08 May 2009

Episode 78: The Bill of Goods

A new series begins with a brand new theme, and a brand new sweater. Manifestos galore, and the world’s longest knitting project.

Zitron have done it again with Zauberball Crazy. View the colors here, then ask for it at your LYS.


Amy knit a Lisle, so I knit one in Briar Rose Fibers. (Click the photo to embiggen.) You can knit one too.

Annie Modesett doesn’t seem to have the description of the Slipped Stitch edge on her site anymore (correct me if I’m wrong) but there’s a good description of her technique (fully credited) here.

Join the Socks from The Toe Up KAL based on Wendy Johnson’s new book (Amazon US/UK).

Fiber events abound this time of year. If you’re in the middle of the US in June, check out Knitter’s Connection. Those on the left coast may find the Studio 49 Fibre Retreat more convenient.

What knitting thing would you like to learn? Go here and tell me. Then come back.

See the results of Brenda Castiel’s Super Slow Sweater Project here.

The Koigu wrap I talked about in the podcast has been identified. It’s the Colourflow Wrap, designed by Christa Giles.

Join Madame Pamita and friends in London, or Sheffield, for an evening of Music and Prognostication. (Her touring schedule may be found in The Salon. I’ll be at one of the last two shows in London in May. Details to follow.)

And, just in case you were wondering, Atlantisite looks like this.

See you next week!

KniTunes were provided by and used with the permission of:



  1. Liz T. wrote:

    Hi Brenda,

    I was so pleased to see that you’re back with the new series. Now, I just have to decide whether to listen to it now or to save it for my 5 hour train journey on Sunday!

    Posted on 5.8.09 ·
  2. Cecily wrote:

    Hi Brenda,
    So happy you’re back and podcasting!! Can’t wait to hear what you will do with this series’ very cool theme.
    Oh, “Zauberball” is pronounced “TSOW ber bull”. Means “magic ball” in German. 😉

    Posted on 5.9.09 ·
  3. Karen S wrote:

    Welcome back… I happy that you had a good break (apart from the nasty migraine, shame on it).

    Love the sneak peek you gave (was it Tim Ralph that did the voice) and have been thinking a lot about making do and mending… I’m hoping to put down some of my thoughts and send them to you.

    But I just wanted to say: you are not alone in your movement! I’m with you!

    Am now going to get out my fabric stash (some of it is parts of DH’s old shirts) and tinker a new skirt together … thanks for the inspiration!

    Best wishes

    Posted on 5.9.09 ·
  4. lynn wrote:

    Rain and hail when I was going to putter in the garden- then JOY- your podcast was there- you made my morning! Have you seen the fun folks are having at http://nikkishell.typepad.com/wardroberefashion/ ?

    Posted on 5.9.09 ·
  5. lynn wrote:

    PS- I want your Liesl…
    ok I’ll knit my own

    Posted on 5.9.09 ·
  6. Sonja wrote:

    The Crazy Zauberball is produced by Schoppel – at least here in Germany it is. Schoppel was producing for Zitron once but not any longer.


    Posted on 5.9.09 ·
  7. Kath Maxted wrote:

    Dear Brenda,

    Hi, I wanted to let you know how much I loved your episode, I waited untill there was a farly quiet moment as normal and then continued to crochet pineapples to the bottom of a dress I am making for my youngest daughter.

    The most suprising item for me this morning was hearing a name I am very familiar with but under a different topic, the Gutheries (excuse me if spelling is off) are known to me by their connection with HD, or Huntingtons Disease, which sadly runs in my family, I lost my mum to this disease last october and I am the only one of three sibs to escape this horrid disease and it’s effects. It was my mum who taught me to knit many years ago when she was well. I was humoured and proud to hear your tale and will mention it to my HD buddies.

    Great start to season 8….looking forward to next episode and your take on mend and make do…

    Posted on 5.10.09 ·
  8. Monique wrote:

    Hello Brenda,

    It is the day after Mother’s Day here in the U.S. I spent a wonderful day yesterday and heard from all four of my grown sons. I work part time as a librarian and today is one of my days off. My husband is at work and I am home by myself, doing laundry, knitting preemie hats and booties, and listening to your podcast.

