21 Jul 2006

Episode 30: In Search of Our Grandmother’s Rocking Chairs

Iron Age textiles


This week you almost can’t hear me for the snoring dogs. Let’s kick some puppies! – Boing BoingKnit Knuckle Tatts – XML Code or Knitting Code? You decide. – My perfect sock. (Could this be THE combination?) Good Toe Up Cast On. Reverse Round Heel Shaping (Widdershins). A Better than Tubular Bind Off? – Special thanks to Penny Tschantz, for this week’s essay, and to Pat Haynes, of Castell Henllys. – Check out these Iron Age textile tools, and “knot-less netting” – Lime And Violet – and don’t forget the handpainted yarn if you want to be my stalker.


Additional Tracks:


  1. Monique wrote:

    When you try access the file it tells you that the file doesnt exist.

    Posted on 7.21.06 ·
  2. Fixed now! Thank you very much for letting me know.

    Posted on 7.21.06 ·
  3. Monique wrote:

    By the way sorry for the abrupt msg earlier. Thank you for doing such a wonderful show, I look forward to it all day on Fridays:-)

    Posted on 7.21.06 ·
  4. Nadine wrote:

    Friday, way too hot do to anything but knitting and relaxing and here’s the latest Cast-On! Thank you so much Brenda for making my day! 🙂 Here’s a big cookie!!!

    Posted on 7.21.06 ·
  5. Elinor wrote:

    I’m a fan of this stretchy bind-off for socks. It’s sewn, and it takes a bit of time, but it’s really relaxed, and it feels like the cast-on edge of a cuff-down sock.

    Also, very excited for new episodes! Cookie for you.

    Posted on 7.21.06 ·
  6. Lauren wrote:

    Tubular BO is definitely the way to go. I look up the directions every time I have to do it, but it’s worth it. Btw, Cat Bordhi had the toe-up socks with a heel flap in 2001. I’m not sure if that was their first appearance.

    Posted on 7.21.06 ·
  7. Miriam wrote:

    Hi Brenda, I thought you might like to have a look at this stretchy sewn bind-off. It wasn’t very time consuming, and it worked out really well.


    Posted on 7.21.06 ·
  8. I’m delurking to tell I love your podcast.I also have noticed that you have been using your ‘TURBO” sound affect fast and loose during your opening. I to love the light saber sound effect too. It’s so SNAKE ON A PLANE cool.It is very hot in Toronto today,but a new cast on makes it a cool day. Thanks Brenda.
    from denny in Toronto xoxo

    Posted on 7.21.06 ·
  9. Sherry W wrote:

    Brenda, I had the same toe-up revelation recently too! My favorite cast on is here:http://www.socknitters.com/toe-up/tulessonone.htm
    No ridges, no provisional strings, etc.

    You may also like a toe-up dutch (flap) heel: http://www.socknitters.com/toe-up/lessonthree.htm

    More options:

    Posted on 7.21.06 ·
  10. I’ve just started listening to you (I’m wayyyy back on Episode One) and I find what I want is a photo of THE sweater for each session.

    (And I’m knitting – second sock for hubby.)

    Posted on 7.21.06 ·
  11. minnie wrote:

    OH MY GOD! i KNOW miss lime & miss violet! they come to my sit & knit! i’m in awe! now i really have to dig out my sharpie & get the autographs!

    and yes, they are just as funny in real life, too.

    and you HAVE to see miss violet’s hand-painted sock yarn.

    Posted on 7.22.06 ·
  12. pamela wrote:

    I’m filled with geekish delight that you liked my knucks pattern, Brenda! I’ll see if I can dig up a volunteer to knit you up a pair of with YARN SLUT. When does it start to get cool in Wales?

    Our knitalong is here: http://awwknucks.blogspot.com

    I’ve really been enjoying the podcast — you’ve been my inspiration to jog. I wonder if anyone else jogs with Brenda in the iPod? Think of me when you pick some good-for-an-elevated-heart-rate tunes for upcoming shows.

