02 Jun 2006

Episode 27: The Church of Knitting

This week’s irritating background bird noise has been brought to you by our resident irritating bird – the chaffinch. Oh sure. You think he sounds pretty now. Try waking up to that noise each and every morning, for a month. – Knit a Red Sweater – Do it in public – You can’t take them with you – summer sweaters with sex appeal – Haven’t tried Quirky Nomads yet? Why ever not? – Special thanks to this week’s guest writer, Katherine Matthews – In two weeks! The Age of Innocence


Backing Tracks:


  1. Enjay wrote:

    Thanks Brenda, I’m looking forward to listening while out and about this evening 🙂

    Posted on 6.2.06 ·
  2. silke wrote:

    What a feast… coming home on a friday afternoon and a new episode is up 😉 Let the weekend begin!

    Thank you for the hard work with the podcast and the wonderful results!

    Posted on 6.2.06 ·
  3. Suzanne wrote:

    I was blown away by your essay, Brenda. I have just found your wonderful podcast in the last week or so and have been trying to catch up on older episodes, but today I decided to listen to your latest.

    I have been impressed and touched by a number of your essays, but this one really got to me. I have said similar things to friends and family about religion and about my feelings about knitting as a spiritual activity in the past, but never in such an eloquent way as you do here. I feel like I can never explain my feelings well without sounding silly when I bring up a lot of the points that you alluded to in your essay. One in particular that I have mentioned on so many occasions is the similarity between knitting (especially repetitive knitting patterns) and the Rosary. I have often bemoaned the fact that I can’t bring my knitting to the Catholic church (which I only go to for the sake of my kids at this time) because I feel certain that I would get a lot more out of the service if I could settle my thoughts down with my knitting and become more mindful during the ceremony. I am convinced that women in the past used the Rosary in this very same way.

    Your other point about the horrible guilt involved in organized religion (especially Catholicism) really struck a chord with me and is one that I go on about a lot. Yes, you are right in saying that knitting is about inclusion rather than exclusion as so many organized religions are.

    I could go on about this subject for a long time, but I will end by saying, thank you so much for expressing your feelings about this in a way that really captured all that I have in my heart but could never say in a way that anyone would take seriously.

    Posted on 6.2.06 ·
  4. Vicki wrote:

    I’ve finally got around to listening to your podcasts, having been repeatedly told about them by my knitting group. Love it! I’ve just listened to the last few episodes and will definately subscribe.
    If you are touring through Wales, and find yourself in mid-Wales on a Tuesday evening, catch up with Builth Stitch ‘n’ Bitch, I’m sure everyone would welcome a visit – maybe on your way to/from Colinette?
    Thanks for all the hard work.

    Posted on 6.3.06 ·
  5. Becky wrote:

    Brenda, I am still loving your podcast. I am really looking forward to all the future episodes that you outlined in this weeks cast. I’ve been anxiously awaiting the reading of The Age of Innocence, so am happy to hear that it is just over the horizon! And the next series on fiber in Wales sounds fascinating. I’m interested especially since that is my heritage. We lived in London for a year and a half, and only got to Wales for a week-end. I will make permanent copies of those podcasts to use when we come back again!

    I didn’t get my vote in on the music question last week, but the opinions of those who did vote reflect my feelings on the subject. I really look forward to hearing new stuff that you’ve found, and have purchased much of it.

    So…Thanks for all the hard work, information, good laughs, and wonderful stories and music!

    Posted on 6.3.06 ·
  6. AnnP wrote:

    This week’s podcast spoke to me directly in two ways. You mention a shawl in ‘Knitting in America’. Well, as I listen I am working on the Kousa Dogwood Shawl from that same book. Not the one you talk about but close.
    The second thing is that, just a few days ago, I was thumbing through my Vogue S/S 1997 issue and picked out ‘your’ sweater of the week as something worth knitting this summer. I felt the hairs on the back of my neck go up when you said ‘sweater #16’.
    Your essay on knitting as religion was well done and I intend to listen to that segment again.

    Posted on 6.3.06 ·
  7. The next season sounds sublime!