    I love your new theme. When my sons were little we lived on a small farm. I put in a quarter acre garden every year, canned hundreds and hundreds of quarts of food every summer, made meals with what we already had in the refrigerator and pantry, knitted, quilted, and sewed. I bought books at used book stores and clothes at thrift stores. I made most of our Christmas gifts from found and reworked materials, wrapping them in ironed brown paper bags and tied with twine, tucking in pine cones and dried flowers. With four growing boys, money was scarce and I was always looking around at what I had and what I could do with it.

    I did not want to make junk from junk. I wanted to take things which were no longer useful as they were and make them into something else which was useful and practical. But also wanted these things to be beautiful. That was very important to me. I took making do as a personal challenge, not a drudgery. I like this quotation from a pioneer woman: “I made quilts as fast as I could to keep my family from freezing and as beautiful as I could to keep my heart from breaking”. It could apply to knitting too.

    Thanks, Brenda, for doing these podcasts. I look forward to the next one.

    Posted on 5.11.09 ·
  9. SpitSplice wrote:

    Brava-Brava! Exciting to learn of the topic for the new series. I am already feeling inspired to air my stash; and not just the stash of fiber. I am a maker/remaker of stuff; so I have a room full of boxes of stuff to be made, remade, mended, and such. When we moved, the movers had a great good giggle and were totally entertained in reading (very out loud) the markings on my cartons. Of course, several boxes of WIP’s and UFO’s. “Here’s another one for UFO stack”, as they handed off the carton the worker who was in charge of keeping everything in proper sections. I cringed everytime they called out the next label: box of sweaters to be felted, box of sweaters already felted, box of bottles, box of paper, box of fabric-plain, box of fabric-printed, box of cigar boxes, box of shoe boxes, buttons, baby food jars, ribbon, bags, lampshades, wool blankets…. Egads! I cannot wait for your series to progress, I suspect I will be ready to pass on several sections of my stash. If not, I will need to locate a 12-step meeting for these addictive behaviors. Brenda, for your time, effort, AND passion, I am grateful. Peace be.

    Posted on 5.11.09 ·
  10. Tina wrote:

    So there’s hope for the sweater that I’ve only worked on sporadically for the past 6 years? I bought the yarn, needles, and pattern while I was anxiously awaiting the delivery of my first loom. I’ve been mostly weaving since, but got back into knitting about 6 months ago. Well, I’m trying to get back into it. I’ve fallen in love with spinning and while some of my yarn is good for weaving, some stretches and so will be better for knitting. I’m currently spinning some lovely shetland so I can knit a sweater for my 92 year old mother (her birthday is today!). I’m nervous about attempting it, but I know she’ll appreciate it. Your podcast has helped me get inspired to resurrect my knitting. Thanks so much for that!

    Posted on 5.11.09 ·
  11. YogaNan wrote:

    Brenda, love your new cardi! Now there’s another one to add to my Rav queue, and I CAN unravel a Rowan Summer Tweed sweater that I started years ago and re-use that yarn–yay! Thanks for the inspiration!

    Posted on 5.11.09 ·
  12. Alison wrote:

    Brenda, Thank you so much for podcasting! I’ve missed you! I wanted to tell you that I am so excited about your new theme. I think it is a wonderful idea and will provide tons of interesting content for your show. It is very appropiate and relevant, and hopefully you will inspire more people to make do with what they have. You have already inspired me!


    Posted on 5.12.09 ·
  13. Carie Lynn wrote:

    I’m so tickled that you’re back again! Just as the wee design wheels have been churning away in my brain, I have your podcast to keep me company. Your new theme is fantastic, and, of course, very befitting of the current times for almost everyone. Between the two of us, my husband and I have six kids, so we are always re-using, mending, and reallocating things to keep our Brady Bunch afloat.
    And, I must tell you, I love that you mentioned Alice’s Restaurant–now that brings back fond memories. I am a child of the 80s, but my parents had the Alice’s Restaurant album, and I remember listening to it with them when I was a kid. In fact, Alice’s Restaurant got my parents together; my dad recited Alice’s Restaurant, word for word, to my mom over the phone until she agreed to date him. They’ve been married for 35 years now, and just a few weeks ago my dad played the album for my two oldest boys, who loved it to no end.

