03 Aug 2012

Episode 119: A suitcase full of wool

Photo by Felicity Ford

In this episode: Spindles! Drop, supported and those of unusual size; a suitcase full of Estonian wool, projects old and new, and Todayโ€™s sweater. Third time really is the charm. Pick up your pointysticks, itโ€™s finally time to cast on.

Huge thanks to Felix, (aka knitsonik) for sharing her beautiful suitcase full of wool with me, and allowing me to share it with you. To see the amazing colours from birch leaves, madder and woad on Estonian wool in all their splendour, see Felix’s post on the dye workshop. Images of Felix’s supported spindle that I so admired are here. I ordered one of my own from Ian, at IST Crafts.

My new chickens will live in an Eglu, once they arrive.

Some lovely Navaho Spindles live here.

I want one of these.

Check out the Dane Shawl, by Jane Tanner. I knit mine from DK weight Casanova, from ArtFibres in San Francisco.

Stephen West has a fine tutorial on garter tab construction here.

The finest knitting bag in all the land holds my Lanesplitter project.

Music by Kaen Mal, Suitcase Full of Memories, from her cd The Space Between.

I do the Facebooks. Also the g+ and, of course, I’m still doing the twitter. Come find me!


  1. Hanna wrote:

    One woman needs as many shawls as she owns! I’m a fellow shawl addict.

    Posted on 8.3.12 ·
  2. mara wrote:

    Brenda! So nice to have you back! You are totally making my evening:-) thank you- mara- germany

    Posted on 8.3.12 ·
  3. Anita wrote:

    Brenda, a heartfelt thanks for all of your podcasting. I have been going back and listening to them for a little while now (while also eagerly awaiting the new ones) and I want to thank you for all the effort and energy you put into each and everyone of your shows. Keep up the great work!

    Posted on 8.3.12 ·
  4. Liina wrote:

    Thank you for this podcast. Listening to the story, sounds and songs from Estonia, I was teary and happy. I’m estonian, living in Estonia. And I’m rather envious. These things are not that every regular estonian today meets and has in their lives. These are really special and precious experiences.

    Posted on 8.3.12 ·
  5. Bekah wrote:

    Hi Brenda! Great podcast, as usual ๐Ÿ™‚
    I love hearing about your travels, and it was lovely to hear about Felix’s travels in Estonia as well – I’m a traveller at heart and love being able to learn about all the different places from the comfort of my own living room! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Perfect song at the end too… ๐Ÿ™‚

    Posted on 8.4.12 ·
  6. Britta wrote:

    Brenda, I don’t comment often, but I loved this episode! Fascinating to hear about the Estonian wool. I’m also knitting a lot of shawls this summer- I finished Icarus, and I’m nearly finished with Aeolian. Such loooong rows!

    I just wanted to mention that if you get to Minnesota again, there is a wonderful folk art school up in Grand Marais, on the shore of Lake Superior, and in February, they have a Fiber Retreat. I bet you would really enjoy it, and you would be most welcome to stay at my cottage. Here is more information:

    Posted on 8.5.12 ·
  7. hunter wrote:

    Saw this http://www.miloandben.com/grid-wall/ and thought immediately of your current grid battle!

    Posted on 8.5.12 ·
  8. Toby wrote:

    Hey Brenda,

    This is my first time commenting, although I’ve been listening for a little over a year. I found your podcast while looking for something to listen to in the car on the way to and from work while dealing with a really terrible break up (driving allowed for way too much thinking). I started from the verrrrrry beginning and listened all the way through to the present, which took about five months. Anyway, you got me through that and your thanks at the end of this episode inspired me to thank YOU for that, and for being around while I knit and design in my studio (I’m a designer! Check out my work on Ravelry! I do a lot of shawls and you should knit one and tell everyone about it!)

    As kind of a young-ish knitter (I’m 24) I don’t have a lot of people my own age to talk knitting with. I work at a yarn shop so I’m able to talk knitting sometimes, but usually I’m explaining things to people and it’s rare that people know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s really nice to be able to talk knitting with you. You know what I mean.


    Posted on 8.5.12 ·
  9. teresa c wrote:

    Going to download right now! How wonderful to listen to you talking about my latest obssession (spinning)?

    Posted on 8.6.12 ·
  10. Lydia wrote:

    Great podcast today – chickens are wonderful to be around and make such comforting clucking noises when they find something tasty to eat. I also loved hearing all about Felix’s time in Estonia – I am fiddling around with natural dyes too – over here I am surrounded by eucalypts – the leaves from the top of the tree 50 metres up are sometimes tossed down by the black cockatoos. So, I dyed some wool with those and some with the leaves at the bottom – they produced completely different shades of tans and browns and smell terrific. Enjoy your spindle – I have an IST drop spindle in bog oak. A thing of beauty to behold! I always enjoy listening and really appreciate all the hard work that goes into the mix – so thank you….. Maybe I will try a support spindle next….

    Posted on 8.6.12 ·
  11. teresa c wrote:

    I just came back because of one thing you said about being a “product” knitter: though in knitting I’m also more product oriented, as far as my spinning goes I am completly process oriented (maybe because the product isn’t a very fine one…) So it is nice to have both!