    *smiling and waving a fistful of pointy sticks*

    Posted on 7.22.06 ·
  13. Petra wrote:

    This episode was the first time I ever listened to a PodCast and I really enjoyed listening to yours!^_^ I also live in the UK…in South Yorkshire to be exact.I’m also part of the Knucks KAL and I’ve nearly finished mine!
    Oh I also wanted to ask…I couldn’t really make out the surname of the female singer that was played in the middle of the podcast…Katie somebody..can you please tell me her full name? I’d love to hear some more music^_^ Can’t wait to hear the next episode!

    Posted on 7.22.06 ·
  14. Kendra wrote:

    I really enjoyed listening to your podcast this week and was hoping you could pass my thanks on to Penny as well. I’m a young knitter who possibly has been guilty of not recognising that a lot of older people share the same passion for yarn. I always talk to my Gran about my latest projects or the new knitting products that are available but now I will take more care to listen to what she has to tell me about her love of knitting.

    Posted on 7.22.06 ·
  15. Sydney Reed wrote:

    As a new sock knitter, but an old knitter, I so appreciated this podcast, as is true of every one of them.
    As a generation that came one before your essayist, I must ponder the tendency of each generation of women to see the earlier one as unconnected, unliberated,superficial, out of it the one to be grateful to have escaped.
    So I have to speak up for us, the women of the fifties. Unlike the characterization of us, prim, limited, and trapped, the women I knew were independent thinkers, women who went to work when their kids were quite young, or back to school for graduate degrees. We were knitters who worked with bobbins and complex patterns in college classes and knew nothing of circular needles or handpainted yarn. Many of us, now in our seventies, are still working; some of us in our second or third careers. We marched in civil rights marches, worked in the women’s movement, and thought our own thoughts. Be wary of easy generalizations of the women of the fifties;:many of us knitters were always difficult to characterize. I must smile, remembering that as a young knitter I had to tolerate a characterization of myself as being “grandmotherly” and doing something rather superficial and mindless. As an actual grandmother, long after “being liberated,” I am still characterized by these same adjectives. I ignored it then; I ignore it now even though I came before the liberating sixties. I am so grateful for this long running passion that has made my later days so much richer and more satisfying.


    Posted on 7.22.06 ·
  16. Penny Tschantz wrote:

    I want to respond to Sydney Reed’s thoughtful comment, which I appreciate. I agree that it’s dangerous to generalize, and that’s why I referred in my essay to the “stereotype” of the fifties woman. Still, “The Feminine Mystique” struck a chord with a great many women of the fifties who, for whatever reason, weren’t able to be independent or adventurous and who did feel trapped and stifled. As Sydney says, many of her contemporaries worked in the women’s movement, apparently feeling that change was needed. I find it frustrating that so many young women today refuse to acknowledge any connection to feminism, or to admit that issues such as the importance of gender-inclusive language or sexual harrassment, not to mention equal opportunity for employment and equal pay, could possibly be relevant to them. If they’re right, and those issues are no longer of concern, perhaps they should give proper credit to their elders.

    Meanwhile, I’m thankful for internet knitting tutorials and, yes, handpainted yarns!


    Posted on 7.23.06 ·
  17. Anne wrote:

    Brenda, Nancy Bush says that the drawn-up stitches of the star toe are called a “rosebud” in Estonian knitting… Thanks, as always, for a great podcast. I’m finally caught up and can now join everyone else waiting eagerly for the new episode every weekend.

    Posted on 7.23.06 ·
  18. Judy wrote:

    Wow…(a) Welcome back and

    (b) loved your comment about socks. I, too, have been knitting furiously as a coping mechanism — I can’t watch the news…I just knit. I loved the “Extremities” issue of Knitty.com. I got hooked on the “Baudeliere” sock, also toe up and was going to try Widdernshins next…thanks for the nudge to try it. I think I’m addicted to sock yarn, I have way too much. And one of the members of my knit-night group is a cruise planner and has created a 5-day “Sea Sock” cruise. I’m posting the link above. If it doesn’t show up, trying cutting and pasting this link http://www.mycruiseplanner.net/?page=fp&id=11028.

    (c) I loved Penny Tschantz’s article. As a just-turned-60-year old, life-long knitter (with some long hiatus stretchs) and a life-long activist, I find her essay to be spot on. Thank you. I also agree with Sydney Reed’s comment. What does concern me about the younger generation of women (and knitters) is that, in the US, many of the issues/rights we olders fought, marched and got arrested for are once again, under attack, and there seems to be a an apathy in the younger women about the loss of these rights. Oh well, time will tell.