    Posted on 5.14.09 ·
  14. Michelle wrote:

    Brenda I just finished my Liesl as well and LOVE it!!!! I chuckeled to myself when you mentioned knitting one in Rowan summer tweed I was thinking of knitting another in that yarn as well!!

    Posted on 5.14.09 ·
  15. I’m a little older than you (58), and was one of the best-dressed kids at school because my mom was such a great seamstress. We’d go to the expensive dress shops and check out the Villager dresses with all the little pleats, then we would go next door and buy patterns and fabric. I worked one day a week for less than $1 an hour and usually used that money to buy fabric and/or patterns for my mom to sew. I later learned to sew and made my own clothes for years until it became cheaper to buy at discount stores. I rarely sew now except to occasionally make something for my granddaughters.
    “I don’t want a pickle.
    I just want to ride my motor sickle.
    I don’t want to die.
    I just want to ride my motor cy – clle.”

    Posted on 5.14.09 ·
  16. Kate wrote:

    As always, I enjoyed your podcast. Thank you so much for creating them and sharing them with us! My dad was a big fan of Alice’s Restaurant, and I loved being reminded that it doesn’t take long before a weirdo is a movement. If you will pardon my paraphrasing.

    Posted on 5.15.09 ·
  17. Ellen wrote:

    Dear Brenda,

    Love the new topic and to forward to listening to more. What Briar Rose yarn did you use? I just bought my first yarn from their booth at Shepherd’s Harvest Sheep and Wool Festival in Minnesota and I am really loving it.

    Posted on 5.16.09 ·
  18. Red wrote:

    Hi Brenda,

    I like the theme of this series and am looking forward to where you’re going with it.

    Glad to hear that you’ve discovered the Number One Ladies Detective Agency. It’s a great series and it does present a view of Africa that we in the US hardly ever see — the positive, affirming, daily-livng side.

    The good news is it’s now an HBO series starring Jill Scott as Mma Ramotswe.

    Posted on 5.18.09 ·
  19. Alanna wrote:

    Loved your line about discount clothing stores being the equivalent of fast food, so when I just learned about this company that sells European made textiles, I thought of you! http://www.ochreandocre.com/about.php

    Posted on 5.18.09 ·
  20. Kristen wrote:

    I cracked up when you mentioned the joy of shredding. A decade ago I worked in a law office and they had an industrial shredder. One that can take 20 pages at a time. I cannot tell you the joy that baby brought me, especially on particularly frustrating days. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who shreds with wild abandon!

    Glad to have the new series underway!

    Posted on 5.19.09 ·
  21. Michele wrote:

    Hi. I just wanted to drop in and tell you how much I enjoy hearing your voice! It’s so comforting to know that there are other folks out there that have such a passion/sickness 🙂 for the art. Your sweater is quite lovely by the way.

    I left a voice message some time last year in regards to the lady wanting to have a baby. I was so touched there were tears as I spoke. Thank you for sharing the rest of her story a while back. I’m happy for her and I’m thankful to say that through much time, prayer and embracing what is. I have been able to LIVE the life I have, rather than wasting good energy on getting so down on myself when others seem to get what they want. It’s as though I HAVE been given the desire of my heart…peace. Thank you for being a connector to all this. I hope it blesses you to know how your podcast impacts us!

    Warmth & Joy,

    Posted on 5.19.09 ·
  22. Sydney wrote:

    Hi, Brenda: I just wanted to say how glad I am you are back! I am not doen with the podcast yet, but had to leave a comment to say how excited I was to hear you enjoyed The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. I love those books so much! I have tried so hard to get people I know to read them but I can’t seem to get any takers. The characters are so wonderful, but I think what really keeps me coming back for more of these books is the way that he creates the setting and the gentle tempo of the writing.

    Thanks for everything you do. Back to listen to the rest–

    Posted on 5.23.09 ·
  23. Felix wrote:

    I’m so delighted that you are back with a new series! I too am a massive fan of precious Ramotswe and her No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. I loved the first book and am thrilled to learn there is a second one… I also loved the wax recording you played at the end. There just isn’t enough old, crumply music out there.

