. I put on my headphones and it is the most delicious hour of my week. I was so excited when I heard about Series 5. I, too, was a Campfire Girl and lived for those hours in the Craft Cabin. When you mentioned the hand sign for Campfire, I just smiled, stopped spinning and did it. I had forgotten about that! What fun to remember those times at summer camp. I have a box with all my old Campfire stuff, I’m going to go through it now and slip back into a more innocent time. I can’t wait for your next podcast.

    Posted on 6.4.07 ·
  62. Cindy wrote:

    Hi Brenda,
    First let me say I am enjoying your pod cast. I’ve listened to you from the beginning and you have set a standard for all knitting pod casters which is hard to come up to. Continue to keep up the good work.
    In the past, you have mentioned that you are sick of the “not your granny’s knitting.” We’ve been having long discussions on the listservs about this phrase and we not going to take it any more. Well, so am I. I’m a 56-year-old grandmother who likes to knit traditional and hip things. And when it gets right down to it, it IS your granny’s knitting — everyone is still knitting and purling, aren’t they?
    To get back at the yarn and patterns companies that continue to use this phrase, I have designed a t-shirt to let them know that “I am a grandmother who knits” and I’m proud of it! When you get a chance, take a look at my original design.
    Thanks again for all the contributions you have made to knitting and fiber.

    Posted on 6.5.07 ·
  63. Alli wrote:

    Happy Birthday Brenda!

    Posted on 6.6.07 ·
  64. Thea wrote:

    Greetings Brenda:
    I am a new listener and I love the world of podcasting. Of course…it goes without saying….you certainly know by now, Cast-on is my favorite and I cannot believe the creativity that you bestow on us. I feel so fortunate to be able to listen to your thoughts and that you have the guts…I mean…BALLS to share yourself with us. I felt like a long, lost knitsib from the first time I listened to you. As for the knitting, I am even more obsessed than ever before. Thanks A LOT!!!

    I am really glad you are in this world, you make mine even more full.

    Posted on 6.6.07 ·
  65. Barbara wrote:

    Brenda, I started listening a couple of months ago when getting ready for GLB-knit camp in Vermont. my sweetie loaned me her ipod and downloaded a number of the middle Cast On episodes to listen to on the flights back and forth.

    I’ve been slowly catching up and wanted to stop by and drop a donation.

    Thanks for all you do to make this show great.

    Posted on 6.6.07 ·
  66. Kristin wrote:

    Brenda, I would like to email you my podcast promo… is there a way to email you?

    Posted on 6.6.07 ·
  67. Brenda,

    Thanks for having Franklin on the podcast. I just love his blog and I’m still crying from his wonderful tribute to his poncho and his grandmother. He’s a keeper.

    As far as socks based on literary characters, I recently went to the Fiber Arts Fiesta in Albuquerque, NM and bought some silk yarn (for socks) from Red Fish designs. I’m a relatively new knitter (September 2006) and the lightness of the yarn and the triple ought needles used to knit it kind of scared me, but fiber mania knows no bounds. I haven’t cast on with it yet, but I fully intend to post to my blog (lambandfrog.com) that this yarn will make ‘socks suitable for Arwen’ (Lord of the Rings)…now all I have to do is find (or design) an Arwen pattern (or maybe you want to give that a shot!).

    Love the podcast!

    Posted on 6.6.07 ·
  68. Jenna wrote:

    Yet another delightful show!
    Thanks Brenda for all your hard work. Your podcst is like a nice long soak in a warm tub, it makes all the stress go away.
    Thank you so very much!

    Happy Birthday! I wish you a year filled with joy!

    Posted on 6.7.07 ·
  69. Susanna wrote:

    Happy birthday! May your stash grow! 😀

    Posted on 6.7.07 ·
  70. Jan wrote:

    I love your podcasts. I listen while I’m on the treadmill and it makes excersizing SOOOOO much more tolerable. Your podcasts contain a wealth of info and I hope you can figure out how to make it work financially. Just an idea, I listen to another great podcasts “This American Life” by Ira Glass each week. Each week listeners can downloaded for free off of ITunes or from the website. For backlog episodes, listeners fork over a buck to download per episode. I think it’s a very fair price especially when one is looking for entertainment when traveling, working out or knitting. Same price as a pack of gum and so much more enjoyable!

    Series 5 sounds like a kick. I was a Brownie (Girl Scouts) and we always thought that the Bluebirds (Campfire Girls) were the “wilder … looser” crowd. I still have my girl scout sash with all my earned badges. When Brownies became certified Scouts, we walked over a bridge. What did Campfire girls do? Guess I’ll have to stay tuned!

    Posted on 6.8.07 ·
  71. Kristine wrote:

    Hi Brenda —

    I appreciate your comments about artists and funding. I found them very diplomatic. Truly. I have a small fiber/ textile based business. Sometimes, I compare my spinning and dyeing to others on the internet i.e. etsy and I notice how little is charged for such beautiful yarn/ roving. Spinning and dyeing fiber is truly a form of art and a specialized craft that deserves financial recognition. There is such an enormous amount of time and care put into making such products. In my own product, the cost charged does not truly cover the acutal amount of time and energy I spend on creating the product because I must stay competitive with the current marketplace online while also trying to make a buck in the wholesale/ brick and mortar marketplace. I write off the unaccounted time spent to the passion for fiber account. Granted that much of the above information and working to balance such trials and tribulations are part of the art of being a business woman, my request of artists who post their goods on etsy and online/ blog shops, let’s respect ourselves, try to truly post a monetary amount that reflects our work and talent. That way we can all eat and continue to grow our companies.

    As far as funding podcasts goes…I appreciate the internet for the DIY community it has spawned. Before the internet, I have to imagine that it would have been nearly impossible for someone to have started a small yarn business and compete with the large yarn companies. Moreover, before the internet, or itunes for that matter, the platform for free speech radio and podcasts was non-existant. I love podcasts. I think it offers an entire different element to the blog world. I appreciate the amount of information you are giving us. You are helping to build a global community and you deserve to be paid. I think that it is great that you have a donate button on your site.

    Posted on 6.11.07 ·
  72. Brenda, thank you for your wonderful podcast. I love listening to it, and especially this one because I was at Wonderwool Wales too! I posted some pics (mostly of the sheep!) on my blog here: http://lizplummer.com/blog/2007/05/21/wonderwool-wales/ .

    Posted on 6.13.07 ·
  73. annie wrote:

    This was the first Cast On podcast that I listened to, and I thoroughly enjoyed it all. “Secret Life – Advice from a Poncho” rang so true as I recalled the women who taught me to knit, crochet, embroider and sew. Just beautiful.

    Posted on 6.16.07 ·
  74. amelia wrote:

    I though about your idea of knitting socks based on characters from a book.

    I want to knit brown angora baby booties…I just read Watership down. A book by Richard Adams. I think that Brown angora baby booties would remind me of Big Wig. I think I’d put a darker chocolate rim on the booties. Because bigwig is brown with a dark brown spot on his head that looks like a little wig.

    for my big wig
    I cast on big wig’s booties.

    Posted on 7.12.07 ·
  75. Julie wrote:

    This is one of my favorite episodes, I have it my “favorite podcasts” playlist. What makes it so appealing to me?

    1. The song Breakable.
    2. The Secret Life of Stitches essay It really made me think the first time I heard it. This is the knitting legacy that we were left with. The knitting grandmas kept the craft alive in their acrylic yarns and tacky projects so that someday, we could knit just to knit. They are our knitting pioneers and we should honor them and be proud of the grandmotherly knitting past that we have.

    Posted on 2.13.08 ·

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