    Posted on 6.3.06 ·
  8. Sonya wrote:

    I really enjoy your podcast, Brenda. I usually listen to it on my Saturday morning walks and it makes the time fly by. I especially loved your church of knitting (I almost typed baseball) essay. Annie Savoy is one of my favorite characters. Looking forward to series 3.

    Posted on 6.4.06 ·
  9. Cindy wrote:

    Church of Knitting
    The Church of Knitting meets every Sunday morning at Barnes & Nobel in Clearwater, Florida at 9:30. It’s a drop-in until everyone leaves (sometimes as late as 4 pm). We thank you for recognizing our church and invite anyone in the area to join us.
    Our list is BandNKnitters@yahoogroups.com.
    And with an email id like “cinmoore”, I really need this Church of Knitting.
    There may be some silent prayers but you are more likely to hear “Oh God” when someone realizes there is an error in a pattern or “Jesus NO” over a dropped stitch. I’m more the “what the hell” or ‘hells bells” type.
    So Praise Be to Brenda Dayne for mentioning our congregation.
    Cindy in Florida

    Posted on 6.4.06 ·
  10. Sam wrote:

    Thank you so much, Brenda. Anyone who gives a nod to Annie Savoy is a kindred spirit, and I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this week’s installment. I’m looking forward to the next series. Thanks for all your hard work.

    Posted on 6.4.06 ·
  11. Wendy wrote:

    Amazing, amazing, amazing per usual!!

    Posted on 6.5.06 ·
  12. Elizabeth GM wrote:

    Amen, sister. I was elated by the Church of Knitting essay. As a long-time non-believer, I thought that I didn’t have or want a spiritual side, but you have made me wonder about the functions that knitting serves in my life….

    And the idea for Series 3 sounds perfectly delightful! It will be interesting to see how you use sound to invoke a sense of place (I’ve always thought NPR’s new programs did this very well).

    Perhaps you might think about a “sense of time” theme for Series 4? You seem to have such a love of history. (Mrs. Beeton, Age of Innocence, Mr. Darcy…) Just a thought – it’s your show!

    Posted on 6.5.06 ·
  13. Brenda wrote:


    Thank you for your WONDERFUL podcasts.

    I’ve been listening now for about 5 months & have even caught up on all your past episodes since the beginning.

    You’ve created an amazing podcast, and you can count me as another loyal listener who looks forward to your next program each week.

    This past Sunday I listened to your last 3 episodes while planting impatients in my garden. Your podcasts made my afternoon all the more enjoyable.

    Thank you again.

    Posted on 6.5.06 ·
  14. Sharon wrote:

    WOW! How amazed was I to hear my best friend’s voice on your Podcast Brenda.
    Tammy from Thunder Bay’s voice was the last thing I expected to come out of my ear buds while I was knitting!!

    (I’m the one who pestered her…)
    Thanks again for bringing an unexpected smile to my face and remind me the world is not really that big when I can hear my best friend’s voice sent to Wales and Then here To Northern Ireland.

    Posted on 6.5.06 ·
  15. Cat wrote:

    I’ve listened to 2 episodes back-to-back, so I apologize if I’m commenting on the wrong date, but I just adored the guest essay about spinning and the Muse of repeated practice. This one really spoke to me, esp. as a spinner-who-might-knit-eventually.

    Although, I must admit I printed my first knitting pattern off the internet today, so I’m happy to share this with you in the comments: http://geobabe.livejournal.com/227621.html

    Off to make my first little knitty-kitty

    Posted on 6.6.06 ·
  16. Pam wrote:

    Your podcast is quickly becoming my newest addiction! Thank you so much for talking about the Red Sweater project. I read about it months ago and put it on my mental to-do list, and forgot all about it today. So while listening to older podcasts of Cast On (I’m trying to catch up) I knit two red sweaters. As I was knitting them I became so overwhelmed with sadness, sympathy, and anger…I blogged about it. Within an hour of my blog being posted, I had two girls commit to knitting a sweater or two. Thank you for reminding me of this project, and there for motivating me to spread the world as well!