    I have been putting together a podcast myself this week… not on knitting, but on old tapes and The Domestic Soundscape. I have to say that in all my radio and podcast programmes, you are an important inspiration. I love the congruent way you put ideas together, the way you research and organise linked-up materials, and the interviews and submissions you include. There is a lot of craft in the way you organise the podcasts, and a lot of work.

    As a sometime podcast/radio-maker who knits, I learn as much about making great podcasts from you as I learn about making great sweaters, and I love how those two things intersect. Thanks so much for being back, with such relevant and timely materials, and with such a great new series!

    Posted on 5.29.09 ·
  24. Cathrine McClure wrote:

    Brenda – You are a poet. A Master Creator. An Artist. I love your podcasts for their professionalism and the poetic way you craft each one. You are thoughtful and your search for knowledge reaches across the miles to our ears so that we, too, may sample the stories, the songs, the rewards of your efforts. Thank you for doing what you do, and doing it so well. Your voice is lovely to listen to.

    Posted on 5.31.09 ·
  25. Karen in AZ wrote:

    Brenda – I’m a little behind in listening. (I seem to save your podcasts so I have something I know I’ll enjoy listening to!)

    First thought – Our family have been huge fans of The #1 Ladies Detective Agency series for a number of years. In my current stack of books I’m reading (which is different from the stack of books TO read), I have The Good Husband of Zebra Drive, # 8 in the series. In the stack of books TO read is #9: The Miracle at Speedy Motors. I think I first found these in a bookstore at Heathrow (Smith’s ?) while waiting for our plane to Beirut, Lebanon. (We lived there for 7 months while my husband was on sabbatical.) I was so caught by them, and there was a special to buy 2 get 1 free, I picked up both that were there, plus another book to take along for reading. We have continued to add each new book to our collection over the years. I read them. My husband reads them. Our daughter reads them. There are 2 or 3 folks at the office who read them. Each copy is well read. 🙂 It’s now a series on HBO which we do not get. But I’m sure we’ll be checking out the DVDs when they come out! (And how does a Scottish man channel a Botswanan woman so well???)

    Alice’s Restaurant – Wow! A blast from the past! I still have my LP of this. Just don’t have the turn table to do so! A few years ago I was taking a class and something came up with lead in the chorus. I started singing and was joined by the professor and another student. We were shocked to find out that none of the younger students knew the song. So, when we headed out on a “field trip”, the other student brought his cassette tape along and everyone was introduced to this classic.

    I’m looking forward to your new series. What a great concept for these times!

    Posted on 6.1.09 ·
  26. Karel Lea Biggs wrote:

    Hi Brenda,

    I was listening to your podcast while doing my run/walk this morning and I really like your new theme. Maybe being a science teacher and history buff has a little to do with it, but one of the talks I do to Civil War Round Tables and history groups is called “Making Do: Shortages and Substitutions on the Confederate Homefront.” It’s fascinating the creative and innovative ideas these women came up with to “made do” with what they had and were able to get. Once someone came up with a substitution, they would tell their friends and the local newspaper editor, who would print it in the paper. I’ve found all sorts of crazy substitutes for coffee – rye coffee, coffee made from parched sweet potatoes (yuck, tried it), coffee made from parched okra seeds, you name it. I’ve also collected a lot of publications from the US during WWII that deal with the same topic. I just find it to be a really interesting topic and was delighted to see that as your new theme!

    Thanks for doing such a great podcast. I truly enjoy listening!

    Posted on 6.2.09 ·
  27. Christy wrote:

    I’ve fallen behind on episodes so I’m just now listening to this one– knitting a plain sock on my balcony in Philadelphia.

    Just wanted to drop a note to say Happy Birthday! Saw on Ravelry that today was your special day. Take time to celebrate you today. Thanks for all of the joy you have brought to me and all of the Cast On listeners.