    Again, welcome back, and thanks so much for your hard work.

    Posted on 7.23.06 ·
  19. jessi t wrote:

    have you seen the book queen kahuna’s crazy toes & heels? great sockknitting book! i bought it and have made three pairs of socks using her methods so far and have been extremely happy with it.

    Posted on 7.23.06 ·
  20. lozette wrote:

    Hi Brenda. I was pointed to this podcast from elsewhere, and haven’t listened yet, but I see you’re refrencing my knitting pattern schema! It’s still a work in progress, and I only did it to teach myself XMLSchema, so I’m surprised other people are picking up on it 🙂 Anyway, people who are interested can see more about it on my site, when I finally get round to writing about it in between all my regular work!

    Posted on 7.23.06 ·
  21. Helen wrote:

    Listened to episode one this morning in the car. What’s funny is I started talking during the xml part (sorry!!) and hubby told me to shut up. He thinks you’re so cool Brenda! And you are. Welcome back.

    Posted on 7.24.06 ·
  22. Lozette wrote:

    Hi Brenda, I finally got a change to listen to your podcast today, and what the guy who sent in the link to my knitting pattern schema had to say.

    For starters, it’s not humour!! I have updated the KnitML page on my website here: http://www.lozette.net/knitML

    I am intending to develop this is a standard, unfortunately it’s a bit of a learning process for me, and I don’t have much time to develop it (or indeed knit!) outside work.

    If you could post the actual link to my site rather than the Flickr link, that’d be great!

    Posted on 7.24.06 ·
  23. linda wrote:

    Hello I enjoyed this podcast very much. Regarding finishing sock toes, I was taught to say as a child (Even number of stitches on each needle and bring yarn in front to start).Front needle: Knit take off, purl leave on, back needle purl take off knit leave on, again front needle knit take off, purl leave on etc. I say it out loud sometimes and I do not have trouble with the kirtchner stitch.
    I enjoyed Penny Tschantz’s comments very much. Is there a way I could e-mail or contact her?

    Posted on 7.24.06 ·
  24. Susan wrote:

    Brenda – thanks so much for your comments about knitting to keep yourself from crying. I was *literally* in the middle of writing out a check to Doctors Without Borders – hearing the story about the two small children so badly burned just made me want to do something – ANYTHING, and with Yarn Harlot’s eloquence about D.w.o.B and all of the good they can do it just seemed to make sense…….

    Posted on 7.24.06 ·
  25. Becky wrote:

    Brenda – You hit it out of the park again with this podcast. With this and the Snatchel podcast, I just immediately want to back it up and listen all over again, I enjoy it so much. I LOL at the “kitty butt” part! You’re great! I’m so glad you’re looking at the history of knitting and fiber arts. I’ve wanted to know more about it – and yes, archeology is all there is on at my house sometimes, too. “Mummies and monkeys,” I hear my husband mumbling as he comes through the room, because I have a thing for primates, too (and all animal intelligence). Thanks!

    Posted on 7.24.06 ·
  26. Kirsten wrote:

    Thanks for another great podcast, Brenda!
    I loved the Katy Pfaffl song and dashed off to iTunes to purchase the album.
    I really enjoyed your interview with the iron age textile expert. We recently visited an iron age ring fort in Sweden. You brought back fond memories of my trip.
    Finally, may I suggest you check out the cast off that Cookie used in her pattern in the most recent Knitty, “Baudelaire”. I have knit the socks, and the cast off was easy and has quite a bit of stretch.

    Posted on 7.25.06 ·
  27. Catherine wrote:

    Brenda, thanks for your podcast. I am waaay behind, having just listened to episode 1.5, but you are easing my way through the multiple yarn-ends which accompany a Rambling Rows afghan (Cottage Creations). I figure 55 squares make for 110 ends, but now I’m actually looking forward to finishing them, accompanied by your humour and insights into the knitting “condition”.

    Many thanks again (from Melbourne, Australia)

    Posted on 7.25.06 ·
  28. Desiree wrote:

    Is everyone anti-provisional (crochet) cast-on?? (referred to in Knitty as the “easy” cast-on here: http://knitty.com/ISSUEwinter02/FEATtiptoptoes.html)

    I love it. Nice round toes, no seams.