    I even skipped Al Franken today because I couldn’t wait for Al to end to listen to your new podcast! I didn’t need to get any of that laundry done today, anyway…

    Posted on 6.6.06 ·
  17. Beth S. wrote:

    The Church of Knitting. Sign me up and baptize me in Koigu! What a great little essay that was. I’ve been stirred by your writing before, of course, but this is the first time I’ve actually felt compelled to come here and thank you for it. So, Brenda, thank you. I loved every word.

    Posted on 6.6.06 ·
  18. Helen wrote:

    Hey Brenda – can’t wait to hear you reading Edith Wharton. Even my husband, when listening to your story on Quriky Nomads this morning (GREAT STORY!) said he was looking forward to it. We sometimes listen to Cast-On repeats on the way to work in the morning and I think he’s quite fallen in love with your voice! Good work!

    ps The church of knitting is one of your best yet.

    Posted on 6.7.06 ·
  19. I was introduced to your podcast by my fiancee, Robin. I like it almost as much as she does, and I thought I’d weigh in with my 2c about music.

    You had asked if listeners prefered to hear the same music over and over again, or if new musical blood was preferred. Speaking as someone who listens to the radio to hear new music, not familiar music, I for one do not wish to hear the same tunes over and over again. If I want to hear the song again, I can simply load up that episode and seek to the song to listen to it, or better yet, I can buy it from the artist. If it were up to me, I’d say include new and interesting music, perhaps from the same artists, but don’t repeat tracks.

    Thanks for a great, inspirational podcast. Have a great day!

    Posted on 6.7.06 ·
  20. Julia wrote:

    Waaaah! I heard your incredible *gasp* RAP!! over on Chub Creek. I still can’t get over the fact you RAPPED. My god, I would’ve never thought you’d get this silly. LOL! You ROCK uh, RAP:-))

    Posted on 6.7.06 ·
  21. Veronica wrote:

    Thank you for your inspiring essay of the Church of Knitting. I’m not religious but I’ve been raised to respect the religion of others and I’ve always been saddened by how most religions tend to exclude others, not so with knitting! You’ve got 2 pointy sticks and you’re in!

    I look forward to Saturday when I can download your podcast, I’ll have to say that I’m not looking forward to the upcoming break (but in saying that I know you need to rejuvenate). I think I’ll have to redownload all your old podcasts and relisten to them!

    Keep up the good work!

    Posted on 6.7.06 ·
  22. Teresa Smith wrote:

    I’m new to this pod-casting experience. My husband is the one with the iPod. I’m the one with the pointy sticks and so far I’m listening via the Web site.

    My knitting guru, Shuttle Shop owner Cathy Carvey turned me on to the site; she plays it over her iPod in the shop.

    I’m kinda starting at the beginning of your episodes, although I haven’t missed the last two weeks’ new casts.

    Your work is so sweet and intelligent or is that intelligent and sweet? In any case, please continue the excellent work.

    Knitting like the wind …
    Teresa Smith, Warsaw, Indiana, USA

    Posted on 6.9.06 ·
  23. Holly wrote:

    Thank you so much for the wonderful podcast, especially your essay this week!

    Like you, I feel like I’ve just about done it all when it comes to religion, and never felt quite at home with anything I tried. Shortly after I started knitting, my compulsion to seek out new religious territory ceased, and I’ve realized that it’s because knitting provides me with the solace and joy I once thought I would find in God, or Goddess, or whatever. I’ve never been able to articulate this feeling to other people. At least now I know that I’m not the only one who feels better in knitting than they ever did in church!

    Thanks again, and keep up the great work!

    Posted on 6.9.06 ·
  24. Carrie wrote:

    Hi Brenda!

    I love your show and had to comment on the Church of Knitting. I have always been motivated by guilt & fear when it comes to religion but I’ve never been able to find a church or belief system that I completely agree with. When I took up knitting about six months ago my drive to find the “right religion” faded away. I had not connected the two events until I listened to your show, but it seems only obvious now.

    I try to eliminate guilt & fear when I am knitting. Sometimes I do feel guilty when I knit instead of doing the zillion other things I could be doing but then I tell myself that if I don’t have my mental health, I don’t have much of anything. Knitting is cheaper (sometimes) and more effective for me than therapy. Now I can add that knitting is my spiritual activity and I refuse to feel guilty for doing something that feeds my soul.