    Posted on 6.6.09 ·
  28. Kellie/redplaid wrote:

    Just catching up and I lovelovelove the new theme. I found it interesting that as I was listening I was knitting on Amy’s Everlasting Bagstopper out of a Salvation Army find; what looks like handspun, hand-dyed hemp or flax in two shades of green held together. It will now be me signature Cast On Reuse and Make Do project. I love that the shades in your Lisle Sweater match the shades in the landscape. Very nice!

    Posted on 6.6.09 ·
  29. Caelidh wrote:

    Hi Brenda….

    I have been out of the loop sort of speak with both my knitting and listening to your podcast…
    I am trying to get back onto the boat and I LOVE your theme. I have thought about this concept of handmaking things and our consumeristic society for years now.. I am desperately trying to simplify my life.. and now.. I am in a relationship with someone who also seeks this same goal..

    From gardening to learning how to sew ones own clothes.. I want a lifestyle that is more intentional.

    More sustainable and more meaningful…

    However.. having grown up in the 70’s and 80s (born 68).. I never learned these things. I came really of age in the Reagan era.. when the oil fields in Alaska came back online and so.. I had the mentality in my teenage years of “we don’t need to make.. we buy”… Yet.. although I grew up very materilistically. going shopping with my mum every sat… I eventually came back to that spiritual awareness of our society.. the environment.. etc.. and now I am trying to refashion my life.. and it can be challenging…

    From learning how to knit, grow food, .. trying to figure out how to MAKE my own clothes (since I hate the store bought stuff) cook.. SPIN wool.. etc… I never had these skill sets.. and so at age 41.. it is a slow educational journey..

    I am grateful we have the opportunity to become more aware once again. yes it it rough and I am sorry for folks hardships.. but I honestly hope that we all as human civilization LEARN from this…

    Thank you

    Posted on 6.8.09 ·
  30. kuaikuai wrote:

    Dear Brenda, I love the theme of this series! I wanted to share one way I combined knitting and mending. My favorite pair of jeans got a hole in one knee. I know ripped jeans are back in style, but I prefer to keep my knees covered. 🙂

    So I “unvented” a recession chic knee patch, using Cascade Fixation and the Tunisian Knitting stitch.

    Recession Chic Jeans Patch
    Materials: Cascade Fixation, partial ball.
    Needles with very sharp points, approximately a US 5(3.75mm). If your needles with sharp points are US 4 (3.25mm) or US 6 (4.00mm) use those.

    Directions: Generously measure the area on jeans needing patch. Cast on 7 stitches for each inch, making sure you have an even number. At the worst this will be your gauge swatch, but with luck it will be your actual patch. Follow stitch pattern described below for desired length, ending with Row 2. Bind off.

    Choose your favorite side: both RS and WS are attractive. Sew to your jeans. This will be a sturdy patch, that will not shrink when jeans are machine washed and dried. Due to elastic in yarn, the patch will stretch with your movements, but will not become soggy like 100% cotton. This stitch is even dense enough for optional embroidery. 🙂

    Stitch Pattern: Tunisian Knitting Stitch

    CO even number of stitches. Did I tell you to have very pointy needles? The sharp points are more important than the actual needle size.

    Row 1 (WS): bring yarn to front as if to purl. Slip one stitch purlwise, yarnover. Repeat for ever stitch. You will have twice as many stitches on your needle as before.

    Row 2 (RS): knit *through the back loops* the stitch that was slipped in the row before together with its yarnover.

    Repeat Rows 1-2.

    Source: Nancy Marchant’s website “The Brioche Stitch”

    *General Note: I paraphrased Nancy Marchant’s directions, mainly to save you the trouble of looking up her abbrevations. Any mistakes are mine.

    *Note for Row 1: make sure that when making yarnover, you bring yarn over top of needle, and back to front before slipping the next stitch.

    *Note for Row 2: It is tricky to knit though the back loops of the slipped st and yarnover. Nancy Marchant says: “I stuck the right needle into the fronts of the stitich and its yarnover as in normal knitting and then glided the point of the needle over the left needle to get my right needle point in position to knit into the back of the loops.”

    Posted on 6.14.09 ·
  31. Elizabeth wrote:

    Hi Brenda,
    Which Brier Rose Yarn did you use? I always look forward to your show. Thanks sooooooo much!

    Posted on 6.21.09 ·

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