    Thanks for another wonderful episode, Brenda. I was going through withdrawals last week with no Cast-on and no Chub Creek. =\

    Posted on 7.25.06 ·
  29. Susan wrote:

    Great show! And Kudos to Penny for her tenacity in getting her essay recorded. I’m a slightly younger woman (I’m 31) but one who identifies herself strongly as a feminist. I’ve gone on marches myself, to protect the rights I’ve never been without. I’ve loved knitting because it’s been somewhat refreshed, because it’s something that has been a traditionally female craft, and because it’s a sign of how far we’ve come. It’s something we can _choose_ to do now, rather than something we are expected to do, or something we must do. I’ve never felt like I needed to separate myself from the grandmas who knit. And for the most part I’ve not noticed disdain for older knitters- ok, except for the young knitters who’ve complained about an older woman (or man) asking them if they’re “learning” to knit as they’re working complicated lace patterns on the subway. Personally, I love that knitting is something that can bridge generations, gender, race, sexual orientation and economic class.

    P.S. Brenda, I LOVED your contribution to “Blue State Battalion” on Quirky Nomads! I laughed so hard the first time I had to listen to it a second.

    Posted on 7.25.06 ·
  30. Nancy wrote:

    Hey Brenda – thanks for the little shout-out about the sock yarn. When Syne said she was sending you a sock yarn CARE package, I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to contribute.

    And I’m totally there with you on the kitty butt toes. I’m definitely in the kitchner-challenged camp, even though I’ve been knitting for 20-something years. Let us all know if the new pattern thing works out, particularly the bind off part. That’s what’s been keeping me away from toe-up socks as well.

    Posted on 7.26.06 ·
  31. Anna wrote:

    I loved the show. And, if I had been drinking my chocolate milk I’ve been craving lately while I was listening, I would’ve sprayed it right out my nose at the mention of “butthole”! I laughed right out loud!

    Mad props to Penny for her wonderful essay (even as a 27-year-old, it seems very funny to say). I find myself really trying hard to make sure the more mature women that find the Stitch and Bitch in my neck of the woods don’t feel intimidated or weirded out by the large amount of young knitters in the group. I love the amount of expertise and experience they bring to the group dynamic, and often, they have the best stories. And I’m proud to say that knitting is one of the things I really like to connect with my grandmother with. We always have such a great time, and I get a kick out of how she gets a kick out of seeing me pick a hobby back up that I dropped when she originally taught me at 10 years old.

    Keep those kick-ass podcasts coming!


    Posted on 7.26.06 ·
  32. Angie wrote:

    It’s so great to hear your voice again. I was walking my dog as I listened to your show and I seriously thought you said, “Stocking Brenday Dayne”. It was a bit of a sock show. I’m enjoying my first toe-up sock. Thanks for knitting with me.
    Love from Sardis.

    Posted on 7.26.06 ·
  33. Chrissy wrote:

    Hi Brenda! I’ve been listening to your podcast, and I’m hooked! I listened to the first 2 when they first came out, but then I got busy, and stopped listening to podcasts at all for a while. I can’t wait for your next one! Since Monday afternoon, I’ve listened to all of yours. Keep up the great work! We really appreciate all the hard work you put into this podcast, and you are truly a gem!

    Posted on 7.27.06 ·
  34. Emma wrote:

    I was listening to your podcast the other day from 21/07/06 I think when you described your eureka moment in finding the Wittershins sock on Knitty which gave you potentially your Perfect Sock but for the cast off. My first toe up socks took 4 tries to cast off before I could get my foot in. I’m not sure if it’s the correct way, or even if it is a true accepted cast off, but the way I did it was like making a ruffle. The sock, off the foot, looks a bit loose and ruffly but once on my leg (and I like them half way up my calf as well) they stick. The trick is to essentially double or treble the number of stitches as you go around on the cast off. You can either do a round specifically to double/treble (depending on how wide your ankle/calf is) the stitches, and then cast off in one fell round, or you can increase every stitch as you cast off. I also like doing the method where you knit 2 stitches, pass one back over to cast off, then put the lone right needle stitch back onto the left and knit it again.