    I am looking forward to The Age of Innocence, as well as to your return. Thank you for putting together this podcast. It’s touched so many people.


    Posted on 6.9.06 ·
  25. laurie wrote:

    Brenda..i’ve been listening for a while now and totally related to this podcast in particular. I’m thankful our community has a kind of spirituality 🙂
    Btw, on hearing that one of your fav songs is Fields of Gold – have you heard Eva Cassidy’s recording of it. Gorgeous.
    Now i’ve just got to get a move on with my own podcast!

    Posted on 6.9.06 ·
  26. Brenda: I’ve been listening to your podcast for quite some time so it’s high time I left a comment to say THANK YOU. Thank you for your efforts, thank you for a terrific, professional and thoroughly enjoyable podcast that I specifically make time to listen to. Thank you for your thoughtfulness, for your mesmerizing voice, for your humor (I want that addi turbo sound — even if I never have a podcast!) And thank you for bringing knitting to the table with art via your podcast theme of the muses. Thank you for this work. Thank you!

    Posted on 6.11.06 ·
  27. Wonderful cast, as always, I really enjoyed the Church of Knitting essay.

    I’m really looking forward to the next series, it sounds wonderful. I’m off to Woolfest too, so maybe we’ll bump into each other 🙂

    Posted on 6.11.06 ·
  28. Hi Brenda,

    A lot of people have joined the Red Sweaters project thanks to your mention in this podcast. Thanks for spreading the word! As long as the war is on, I will be collecting sweaters.

    However, I wanted to note that the story you took from ABC7 News in San Francisco is not completely correct. (I wonder how far spread this version of the story has gone?) They did not contact me before they published/aired their story.

    1) I am not remembering the soliders who have died in the war – I don’t know any of them, so how can I remember them? The project is not a memorial, it is not in honor of anyone, etc. It is an art installation that was inspired by the war – and I hope that it inspires others to think about the war and how they feel about it. But note that many who contribute to the project do so because they want to remember someone – but the project as a whole is not about remembering the soldiers.

    2) I did not knit all those sweaters. I only knit about 9 or 10. Hundreds of other people knit the sweaters and sent them to me.

    I just want to set the story straight where I can.


    Posted on 6.19.06 ·
  29. Betti Kalahurka wrote:

    From a Kansas City, MO knitter comes this invitation to Knit the Night away for Heifer International on March 31st 2007. Just set out a collection bowl for the purpose of purchasing a Heifer Knitting Basket; a breeding pair of llamas and sheep while your group meets. Your collective donation will better provide a living for a needy family, better insure all of us a continued fiber source, and encourage “March to go out like a Lamb.”

    Posted on 2.15.07 ·
  30. brenda –
    i just wanted to share that i’m going through a time of doubt with my ability to knit a sweater that i’ll actually wear…being a perfectionist and a not normal sized girl, none of the sweaters i’ve made so far have come out the way i want them to…it’s a relief to hear that you went through a similar struggle through far more sweaters than i’ve knit yet….

    Posted on 7.28.07 ·
  31. gail wrote:

    I am way behind in working my way through you episodes, so just finished Church of Knitting. I LOVED it. It really spoke to me.

    Posted on 2.5.08 ·
  32. Lies wrote:

    I’m about three years late with this comment but I wanted to say that I’m really enjoying Cast-On. In particular The church of knitting essay touched me. Thank you for this wonderfull podcast, I really like listening to your voice!

    Posted on 11.2.09 ·
  33. Where have I been 🙂 I just joined your podcast after seeing you on the Lion Brand You Tube Interview. I love the Church of Knitting! Your essay on the Church Of Knitting touched my soul, mind, and spirit like nothing I have experienced. You said want I always anted to say. I knit on Sundays and that is my church…peace…inner peace…tranquility..whether knitting while relaxing in my yard on a Sunday or on my sofa on a Sunday…I knit at my lunch time during the week, and I knit in public. Thank you Brenda. You are beautiful 🙂

    Posted on 6.5.12 ·

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