    Posted on 8.6.12 ·
  12. Peri wrote:

    Interesting you should talk about supported spindles – my husband is a potter and a friend on Fair Isle recently asked him to make her some spindle cups, which he did.I have never tried supported spindling and am now planning to buy a spindle and have a go at it. (I got a weighted spindle from the guy you mention at woolfest and it is a sheer delight). Mike has pictures of the spindle cups on his facebook page – Pots of Mike – I think they came out well for a first attempt and Angela seems really happy with them.

    Posted on 8.7.12 ·
  13. Helen wrote:

    Brenda I can’t tell you how my heart swelled when I heard the Today’s Sweater theme tune on the bus this morning. It’s been so long! That little song makes me so happy and took me back to the earliest days of Cast On. Wonderful! Please do include it more!

    Posted on 8.8.12 ·
  14. Helen wrote:

    Ps welcome to chicken keeping. Knitting and chickens are my greatest loves these days. Beware of foxes. I lost my beloved Lady Catherine de Bourgh (a fellow Austenite chicken!!) to a fox last month. It was traumatic. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

    Posted on 8.8.12 ·
  15. Rebecca wrote:

    I am so glad you are back Brenda – I really missed listening to you and am looking forward to the road tales.

    Welcome to the wonderful world of chickens, they are funny, fascinating creatures. We had bantams in our backyard for a while, Doreen, Esme and Travel-so-far (named by my son). Doreen went broody and we put some fertile eggs under her and she hatched them out and raised them as her own! Absolutely magical.

    Your travel knitting advice has been invaluable, thank you. We will be travelling through UK and Germany for 3 months soon. My knitting plan is now this: take nothing except sock needles, buy interesting local sock yarn in different places and make socks in lots of different ways (I am a sock virgin). Wear socks to keep us warm over autumn and winter. What do you reckon?

    I have also heard it is cheaper for me to buy UK wool online from Australia to avoid the VAT. In view of this and the problems of carting around loads of yarn (along with all the stuff that goes with two kids and a partner), I was planning on collecting shades cards and then ordering when I returned home. Does that sound reasonable?

    Thanks again for this joyous podcast. It inspires my heart and my brain.

    Posted on 8.10.12 ·
  16. Carol wrote:

    I hope you will continue to talk about your Lanesplitter and the question of ease. I’ve thought about making one for my 50-something-year-old self and had the same questions about whether it would be appropriate, so I can’t wait to see the final product. Possibly in person at P3?

    Posted on 8.10.12 ·
  17. Lisa wrote:

    Hey Brenda, I know you’ve mentioned it before but what is the name of that song that you played that mentions Mr. Rogers? I love it and want to find it. Thanks!

    Posted on 8.11.12 ·
  18. Lisa,

    The group is the Lascivious Biddies (now called the Itty Bities) and the track is called Neighbor. You can find it on iTunes.


    Posted on 8.11.12 ·
  19. Devon wrote:

    Another wonderful podcast, AS ALWAYS. Thanks for putting your creative spirit into making such an enjoyable series to listen to. This time around I particularly enjoyed your concise description of the garter tab that begins many shawls. I learned that the number of garter ridges is the number of stitches you need for your stitch pattern and now my brain has exploded as I contemplate how shawls are designed.

    Posted on 8.13.12 ·
  20. Thank you for the fabulous podcast!! I so look forward to them, and am eagerly anticipating the postcards from your trip as well! They will be a lovely accompaniment to my own Summer of Shawls (I have a Shaelyn and Irish Diamond on the go now, with more planned). **hugs**

    Posted on 8.14.12 ·
  21. Barbara wrote:

    Thank you Brenda for your heart felt sharing about your lack of confidence or your experience with your inner critic. Man, do I know that one! All the second guessing and to ‘n fro of the busy mind! One of the ways I find my way back is to just do what I KNOW I can do…I return to weaving, or look at other creations of beauty, many from my own hands. Those touchstones take me back to the place of unconscious competence. The knowing that just IS, without the intellect dithering about. Love your podcast and it is lifting my spirits each week!

    Posted on 8.17.12 ·
  22. Ruth wrote:

    Thank you for this podcast. I’m not a regular listener and tend to have catch up splurges which I’m doing tonight! This one has made me feel really nostalgic, firstly listening to the lovely Felix, who I used to knit with when I lived in Reading. Then, your piece about collecting yarn memories. I try to buy some yarn or fibre whenever I’m away which probably irritates my husband but he is good and puts up with me. I try to find something local to the area I am. Then, when I knit with it, I think, ooh, this is my San Francisco yarn, or my Berlin yarn and it makes me happy!

    So thank you!

    Posted on 8.31.12 ·
  23. Amy wrote:

    Love your podcasts. We also raise chickens, in an eglu coop. If you decide you need to do some chicken-themed knitting (because you can’t really eat your own eggs without having chicken egg cozies covering them), I’ve got a bunch of projects on Ravelry- awknit is my Ravelry page.

    Posted on 9.4.12 ·
  24. Ann wrote:

    Just caught up with this lovely podcast and the one before, sitting in my tiny front room while the afternoon sun shines in and knitting a little sample for my lys. Always enjoy these podcasts but haven’t had a chance to catch up till now. I always feel at peace knitting and listening so thank you – and loved the song by Kaen Mal. Great stories great music – thank you Brenda!

    Posted on 9.30.12 ·

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