    Posted on 7.27.06 ·
  35. Robin wrote:

    Hi Brenda! I’ve been enjoying your podcast for a while now. Really, it’s great! One of my favs. I just listed to your most recent episode while I knit on my first ever tow-up sock using magic cast on and the widdershins pattern (the plain sock though). What a coincidence! I am eager to hear what you think of the pattern after you have completed it. Again, I really enjoy your podcast.

    Posted on 7.28.06 ·
  36. Kristin wrote:

    Oh, and I must say I enjoy the addition of a picture or two here and there (in the podcast posts).

    Posted on 7.31.06 ·
  37. Sara in WI wrote:

    Thanks for the great sock episode. I also am a bit of an armchair archeologist, so to say. At Meg’s knitting Camp last week several of us were discussing your podcast and also Chub Creek and could even quote some of the episodes. It was really funny that you became part of the camp experience!
    I’ll be trying a toe-up sock next thanks to you, too!
    Knit on!
    Sara in WI

    Posted on 8.2.06 ·
  38. Zabet wrote:

    As usual, I’m running a month behind listening to the ‘cast and catching up all in one day. So – lame stalkers? Pshaw. We were going to send you things nailed to meat, but the meat fell through (I blame the fake hickory scent).

    And I hate being self-referential, but we did put together a guide to stalking for Valentine’s Day. Maybe it could help your future stalkers?


    Posted on 8.22.06 ·
  39. Hay, long time listener, first time commenter here. I just wanted to say woot for archeology! It is one of my big passions in life and hope to work with them in the future. I have been on digs, worked in the lab and the whole 9 yards. Its the most fun in the world. i loved the knitting/spinning connection with archeology in this ep of cast on. Keep up the awesome work 🙂

    anyway, lots of love from Australia oxox

    Posted on 2.23.07 ·
  40. cosy wrote:

    i *loved* the essay in this episode. one would think that the cult of youth would be inacessible to knitters (due to our history) but it’s not. as a youngish knitter, i cannot tell you how much i appreciate this voice of a grandmother.

    Posted on 4.25.07 ·
  41. Rachel wrote:

    I am still catching up on your podcasts having just discovered them last month. I’ve also been frustrated in trying to find an easy elastic bind-off for toe-ups. Finally, I just said piss on it and grabbed a dpn 3 sizes larger than that with which the sock had been knit (i.e. knit with a US1, bound off with a US4) and bound off in pattern. It turned out nice and loose, and couldn’t have been simpler!

    Posted on 5.17.07 ·
  42. Suzanne Elliott wrote:

    Ummmm. I’m at episode 30. I couldn’t decide if I should comment but as the sweater song won’t leave my head I figure…Cookies all round. I get cookies from writing &, hopefully, you get cookie love for work done 🙂
    It’s 2013 and I’m listening to you in chunks of three-ish. My pod randomises, so I did hear little bits of other episodes before I had the sense to store you on the laptop and only put five at a time on my player.
    So only in the order of my thoughts as I write…
    This monday/wednesday work days I laughed out loud to the snachel! (And could tell no one at work what was so amusing.) I heard Tonia calling you a lair in the background, you had been to Wool fest and were saying you’d only spent £12.
    Dave from Chub Creek has been unfaithful, so you make him feel guilty enough to do a piece for you. I hear the whole of the sweater song. ^_^ About the baby shawl you knit for $200 and I hear of Grandmother knitting and spinning. Oh and for you it is summer in Pembrokeshire, I remember that hot summer 🙂
    Today in Pembrokeshire the weather is better than it has been!
    As a result of my listenings …I showed my husband pictures of the snachel, much amusement! I check out the sweater song and Mr Rogers. Whom I then cried shamelessly over, said husband passed a hanky and left me to it.
    I feel envy! You got given wool & paid to knit it! This is so not British.Over here people expect you to do it for nothing and then bitch about your workmanship/the time it has taken!
    I have the wool fest up to ‘check it out’. Were you? Did you? Yarndale in Yorkshire? September this year being the first one.
    I’m loving the show. Hope this blast from your past brings back happy memories. Take care & ‘If you’re feeling cold… Put on a sweater, that’s what they’re for.’ xxx

    Posted on 11.21.13 ·

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